Rank: Corporal
Service No: 7642
Date of Death: 09/05/1915
Regiment/Service: Northamptonshire Regiment 1st Bn.
Panel Reference Panel 28 to 30.

Additional Information:

The only W.V. Finch to be lost in the war was:

Born in 1884 at Wanstead, son of William (Plasterer) and Eliza Finch. 1891: With his family at 22 Cowley Road Wanstead. 1901: A House Painter lodging with John Worsley at 1, Cotters Cottages, Nightingale Lane, Wanstead. From the range of his regimental number, it seems he joined the army in the Summer of 1905. In 1913 he married Winifred Louisa Bradford, and they had a Daughter, Winifred, born in 1914.

That he was a regular soldier is confirmed by his entry to the war zone in France on 13-08-14. He qualified for the 1914 star and clasp, indicating he was within the range of German guns during the retreat from Mons in 1914.

On 09-05-15 2 Brigade, which included 1 Northamptonshire, were engaged in the Southern pincer attack at Aubers, part of the second Battle of Artois. It was a fine sunny day, and the area of the flat open ground over which they would attack was intersected by ditches, some of which were 10-15 feet across. The well armed and defended German positions were between 100 and 500 yards from British lines.

The bombardment began at 05.00 and at 05.30 men began moving to within 80 yards of the German lines. Immediately, German machine gun fire began, killing men as they climbed over the parapet of the British trenches. Some Northamptonshire troops reached German lines only to be killed or captured. By 06.00 the attack had ground to a halt, with men stuck in no mans land, unable to move because of the intense and accurate German machine gun fire.

Attempts to revitalise the attack during the day just led to more casualties, and by evening it was very clear the assault had been a costly failure. 1 Northamptonshire had taken some 560 casualties. The total casualty figure from this southern attack were nearly 6,700, to which could be added 4,801 from the Northern pincer attack.

William Finch was one of the Northamptonshire men lost that day, and he has no known grave.

His connection to Woodford is unclear, but his name was read out during a Sunday service in St Mary’s Church at the end of 12-17. It is also possible that he is the W. Finch referred to in the Roll of Honour.

Memorial: None Known.
Separate Folder: NO.
Principal Sources: Ancestry.
Qualification: Name read at St Mary’s Church Sunday Service, December 1917.