William Charles Sapsed


William Charles Sapsed


First World War

Date of Death / Age


Rank, Service Number & Service Details

Hertfordshire Regiment
4 Company, 1st Bn.


British War and Victory medals


Pier and Face 12C

UK Memorials

4 Co' Hertfordshire Reg' Territorials’ Memorial, Hitchin
St Mary's Church Roll of Honour, Hitchin
Stevenage Old Town Memorial
St Nicholas' Church Memorial, Stevenage Old Town
Holy Trinity Church Memorial Roll of Honour, Stevenage Old Town

Pre War

His home was in Stevenage, although he enlisted in Hertford. His Regimental number was 5368 and he served in 4 Company. He was killed in action.

Wartime Service

He was killed in one of the last actions of the Battle of the Somme, the Battle of The Ancre. The 1st Herts were part of the 118th Brigade of the 39th Division in II Corps of the 5th Army at the time of his death.

This was the Battle of the Ancre, an attempt by General Sir Hubert Gough to reduce the Beaumont Hamel Salient that had hitherto resisted all assaults.

The Battalion were called upon to assault German trenches just in front of a heavily fortified position known as the Schwaben Redoubt. The Herts were on the right of the Brigade and assembled at the Schwaben Redoubt just north of Thiepval. Their first objectives were some enemy strongpoints about 200 yards in front of the Redoubt, the so-called Hansa Line of trenches and the final objective the junction of Mill Trench and the Hansa Line, a total advance of about 1,200 yards. Zero hour was 5.45am in thick mist. heavy going through thick mud and with the ground honeycombed with shell holes.

Wiliam was in number 4 Company which led the advance on the right of the Battalion and by 7.30am most of their objectives had been achieved. All of the officers in the leading Company had been killed or wounded and this added to the general confusion of battle, however the Battalion managed to achieve their objectives

The rest of the day was spent consolidating the position, constructing a redoubt at the junction of Mill Trench and the Hansa Line and beating off counter attacks. A splendid achievement but at a cost of over 150 men killed and wounded. He has no known grave and is remembered on Pier/Face 12C of the great Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, Somme, France.


Adrian Dunne, David C Baines, Jonty Wild, Paul Johnson