Joseph William Pickering, known as William, was born in Glaston in the winter of 1895. He is related to four other people from Rutland who died in the First World War. He was the cousin of Helen Hetterley and Joseph Hetterley of Oakham through his mother Sarah and the second cousin to John Pickering and Albert Pickering of Wing through his father Edward's side. He had three brothers and five sisters. By the time William was five the family had moved just across the county border into Wakerley in Northamptonshire, and he was educated at the school in Barrowden. William joined the 12th Lancers on 21 May 1915 and was seriously wounded two years later, on 11 April 1917 in the Battle of Arras. The account in the Lancers' war diary records how the Regiment was holding a position near Wancourt throughout the night of 10/11 April in bitter cold and with falling snow. Despite German shelling which caused 15 casualties among the men and 20 to 30 among the horses "every man stood to his horse the whole night. Directly daylight broke the Germans opened heavy artillery fire which continued until we were withdrawn two hours later. The conduct of the men was splendid, no trace of unsteadiness, although casualties were occuring every minute." During this time 30 Other Ranks were recorded as killed and wounded and we can assume William was one of these. He was evacuated down the line and ended up in one of the military hospitals around Etaples where he died on 2 May 1917. He is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, gave XIX.N.10A, and is remembered on the war memorial inside the now redundant St John the Baptist's Church in Wakerley. The war memorial also names those who were injured and others who served in the armed forces so William's two brothers are mentioned as well. Walter Pickering was gassed but survived while George returned home safely without being injured.
Extra information from the 9th/12th Royal Lancers Museum, Derby.
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