Lieutenant William Charles Hand was born in Heath Hayes c.1885 and was the son of Samuel and Amelia Hand.
In 1891 the family were living in Wimblebury Road, Heath Hayes but by 1901 they were living in Bank Street – at this time William was listed as being a ‘school master’.
In 1910 he married Mary Ann Crozier and the young couple continued to live in Bank Street .. possibly in the same property or adjacent to Williams parents home. Sadly Mary died after the birth of their daughter Gladys in 1911.
William enlisted as a Private with the Leicestershire Regiment in August 1916 and was later transferred to the South Staffordshire Regiment, when he was recorded as ‘Lieutenant’.
Family stories have said that ‘William was hit by shrapnel during active service and as this happened a piece of the fabric from his grey coat passed into his body’. It was possible for shrapnel to drag fabric and dirt into the wound as it entered the body and if not removed promptly and hygienically it was highly likely to cause a very nasty infection.
However William was not formally discharged until May 1919 and in July that year he was awarded the ‘Silver War Badge’ which was issued to: ‘honourably discharged soldiers under certain regulations’ (see www.1914-1918.net for further details).
In a newspaper report about a memorial service held at Heath Hayes School shortly after the war, William was referred to as ‘recovering well’ and in 1920 he married local girl Lillian Gidwell.
However in 1921 William appears to have been treated at the Hollymoor Military Hospital, near Birmingham and he sadly died there on 18 November that, year.
*The Hollymoor Military Hospital had been used to treat WW1 casualties since 1915 but from 1920 (the time when William was there) it was ‘dealing with the care and rehabilitation of ex-soldiers’ - see www.bhamb14.co.uk/index_files/HollymoorHospital.htm for more information.
Around the time of Williams death his son Charles was born [registered in Cannock Oct-Nov-Dec quarter 1921].
When he was six years old, Charles took part at the opening ceremony of the Heath Hayes War Memorial, when he presented a golden key to Mrs Harrison (wife of Colonel Harrison – Chairman of the Cannock Chase Coal Owners Association).
* Read more about the Heath Hayes War Memorial on the ‘About Heath Hayes’ tab.
Lieutenant William Hand is commemorated on the Heath Hayes War Memorial.