William Herbert Lee, Private 3207, 1/7th Battalion, Manchester Regiment
Killed in action 24th December 1915 in Gallipoli, Turkey, aged 33
William Herbert Lee was born on 6th August and baptised on 24th September 1882 at the Victoria Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Queens Rd, Cheetham, Manchester, the son of Isabella Newton and William Lee, of 11 St Lukes Terrace.
In 1891, eight year old William was a pupil at a boys preparatory boarding school in South Drive, Lytham St Anne’s. Ten years later, he was living at ‘Arncliffe’, Middleton Rd, Crumpsall with his parents and siblings Sidney (22), Stanley (20), Isabel (15), Mary (13) and Jack (9).
By 1911, William senior had died and the family had moved again, this time to ‘Woodside’, Hawthorn Lane, Wilmslow, where William, now aged 28 and still single, lived with his widowed mother and younger siblings Isabel (25) and John (19). William was employed as a rubber manufacturer.
William enlisted with the 1/7th Manchester Regiment at Manchester, which in May 1915 formed part of the 127th Brigade, 42nd (East Lancashire) Division. After his initial training, William landed at Gallipoli on 18th August 1915.
In December, the war diary for the 1/7th Manchester Regiment records:
24th December: The Battalion moved to the firing line and took over from a point 40 yards EAST of GULLY and extend to the left to COLNE ROAD inclusive. 1 man to hospital sick.
If the diary is correct, it is possible that William was not with the rest of 1/7th Manchester Regiment in December.
Private William Lee is known to be buried in Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery, Gallipoli, Turkey, and he has a memorial stone at Grave Ref. Sp. Mem. C. 67. His mother asked for the following inscription to be added to his headstone:
“DEATH CANNOT DIVIDE. EVER LOVINGLY REMEMBERED. MOTHER & FAMILY, WILMSLOW“
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private William Lee.
Locally, Private William Lee is commemorated on the Wilmslow (Mill Street) and Wilmslow (St Bartholomew’s Church) war memorials.