William MacFarlane MacBeth

William MacFarlane MacBeth
Corporal 1099189
10th Batt. Canadian Railway Troops
(Ontario Regt.)

Division 75

William MacBeth died on 20th March 1919.  He was the husband of Nellie MacBeth,  of Coleman, East Totonto.

The grave of William MacBeth grave is one of the registered CWGC graves in the cemetery.  Grave number 16605.The original family memorial of a cross with the inscription to William MacBeth was replaced in 1998 with a war pattern CWGC headstone after the author alerted the Commission that the inscription was indistinct.  The headstone bears the traditional Canadian maple leaf.

A copy of the Canadian Book of Remembrance page can be obtained via the Internet.

Walter John (Jack) Malham

Walter John Malham
Rifleman R/11278 7th Battalion
Kings Royal Rifle Corps

Division 40

Malham J photo Malham JH dad of J photo

Walter John Malham   is commemorated on a small scroll stone which gives the first names of other family members (probably sister and mother) and the legend ‘Jack 19 Died in France 1916’.  The Berkshire Family History Monumental Inscriptions files enabled me to locate the scroll (40G26) and their work also identified the family name of Malham.  A CWGC search then enabled the identification of ‘Jack’.  He was the only son of John Henry and Lillian Malham, of 59, Brunswick Street, Reading.  His father also served in the army, first in the Army Service Corps and later as a 1st Air Mechanic with the RAF.

Walter John, who was obviously known as Jack to his family, died of wounds on 20th September 1916, aged 19.  He is buried at Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L’Abbe, Somme.  The village is some 10 kilometres west of Albert. The 36th Clearing Station was at Heilly from 1st April 1916.  It is not known how or when Jack was wounded.  However, the 14th Division was in the area of Delville Wood 15th July to 3rd September 1916 fighting in the battle of the same name.  The Division also fought in the Battle of Flers -Courcelette 15th to 22nd September 1916.  In this last battle, tanks were used for the first time.

Ancestry UK indicated that Walter John Malham was born 23 February 1897. He was a warehouse assistant in 1911 and his father was a engineering pattern maker. He had two older sisters.

William Marshall

William Marshall  M.M.
Lance Corporal
2nd Batt. Royal Berkshire Regt.
Old Contemptible

 Division 17

Marshall W photo CIMG2190


Lance Corporal William Marshall  was considered by his friends to lead a charmed life and had many narrow escapes whilst doing service at the front.  At the battle of Fromelles he was carrying two boxes of bullets when one of them was hit by a bullet.  Writing to his mother in July 1915 he simply talks about the weather.  “We are having very unsettled weather again, and we are in the trenches.  We got wet through going on, and there was another wet night last knight.  It makes everything a mess”.

 At the outbreak of war he was serving in India but went to France towards the end of 1914.  This earned him the right to be called an “Old Contemptible”.

Marshall W + brothers photo


He was one of four sons, all of whom served with the forces, of Mr. Joseph and Mrs Mary Marshall of 32. Pitcroft Avenue, Reading. His father and older brother Joseph worked in the biscuit factory and William worked as a butcher before join the regular army. His brother Sidney, aged 19 years, was a machine gunner who was killed in action on Easter Monday  24/4/1916. 

William Marshall was awarded the Military Medal in 1916 for rescuing a machine gun.  He served at the front for most of his time in France although eventually due to a problem  with his foot he was given work behind the lines in Havre. 

In 1917 he married Christobel and they had six daughters and one son. In WWII  son Ted served in the Army and William worked as an ARP warden. His daughter Marion said that her dad never spoke about his war service. When William  died in 1963 aged 72 years he was given a military style funeral by the Old Contemptibles Association. He is buried with his wife and two daughters in the Reading Cemetery.  His grave is unmarked except for the marker of the  “Old Contemptibles”.