Like many soldiers serving on the Western Front, William Denby was wounded several times.
And also like many, the third wound proved fatal for the Keighley-born private from the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment.
William was among many British soldiers killed during the five-day Battle of Menin Road in September 1917.
The precise circumstances of his death are unknown, only that he was killed in action on the first day.
The battle was the third British general attack of the Third Battle of Ypres in Flanders.
It came after a summer pause in the Allied attacks, when the British changed some of their infantry tactics ready for a new push. The British were helped by ground fog around dawn, concealing troops as they advanced, then clearing to expose the German defenders.
The British infantry succeeded in capturing most of their objectives and then holding them against German counter-attacks, inflicting many casualties on the German defenders.
William was 20 at the time of the battle, and had grown up in Turkey Street, Keighley, before joining the Duke of Wellington’s.
For the month prior to the battle, William’s battalion, the 10th, had been training near Wizernes. It was moved to the front and warned to prepare for an attack at the Menin Road. The battalion’s history describes Menin Road as the greatest battle in the history of the 23rd Division, in which William served.
The 10th battalion assembled at Sanctuary Wood, waiting to advance to take the third and final objective.
After second objectives were secured, the 10th battalion was ordered to move forward, suffering considerable losses from artillery fire, and William met his death.
For his service at the front, William (pictured in the centre of the picture with his comrades) was awarded the 1914 Star, the War Medal and the Victory Medal.
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