2 May 2010

BURTENSHAW William Henry


Stoker 2nd Class K/27218, HMS Victory, R.N.
Died on Sunday 19th September 1915
Buried at Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery, Hampshire, Grave E23.18

William Burtenshaw was born in Lancing on the 24th March 1897 and baptised on the 5th June that year at St. James the Less, North Lancing, the son of John Burtenshaw, a market garden labourer and his wife Ellen. John Burtenshaw had been born in Sompting, while Ellen came originally from Thakeham, but by the time of the 1901 census they were living at 7, Salt Lake, with William and his older sister Lucy. On leaving school William worked as a gardener, but when he reached eighteen in 1915 he decided to join the Navy.

He joined at Portsmouth on the 28th June 1915 for a period of twelve years, and was described as 5ft 6ins tall, with brown hair, hazel eyes and a fresh complexion, and he was posted to 'Victory II' a shore establishment, as a Stoker 2nd Class. But less that three months later he became ill, and he died from bacterial meningitis on September 19th at Haslar Naval Hospital. William Burtenshaw is buried at Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery, Hampshire, a mile from the hospital where he died. The cemetery is unusual in that the WW1 graves are marked by Admiralty pattern headstones which were in use before the war, and before the standardisation of stones by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. He was one of the youngest of the Lancing men to lose their lives, and a first cousin of Percy Burtenshaw whose name appears on Sompting War Memorial.

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