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Capt Arthur de Bells Adam (MC)
1885 - 1916

CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916

Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916

Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916

Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft

Pte 17979 Norman Lloyd Williams

  • Age: 37
  • From: Birkenhead, Cheshire
  • Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 19th Btn
  • K.I.A Tuesday 11th July 1916
  • Commemorated at: Thiepval Memorial
    Panel Ref: P&F1D8B &8 C.

Norman Lloyd Williams’ birth was registered in the March quarter of 1879 in Birkenhead.  His parents were Hugh Williams and Margaret (nee Owen), who married in Birkenhead in 1878.  His father was born in Denbighshire and his mother in Carnarvon (although some records show Anglesey).  They had seven children, all born in Birkenhead, three of whom died young.  Norman was the eldest of the surviving four children; his siblings were Osmond, Percy, and Mona.

In 1881 the family is living at 29 Rodney Street, Birkenhead.  His father is employed as a draper’s bookkeeper, Norman is 3, Bernard is 2 months old; also in the household is niece Mary Ann Owen, a nurse, from Anglesey, who lives with the family for many years, Thomas Williams, a visitor (possibly a relative) from his father’s home town, and Benjamin Evans, 27, a boarder from Cardiganshire. 

In 1891 they are at 6 Maple Street, Birkenhead with five children.  His father is a bookkeeper. Norman is 12, Osmond 8, Percy 6, Mona 3, and Leonora 9 months. Leonora died at age 3 in 1893.  Bernard has since died.  Also present is niece Mary Ann Owen.

By 1901 they have moved again to 64 Victoria Road, Birkenhead.  His father is a draper’s clerk.  Norman, 22, and Osmond, 18, are both employed as corn merchant’s clerks, Percy, 16, is a clerk with a steamship company, Mona is 13, and niece Mary Owen is a draper’s assistant.

In 1911 the family is at 20 Alfred Road, Birkenhead.  His father is now retired,  Norman, 30, single, and Osmond, 27, are employed as corn salesmen.  Percy, 24, is a shipping clerk, and Mona, 21, has no occupation.

Norman and his brother Osmond are both listed in the United Grand Lodge of England Freemason Membership Registers, starting in 1911, with Ceres Lodge, Liverpool, their address 20 Alfred Road, occupation of both corn salesman.

Norman enlisted in Liverpool on 4th September 1914, as Private 17979, No.3 Company, 19th (Pals) Battalion of The King’s Liverpool Regiment, giving his age as 34 years and 300 days, and his occupation as grain salesman.   He is described as being 5’ 7” tall, weighing 129 lbs, with a ‘brown’ complexion, and brown eyes and hair.  He states previous military service in Denbigh Horse Yeomanry, 1900/2.  He gives his next of kin as his mother, Margaret Williams, 18 Avondale Road, Hoylake and his religion as Wesleyan.

After training locally at Knowsley, the battalion moved to Belton Park Camp in Lincolnshire, and then for final infantry training at Larkhill Camp on Salisbury Plain.  Norman shipped to France with his battalion, disembarking at Boulogne on 7th November 1915, and in the new year the Pals battalions take up position in the south of the Somme line near Carnoy.  On 24th June the British bombardment begins, in preparation for the coming Battle of the Somme.  Norman survives the early deadly days on the Somme, until the assault on Trones Wood on 11th July.

The murderous fighting that went on inside Trones Wood rendered it impossible to put specific dates on some of the casualties which is why many of the 17th Battalion losses have been bracketed as killed in action between 10th – 12th July 1916. The conditions are best described in the following passage from Everard Wyrall’s book The History of The King’s Regiment (Liverpool) Volume II.

The remembrance of Trones Wood in July 1916 to those who passed through it is of a noisome, horrible place, of a tangled mass of trees and undergrowth which had been tossed and flung about in frightful confusion by the shells of both sides. Of the ghastly dead which lay about in all directions, and of DEATH, lurking in every hole and corner with greedy hands ready to snatch the lives of the unwary. The place was a Death trap, and although the attacks were made with great determination, the presence of snipers who could not be detected and often fired into the backs of our men made the clearing of the wood impossible.

Norman was killed in action on 11th July 1916.

Norman’s death was announced in the Liverpool Echo on 21st July 1916 under the heading:

‘Known on Corn Market’:

 "The flag is flying half-mast today over the Liverpool Corn Market in memory of Norman L. Williams, of the King’s (Liverpool Regiment). He was one of the first to join the “Pals”.  He is reported to have been working with a bombing party, when he was struck on the head and killed.  Before joining the Army he was engaged for many years by Messrs. Oswald Dobell and Co., whose business was afterwards merged into the firm of Messrs. John Barber and Co., corn merchants, Corn Exchange buildings.”

Norman's body was not recovered or was subsequently lost as he has no known grave and his name is inscribed on the Thiepval Memorial. 

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.

On 01st August 1932 the Prince of Wales and the President of France inaugurated the Thiepval Memorial in Picardy. The inscription reads: “Here are recorded the names of officers and men of the British Armies who fell on the Somme battlefields between July 1915 and March 1918 but to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death.”

Probate was granted to his brother Osmond Trevor Williams, corn merchant, effects  £317 12s 7d.

Norman earned his three medals which his mother signed for, then living at 11 Centurion Drive, Meols, Cheshire.  She received his effects and a War Gratuity, but no pension card can be found.  Army Form W.5080, requesting information on the soldier’s living relatives, is blank.  The Army had some difficulty contacting his mother: 

Infantry Records requested assistance from the Chief Constable, Wallasey, in ascertaining the whereabouts of Norman’s next of kin in a communication dated 3rd June 1921:  “I shall be very much obliged if you would kindly assist me in ascertaining the present address of Mrs. A [sic] Williams, late of 18 Avondale Road, Hoylake, or 11 Centurion Drive, Meols, Cheshire.  I have forwarded communications to this address but they have been endorsed ‘Gone Away’.  This information is urgently required to enable me to dispose of the Memorial Plaque and Scroll.”

A reply was received from the Cheshire Constabulary dated 5th June 1921:  “Sir, I beg to inform you, in reply to your letter of 3rd inst., re the above named deceased soldier, that he was an unmarried [man] and his mother, Mrs. Margaret Williams, has been residing at 11 Centurion Drive, Meols, Hoylake, for the last 3 or 4 years.  No such person is known at the above address as Mrs. A. Williams […] cannot give any explanation as to […] addressed to 11 Centurion Drive would be returned endorsed ‘Gone Away’.”

It is hoped that his mother eventually received Norman's Memorial Plaque and Scroll.

Norman is commemorated on the following memorials:

Liverpool Corn Trade Association

Liverpool Hall of Remembrance Panel 32 Left

Hoylake & West Kirby Memorial 

Liverpool Masonic Hall

St Hildeburgh’s C of E Church  in Hoylake.


We currently have no further information on Norman Lloyd Williams, If you have or know someone who may be able to add to the history of this soldier, please contact us.


Killed On This Day.

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Tuesday 18th July 1916.
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Thursday 18th July 1918.
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