3175/200840 Private WILLIAM [WILLIE] JAMES CRIPPS.

4th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment.

Died of wounds, aged 21, on the 13th April 1918.

Son of George and Bessie Cripps, of 61 Boosbeck Rd, Skelton Green, Skelton-in-Cleveland, N Yorks.
Born at Corsham. Enlisted at Boosbeck, N Yorks.

Longuenesse (St Omer) Souvenir Cemetery.

1901. William Cripps, aged 3, is living at Monks Lane, Corsham, Wiltshire.
His Father, George, aged 30, is a Stone Quarryman. His Mother is Mary Ann, aged 31.
He has a sister Elsie M, aged 6 and a brother, Ernest G, aged 5. All the family were born in Corsham.

1904, June. William's mother, Mary Ann, died.
In the last quarter of this year, William's father married Emily Bessie Hooper, aged 28, born in Trowbridge, Wilts.

1911. The family are now living at 88 Margrove Park, Boosbeck, Stanghow, N Yorks.
William, recorded as "Willie", aged 14, is already working below ground as a Labourer in the Ironstone Mines.
His father is also a Miner below ground.
William's brother, Ernest and sister, Elsie have left home and living with them are a Step-sister, Violet Hooper, and 2 new arrivals, Reginald, aged 6 and Phyliss, aged 3.

By the time of the First War the family must have moved to 61 Boosbeck Rd, Skelton Green, as it was to this address that the Commonwealth War Graves correspondence was sent after William's death.
The 4th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment were part of the 150th Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division.
William's Medal Card shows that he did not receive the 1914/15 Star, but his Battalion number proves that he enlisted in the 4th Yorks before the Army was re-numbered in March 1916.
The date when he joined the 4th Battalion in France and what previous action he may have taken part in is not known.
On the 9th April the Germans began their second offensive of 1918 on the River Lys the area to which the 4th Yorks had just been sent.
In the next few days they advanced some 20 to 30 miles before being halted and many men were killed and wounded in preventing them reaching their objective, the Channel ports.
William Cripps must have been badly wounded early in this Battle and taken to Hospital at St Omer, where he died.
Full details based on the Battalion War Diary can be read starting here.
Longuenesse, where William is buried, is a commune on the southern outskirts of St. Omer, 45 kilometres south of Calais. It was a large Hospital centre during the course of the First War.

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