William, I do not know the precise circumstances of your death, nor what caused it, but, as a former soldier myself, doing my National Service training in 1950 with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Warwicks at Budbrooke, and in 1951-52 with the 7th TA Battalion at the Drill Hall in Nuneaton, I can still salute you as the brave NCO you undoubtedly were, who lost his life in the service of his country in the severe fighting in Mesopotamia. This began with the Turkish attack in August 1915, complete with German advisers when the first British casualties occurred. The severe fighting continued until late 1917, when General Maude died and Sir William Marshall took over command to complete the battle.
Sadly, your remains were not recovered from the field of battle, so you were commemorated on the Basra Memorial, together with 189 other members of our regiment, but those of our colleagues whose remains were recovered from the field of battle were buried in nearby cemeteries. Altogether, over 40,500 members of the armed forces of the Commonwealth were commemorated on the memorial. I can but quote the memorial hymn again, “All you had hoped for, all you had you gave to save mankind – yourself you scorned to save.” But you are also remembered every year at the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance, when the parade is at the attention while the Queen’s Colour and the National Standard are dipped in salute as the Last Post is sounded. I also trust that you were commemorated on your home town war memorial. I offer my sympathy to your relatives and friends who mourned your sacrifice. Rest in Peace. Harry.