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William Abbott

Rank: Corporal

Lifetime: 1873-1918

Reference: 250771

Abbott

Bandaghem Military Cemetery where Corporal Abbott is buried

Corporal William Abbott (250771) of the Railway Transport Establishment of the Royal Engineers died on 22 April 1918. He is buried at Haringhe (Bandaghem) Military Cemetery. He is not listed on the Hampton Wick War Memorial but his Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry refers to him as the husband of B Abbott of 226 Kingston Road, Hampton Wick. He was an old soldier having served in the Sudan Campaign (1898-1899) and the South African Wars.

According to replies given on the Great War Forum website to an enquiry about his war service raised by his grandson, William Abbott had been born in St Clements, Suffolk, but enlisted in Hampton Wick initially joining the Army Service Corps (under Service No 158969) and reaching the rank of Acting Corporal before transferring to the Railway Transport Establishment (changing to Service No 250771). At some point thereafter his Service number changed again (to WR/355232) which may indicate he changed units.

The name of the cemetery in which Corporal Abbott is buried is an example of slightly grim Tommy humour. Bandaghem was one of three Casualty Clearing Stations around Ypres given an ironic nickname relating to the treatment the Tommies received (i.e. the medical staff “bandaged em” and then sent the wounded back to the Front). It is likely that Corporal Abbott was treated and then died of his wounds here. Given the date of his death, in the middle of the German final offensive (the Kaiserschlacht), it is likely that Corporal Abbott would have been the victim of enemy shelling of the railway on which he was working.

The first phase of this Project is to gather information about the men commemorated on the Hampton Wick War Memorial who fought in the Great War, also known as World War I, WWI or the First World War.

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