The Royal British Legion’s West Midlands team, based in Birmingham, is appealing for anyone in the area to come forward if they are related to Sapper William Fletcher, as they have been handed a death plaque and two medals belonging to him.
Originally a coal miner born in Arley Warwickshire, William was sworn into service on 10 June 1915 and embarked to France on 14 June 1915 with 174th Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers. Killed in action on 25 October at the Somme, he was 41 years of age and husband to Mary Rebecca Sketchley and father to five children; with his last known address Emery’s Cottage in Ansley, Warwickshire.
William’s 1914-15 Star, British War and Victory medals and plaque were handed into the Legion’s Birmingham Pop In Centre on New Street after being found at Stechford Industrial Estate in April. Through the team’s research they have already discovered a handwritten letter from his wife Mary requesting the return of his possessions, a Census record from 1911 detailing his parents Edward and Ann Fletcher and notification of his death.
The Royal British Legion team are seeking to find out more about the Fletcher family and hope to find living relatives of William to ensure the safe return of his medals.
A Legion Information Volunteer, said: “We are really keen to reunite William’s medals with his family and we would really like to hear from anyone who can basically fill in the blanks about his story. From what we’ve found so far, William was enrolled for his specialist skills being a coal miner and he only served 138 days before being killed at the Somme.
As like many men he never returned to his family and he left behind a wife and five children. This story is even more poignant as 2018 will mark a century since the end of the First World War and we want to remember those locally who gave their lives.”
If you can shed light on the WW1 soldier visit the Pop In Centre on New Street Birmingham or email [email protected]