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GANNAWAY, William Joseph (1897-1966) - Worcestershire Regiment

William Gannaway was a son of farm labourer, Harry Galloway, who lived in Kemerton in 1911 and worked as a ploughboy.  He joined the 14th Battalion, Worcestershire Regt (No. 25743) on 15th November 1915, a battalion that served in France from June 1916 until the end of the War.  This battalion was formed privately, at his own expense in Worcester on 10th September 1915, by Lt-Col Sir Henry Webb, M.P. as the ‘Severn Valley Pioneer Battalion’.  It was ‘adopted’ by the War Office in March 1916 (and renamed the 14th Battalion) and landed in Le Havre, France on 21st June that year.  A Pioneer Battalion had men fully trained for front line fighting but served mainly to maintain the infrastructure near the front line. The 12th served in France throughout the rest of the War under the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division and took a part in epic battles such as The Somme. Passchendaele and Cambrai. The Battalion was disbanded at a ceremony at Worcester Cathedral on 23rd June 1919. Pte William Gannaway was demobilised shortly before this, on 16th May 1919, his record stating he was of good character; he was awarded the Victory and British War Medals.

He was a market gardener in Wickhamford when he married Gladys Jones in St John the Baptist Church on 26th December 1928.  The couple went on to have four children between 1930 and 1941, but none were baptised in Wickhamford.  At the time of the 1939 National Register, the family were living in nearby Hinton-on-the-Green, and he was recorded as a land worker.