Christleton Village History Group

Christleton Village Voices

Remembering our Forgotten Heroes 1914-18

William Fleet

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Commemorated:
William Fleet
Birch Heath Lane, Christleton, Chester
Employed by the Great Western Railway as a Parcels Delivery van driver
Cheshire Regiment
9th Battlalion
L/Corporal
12752
WO 372/7/85618
3rd July, 1916 . Age 21 years
France & Flanders. Heilly Station Cemetery Mericourt 1 B 20
Died of wounds on the Battle of the Somme
Western European Theatre
Commemorated on Village War Memorial, Church Memorial at St James’ & Christleton Institute Memorial Board.. A Memorial Service was held at St James’ in August 1916
Enlisted in Chester. William was said to be the first Christleton lad to enlist after a recruitment meeting in the village
Medal Roll and service papers exist for William Fleet from Birch Heath Lane in Christleton. William was the son of Joseph a railway worker and his wife Lucy. An early volunteer William joined the colours on 3rd September 1914, leaving his position as a van man on the same railway as his father. It is impossible to say exactly what happened to William as he died of wounds on 3rd July 1916 and we cannot tell when he was wounded. What we can say is that the battalion was in the middle of the opening stages of the Somme battle and casualties were extremely high. William died in the casualty clearing station at Heilly Station and is buried on the grave yard next to where the hospital was.

William lived in a 5 bedroom property in Birch Heath Lane with parents Joseph & Lucy Fleet. He and his siblings; Arthur, 1889, Eliza 1890, Joseph 1893, John 1898, Ernest 1902 were the grandchildren of John & Ann Fleet. William was employed by the Great Western Railway as a Parcels Delivery van driver. He was an outstanding sportsman, a good all round athlete and promising footballer. He was the best shot in the Institute Shooting team. He was also a valued member of the Young Men’s Institute and a member of Mrs Cullimore’s young man’s bible class.
Cheshire Observer Obituary 15/7/1916
At his memorial service the Rector GMV Hickey “referred to the loss of so promising young man, whose whole idea was to do whatever he could for his fellow man. He was associated with the church from childhood, and took a keen interest in its life and work. He had died the death of a hero”. Special psalms 130 and 138 and the hymns “Brief life is here our portion” and “Abide with me” were feelingly sung by the choir. An impressive service was concluded by the Nunc Dimittis. Mr Freddie Finch was the Organist.

In a letter to Mr. and Mrs. Fleet Company Sergeant Major Tetlow states; “It is with great sorrow that I write you this letter, yet it is the least I can do for you and your noble son, William. We thought there was a chance of recovery when he went into hospital, but unfortunately his wounds were too severe. To say we all miss him does not express our feelings, for we were all fond of him, whose smile and good encouragement we shall never forget. In conclusion I and his comrades send our very sincere sympathy to father and mother, whose son gave his life for his King and country by his absolute devotion to duty”.


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William Fleet | Christleton