CLEMMANS William Ernest

Category: Military
Rank: Driver, Gunner and Sapper
Regiment or Ship: Royal Field Artillery; Royal Garrison Artillery; Royal Engineers
Service Number(s): 905806; 357030; 574243; WR/199227
Occupation: Fitter
Date of Birth: 16.03.1898
Place of Birth: Bexhill on Sea, Sussex
Date of Death: 04.04.1982
Place of Death: Hastings and Rother Registration DistrictAddress: 5 Windsor Road, Bexhill on Sea

Photos and newspaper articles

Family Information

Parents:          Edwin Goff Clemmans (1864-1934) and Emily Frances Clemmans, nee Tanton (1861-1934).  Both Edwin and Emily were born in Kent and Edwin was in business as a Clothier and Outfitter.

 Siblings:         Edith Emily, born 1887; Florence Emma, born in 1889; and Cecil Edwin (1892-1973).

In 1911 Edwin and family were living at 35 Western Road but then moved to 5 Windsor Road.

In the early part of 1927 William married Kathleen M. Funnell (1907-1995) in Eastbourne, Sussex.  They had at least one child – Robert Leslie (1930-1985).  When William died in 1982 he was living at 2 Gotham Farm Cottages, Sandhurst Lane, Bexhill on Sea, and left an estate of £8,706.

First World War Experience

William enlisted on 10th January 1915 and was posted as a Driver. He is shown to be Church of England by religion and was qualified as a Fitter at which he was Proficient.

He was “absent from Medical Inspection” on three occasions:- 02.12.1915, 23.05.1916 and 01.06.1916. For these offences he forfeited four days pay. On 19.08.1916 he refused to obey an order and was given seven days detention.

He embarked, as a driver, on 9th October 1917 (the next mention on his service records after his enlistment). He left Southampton on 11th and reached Le Havre on 13th after which he travelled to Marseilles where he embarked for Basra.

He appears to have been wounded on 7th June 1918 and was admitted to hospital in the Field before being sent to Baghdad on 5th July where he was diagnosed with ‘Deafness’.

On 17th July 1918 he was “compulsorily transferred in the rank of Sapper to the Royal Engineers (R.E.) and posted to 15th Indian Division as an available reinforcement for Field Companies – allotted New Corps number 574243.

When he was sent the British War Medal notification on 5th May 1922 (he signed it on 7th) the card states his Regimental Numbers as:- 905806 and WR/199227. He embarked on s.s. H. F. Egro on 30th March 1919 for home.

The following are a letter and a poem sent to his parents and published in a local newspaper on 8th February 1919.

Letter from William Clemmans from Mesopotamia

Poem – Farewell To Mesopotamia

Enclosed in the letter were two large wings of a beetle measuring 2¼” long. The beetle is about 3” long and has pincers like a crab.


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