William Taylor Conquest (1880–1961)


Royal Garrison Artillery 133512 1st SARB 2nd Battalion

William, lived at Toll Bar Cottage on Bullbridge. Working as a miller’s drayman he enlisted in December 1915. He had married Sylvia Bradley in 1902 at Belper Salem Church and had two daughters. In June 1917 he was posted to France where he was severely burned about the back and legs. During August 1918 he was treated at Rouen for trench fever before being transferred to Nantwich War Hospital. He was demobbed in March 1919.

Medal Rolls Record
He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals.
SARB is the Siege Artillery Reserve Brigade.

Newspaper report

Derbyshire Courier, 11 September 1917
A letter was received by Mrs Conquest, Toll Bar Cottage, Bull Bridge, a few days ago, informing her that her husband Gunner William Conquest, RGA had been admitted into the military hospital at Norfolk, seriously ill with fever. Gunner Conquest, along with a number of others of his company, was subjected to a vigorous shelling by the Germans, who used liquid gas shells, and he was severely burned about the back and legs. He was moved to a hospital at Rouen, where he stayed until transferred to Norfolk. Since his admission fever has developed as a result of his injuries. Before being called to the colours Gunner Conquest was employed as a drayman for Mr A Beevor, miller and corn merchant of Bull Bridge, Ambergate. He crossed to France with the RGA three months ago.

Army Service Record
William was born in Holloway 12 June 1878, was C of E and a member of the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows. He enrolled 11 December 1915 aged 35 years and 5 months. William was a married miller's waggoner living at Bull Bridge; height 5ft 7¾in and weight 145lb. His next-of-kin was his wife Sylvia (née Bradley). They had married in 1902 at Belper Salem Church and had two daughters; Ivy, born 1 December 1903, and Sarah Hannah, born in 1910.
He was posted to a siege battery via Havre 26 June 1917. On 8 August 1918 he had trench fever and was hospitalized in Rouen until sent to England on HS Western Australia. He was then admitted to the War Hospital at Nanwich.
William was
demobbed 16 March 1919.

On the outbreak of the First World War the War Propaganda Bureau recruited Muirhead Bone as Britain's first official war artist. He was appointed as an honorary second lieutenant and arrived in France during the Battle of the Somme.
The illustration below, " Hospital Ship at Base", is from from Muirhead Bone's "The Western Front" published in 1917.

Hospital ship at base

The base is Rouen, identified by the transporter bridge.
The hospital ship is probably the Western Australia , which transported William to England

HS Western Australia

HS Western Australia

William's brother, Joshua Conquest, was also in Forces, as a cyclist, 5th Platoon, D Coy, Northumberland Regiment. He is recorded on the Lea Mills Roll of Honour.


1891: Holloway

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Thomas Conquest Head 35 Limestone quarry Crich
Hannah Conquest wife 33   Bonsall
William Conquest son 10   Holloway
Joshua Conquest son 2   Holloway
Henry Conquest son 1   Holloway

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1901: Holloway

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Thomas Conquest Head 44 Machine minder, hosiery Crich
Hannah Conquest wife 42   Crich Carr
William Conquest son 20 Boater, coal wharfe Bonsall
Joshua Conquest son 12   Holloway
Harry Conquest son 11   Holloway
Julia Anne Conquest daughter 8   Holloway

RG13 piece 3235 folio 58 page 3

1911: Bull Bridge

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
William Conquest Head 30 Carter for corn mill Bonsall
Sylvia Conquest wife 30   Crich
Florence Ivy Conquest daughter 7   Crich
Sarah Hannah Conquest daughter 1   Crich

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1918 Crich voters
William Conquest, Fritchley; absent on military service.

1939 Register: Bullbridge
William Conquest b.12 July 1881; messroom attendant, lead smelter
Sylvia Conquest b.14 October 1887
[Note William was born 12 July 1880]