William Douglas Victor Oldham, Private 291440, 1st/7th Bn. Cheshire Regt.
Killed in action 25th July 1918 in France, aged 20
William Douglas Victor Oldham was born on 27 August and baptised on 20 October 1897 at Christ Church, Macclesfield, the son of Lucy and David Oldham, a waiter of 9 Bread St. In 1901, three-year-old William was living at 383 Park Lane, Macclesfield with his mother and sisters Alice (23), Bertha (21), Miriam (19), Lucy A (17), and May (10).
By 1911, William and May were living with their older married sister Alice and her husband David Levi Greenwood at 3 Ryles Park. Thirteen-year-old William was employed as a news boy for a printing and stationery company.
William was educated at Beech Lane School and St John’s Church School, where he attained Standard Grade III and left the school on 31 July 1907. Since he is named on the Christ Church School war memorial, it is assumed that he also attended that school.
William was later employed as an apprentice compositor for the Macclesfield Courier.
William enlisted in Macclesfield with the local 7th Cheshire (Territorial) Regiment in 1915, originally receiving service number 4157; this was later changed to 291440. He was not drafted overseas before 1916.
On 5 January 1918, Private Oldham was reported to have been wounded:
WOUNDED – Mrs Greenwood, of 85 Ryles Park, has received notification that her brother, Private W D V Oldham, Cheshire Regiment, was wounded on the 16th December, in Palestine. In a letter she received the day before Christmas from Oldham, dated November 26th, he wrote cheerfully of his experience, and was looking forward to seeing Jerusalem. Oldham joined the Cheshire’s two years ago, and prior to that he was an apprentice compositor at “The Courier” Office.
Private William Oldham is buried at Raperie British Cemetery, in grave ref. II. A. 5. His mother, who lived at 6 Barnet St, Macclesfield, asked for the words “THY WILL BE DONE THE LORD GIVETH MY BELOVED SLEEP” to be added to his headstone. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private William Oldham, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, Private William Oldham is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall, St Michael’s Church, Christ Church, Christ Church School and St Andrew’s Church war memorials, and on St John’s Church roll of honour.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births, Deaths
Census (England & Wales): 1901, 1911
Cheshire Parish Baptism Registers (FindMyPast): Christ Church, Macclesfield
National School Admission Registers and Log-books (FindMyPast): St John’s School, Macclesfield
WWI British Army Medal Rolls Index Cards
Lives of the First World War website
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Courier: 5 January 1918