William H Finney 1870 – 1918


Royal Field Artillery regimental badge
Royal Field Artillery regimental badge
Williams grave at Buxton Cemetery 2014
Williams grave at Buxton Cemetery 2014

William Henry Finney: 8th Divisional Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery served with 8th Division. 8th Division was formed at Hursley Park, Winchester during October 1914 from regular army units returning from around the British Empire. They proceeded to France in November 1914, a much needed reinforcement to the BEF and remained on the Western Front throughout the war. In 1915 they were in action at The Battle of Neuve Chapelle, The Battle of Aubers and The action of Bois Grenier. On the 18th of October 1915 24th Brigade transferred to 23rd Division to instruct the inexperienced troops. In March 1916 23rd Division took over the front line between Boyau de l’Ersatz and the Souchez River in the Carency sector from the French 17th Division, an area exposed to heavy shelling. In mid April they withdrew to Bruay returning to the Carency sector in mid May just before the German attack on Vimy Ridge, in the sector to their right. On the 15th of June 1916 24th Brigade returned to 8th Division. In 1916 They were in action at the Battle of The Somme. In 1917 they fought in The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line and then moved to Flanders and were in action in The Battle of Pilkem and The Battle of Langemarck. In 1918 they saw action during The Battle of St Quentin, The actions at the Somme crossings, The Battle of Rosieres, The actions of Villers-Bretonneux, The Battle of the Aisne, The Battle of the Scarpe and The Final Advance in Artois including the capture of Douai. – See more at: http://www.wartimememoriesproject.com/greatwar/allied/rfa8divammcolm.php#sthash.GvEu477A.dpuf

1870: born 19th November 1870 or 18th October 1871 St Michael’s, Stone, Staffordshire both these DOB are on Williams Attestation Papers.

1881 Census: It looks like William and his sisters  are in the Union Workhouse, Crown Street, Stone.

1891 Census: Unable to locate

1901 Census: Unable to locate, possibly ‘Overseas’ with the Royal Horse Artillery.

1910: William was discharged from the R H A (Royal Horse Artillery) after completing his service on 18th February his service number was 72280. William married Sarah Blackwell after leaving the Army, she had been previously married and had a daughter from her first marriage.

1911 Census: Living at 39 Windsor Road. William was working as a ‘Vegetable Cook’ at Buxton Hydro Ltd, his name is transcribed incorrectly as Fenney and his age is given as 34yrs old. he is living with wife Sarah (34yrs), her daughter Bernice Blackwell (13yrs) and their son William Henry aged 1 month.

Buxton Hydro Hotel c1892
Buxton Hydro Hotel c1892


1914: William re-enlisted in Buxton at the age of 43yrs 10mths, his occupation then was given as ‘Quarry-man’. His family is listed as wife Sarah, Step-daughter Winifred Smith-Blackwell born 11th July 1906, Son William born 19th February 1911, Daughter Dorothy born 2nd July 1912.

1914-1918: William served in France from 6th November 1914 – 5th December 1917 when on medical grounds he was transferred back home to the Northumberland War Hospital, he was suffering from Nephritis (Kidney Disease) and had an ulcerated face due to splinter damage. William was discharged 23rd May 1918.
1918: Death: September  Chapel-en-le-Frith Vol 7b Page 883. (Wife’s address 10 Ash Cottages, Buxton).

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