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St James Church Taunton

World War 1 Memorial Project

William Templeman

 

Name: William Templeman

Rank: Private

Service Number: 20771

Regiment: Gloucestershire Regiment

Battalion/Unit number: 14th (Service) Battalion

Date/year of Birth: c. 1880

Place of Birth: Taunton, St James

Place of Residence: 19 Laburnum Street, Taunton

Date of Death: 22nd March 1918 (possibly 22nd March 1917)

Place of Death: France

Burial/Memorial: Pozieres Memorial to the Fifth Army missing

William Templeman is believed to be the son of John Moody Templeman and Hannah Dingle, born in St James parish, Taunton, in about 1880.  In the 1911 census, William describes himself as a plasterer, working on his own account and living at 19 Laburnum Street.  William married Eliza Louisa Andrews in about 1900 to and by 1911 they had 4 children, including Florence aged just 5 months old.

When William enlisted he was posted to the 14th (Service) Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, (formed in April 1915 in Bristol), and his service number suggests a date of enlistment of around May 1915.  The 14th Battalion was the bantam battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment, formed of men who were fit for service but under ‘regulation size’ ie between five feet and five feet three inches tall.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website states that William died on 22nd March 1918, at the time when the Allied Fifth Army was being driven back across the Somme battlefields of 1916.  The Pozieres Memorial commemorates over 14,000 men who have no known grave and who died on the Somme between 21 March and 7 August 1918.

However the Borough Returns for Taunton gives the date of death as 22nd March 1917.  This was the time of the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg line (Operation Alberich), where the Gloucester Regiment is known to have been involved.  While this may be correct, the length of service given in the Borough Return seems to support a date of 1918.

William was older than most of the other men on the St James’ memorial and with a family of four it must have been very hard for his widow.  It appears that she may have remarried as there is a marriage on free BMD for Eliza Templeman to John B Williams in September 1919 in the Taunton Registry District .

 

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