William Henry Estlick (1892-1919)
Private William Henry Estlick was born in 1892 in Plymouth, Devon, the son of William Eslick and his wife Louisa Channings. He was with his parents in the 1901 and 1911 censuses, working as a shop assistant in the 1911 census. He served in the Machine Gun Corps, 186th Battalion, service number 102733.
William lost his life in Northern Persia on 31 December 1919. While the period 1914-1918 is well known as the war years, it is perhaps less well known that much instability remained in the Middle Eastern Theatre following the War, related to the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. William’s battalion was sent to Northern Persia in 1918, amidst newly forming independent states, the entrance of the Russian Bolsheviks and substantial internal rivalries. An Anglo-Iranian Agreement was reached in 1919 ostensibly to protect British rights to Middle Eastern oil, however others suggest that it also had the intent of establishing Iran as a British Protectorate. The presence of British troops and increasing British control were contested by various groups and tensions continued into the early 1920s. The Ottoman Caliphate was finally abolished in 1924.
William is buried in the Tehran War Cemetery. He was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal. Although the Machine Gun Corps was only in existence from 1915 to 1922, of the 170,500 who served in it, over 62,000 were killed, wounded or missing.
Sadly, in 1941, William’s sister Susan Pearn (nee Estlick) and her husband William George Pearn were victims of the Portland Square Air Raid Shelter bombing. William and Susan’s mother died in the same quarter.
‘Machine Gun Corps in the First World War’, The Long Long Trail, http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/machine-gun-corps-in-the-first-world-war/, [accessed 30 Jun 2016].
‘W H Estlick’, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, http://www.cwgc.org/, [accessed 30 Jun 2016].
‘Middle Eastern theatre of World War I’, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_Eastern_theatre_of_World_War_I, [accessed 30 Jun 2016].
‘The Dunsterforce, 1917-1919’, Imperial War Museums, © IWM (Q 24859), http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205213366, [accessed 30 Jun 2016].