William Sparkes, Sgt 240, 1/7th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Killed in action 10th August 1915 at Gallipoli, aged 28
William Sparkes was baptised on 6th February 1887 at St Michael’s Church, Macclesfield, the son of Colour Sergeant Robert and Susanna Charlotte Sparkes of the Militia Barracks, Crompton Road, Macclesfield.
William was educated at Crompton Road School.
In 1901, 14 year old William had left school and was a baker’s errand boy, living at 189 Crompton Road with his parents (Robert was now a ‘retired sergeant’) and siblings Kate Mary (21), Harriet (19), Robert (18), James (16), Lottie Primrose (10) and Maria Olive (9). Ten years later, William’s father had died but the family was still at the same address, and William was employed as a hand loom silk weaver.
William married Lily Lowe at St George’s Church, Sutton, Macclesfield towards the end of 1914.
William attested at Macclesfield, joining the 7th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment.
Following a period of training in various locations in the south of England, the 7th Cheshires, as part of 159th Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division, received orders to equip for service in an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean. In July 1915 they sailed from Devonport to Alexandria in Egypt, then on to the island of Lemnos on the 4th August.
On the evening of 8th August, the Battalion arrived off the coast of Gallipoli and the following day landed at “C” Beach, Suvla Bay. Having landed, they came under shell fire at about 8.30am and so moved north along the edge of the bay; they then received orders to attack in the direction of a dip in the hills behind Anafarta Saghir.
At 8am on 10th August the Battalion was ordered to attack Hill 70. This was unsuccessful and the Battalion suffered severe losses. A second unsuccesssful attack took place at 5pm. By the end of the day, Sgt. Sparkes was missing and he was assumed to have died on 10th August 1915, but his death was not confirmed until October 1916.
William’s widow Lily married Henry Griffith in Macclesfield in 1919 and moved to Colehill, Wimborne, Dorset.
Sgt William Sparkes has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel Ref. 75 to 77 on the Helles Memorial in Turkey. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Sgt William Sparkes.