William Edwin Else


Royal Fusiliers
21st Service Bn
Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiments) 81210 10th; 17th Bn. "D" Coy

Photo of William Edwin Else

Research by Simon Johnson

Service Record

Formally a Private 21 Bn. Royal Fusiliers, appointed to a commission 14/01/1915.
William enlisted into the Royal Fusiliers on 15/09/14, aged twenty-one, a bankclerk living at Crich. Previously he had been in the Cadet Corps at Derby School. He was 5ft 7½in tall, weighed 128lb had grey eyes and brown hair. His next of kin was named as his father Charles Joseph Else of Ambergate (although he had married Ada Evelyn Kay on December 11th 1916).
On 23/01/15 he was discharged from the Royal Fusiliers on receiving a Commission in the 1oth Bn. Notts & Derbys.

Because he had not notified the War Office of his marriage his widow was not notified of his death.

West Leigh
8 January 1918

Dear Sir
Lieut. W.E. Else 10th Sherwood Foresters (attachd to 17th)
Your telegram of yesterday the 7th announcing the deat in action of Lieut. Else was received with great regret. Will you please note that Mrs W.E. Else is now in residence at the above address. "West Leigh", Ambergate, to whom all further communication should be addressed.
Lieut. Else was married on December 11th 1916, and the address of the telegram was to his father at Park Lodge.
Any further particulars having reference to how he met his death will be gratefully recieved by both his widow, and his father
your obedient servant
Arthur Kay
(Parent of Mrs Else)

The reply from the War Office:

10th January 1918
The Military Secretary presents his compliments to Mr Kay, and in answer to his letter of 8 January, begs to inform him that no particulars have been received concerning the death of Lieutenant W.E. Else, Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment, beyond that he was killed in action on 3 January.
The Military Secretary suggests that further information might be attained by writing to the
Officer Commanding, attached 17th Battalion, Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment, British Expeditionary Force,
who will probably be only too glad to supply any details in his position.
The Military Secretary much regrets that the notification of Lieutenant Else's death was not sent to Mrs Else but the fact that he was married had not been notified to the War Office so the telegram was said to his father who was registered as his next of kin.
The Military Secretary is desired by the Secretary of State for War to express his deepest sympathy with Mrs Else in the loss of her gallant husband.

His Army Will named his wife, Ada Evelyn Else, and brother, Charles Glossop Else as his executors. The gross value of his estate was £380 12s 4d. His medals were sent to his wife

Correspondence in his records show the family had problems getting £6 10s 6d owed to the late Lieutenant Else from the War Office and that solicitors were involved.

Derbyshire Times 12 January 1918

The inhabitants of Crich and Fritchley were greatly grieved when they received the sad news that Lieutenant William E. Else of the Sherwood Foresters, son of Coun. Charles J. Else of The Lodge Fritchley had been killed in action on the Western Front on the 3rd inst. Lieutenant Else joined the Army in September 1914 as a private and he was promoted second lieutenant in February 1915, apparently he was promoted whilst in France to the rank of lieutenant. He was over in December 1917 on 14 days leave. The late Mr Else was 24 years of age. He was educated at Dartford Grammar and Derby Schools, and afterwards was engaged on the staff at Parr's Bank, Matlock. On the declaration of war he was one of the most enthusiastic in the district in encouraging recruits for the Army. On December 13th 1916 he married Miss Ada Evelyn Kay, daughter of Mr A. Kay the manager of Messrs Richard Johnson and Nephew's wire mill at Ambergate.

High Peak News 19 Januray 1918

Official intimation has been received of the death in action in France of Lieut. William Else of "Westleigh," Ambergate. He belonged to a well-known and highly respected Ambergate family, and was only 24 years of age. His young widow, for whom much sympathy will be felt, was formerly a Miss A.Kay, of Ambergate, and she is at present assisting in the work at the War Pensions Department at Derby. She has received a letter from the Colonel of Lieut Else's regiment stating that her husband was shot through the head, and that death was instantaneous. The sad circumstance is that the late lieutenant Else was home on leave only three weeks or a month ago. He will be remembered here is one of the staff of Parrs Bank.

Charles Beresford in his book "The Bath at War" wrote about the death of William Else. He noted that he was well-known in Matlock Bath as he worked at Parr's Bank on the Parade. William had joined the Public Schools battalion on the 15th September 1914 and was commissioned to the 10th Sherwood Foresters some four months later. On New Years Eve he was attached to the 17th Sherwood Foresters in the Ypres area. The battalions's War Diary described everything as being quiet. It was snowing and the Germans could be heard singing. The 17th were due to be relieved by the 16th Foresters on the 3rd January 1918 but it was on this day that William was shot in the head by a German sniper and died instantly. He was just twenty-four years old and married but a year. The War Office telegram was sent to William's parents
"To Else, Park Lodge, Fritchley. Derby.
Deeply regret to inform you Lieut W E Else Sherwood Foresters was killed in action January third The Army Council express their sympathy
His wife Ada (née Kay) was working at the War Pensions Department in Derby.
[William was an acting captain when he was killed and although recommended for a MC this was not awarded.]

Ref: “The Bath At War A Derbyshire Community and the Great War” by Charles Beresford COUNTRY BOOKS/ASHRIDGE PRESS 2007 ISBN 978 1 901214 91 8

The fourth bell in St Mary's, which was recast in 1928, is dedicated to him.
Information courtesy Martyn Offord


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Initials W E
Nationality United Kingdom
Rank Captain
Regiment/Service Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment)
Unit Officer Commanding "D" Coy. 17th Bn.
Age 24
Date of Death 03/01/18
Additional Information Husband of Ada Evelyn Else, of "West Leigh," Ambergate, Derbyshire. Native of Fritchley, Ambergate.
Casualty type Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference XIII. H. 7.

War Graves certificate for William Else

Two of William's brothers are also on the Roll of Honour, Guy Else and Charles Else



1901: Bullbridge

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Charles J. Else Head 35 Living on own means Crich
Hannah S Else wife 34   Chesterfield
Charles G Else son 9   Crich
William E Else son 7   Crich
Hannah M Else daughter 5   Crich
Guy V Else son 3   Crich

RG13 piece 3231 folio 16 page 23

1911: Park Lodge, Fritchley

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Charles Joseph Else Head 45 Farmer & private means Crich
Hannah Scott Else wife 44   Crich
Charles Glossop Else son 19 Articled Surveyor Crich
William Edwin Else son 17 Bank Clerk Crich
Hannah Marina Else daughter 15 School Crich
Guy Victor Else son 13 School Crich
John Gilbert Else son 7 School Crich
Joseph Arthur Else son 4   Crich
Elizabeth Ann Bowler servant 20 Domestic general servant Swanwick
Annie Bunting servant 17 Domestic general servant Swanwick

RG14PN20983 RG78PN1251 RD436 SD4 ED12 SN200