William Hutsby Heath

William Hutsby Heath

The Prince of Wales's (North Staffordshire Regiment).

2nd Lt, William Hutsby Heath, 1/6th North Staffordshire Regt, was born on the 24th May 1893, the son of Supt, Robert Heath of the Burton Police Force and his wife Eliza Ann Heath. He was educated at Tamworth and Stafford Grammar Schools. He worked at the Royal Insurance Offices in Birmingham.

He attested as Private 2847 on 4th September 1914 in the 6th South Staffordshire's and went to France on 3rd March 1915. He was commissioned into 3/6th North Staffordshire's on 6th September 1915. He died 1st July 1916. His body was never found and his name is inscribed on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 14Band 14C. His older brother Cpl Horace Godfrey Heath served in Salonika.

Extract from "The Lack of Offensive Spirit" by Alan MacDonald

The officer and Lewis Gunners referred to by Pte Atkins may well have been 2nd Lt. Heath and a Lewis gun team of which 2152 Pte Salisbury was a member. They went across as part of the 3rd wave and were some of the few fortunate enough to find a gap in the wire, although not one created by the British Guns.

"I (Pte Salisbury) went with the 3rd wave. I am a Lewis gunner and followed the officer, Mr Heath, over the parapet and went on till we got to their wire. It was very thick but we found a gap cut by the Germans which we got through. I got caught on the wire and when I got free I couldn't see Mr Heath.

I was by myself. I could hear the words 'retire' coming along from the right. I thought it might be the Germans saying it but I came back through the wire. I lay down by the side of a wounded sergeant about 5 yards from the wire. I lay by him all day and bandaged his head up. He was one of the Nott's and Derby's. I was on the left of our battalion.

"2nd Lt. Heath, who had featured so proudly in Pte Topliss's song, was never found but a report from a prisoner of war 1996 Pte G Gotheridge, stated that he had seen the body of the ex-insurance clerk Lying dead just outside the German wire when he was taken prisoner at 1930 in the evening of 1st July.

2nd Lt Collis another prisoner of war wrote that.
"He was with me about 50 yards in front of the German trenches when he was hit badly in the stomach. I was afterwards hit myself and was lying close to where he was but he never moved. I could not see him when I was captured but I think he died almost immediately.

The family on the 1911 Census

The Police Station,
Church Street,Tamworth
Robert Heath 41 1870 Male Head Married Langton, Staffordshire Police Inspector
Eliza Ann Heath 43 1868 Female Wife Married Leek, Staffordshire
William Hutsby Heath 17 1894 Male Son Single Oulton, Staffordshire Insurance Clerk
Robert Eric Heath 4 1907 Male Son Tamworth, Staffordshire