William Duffield, Private 2267, 2nd Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers
Killed in action 25th June 1916 in France, aged 27
William Duffield was born on 9th January and baptised on 23rd February 1890 at Macclesfield Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Church, the son of Annie and Thomas Duffield, a silk piecer of Macclesfield. In 1891, one year old William was living at 2 Parker’s Court, Silk Street, Macclesfield, with his parents and older brother Fred, aged 3. Ten years later in 1901, the family was living with William’s grandfather, John Duffield, at 2 Gunco Lane, Macclesfield.
By 1911, the family had moved to 263 Black Road, Macclesfield, and 22 year old William was living there with his parents and younger siblings James (18), May (17), Edith (13), Annie (10), Samuel (8) and Harry (3); at that time he was employed as a cotton spinner.
William was educated at St Peter’s School and was connected with St Peter’s Church and Sunday School. Prior to enlisting, he was employed as a labourer at Messrs. Hammond’s brickworks, Bollington.
William enlisted soon after the start of the war into the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry with service number 13848. A few weeks later he transferred to the Royal Munster Fusiliers and went to the Curragh and Cork for training.
William was drafted to France on 2nd May 1915, and participated in the Battle of Loos (September – October 1915), where he received a back injury, but returned to his Battalion after treatment.
His death was reported in the Macclesfield Times of 14th July 1916:
THREE FIGHTING SONS – FATHER’S DOUBLE BEREAVEMENT
Mr. Thomas Duffield, 12 Higginbotham Green, Sutton, Macclesfield, who contributed three sons to the fighting strength of the British Expeditionary Force in France, has received news that one of them has been killed in action. An official intimation reached him from Cork on Sunday that Private William Duffield, 2nd Royal Munster Fusiliers, met his death on June 25th, and confirmation of the sad event was contained in a letter from a comrade, Private N Trindall, who wrote to the bereaved father… as follows: “It is with deep regret that I write to tell you that your son William … was killed about 11.30 last Sunday night, June 25th. I was not close to him as the time it happened, but am told he was in a sap and a piece of a ‘swish bang’ caught him. One consolation is that he did not suffer… He was a good lad and a splendid soldier, liked by all who knew him. William was with me for over seven months with the Brigade Pioneers, and I shall miss him very much. I know this will be a great blow to you, coming so close on your other great loss…”
Private Duffield was born in Macclesfield and was 26 years of age. He was educated at St Peter’s School and was connected with St Peter’s Church and Sunday School. In civil life he was employed as a labourer at Messrs. Hammond’s brickworks, Bollington. Deceased enlisted shortly after the war broke out in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, and after a few weeks transferred to the 2nd Royal Munster Fusiliers. He received his training at the Curragh and in Cork, and had been out in France over twelve months. In the battle of Loos he was wounded in the back, but the injury was only slight, and he reported himself for duty … after a few days’ treatment in hospital. In all he had participated in five engagements. Private Duffield’s mother died suddenly in April, and he spent a short furlough in Macclesfield at the end of May. His father is employed at Backhouse & Coppock’s, Sutton Mills.
Mr Duffield’s other soldier sons are: Sapper Fred Duffield, Royal Engineers; Private James Duffield, 18th Lancashire Fusiliers. Both have been serving in France for some months.
Private William Duffield is buried in Grave Ref. XVIII. C. 22. at Loos British Cemetery in Pas-de-Calais, France. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for William Duffield, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
Brother of Sapper Fred Duffield, Royal Engineers; and Private James Duffield, 18th Lancashire Fusiliers.