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William Drury, 1897 - 1988

William was born in Loughborough on 11th November 1897 first child of Tom and Lucy Drury. Father Tom Drury was a printers compositor for one of towns printers and the family lived at 61 Station Street Loughborough.

William at the age of 3

His early years in Loughborough are on the whole undocumented. Although it is thought that he went to All Souls School in the centre of the town. He began an electrical apprenticeship at Loughborough College in 1911. By 1914 the family were living in Devonshire Square, which adjoins the Market Square in the heart of the town. William worked in the winding shop of the Brush Company in Loughborough until his enlistment in the army.

The Brush Works, Loughborough

War broke out in August 1914 and William's father, although 41 enlisted in the September. William himself enlisted soon after, according to his own reminiscences on November 16 1914, he was just 17 years old and under age (although his army service number places his date of enlistment as June 1915). His service record has since been lost but it has been possible to piece together a record of his army service.

Click here to read about William's war service in more detail

He was assigned to D Company of the 2/5 Battalion the Leicestershire Regiment, part of the 177 Brigade, 59th Division. The 59th was a second line division that was stationed in the Luton area. They never actually saw any front line combat as a division before 1917, but instead were tasked with refilling the ranks of their first line sister division, the 46th (North Midland) Division, serving on the Western Front..

However in April of 1916 the 117th Brigade of the 59th division was sent to Ireland to help put down the Easter Rising. They served in Dublin and the South West around Tralee and finally Fermoy.

William aged 21

The Division was eventually sent to France in February of 1917 and served on the Somme. During the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line William is mentioned in the Battalion War Diary for his bravery and subsequent promotion to Lance Corporal.

Cutting from the Loughborough Herald, 1917


His Battalion also served at the Third Battle of Ypres from July to November 1917 as part of the XVIII Corps, Fifth Army. After the battle, the 2/5th Leicestershire Battalion was so depleted it was disbanded . William Drury was then transferred to the 11th Leicestershire Regt, a Pioneer Battalion.

The 11th Leicesters played a full part in the final push of the war until its end on his 21st birthday on 11th November 1918. He remained in the army for a few more months and was in Germany for a brief time as part of the occupying forces south of Cologne. He was finally demobilised at Catterick in April 1919.

He returned Nottingham to work as an armature winder and met divorcee May Croome (formerly Fowler). They lived for a short time in Hutton Street and after the birth of their first child they moved to Croyden. May and William were married in Staines Register Office in 1930.

William and wife May

The family eventually returned to Nottingham to Overdale Road in Sneinton. In 1936 they moved to Deepdene Way and remained there most of their lives. May and William had four children Mavis, Sheila, June and Jean. Sadly Sheila died at a very young age.

Mavis Drury

Sheila Drury

William worked at British Celanese in Spondon beginning in 1923 and then returning to the Spondon plant on his return from Croyden in the early 1930's. He eventually received a long service watch inscribed 'COURTAULDS LONG SERVICE AWARD W.DRURY 1963'. He was also a member of the Electricians Union for over 40 years. He retired in May 1964.

Courtaulds, formerly British Celanese, Spondon and William's EEPTU long service award

Rayon News, June 1964

William joined the British Legion on 5 October 1970 and was an active member during his retirement - he also enjoyed a pint at the 'Cocked Hat' in Cinderhill, Nottingham. He lived out the majority of his retirement at his home in Deepdene Way.

Bill with his sister Eva after his retirement

Bill died in Nottingham on 23 December 1988.

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December 3, 2011