WRIGHT, William

Captain 159373 1st Bn. South Wales Borderers
(Formerly of the South Staffordshire Regiment)

Died Wednesday 8th September, 1943 (Age 29)

Commemorated at: Cassino Memorial, Italy
Memorial Ref.: Panel 6

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Captain William “Bill” Wright was the son of Percy and Elizabeth Wright, born at Langton Hollow, Selston. The family later moved to Top Row, Pye Hill, Jacksdale.

He was a regular soldier and joined the Army in 1932, being drafted to Litchfield Barracks in August 1932 and later posted to Aldershot in early 1933. On 22nd March 1933, he was promoted to Lance Corporal.

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Bill was soon to experience overseas service, when he was posted to Bangalore in India in 1934, sailing on HMT Nevasa, from Southampton, on Tuesday November 13th. The sailing made national news and featured in the “News Chronicle” on the following day. Unfortunately, one of the riflemen arrived late and the ship had set sail without him.
At Christmas 1934, Bill sent photos home, showing himself and comrades, basking in the sun, outside their barrack rooms on Christmas Day.
Many of the other photographs, Bill sent home, had pencilled notes on the reverse and on the back of photographs of the 14 Platoon two week ‘track’ in 1935, Bill explained that temperatures were 102 degrees in the shade.

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As a physical training instructor, Bill was an outstanding sportsman, excelling in many disciplines. He fenced for the battalion fencing team, played rugby, football, and was also in the tug of war team, as well as being an athlete.

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In February 1936 he was at Cawnpore and by March of that year was serving at Ambala. He also visited Benares, Pachmanhi and Sangor.
On 1st February 1937 he was promoted Corporal whilst serving at Cawnpore.
In 1938, Bill played in the D Company Team, who were winners of the Inter-Company Rugby Cup that year. He was also one of the finalists in the Ranikhet Area Tug of War team.

On 4th May 1940, Bill was promoted to Sergeant and, just a few months later, in September of the same year he was made up to Acting Sergeant Major.
In November 1940, Bill was commissioned, taking up the rank of Lieutenant and transferring to the Welsh Borderers. He was swiftly promoted to Acting Captain, being made up to full Captain in 1941.

In that year, on 5th November 1941 he sent a telegram home to his parents at Pye Hill informing them that he had married Margaret on the day before. Margaret was a nurse serving with the Army.

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On Wednesday, 8th September 1943, at the age of 29, Captain William Wright was killed in Italy. It would appear that Bill had been listed as ‘missing in action’ as in September 1945, his wife Margaret wrote to Bill’s parents. It would appear that the family and Margaret, did not know exactly what had happened to Bill. Margaret had at last managed to establish contact with an officer who was serving with Bill in Italy. He was able to inform the family that Bill and a comrade, who were Prisoners of War, were killed on a minefield while attempting to escape.

In 1945, Margaret was still serving with the Army and there was no news about her own release. She promised to visit Bill’s parents as soon as she got leave.

Thanks go to Iris Barber, Bill’s younger sister, for sharing Bill’s story with us and for kindly loaning photographs.
 
 

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