Topic: William Henry Hinchliffe

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A soldier of the Great War killed in action near Grevillers.

William Henry Hinchliffe - 33643      

William was born in Lindley, Yorkshire on 31 May 1878, second son of William and Emma Hinchliffe. He appears to have arrived in New Zealand in 1899 as a member of the crew of the Kirklock although he states on his attestation that he had been before the civil court in Sheffield in 1895. He first appears on the Electoral Roll of 1905 at Glenroy. Before enlisting he was working for Mr McLaughlan at Sheffield. He was 5ft 4in tall with a fair complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair.

William enlisted on 19th September 1916 and was assigned to 22nd Reinforcements, Specialist Company, Machine-Gun Section. Whilst in training he was admitted to hospital in Christchurch with measles on 3rd January 1917. He embarked on SS Aparima on 16th February 1917 and was appointed cook. He disembarked at Devonport on 2nd May 1917 and marched into Sling Camp on the same day. He then joined the Machine Gun Section at Grantham on 31st May. However he was absent without leave from 1st to 3rd July, losing two day’s pay and was confined to barracks for two days. He left for France shortly after on 16th July and marched into camp at Camiers on 18th July. However 10 days later he was sent to 20th General Hospital with PUO, pyrexia of unknown origin. This was the name usually given to Trench Fever caused by the lice that plagued everyone. He was discharged on 1st August and marched in to Camiers again and after time at Depot was posted to the strength of No 1 Company on 10th October. He was wounded in action, suffering a severe gunshot wound to his chest, on 13th October and sent to No 54 General Hospital at Etaples. From there he was evacuated to England on the 24th October and admitted to the Fulham Military Hospital at Hammersmith the same day. On the 30th he was sent on to the Convalescent Hospital at Hornchurch. On 8th December he was discharged but granted leave and only needed to report to Grantham after Christmas on 27th December. He duly reported and after further training he left for France again on 29th March 1918, arriving in Camiers on 30th. He joined the 3rd New Zealand Entrenching Battalion in the field on 12th April. Once again he was absent without leave and lost a day’s pay on 18th June. Finally on 16th October 1918 he was posted to NZ Machine Gun Battalion and was assigned to B Company. Sadly it was a short posting for he was killed in action, aged 40, 7 days later on 23rd October. On that day the Division had reached Beaudignies on the advance toward Le Quesnoy. William’s body was not found or identified and his name is inscribed on the Grevillers Memorial which commemorates the men of the New Zealand Division who died in the area and who have no known grave. In New Zealand William is remembered on the Malvern County & Sheffield War Memorials.


CWGC Cemetery locale history: The Memorial commemorates almost 450 officers and men of the New Zealand Division who died in the defensive fighting in the area from March to August 1918, and in the Advance to Victory between 8 August and 11 November 1918, and who have no known grave.

This is one of seven memorials in France and Belgium to those New Zealand soldiers who died on the Western Front and whose graves are not known. The memorials are all in cemeteries chosen as appropriate to the fighting in which the men died. The village of Grevillers was occupied by Commonwealth troops on 14 March 1917 and in April and May, the 3rd, 29th and 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Stations were posted nearby. They began the cemetery and continued to use it until March 1918, when Grevillers was lost to the German during their great advance. On the following 24 August, the New Zealand Division recaptured Grevillers and in September, the 34th, 49th and 56th Casualty Clearing Stations came to the village and used the cemetery again.

After the Armistice, 200 graves were brought in from the battlefields to the south of the village, and 40 from an adjoining cemetery made during the German occupation, which no longer exists.

There are now 2,106 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in Grevillers British Cemetery. 189 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 18 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of two casualties, buried in Avesnes-les-Bapaume German Cemetery, whose graves could not be found. The cemetery also contains the graves of seven Second World War airmen, and 18 French war graves.

The cemetery and memorial were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

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William Henry Hinchliffe

First Names:William Henry
Last Name:Hinchliffe
Date of Birth:31 May 1878
Place of Birth:Lindley, Yorkshire
Date of Death:23 oct 1918
Place of Death:La Cateau, France
Memorial or Cemetery:Grevillers Memorial, France
Age at death:40
User Name:Selwyn Library
Occupation before enlisting:labourer
Marital Status:Single
Nominal Roll:55/23
Regiment or Service:New Zealand Machine gun Battalion
Enlistment details:19 September 1916
Parents or Next of Kin:Son of William and Emma Hinchliffe (mother), care of F. Hinchliffe, Oakes Lindley, Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England
Service Number:33643
Rank last held:Private
Embarkation:16 Feb 1917
Place of Embarkation:Wellington
Theatres of War:Western European
Cause of Death:Killed in action