William Lear, Private 114240, 191st Coy. Labour Corps
Killed in action 18th December 1917 in Belgium, aged 43
William Lear’s surname was sometimes written as ‘Leah’ or ‘Lea’.
William Lear enlisted in Macclesfield, initially serving in the Boer War with the local 7th Cheshire Regiment with service number 3773. He re-enlisted and was transferred to the Labour Corps.
William was killed in action on 18 December 1917 and his death was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 11 January 1918:
WITH A LABOUR UNIT – OLD CAMPAIGNER’S SAD FATE
Official intimation has reached Mrs Lear, 95 King Edward St, Macclesfield, that her husband, Pte William Lear, Labour Corps, was killed in action whilst serving in France on December 18th. He leaves five children.
A native of Macclesfield, Pte Lear was forty-three years of age and in boyhood attended Duke Street National Schools. He was formerly connected with the Macclesfield Sunday School, and in civil life was employed as a labourer at Messrs Gorton and Wilson’s. The deceased soldier fought in the Boer War, for which he held the King’s and Queen’s medals. He went out with the Macclesfield Militia and had close on twenty years’ service to his credit. He obtained his discharge from the Special Reserve in 1910, but on the outbreak of the present war Pte Lear again responded to the call of King and Country. He was transferred to a Labour unit and drafted out to France about twelve months ago.
Mrs Lear has two brothers serving in the Army, one of whom, Pte William Hassall, Cheshire Regt, was one of the hundred local men who volunteered for active service in France with another battalion of the Cheshires. He was slightly wounded just over twelve months ago. Another brother, Pte Sidney Hassall, Ches Regt, has been discharged from the Army on account of wounds. Two nephews, Ptes Sam and Arthur Rowbotham, are also serving – one in France and the other in Mesopotamia.
Private William Lear is buried in Grave Ref. II. F. 2. of the White House Cemetery, Belgium. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private William Lear, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.