HEATHCOTE, William Godfrey

Second Lieutenant 29th Sqdn., Royal Flying Corps.

Born

November 1899.
Son of Godfrey Heathcote (Solicitor) and Mary Catherine Heathcote of Langdale, Arnside, Westmoreland.

Education

Blundell’s School, “North Close”, from September 1913 when he was 14, to Summer 1916. He was nominated for the RFC by the Headmaster, Mr. A. L. Francis in 1916. 

Service

He received his commission in May 1917 and went to the front on 5th September 1917. 

The Offensive

The Salient was formed during the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914. The Second Battle of Ypres began in April 1915 when the Germans released poison gas into the Allied lines north of Ypres. This was the first time gas had been used by either side and the violence of the attack forced an Allied withdrawal and a shortening of the line of defence. There was little more significant activity on this front until 1917, when in the Third Battle of Ypres an offensive was mounted by Commonwealth forces to divert German attention from a weakened French front further south. The initial attempt in June to dislodge the Germans from the Messines Ridge was a complete success, but the main assault north-eastward, which began at the end of July, quickly became a dogged struggle against determined opposition and the rapidly deteriorating weather. The campaign finally came to a close in November with the capture of Passchendaele.

Death

23rd November 1917, aged 19.
Passchendaele, Flanders.

Burial/Commemoration

Buried in Nine Elms British Cemetery, Poperinghe, Flanders.

Memorial

Nine Elms British Cemetery is situated west of Poperinghe. It was first used from September to December 1917 for burials from the 44th Casualty Clearing Station which had been moved to Poperinghe in preparation for the 1917 Battle of Ypres. The memorial was designed by Sir Reginald Bloomfield.

Research

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - www.cwgc.org
Public Record Office, National Archives, Kew: Medal Rolls: WO372/
“The Blundellian” 1918 July p349
“The Register of Blundell's School, Part II 1882 – 1932” (1932) MAHOOD, A.S., Ed. Entry No. 5619
Cemeteries & Memorials in Belgium & Northern France (2004) Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 5/71

 

[ back to previous page ]