Sergeant William Dooley MSM (Meritorious Service Medal)
1567 (Private) 5th Btn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby) Regiment
31214 53rd Labour Corps

DooleyBillTends ww1300                                              Photo:  Bill Dooley tends the Jacksdale War Memorial

William “Bill” Dooley was born in 1882 at Ironville, Derbyshire,  the son of George Dooley born Stockport and his wife Sarah (nee Whitehouse) born West Bromwich, Staffs. In 1901 the family was living at 23, Casson Street, Ironville, by which time his mother Sarah had re-married George Clarke. William had siblings George b. 1878, Sarah b. 1880, Lizzie b. 1883 and Joseph b. 1886.

Bill joined the 1st Battalion Sherwood Foresters in 1899, aged 17  serving with them for 12 years until 1912. On 5th April 1912, aged 29 years, he signed up for a further 4 years service as a Private with the Territorial Force of the 5th Battalion Sherwood Foresters, serving the county of Derbyshire. He gave his next of kin as his mother Sarah Clarke and his home address as 2, Albert Avenue, Jacksdale. He agreed to attend drills and annual training events and would be fined £5 for non attendance without a reasonable excuse. His height was noted as 5’8″and his vision and physical development as good. Whilst with the territorials he continued in his civilian occupation as a general labourer for James Oakes & Co, until he was called up on 5th August 1914 and appointed paid Lance Corporal. He was promoted to full Corporal in August 1915 but in the October of that year reverted to the rank of Private at his own request.  William served in France from March 1915 to November 1915 when he sustained a gunshot wound to the scalp. He was despatched to Fazakerley Hospital in Liverpool where he was treated and soon found fit for light duties and likely to be fit to serve overseas again within 3 months. William served with the Sherwoods, the Lincolnshire Regiment and the Labour Corps. In September 1917 he attained the rank of Sergeant. He was demobilised from Harrowby Camp, Grantham in February 1919 and discharged in March 1919.

As well as his MSM, William was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War and Victory Medals. He also received medals relating to his time in South Africa and China (refer to newspaper article below).

His family have told us that Bill was deeply affected by his wartime experiences and would salute the Jacksdale war memorial every time he passed it as a tribute to his many comrades who had died. He also kept the memorial surrounds planted with flowers and scrubbed the memorial clean every month. Bill died very suddenly in 1926 due to a stomach ulcer.

A newspaper article dated 24th December, 1926 reports on his death:
‘Jacksdale Soldier’s Death. 
A large contingent of ex-service men (numbering over 100) were present at Jacksdale on Sunday, when the last tribute of respect was paid to Sergt. William Dooley, of Albert Avenue, Jacksdale. The deceased, who was taken suddenly ill on Wednesday whilst following his occupation at Riddings Gas Works, died the following day. A bachelor, aged 44 years, Sergt. Dooley had resided with his mother, Mrs. George Clarke, since demobilisation and had many friends to whom his death came as a shock.

A fine soldier, deceased took part in the South African War and had been in the Sherwood Foresters since 1899. He saw service in China and took part in The Boxer Rising, and was called up at once for active service in the Great War. One of the Old Contemptibles he fought also in the Somme and Ypres battles.
(Although the newspaper report states that he was an ‘Old Contemptible’ this was not, in fact, the case as he did not enter France until March 1915.)
Ex-service men were drawn from a wide area to do him honour, all of whom wore decorations won in the Great War. His cap and his own medals lay on the Union Jack draped coffin. These were six in number, South African War (Queen Victoria’s), (King Edward’s), 1914 Star(sic), Victory Medal, General Service 1914 to 1918, and Meritorious Service Medal. Deceased was appointed sergeant  in 1914 (sic).

The bearers were his old comrades: Messrs. Geo. Mills, Frank Hill, Herbert Greasley and Josh Brookes, the four wearing 21 medals. Representing the 5th Battalion Sherwood Foresters were Sergeants W. Jackson, C. Boott and J. Walker. The parade was under the command of Company Sergeant Major Daley (Chairman of the Jacksdale and District Branch of the British Legion). Messrs. W. Bower (president) and H. Allsopp (secretary) represented the Old Comrades Association, and included in the cortège were members of the Erewash Lodge of the R.A.O.B.  Rev. H. M. Sanders conducted the service in St Mary’s Church and also at the graveside, paying a fine tribute to deceased’s soldierly qualities.

The mourners were Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Clarke (stepfather and mother), Mrs. North and Mr. W. North (Jacksdale, sister and nephew), Mr. and Mrs. Saml. Millward (Rainworth), Mr. and Mrs. Hy. Bailey (Rainworth), Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Dooley (Jacksdale), Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Dooley (Jacksdale) (sisters, brothers, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. F. Parr (Jacksdale), Mr. and Mrs. Elias Clarke (Jacksdale) (brothers-in-law and step sisters), Miss Eva North (niece, Jacksdale), Mrs. Whitehouse (Langley Mill), Mrs Clarke (Codnor Park) (aunts), Mrs Howard (Codnor Park), Mr. C. Whitehouse (Jacksdale) (friends).  Wreaths and floral tributes were sent by: – Mother and Father; Alice, Alfred and family, Jacksdale; Sarah and Samuel, Rainworth; Lizzie and Harry, Rainworth; Ruth and Elias, Jacksdale; Joe and Lizzie, Jacksdale; Florrie and Fred, Jacksdale; George, Maud and family, Jacksdale; Erewash Lodge R.A.O.B.; Fellow Workmen at Gas Yard; British Legion; Workmen and friends at Codnor Park Forge; Mr. and Mrs. Noble, Riddings; Neighbours at Albert Avenue.’