William Henry Myddleton Kersey

Captain William Henry Myddleton Kersey, age 24
166th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
Died 17 October 1917

William was born in Felixstowe in 1893.  His father William Edward Kersey was the founder of Kerseys solicitors in Ipswich and Felixstowe.  He went to Wellington College, Berkshire and Magdalen College, Oxford and studied law.  His mother Ada was a housewife and he had a younger sister Marian.  He worked as an articled clerk at Cozens-Hardy and Jewson, a solicitors in Norwich prior to the war.  His parents were living in Seagull House Felixstowe during the war.

 

He joined the Essex and Suffolk Royal Garrison artillery in 1915 and was promoted to Captain in 1917. He served at home until 1916 prior to embarkation to France.  William was killed on 17th October 1917 near Ypres during the Battle of Passchendale, Belgium, when a stray shell fell on his unit’s dug-out in the early hours of the morning, while they were sleeping.

In a letter of condolence to the Kersey family a fellow officer, Captain Leonard Amis Hempson, wrote: ’Myddleton was greatly loved and respected by all the men’ and that ’his death had taken all the heart out of them when I was down there this morning’.

Myddelton is buried at The Huts Cemetery near Ypres in Flanders, Belgium. A battlefield cross was given to the family in lieu of his body, which has been placed at St John the Baptist Church in Felixstowe in his memory.

Captain Kersey is also commemorated on Rolls of Honour at Wellington College, Berkshire, and Magdalen College, Oxford. His grave marking cross is held at St John church in Felixstowe, there is a brass plaque at the same church.

An obituary from his family reads: ’In proud and ever loving memory of our very dear and only son and brother William Henry Myddelton Kersey, captain 166 siege Battery, Killed near Ypres Oct 17, 1917.’

In a letter to Myddelton’s father on 13 November 1917, Mr Warren, principal of Cozens-Hardy, said: ’I had a real regard for him. He was quiet, modest, not pushing or showy or self-centred, but a very sterling fellow, and I am sure his loss is no small one.

’I remember well his coming and talking to me about the choice of his profession. I thought he showed very sound judgment, and a very admirable spirit. He was keen, always on the right side[,] and I was grateful for his influence.’

William Kersey replied: ’Of course I did so look forward to his joining me in my practice and his living companionship and assistance in the future was what I was longing for. I feel at times [that] all my interests in life have disappeared.’

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Royal Garrison Artillery

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William Henry Myddleton Kersey

Grave at The Huts Cemetery

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Memorial at St Johns Church, Felixstowe