Bertie James Williams was a Bristolian printer who married in 1909 and had at least one child. During the war he served in the army and was wounded by gas poisoning. Repatriated to Britain he died after several weeks treatment at the Red Cross Hospital in Chelmsford as a result of the gas poisoning in September 1918. His dying wish was to be buried in Bristol but a railway strike meant that the return of his body to the city could not be guaranteed. Consequently he was Initially buried in Chelmsford and later reinterred in Bristol as he had wanted.
Bertie was born in Bristol in 1886, the son of Henry and Ellen Matilda Williams, one of the couple's 14 children, eight of whom were to die by 1911.
In 1891 the census recorded four year-old Bertie with his parents and seven siblings in Bedminster where his father was a master mariner. A decade later he was one of six children living with his parents in Bristol. Aged 13, he was a printer's labourer.
Bertie married Edith Smith in 1909 and the following year the couple had a daughter, Doris Irene Williams.
In 1911 Bertie, his wife and daughter were living at 50 Mount Pleasant Terrace in Bedminster, Bristol where he was a journeyman printer.
During the First World War Bertie served as Gunner 152938 in the 202nd Siege Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery.
WILLIAMS, BERTIE JAMES*,
Gunner, 202nd Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
Bertie died, aged 32, in the Red Cross Hospital, New London Road, Chelmsford on 26th September 1918 from gas poisoning. By then his home was at 61 Raleigh Road, Southville, in Bristol, and in civilian life he was a compositor.
He had been hospital several weeks suffering from gas poisoning.
The funeral was held with full military honours at Chelmsford Borough Cemetery on Monday 30th September 1918. Canon Lake officiated. Mourners included his widow, father, mother, and brother. Some of the wounded from the Red Cross Hospital acted bearers, and the ceremony was attended by Miss Kembie (Commandant), Sisters Charlton and Cooper, and nurses, and about forty wounded soldiers. A Works Battalion provided the firing party. There were wreaths from the nursing staff and wounded soldiers at and the Red Cross Hospital, and the Typographical Society, of which Bertie was a member.
Every effort had been made to comply with his dying request buried at his home at Bristol, but owing to the railway strike the line had become too congested for the authorities to guarantee delivery of the body.
However, in due course Bertie's body was repatriated to Bristol and today he rests in grave Q. 626 at the Arnos Vale Cemetery in the city.