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St James Church Taunton

World War 1 Memorial Project

William Board

Gravestone for William Board in Poelcapelle British Cemetery, Belgium


Name: William Board

Rank: Private

Service Number: 25781

Regiment: Somerset Light Infantry

Battalion/Unit number: 7th Battalion

Date/year of Birth: c.1879

Place of Birth: Taunton, Somerset

Place of Residence: 39 St Augustine Street, Taunton

Date of Death: 17th August 1917

Place of Death: Belgium

Burial/Memorial: Poelcapelle British Cemetery

William Board was the son of Abraham and Ellen Board (nee Adams), both born in Taunton in about 1845. The couple married in 1872 in Taunton.  Ellen was probably the daughter of Thomas and Mary Ann Adams, Thomas was a shoe maker in East Reach. Through the late 19th Century the family  were living in South Street, in St. Maryís Parish, Abraham working as a blacksmith. He and Ellen had eight children, four of whom had died before 1911. Those recorded in census returns are Florence, Frederick, William, Lily and Ellen. Abrahamís wife, Ellen died in 1888 at the age of 37. It seems that Abraham remained a widow and his daughter Florence took on the role of housekeeper for the family.

William did not follow his fatherís occupation but became a tailor. In 1901 he was living in Bristol, lodging  with an Arthur and Bessie Banfield in Clifton. However by 1911 he had returned to Taunton and was living with his 60 year old father and sister Florence in St. Augustineís Street, his occupation is described as master tailor. This area in Priory had only been developed in the early 1900s, so the family would only have moved there relatively recently in 1911.

William enlisted in the army sometime in mid 1916.  He served for 3 months on home service and then 12 months in France before his death on 8th August (as opposed to 7th).  It is likely that he had been conscripted following the Military Service Act 1916. This originally introduced conscription for single men between the ages of 18 and 45, soon being amended to cover married men and by the end of the war could apply to men up to the age of 51.

According to information about soldiers on the Taunton war memorial William Board was killed in action during the 3rd battle of Ypres, which was a series of battles which lasted from the 31st July to November, culminating in the Battle of Passchendaele  William died in the early stages of this campaign following the Battle of Pilckem Ridge. This period in August was characterised by heavy bombardments and wet weather which made the planned assault on the German position condition extremely difficult.


St Augustine Street, Taunton, in 2014.  William Board lived at number 39 with his father and sister one hundred years earlier.


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