William Japser Curtis came from London, worked as a printer, and married a Chelmsford woman in the Cathedral in January 1916. He died from wounds that December. His widow lived in Admiral Road.

William was born in Bermondsey, south London, in 1885, the son of William Curtis and Mary Ann Curtis. He was baptised at All Saints', Battlesbridge on 1st April 1885.

Six years later the census found five year-old William with his parents and three siblings at 3 Coastguard Cottages at Clacton-on-Sea. His father was a coastguard boatman.

In 1901 the census recorded 15 year-old William with his parents and three siblings at 79 Fida Road in West Ham. He was a clerk, while his father was a night watchman.

During the First World War William enlisted at Holborn, London and served as Private 22864 in the 1st Battalion of the South Wales Borderers.

On 1st January 1916, aged 31, he married Matilda Sheekey at Chelmsford Cathedral. He was then a printer living at Peabody Buildings, London W4. His bride, the 27 year-old daughter of Frederick Sheekey, an instrument maker at Marconi’s, lived at 31 Nelson Road in Chelmsford.

Nelson Road was a street parallel and to the west of Rainsford Lane, which contained 34 terraced council houses, and has now been redeveloped as Cramphorn Walk.

William and Matilda’s married life was to be short because William died on 5th December 1916, probably from wounds. He was 31. Today he rests in St. Sever Cemetery Extension in Rouen, France (grave O. III. G. 12.).

At the time of his death William’s widow was living at 28 Admiral Road in Chelmsford, a street parallel and to the west of Nelson Road. She had sevem brothers in the war, two of whom had been wounded (one three times).

William's widow married Thomas Hawkins in Islington in 1917.

William is not commemorated by the Civic Centre War Memorial in Chelmsford.



Private, 1st Battalion, South Wales Borderers