William James Easden

Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom

General information

Engine Driver - Shedman

Army information

England, United Kingdom
British Expeditionary Force
Service number:
265890 (1761)
Enlistment place:
Walton, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom
 —  Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, 2/1st Bn. (Buckinghamshire)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
East of Fortuinhoek, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Tyne Cot Cemetery
Plot: IV
Row: F
Grave: 3

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 2

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place

My story

William James Easden was born in 1887 in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. He was married to Ellen with whom he had a daughter named Florence Nellie. Before he enlisted in the army he first worked as a woodworker, specialized in chair making, and later became a machinist. He enlisted in the army on April 3rd 1914, but he was discharged on 27 August that same year for being medically unfit. He later enlisted again and joined the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, 2/1 Buckinghamshire Battalion, part of the 184th Brigade of the 61st Division. He was killed in action during the Battle of Passchendaele on 22 August 1917.

On 20 August 1917 the battalion marched to the Pommern Castle sector of the line, taking over the line from the 2/8 Worcesters. The battalion was distributed as follows: Battalion Headquarters was at Uhlan Farm, “C” and “B” Companies were on the left and right front line respectively, and “D” and “A” Companies were in left and right support respectively. During the relief, the area was heavily shelled which caused a lot of casualties in the two left companies (“C” and “D”). The 21st was spent preparing for the attack.

Zero hour for the attack on the 22nd was fixed at 4.45 a.m. The orders for the attack were as follows: the 184th Brigade was to attack, with the Buckinghamshire Battalion (Bucks) attacking on the right and the Oxfordshire Battalion on the left. The Bucks were to attack with two companies forming the first and second waves and two companies forming the third and fourth waves. The final objective ran from D.14.c.6.7. to Kansas Cross and then along Kansas Cross – Winnipeg Road to the gun pits at D.13.b.5.7. The first wave was to go straight through to the final objective and form a line of outposts approximately on that line.

On the 22nd the 184th Brigade attacked with the 2/1 and 2/4 Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, and the 2/5th Gloucestershire Regiment was in support. Within 30 minutes of the start of the attack (zero hour 4.45 a.m.) the two attacking battalions were digging-in 150 yards west of the Winnipeg-Kansas crossroads. After consolidation, they came under fire. Later that day, after heavy fighting, the Gloucesters succeeded in taking Pond Farm and Hindu Cottage. The consolidation of Pond Farm considerably relieved the pressure on the left troops and they were able to attack and take the gun pits. This made it possible to straighten out the line. The entire attack was difficult to follow since almost no communication came back from the front line, the only messages being from wounded soldiers from early on during the attack. Taking these objectives came at heavy costs, with a lot of casualties from enemy machine gun and rifle fire. Especially the snipers were busy that day, even shooting at stretcher bearers and wounded soldiers.

One of the soldiers who was killed in action during this attack on August 22nd was Private William James Easden. He was 29-years old. He was originally buried at D.13.c., which was the area around the final consolidated line of 22 August, east of Fortuinhoek. He probably died during the consolidation. He was identified by his pay book letters and brooches, and was reburied in the Tyne Cot Cemetery where he lies in Plot IV Row F Grave 3.

Files 1

Sources 5

Sources used
Sources used
McCarthy, Passchendaele the day-by-day account, Uniform, London, 2018, pp. 62-63
Sources used
The Long Long Trail
Sources used
War Diary 2/1 Bucks Bn. (Ox & Bucks)
Sources used