Person    | Male  Born 24/6/1887  Died 1/9/1914

Private William Caswell

Categories: Armed Forces

Countries: France, India

War dead, WW1 i

Commemorated on a memorial as having died in WW1.

Private William Caswell

William Caswell was born on 26 June 1887 in Kensington, one of the twelve children of George Caswell (1851-1891) and Helenor Caswell née Lorraine (1850-1930). His birth was registered in the 3rd quarter of 1887 in the Kensington registration district, Middlesex (now Greater London).

On 22 October 1890 he was baptised at All Saints Church, Notting Hill, Kensington, jointly with four of his siblings: Maud Caswell (b.1878), Lily Caswell (1881-1957), Florence Caswell (b.1883) and Alfred Caswell (1889-1944). The baptismal register there shows the family residing as 4 Bolton Road, North Kensington, (later renamed to Portobello Street) and that their father was a painter. 

The 1891 census shows him still living at 4 Bolton Road, with his parents and seven siblings: Ernest Caswell (b.1875), Henry Caswell (b.1877), Maud, Lily, Alfred, Florence and Cecilia Caswell (1890-1980).

The 1901 census states he was living at 5 Bolton Road, North Kensington, with his widowed mother, described as a charwoman, and seven siblings: Henry who was a groom; Maud who was a cook; Lily and Florence who were shown as laundresses; Alfred who was listed as a paper boy; Cecilia and Charles Caswell (1892-1962).

On 12 July 1904 in Hammersmith, London, he enlisted in the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment), service number 8011, for 9 years. Having initially served within the United Kingdom his regiment was posted to India on 5 December 1906 where he remained until it returned to the UK on 22 February 1911. On 24 February 1911 he agreed to be discharged early and was placed on the Army Reserve List for 9 years with effect from 21 April 1911.

In 1906 his mother was remarried to a Matthew Price (1848-1942) and in the 1911 census he is shown as an ex-soldier living in three rooms on the parlour floor of 19 Talbot Grove, Kensington, with his mother, his step-father who was listed as a carpenter, his sister Cecilia whose occupation was given a laundress and his brother Charles who was shown as a porter. In June 1911 he was appointed as a sorter in the London Postal Service (West).

On the outbreak of World War One he rejoined his regiment and served as a Private in their 2nd Battalion. He entered France on 14 August 1914 and was reported missing, presumed dead, aged 27 years, on 1 September 1914. As he has no known grave he is commemorated on Stone 16.A. on the La Ferté-sous-Jouarre Memorial, 8 Pl. du Mémorial, 77260 La Ferté-sous-Jouarre, France. Unfortunately the Commonwealth War Graves Commission would appear to have incorrectly misspelt his surname as Casswell.

On 28 June 1916 his army effects totalling £14-7s-0d were split 10 ways and paid to his mother and his nine surviving siblings. His £5-0s-0d war gratuity was sent on 8 September 1919 by sending £4-10s-0d to his mother and ten shillings to his sister, Lily. He was posthumously awarded the 1914 Star with the '5th Aug.-22nd Nov. 1914' Clasp, the British War Medal 1914-1918 and the Victory Medal.

He is shown as 'CASWELL, W.' on the Western Postal District war memorial in Mount Pleasant, London, WC1. He is also commemorated on the Imperial War Museum's Lives of the First World War website and on Page 64 of the Post Office Fellowship of Remembrance's Book of Remembrance 1914-1920. Both the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's website and the A Street Near You website commemorate him incorrectly as Private William Casswell.

Credit for this entry to: Andrew Behan.

This section lists the memorials where the subject on this page is commemorated:
Private William Caswell

Commemorated ati

Western Postal District war memorial - Rathbone Place

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