Sergeant Wilfred Burton was the youngest son of William and Mary Burton and was born in Langham. In 1911 he was living in Ashwell and working as a blacksmith. By the time war broke out he was working for a cycle makers in Oakham, Chambers Brothers. He was already a Territorial with the Leicestershire Regiment, enlisting when he was 17 in 1912, and immediately volunteered to serve in the army full time, joining the 509th London Field Company Royal Engineers. He went to France very soon afterwards and was quickly promoted to Sergeant, taking part in the first Battle of Ypres, the Somme and Cambrai. He was struck in the head by a small piece of shrapnel on 24 November 1917 and did not regain consciousness before reaching the Casualty Clearing Station where he died the following day. His Commanding Officer wrote: "I regard Burton as a friend, and his sound judgment and wonderful coolness under the most trying circumstances made him invaluable as an NCO." He is buried in Fins New British Cemetery, grave II.C.6, and is remembered on two war memorials in Rutland, at Langham and at Ashwell. Nine months before he died he married Bertha Yates while in London on leave.
Photograph courtesy Langham Village History Group
There is some doubt about where Wilfred was born. The 1911 census says he was born in Langham but his military record has him being born in Ashwell.
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