Southam in WW1

Centenary Archive

Honouring those who died and all who served



William Reynolds was born on 5th December 1879 the eldest child of John and Margaret Jane Reynolds, farmers of Southam.

Presumably wishing to follow in the family footsteps, William initially pursued a career in agriculture. He sat his agricultural examinations at Cheshire Agricultural and Horticultural School in Holmes Chapel in 1898, gaining a Second Class Certificate.

However, he soon decided that the farming life was not for him and enlisted in the Royal Engineers at Warwick on 18th January 1900 as a surveyor (Army no. 1850806). This was to become his life for the next 26 years, by which time he had achieved the rank of Superintending Clerk, WO1. He served at home and in Hong Kong and Malta before being sent to South Africa in 1912 where the regiment remained all through World War 1.

William married Clara Christabelle Evelyn Curtis in Salisbury on 2nd May 1910 and had two children: Margaret Evelyn born in Salisbury in 1911 and John Harcourt born in Cape Town in 1913.

William left the army on 30th June 1926 with a testimonial that stated that he was consistently ‘very reliable and trustworthy’. The family moved to Oxfordshire where he gained employment as a Builder’s Estimating Clerk. He died on 18th March 1964 in Headington, Oxford, ten years after his wife.

During his service William gained the British War, Long Service and Good Conduct Medals. His brother John Henry Reynolds and his sister VAD Edith Reynolds also served. 

(Text and photo supplied by Debbie Martin, great niece of William Reynolds)