William Harris Eslick (1873-1915)
Private William Harris Eslick was born in 1873 in Camborne, Cornwall, the son of William Eslick and his wife Susan Harris. His father had served in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry Militia from 1871 to 1899. William was with his parents in the 1881 and 1891 censuses, a mason’s labourer. He married Annie Bilkey in Redruth in 1896 and was with Annie, his son George who died as a child and his stepchildren in 1901, also with family members in 1911. William served in the Army Service Corps, 18th Labour Company, service number 14123. Many in this company were mature men from Cornwall, often with families, who provided the skilled labour needed to support troops in field.
William was lost at sea on 13 August 1915. Although he didn’t appear in the ship’s casualty lists at the time, William must have lost his life when HMT Royal Edward was hit by a German torpedo off the coast of Greece enroute to Gallipoli. Approximately 900 were lost in the attack and although numbers vary, perhaps several hundred were from the 18th Labour Company. William was awarded the British War Medal and is memorialised at the Hellas Memorial in Turkey along with over 20,000 others who died or were buried at sea around Gallipoli.
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