William Henry Achurch

William Henry Achurch
2nd Lieutenant 
2nd/5th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment


William Henry Achurch was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs Achurch, of 90 Cardigan Road, Reading.   He died of wounds received on the 6th December 1917, aged 25.  The Reading Chronicle of the 14th December 1917 carried an obituary.  The article states that he had been badly wounded in the chest.  The British launched a surprise attack at Cambrai on the 20th November 1917.  Ten days later the Germans attacked the salient and penetrated the British lines.  This was followed a few days later by a withdrawal from the area around Bourlon Wood and the eventually checking of the enemy.  The Battle of Cambrai officially ended on the 7th December 1917.  William Achurch is buried at Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt, Somme, France.  Location VI. D. 14.

Rocquigny and Equancourt are two villages in the Department of the Somme, some 13 kilometres north of Peronne and 12 kilometres south-east of Bapaume. Rocquigny and Equancourt are approximately 8 kilometres apart and the Rocquigny-Equancourt British Cemetery lies about halfway between the two villages on the north side of the road just west of the crossing road from Etricourt to Ytres.  Etricourt was occupied by British troops at the beginning of April, 1917 during the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line. It was lost on the 23rd March, 1918, and regained at the beginning of September. The cemetery was begun in 1917, and used (mainly by the 21st and 48th Casualty Clearing Stations, posted at Ytres) until March, 1918.

William Achurch joined the Yeomanry soon after the outbreak of war.  He was transferred to the Worcesters, promoted to the rank of Sergeant whilst on the Somme.  Later he was commissioned to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, returning to England to train in Oxford.  He had been back at the front for four months when he was killed. He had seen a great deal of fighting.

William Achurch was a member of Wycliffe Chapel, a Sunday School teacher and Scout Master.  Before the war he worked for Messrs. Sutton and Sons.