RILEY William M.M.

241394 L/Cpl William RILEY 2/4 York and Lancaster Regiment

WOUNDED 7th July 1916


William RILEY was born about 1887 and was living and working in Barnsley at the time the first world war began. His military service records survive and tell us he was living at 72 Concrete Cottages, Wombwell, Barnsley. He was married to Ada Emily RILEY and had 4 children, Eva, Ivy, Amy and Ida. He was employed as a miner at the Wath Main Colliery.

William was a pre war territorial having service number 3892 but when he enlisted on the 18th May 1915 at Rotherham was given service number 241394 and placed in the 3/5 Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment.

He travelled to France on the 13th March 1916 and shortly afterwards on the 7th July 1916 he was wounded, suffering a bullet wound to the neck. He would be hospitalised until 17th August 1916. During his stay he would also be punished for breaking out of hospital, getting drunk and using obscene language to an NCO. He was awarded 14 days Field Punishment Number 2.

On the 24th September 1916 he was promoted to Lance Corporal.

He would again find himself in hot water as on the 28th September 1917 he was detained and awaiting trial by Field General Court Martial for drunkeness. He was found guilty on the 3rd October 1917 and reduced to the ranks.

Not long after this, on the 12th October 1917, he was again wounded in action this time suffering bullet wounds to the face and arm. He would spend further time in hospital at Rugeley Camp, Staffs.

On the 9th October 1918 he was transferred to the 2/4 Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment.

During the final battles of the war the 2/4 York Lancs were involved in the Battle of the Sambre in Picardy. This was the push to break through the Hindenburg Line. The 2/4 would go into the attack on the 4th November 1918 and captured the village of Frasnoy after encountering stiff opposition from machine guns but few casualties were taken. Large numbers of the enemy were killed or captured along with large amounts of hardware. Holding their positions the 2/4 were then ordered into the attack again on the 9th November. This time their objective was the village of Sous Le Bois. By this time the Germans had given up and the village was taken unopposed. It was during these battles William would be awarded the Military Medal which would appear in the London gazette dated 23rd July 1919.

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He was transferred to the reserves on the 9th January 1919.