William Herbert Meredith GC (AM non-exchanger)

b. 30/10/1892 Stourbridge, Worcestershire. d. 22/09/1974 Folkestone, Kent.

DATE OF GC ACTION: 05/11/1916 Hohenzollern Redoubt, Hulloch, France.

William Herbert Meredith was born to William Meredith and Hannah Williams on 30th October 1892 in Stourbridge. His father originally came from Lye, whilst his mother hailed from Quarry Bank. They were married on 17th January 1892 at St Michael’s Church in Brierley Hill. He was the oldest of 4 children with three younger sisters, one who died in infancy.

William H Meredith GC

On the outbreak of World War One, he enlisted with the 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards and was awarded the Albert Medal for his actions in 1916 at the Hohenzollern Redoubt in Hulloch, France.

On 5th November 1916, Lance Corporal Meredith was instructing a class in the act of firing live rifle grenades. One of the party fired a grenade, but the charge was insufficient to project the grenade, which fell back, with ignited fuse into the barrel of the rifle. The man held onto the rifle, instead of throwing it down, whereas Meredith threw himself in front of the man and tried to remove the grenade, but it exploded and blew off three of his fingers on his right hand, and wounding him in several other places. The other man was only slightly injured so Meredith undoubtedly saved his life.

He survived the War and was demobbed at the rank of Sergeant. After the War, he and his wife, Lavinia (nee Brampton), whom he married in 1917) lived in Cotteridge, in the Bournville area of Birmingham. From 1938 to 1950 he worked as a postman at the local sorting office. During the Second World War, he also served with the Home Guard as a Warrant Officer based at GKN Breedon Hill.

Following retirement from the Post Office, he and his second wife  Evelyn retired to Kent where they lived together in a retirement home. William passed away on 22nd September 1974 in Folkestone, and was cremated at Hawkinge Crematorium. His Albert Medal is held by the Grenadier Guards Museum, Wellington Barracks, London. William passed away unaware of the chance to exchange his AM for a GC, and has only recently been “discovered” as a GC recipient.