Rank: Gunner 323063
Regiment: 197th Siege Bty. Royal Garrison Artillery
Died: died 10 September 1918
Colaton Raleigh Memorial Plaque
Other Memorial: Barenthal Military Cemetery [Google]
PDF Download: PIPER William Henry Sage
Born in Lympstone on 21 November 1892, William was the only son of Alfred Henry and Emily Louisa Piper (nee Sage), who lived at Springles Farm, Colaton Raleigh.
Young William attended Bicton School in East Budleigh, and became a farmer. He married Annetta Amy (nee Harris) of Old Park Farm, Beech, Alton, Staffordshire at St Lawrence Church, Alton, on 24 April 1916. They had a daughter, Annie Lilian Ada, who was born on 12 April 1917.
William enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery on 6 September 1916, was given the service number 323063, and was part of the 197th Siege Battalion.
He was sent to France and Flanders from June 1917, and later that year was sent to Italy. His death, on 10 September 1918 was described as accidental. It has been reported that an enemy shell exploded at Barenthal, Asiago.
His major wrote to his widow: “Your poor husband was a man greatly loved by all the battery, and held in great esteem...The large number of friends who expressed a wish to attend his funeral...was a sufficient proof of how deeply his loss is regretted by those who were his friends out here.”
His captain wrote: “His cheerful disposition and consideration for others made him loved by all his comrades and officers. He was exceedingly capable and willing in everything he did...His courage and geniality set a truly splendid example to his friends in the battery, and I personally mourn his loss very deeply indeed.”
The unit’s chaplain wrote: “I knew your husband as a God-fearing man, and one who loved his home. I am sure his influence among the men will not be lost, and it is the example of good upright men which the Army needs so greatly.”
Gunner Piper is remembered with honour on the memorial at Colaton Raleigh and the Barenthal Military Cemetery.
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William Piper was my maternal grandfather's first cousin and it was very nice to come across this record. William's daughter Annie Taylor (mentioned above) passed away in July 2013 aged 96.