Those who gave their lives from Yarm
EKins, Willingham Richard. 2nd Lieutenant 3rd Bn. East Yorkshire Regiment
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Willingham Richard Ekins (known as Bill or Billy) was born in June 1897
His parents were Rev George Richard Ekins, who was vicar of Kirklevington between 1913 and 1916, and Beatrice Emma Ekins (nee Mitchinson), who was a great-niece of Sir John Franklin (the Arctic explorer). [The names Willingham come from this grandmother’s family.]
Yarm 1914 has been sent some information provided by one of his sister’s granddaughters.
In her recollections my grandmother mentions Bill. If she is right that all 3 brothers went to sign up in August all 3 boys were under 18 the minimum age for enlistment in the regular army.
1917: Bill reported missing & presumed dead. I can’t remember much about Billy’s death; it was May 1917 & missing presumed dead. Mother never believed this & yet, no evidence of his death, body? Blown to pieces was what Daddy said.
From military records her granddaughter provided the following information:
Willingham Richard Ekins seems to have initially joined the East Yorkshire Regiment which was a territorial force (which would make sense as he could enlist at age 17 for the TA). He rose to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. He was killed at Oppy Wood on 3rd May 1917 during the Battle of Arras.
Yarm1914 believe that Willingham was born near Boston in Lincolnshire on 22 May 1897 and was public school educated. He became a schoolmaster before he went to France. His service history provides the following:
Ex-Public Schools Bn. Bugler (Schoolmaster) enlisted Royal Naval Voluntary Reserves 10/4/15; No active service with Royal Naval Division ; Served 2 years Officers Training Corps; 1st Reserve Bn. B''ford 3/6/15-May 1916 ; 2nd Reserve Bn. Blandford May 1916-5/7/16 ; 'B' Company 2nd Drake Bn. & 'A' Reserve Bn. Blandford 6/7/16-4/9/16 transferred to No.7 Cadet Bn., Moor Park, Fermoy, Ireland ; 18/12/16 commissioned with the 3rd East Yorks Regt. Billy went to France and became attached to the 11th Bn East Yorks Regt.
Records indicate that his service number was ex-London Z/1503 Petty Officer RNVR. However this number was assigned to Percy John Greedy between 1914 and 1915. The Royal Naval Division has a record for Willingham Richard Ekins as Leading Seaman, Petty Officer Z/1503 with the correct date of birth.
For the family history see the report for his brother Thomas Arbuthnot Ekins. His other brother Franklin George Ekins died on 22nd January 1919.
Yarm 1914 Research
The Yarm 1914 Commemoration Group is carrying out research on the soldiers listed. We are finding where they lived in Yarm and will represent the findings in a wall of poppies presentation. More details will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and this web site. If you have any information please contact us. Left click on the picture below.