William Henry Warne was born in Walworth, South London, in March 1892. His father is not named, but his mother was Ellen Warne (or Gould), who was “living on her own means”. He had two older siblings, Fred – whose surname is listed as Gould – and Gertie Warne.
By the time of the 1911 census, William was a law clerk in West Coker, near Yeovil in Somerset. The record shows him living with his mother and sharing her surname – which was now listed as Gould. Again, Ellen’s occupation was “private means”.
William’s full military service records are not available, but various sources produce a little information.
Private William Warne had enlisted in the Dorset (Queen’s Own) Yeomanry by April 1915, as this is when he was dispatched to Egypt. August 1915 saw his battalion shipped to Gallipoli; William survived this horrendous battle and returned to Egypt by the end of that year. As a result, he earned the 1915 Star medal.
When the Dorset Yeomanry was retitled, Private Warne became part of the Corps of Hussars. After Egypt, the battalion moved to Palestine, where they saw out the war. He was appointed Lance Corporal at some point during this time.
The exact details of his passing are lost to time; he passed away on 9th October 1918 at the British Red Cross Hospital in Netley, and his records suggest that he died of wounds. He was 26 years old.
Lance Corporal Warne’s life was an intriguing one from start to finish.
The Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects is a document that shows how much was paid out to the relatives of soldiers who have passed away in service; in the research I have carried out over the last few months, this amount has generally ranged between £2 and £8, rarely reaching double figures.
William’s mother and sister, however, received a significant amount. The initial payment was £31 13s 8d, and this was followed by a second figure of £19 10s. There may be various reasons for this – the campaigns William fought in, the prestigious regiment, the appointment to Lance Corporal – but again this is another mystery that will remain such.
Lance Corporal William Warne lies at rest in Sherborne Cemetery.
For the stories of more of the fallen from the Great War, take a look at my Commonwealth War Graves page.