William Henry Haddon Cave

Henry Cave (a gardener) and Elizabeth Haddon married on 15 November 1887 at All Saints’, Witley; he was 29, she 32. They lived in Sandhills where Margaret was born in 1889, Dorothy in 1891 and William in 1892 (baptised at All Saints’, Witley, on 28 February that year). The family continued to live in Sandhills: they are shown there on both the 1901 and 1911 census and Henry and Elizabeth are listed there on the 1921 Voters’ Roll. Henry died on 17 December 1926 aged 67 and Elizabeth on 21 March 1944 aged 88; they are buried together at All Saints’ and William is mentioned on their headstone as having died at Basra.

William joined the Norfolk Regiment in January 1916 and embarked for Karachi, arriving there on 15th June.  He wrote a cheerful letter to his parents and was sent to Mesopotamia (Iraq) with other men as reinforcements for the 2nd Battalion.  Two companies of the 2nd Battalion had, as part of the 18th Indian Brigade, 6th (Poona) Division, advanced towards Baghdad after initial successes. The advance was halted at Cteisiphon in November 1915 when the Turkish Army defeated the British/Indians, who retreated to Kut al Amara where they were surrounded. The beleaguered forces surrendered on 19 April 1916 after a siege of 147 days. The prisoners were mistreated and 5,500 of the 9,600 captured men died or went missing in captivity. The Battalion was reformed in July 1916 from men who were not captured and by reinforcements like William.

The Witley All Saints’ parish magazine reports that William died of heatstroke at Basra on 1 July 1916. William was awarded the War Medal and Victory Medal.


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