Wednesday, 16 November 2016

On this day in 1916, Private William Jane was killed

Private 23871
10th Battalion
Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry
Died age 28
16th November 1916

William (Bill) John Jane was born in Luckett village in 1888, the eldest son of John and Selina Jane. His father was a copper miner and it was into this occupation that William followed his father. At the time of the 1901 census (31st March 1901), when the family were living at Treovis Mill, William, then aged 13, is listed as working as a ‘copper miner, labourer above ground’, as was his father. By the time of the 1911 census (2nd April 1911), there had been significant changes in the circumstances of the family as they were now living in Deerpark Cottage, with both William and his father working as farm labourers.

We are lucky in that we have several photographs of William Jane and we thank Yvonne King for this one of the Luckett Cricket Team taken on July 2nd 1910 which has William in the centre. A detail of William is also shown, as is a photograph of a Jane family wedding at Lidwell (circa 1910). William is in the back row to the right.
On 22nd November 1915 William enlisted into the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry in Callington. Possibly because of his mining and labouring background, he was assigned to the 10th Battalion and was based in Hayle. The 10th Battalion was one of the ‘Pioneer’ battalions whose duty it was to provide logistical support to those on the frontline. Their duties included trench digging, installation of barbed wire entanglements and moving of supplies and munitions They underwent basic military training including firearms, but were also supplied with the necessary additional tools required for the work they were assigned to do in the field as Pioneers.

William’s battalion landed at Le Havre on 20th June 1916 and attached as Pioneers to the 2nd Army Division. They were immediately involved in the Battle of the Somme and from August to late November were active in the Hebuterne/Colincamps sector. During this time, their work involved the establishment and maintenance of the very important network of communication and access trenches near the frontline. This was dangerous work as much of it had to be done under enemy fire. It was during one such exercise on November 16th that William was killed. His body was never recovered and, as well as our local memorials, he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

No comments: