Coleshill Remembers World War 1
As a free service to the World War 1 commemoration year, ST-IT Limited have created and are hosting a free database of Coleshill connected veterans.
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Entry for Lance-Corporal William Gwynne
William John Henry
1st Royal Munster Fusiliers
Year of Birth
Date of Death
William John Henry Gwynne was born in Rawalpindi, India, in 1890, to parents William and Alice Gwynne. Sometime after the birth of his younger brother Ralph in 1894, the family returned to England, settling in Wichenford, Worcestershire. In 1899 William and Ralph were sent to live in the St Paul’s Home for Boys, Coleshill. In 1904 William moved to the St Vincent’s Home on Moseley Road, Birmingham. At the age of 15 he was living there whilst working as a Trolley Boy for the Midland Railway Company. On the 30th November 1907 William was discharged from St Vincent’s into lodgings. In 1909 William Gwynne enlisted at Birmingham in the 1st Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers, service number 9236. In 1911 he was serving abroad with his Regiment in India. Upon the outbreak of war the 1st Royal Munster Fusiliers were serving in Rangoon, Burma. They returned to the UK in January 1915 and were stationed at Coventry, under the 86th Brigade, 29th Division. On the 16th March 1915 they sailed for Gallipoli from Avonmouth, travelling via Alexandria and Mudros. Lance Corporal Gwynne landed with his Regiment at Cape Helles on the 25th April 1915. He was killed in action the following day, aged 24 years. Lance Corporal Gwynne is buried in Plot 55, Row A, of the V Beach Cemetery, Turkey. He was posthumously awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War and Allied Victory medals. Lance Corporal Gwynne appears on the Roll of Honour of the Old Boys who fell in the Great War in the St Vincent’s Journal, No. 31, January 1919, but is missing from the Memorial in St Teresa’s and the Sacred Heart, Coleshill.
St Vincent’s Journal No. 19, Summer 1915. William Gwynne came to St Paul’s in 1899, and was received into St Vincent’s in 1904. He joined the Army in 1909, and was killed in the Dardanelles last June. His brother Ralph is serving in the Worcesters. Lance-Corporal Gwynne – We all felt very keenly the death of Lance-Corporal Gwynne. His regiment, after its return from India, was stationed for a short time at Coventry, before going to the Dardanelles, so we saw quite a lot of him. He was so cheerful and hopeful. God has seen fit to take him. May he rest in peace. This was about the last card he wrote to us before going into action:- “I now have the pleasure of writing you these few lines, hoping that you and Rev. Father Wall and all in the Homes are in the best of health, as it leaves me at present. Dear Rev. Father, we are having a fine life so far; we are camping out just against the sea, and we have a parade from 9 a.m. to about 12.30, and then we have a bathing parade about 3.30 p.m. or 4 p.m., and then we are finished for the day, unless we are on a night march, and then we parade about 6.30 p.m. or 7 p.m. and then we finish about 8 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. Dear Rev. Father, it is a bit hot out here, and we have to wear out helmets so that we will not get the sunstroke, as it is nearly as hot out here as it is in India. Dear Rev. Father, I would like to get Jimmy Carroll’s address, as I should like to write to him so as to let each of us know how we are getting on. I would like you to remember me to all in the Homes and also Mr and Mrs Beck. Excuse postcard as I am short of writing paper and envelopes. Give my best wishes to all at home, hoping to see you when I come home again. May Almighty God spare us to meet again.”
Birmingham Daily Post 8th June 1915 LOCAL ROLL OF HONOUR Notification has been received by the relatives that the following Birmingham men have been killed in action:- Lance-corporal W. Gwynne, 1st Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers, an old St Vincent Homes Boy.