Cpl. W. Willoughby


UNIT: 4th Yorkshire Regiment

NUMBER: 201023

STATUS: Killed in Action

DATE OF DEATH: 22nd March 1918

CEMETERY OR MEMORIAL: The Pozieres Memorial

AGE: 32

Corporal Willoughby enlisted in Northallerton. His wife's name was Viola, but it appears that she remarried after his death as she is recorded as Viola Collins (formerly Willoughby) of 5 Dudley Terrace, Northallerton on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's records. They had two children, Ivy and Freda.

He was killed aged 32, as the Germans overran the British trenches in their last desperate offensive, which was designed to acheive a decisive victory before the American Army was able to exert a significant influence on the War. The attacks broke right through the British lines and out into the open fields behind the trenchlines. For a time open warfare returned to the Western Front, which had been bogged down in static trench warfare since late 1914. Eventually, however, the German advance was fought to a standstill and though they captured a great deal of ground, including all the gains the Allies had made on the Somme and at Passchedaele, the Allies remained undefeated.

William was killed on the second day of the German advance and his body was never recovered. It is likely that he was buried by the advancing Germans who had more pressing matters to attend to than to record the locations of dead enemy soldiers' graves. His name is now commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial to the Missing on the Somme.