b. 13/10/1885 Welshpool, Wales. d. 08/10/1918 Ronssoy, France.
William Herbert Waring (1885-1918) was born on the 13th October 1885 in Welshpool, Forden, Montgomeryshire, Wales. His parents were Richard (born 1852 in Welshpool) and Annie Waring (nee Jones born c. 1850), and he had five siblings, three of whom were brothers: John (born 1874), Charles (born 1883) and Frederick (born 1889). His father was a nailmaker. The family lived firstly in Raven Street before moving to 21 Rock Terrace in the town. William was educated at Christ Church Infants School, Welshpool and the Boys National School in Berriew Road, Welshpool.
By 1901, he was employed as a general labourer (navvy) on the Elan Valley Dams project, and he worked on this until 1904. He then returned to Welshpool and obtained unpleasant employment with a local poultry dealer called Mr Bushel. He was also a keen local footballer, and in November 1906 was playing as a forward for Welshpool Reserves. By 1909 he was playing for Montgomery, appearing in their Montgomeryshire Challenge Cup winning team. After a short spell with Llanfyllin, he went on to play for Welshpool and Oswestry before the Great War.
Apart from football, his other passion was the Army. He served with the Montgomery Yeomanry from 1904 to his death in 1918. He was promoted to Corporal in 1911 and Sergeant in 1913, serving in D Squadron, based in Welshpool. At Bisley in 1913, he was awarded a silver watch as the best shot in his squadon and was a member of the team which won a cup for best troop.
On 4th August 1914, on the outbreak of war, the Yeomanry was mobilised and Waring, as an NCO, reported to the HQ in Welshpool immediately. On 13th August, D Squadron was moved to Hereford Racecourse where all men were asked to volunteer for service overseas. On 29th August, they entrained at Hereford for Bury St Edmunds, from where they marched to Aylsham. Waring’s battalion then faced over two years of training waiting for the call to be sent overseas to the Western Front.
The overseas posting finally came on 3rd March 1916, when the Regiment sailed from Devonport for Egypt, arriving in Alexandria on 13th March, having avoided two U-Boat attacks. On arrival, they were not pressed straight into action, and had a period of training and reorganisation. In November 1916, the Montgomeryshires were grouped with the Pembrokeshire Yeomanry, but this was short-lived and they were amalgamated with the Welsh Horse, and on New Years’ Day 1917, the newly formed 25th Royal Welsh Fusiliers was created. They became part of the 231 Brigade of the 74 Division, appropriately known as the “Broken Spur Division”.
The Regiment first went to the Front in April 1917, where they helped preparations for the assault on Gaza. On 1st November 1917, Waring took part on successful attacks on the outskirts of Gaza, during which the Battalion lost 220 men. By the first week of 1918, Waring was an acting Sergeant , and two months later, was confirmed with the rank. This was again short-lived, and at the end of April, he was reduced to Lance Sergeant. In March 1918, the 74 Division was pulled out of Palestine and diverted to the Western Front in order to help stop the German Offensive of Operation Michael.
On 17th September 1918, the 25th RWF were back at the front line after a short period in Reserve, and just a day later, William Waring would be involved in the action which led to his posthumous VC.
On October 8th, 1918, at Ronssoy, France, Sergeant Waring led an attack against German machine gun positions. Under heavy fire from the flank and front, he rushed a strong point single handed, bayoneting four of the garrison and capturing twenty others. He then under heavy shell and machine gun fire, he re-organized his men, led and inspired them for another 400 yards, when he fell mortally wounded.
Waring sadly died of his wounds at the Casualty Clearing Station, and was buried in Ste Marie Communal Cemetery, Le Havre, France. For gallantry in the face of the enemy, he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross on January 31st, 1919. He is commemorated on a family grave in Christ Church Cemetery, Welshpool. His medals including his VC, MM, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19 and Territorial Force Efficiency Medal 1908 are now held by Welshpool Town Council, and they display a replica set of medals in the Town Hall.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: WELSHPOOL TOWN COUNCIL, WELSHPOOL, WALES.
BURIAL PLACE: STE MARIE COMMUNAL CEMETERY, LE HAVRE, FRANCE.
DIVISION LXII, ROW V-1 GRAVE 3.
Kevin Brazier – Cemetery Map.
Thomas Stewart – Royal Welsh Fusiliers Memorial Board, Caernarfon, Wales.