Men of Worth - Couple lost three of their children in war

Keighley News: Men of Worth - Couple lost three of their children in war Men of Worth - Couple lost three of their children in war

Haworth couple William and Anna Kilmister lost three of their children during two years of the First World War.

Sons Robert William and William Thomas were both killed fighting in Europe, while daughter Eunice Anna died at the age of 17 from unknown causes.

Robert died within three weeks of finishing his training and heading to France in the spring of 1915.

Both boys had been born in the 1880s, when the family lived in Wiltshire, and they were just two of William and Anna’s 14 children.

By the start of the war, almost all members of the family were working in textiles as wool sorters, spinners, doffers or weavers.

William the younger had married Sarah Scarborough in 1900 and they had five children, and when William joined the Army in 1914, the family were living in Tulip Street, Haworth.

He fought with the 8th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s Regiment at Gallipoli in 1915, then, after the withdrawal from Turkey, served in France.

In September the following year, William’s company was based east of the village of Thiepval and captured enemy positions after a bombing attack.

Although enemy losses were great, the British lost ten officers and 237 other soldiers, including William, far right.

He has no known resting place, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, on the Haworth War Memorial and on the Kilmister family grave .

Robert was a doffer then a tailor before enlisting in the Army, a year after his brother.

Following training at North Shields. Robert went to France on April 15, and within three weeks had been reported missing.

He was later found dead, and he is buried in the Divisional Collecting Post Cemetery and Extension near Ypres in Belgium.

The brothers both earned the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

In November 1916, four months after her brother William was killed, 17-year-old Eunice Anna died, according to her grave inscription after falling asleep.

The siblings’ parents William and Anna both died in the 1940s, aged 93 and 86 respectively.

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