Southam in WW1

Centenary Archive

Honouring those who died and all who served


Sergeant William H Usher

William was the son of William and Sarah Ann Usher of 2 Daventry Street. William senior was just 22 years when he married Sarah, a woman from Avon Dassett in her early thirties, who already had a young daughter. Born in 1892, William junior worked at the quarry like his father and younger brother. William senior died in his mid-thirties leaving Sarah Ann and a family of six. She worked as a char woman to help support her children.

In 1918 Sarah Ann contacted the press with the information that she had received news from her elder son Sergeant W. A. Usher who was a prisoner in Germany. It must have been a relief to learn her son was still alive.  Her younger son, Gunner Harry Usher RGA was also abroad serving in Egypt.

Searches on ICRC records of prisoners have failed to reveal more about his internment in Germany but other Southam men who were prisoners, for example George Shorthouse have written about the desperate conditions that prisoners endured.

William survived and later married a girl called Sarah Ann Marshall.  They had a son who in 1927 was baptised in Southam.

Little else is known of the family except that tragedy struck for this former serviceman and his wife when their son Wilfred, serving with Argyll and Sunderland Highlanders in WW2, was killed in North Africa in 1943. Young Wilfred Usher (4925037) is buried in Southam churchyard; his age appears from the records to have been just sixteen or seventeen years old.

Where William Usher is buried has not been established. There are some apparently unsubstantiated family links on the internet that place him far and wide in the country at the time of his death. His son Wilfred was buried in Southam in 1943 – it seems unlikely that the couple had moved far away.