WILLIAM ARTHUR STALLARD
This post was written by Victoria Doran.
William was a Gunner from Frankby and Newton who served in the Royal Field Artillery and earned a Military Medal.
Stallard family grave at St John the Divine, Frankby
There are several William Stallards in the family, so I will designate them with numbers for clarity. William Arthur Stallard, ‘William 3’, was born in the spring of 1894 in Frankby and was baptised there in the Church of England on the 17th June at St John the Divine. He was the only son of William Stallard (1854-1935) and Marion Rogers Allen (1866-1960). He had a younger sister, Elsie Lilly Stallard (1899-1906) who sadly died just before her 7th birthday, when William was near his 12th birthday.
His father, ‘William 2’, was born in the very rural small parish of Little Birch, right in the centre of Herefordshire, one of 4 children of agricultural labourer William Stallard (1813-1882), ‘William 1’, and Sarah Ridgway (1820-1904). Both William 2 and his younger sister, Louisa (1862-1932) entered service in large houses, probably at a very young age, and both were successful in their occupations. Louisa rose from being a kitchen maid in Cheltenham in 1881 to a companion in the house of a widower barrister in Oxford Terrace, Hyde Park, London by 1901. She left over £4,000 when she died – very unusual for a girl who started off at the lowest level of domestic service and never married.
William 2 was a footman to the vicar of Turkdean, Gloucestershire at the age of 17, and by age 27 had risen to be a butler. By 1891 he was butler to the headmaster of Winchester College.
On 5 August 1893 he married Marion Rogers Allen at Holy Trinity, Wavertree, Liverpool. Marion was also a domestic servant, rising to the level of cook before marrying. Her father John Allen (1824-???) was a former butler who set up a laundry business in London.
After their marriage the couple moved to Frankby, where it seems virtually certain that William 2 became butler to Thomas Royden at Frankby Hall. The family lived in Frankby in 1901, but moved to what is now known as Newton Park Road in nearby Newton by 1911.
By this time William 3 had left school. He did not choose to follow his parents into domestic service, instead opting for an outdoor life working as a market gardener. He joined the Royal Field Artillery in 1916, probably as a result of conscription and served as gunner 171937.
Royal Field Artillery cap badge
Virtually nothing is known of his service, but on 26 September 1918 he was a member of ‘A’ Battery, 162nd Brigade. This was part of the 33rd Division and will have been armed with 18-pounder guns. He will have joined the Brigade as a replacement as the original members were nearly all from the Camberwell area of London.
About 3 days before he died he had performed some especially meritorious deeds as he was awarded a Military Medal for them. Unfortunately that is all that was reported in the Deeside Advertiser of 18 July 1919 when his parents received his Military Medal.
There is some confusion as to the exact date of his death. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission site has both 26 and 27 September in its details. His parents clearly believed he was killed in action on 26 September as that date appears on the family grave and in the Book of Remembrance. He was not killed in any specific battle, but during the ‘Allied Advance to Victory’ when the mass of the US army started to make its presence felt. William 3 was 24 years old and was buried in Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery in the Somme Department of France.
Although apparently brought up in the Church of England, he must also have attended the Newton Methodist church as he is one of the 3 names on their window (now in West Kirby Methodist Church), along with Wilfred Ernest Shone and William Arthur Pinnock.
Birth: Apr 1894 at Frankby
Death: 26 or 27 Sep 1918 near Etricourt-Manancourt, Somme, France; killed in action
Addresses: Frankby (01); Cedar Cottage, Newton (11)
Occupation: market gardener
Unit: ‘A’ Battery, 162nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery
Number and Rank: 171937; Gunner
Medals: Military Medal, Victory & British War
Commemorated: Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Somme, France; Grange Hill War Memorial, West Kirby; Frankby War Memorial; West Kirby Methodist Church; St John the Divine, Frankby graveyard
Sources: MC, Census: 01, 11, BR, probate, DA