William Rudkin was born at Exton on 5 July 1895, the son of Josiah and Jane Rudkin. He was a gardener before the war. He joined the 2nd/5th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment in September 1914, and was stationed in Ireland for over a year where he became an Instructor, First Class at the grenade school with the rank of Sergeant. He went out to France in February 1917 and took part in the fighting around Lens. He was killed by shell fire during the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele), east of Wieltje, on 27 September 1917. The previous day the Leicestershires had captured Hill 37, advancing steadily behind a creeping barrage. But both sides continued bombarding each other with artillery and it is likely this was when Williiam was killed. He was 22 years of age. His platoon Lieutenant wrote to his parents: "He was a very fine man, one who was liked by everyone, I feel his loss very keenly, for he had been my main stay ever since coming out here last February; always most willing and most keen on his work." The letter was signed by nine NCOs. William has no known grave and is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 50, and also on the war memorial at Exton.
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