VICTOR GEORGE WARD

Lance Corporal 33124, Royal Engineers

Died 18th May 1918 aged 25

Buried Conde-Sur-L’Escaut Communal Cemetery, Belgium

Son of George and Mary Ann Ward

Lived 4, Grove Street, Heckmondwike


Victor was born at the end of 1892 in Lincolnshire to parents George Ward and Mary Ann nee Bulmer.  He was the youngest of three children, but his brother Cecil George had died early in 1892 before Victor George was born.  His father, George, was employed as a Gardener at the Hall in Brant Broughton, Lincolnshire.  He left Lincolnshire to move to Heckmondwike where he was working as a Gardener and living on Chapel Lane when he died tragically young in February 1896, aged only 33 years leaving Mary Ann a widow and Victor George and his sister Ethel Mary born in 1889 without a father.  The probable reason they came to Heckmondwike was because Mary Ann’s younger sister Frances Bulmer born near Scarborough had married Eli Crossland whose family were living in Hightown.

Eli Crossland and Frances did not have any children and seem to have taken care of their niece Ethel Mary Ward and nephew Victor George, by 1901 they are living at 4, Grove Street in Heckmondwike and are still there in 1911.

Both Victor’s father, George Ward and his sibling Cecil George Ward were buried in Heckmondwike Cemetery and Victor George Ward’s name is also recorded on the family grave stone.

Victor attended Heckmondwike Grammar School and is recorded on the War Memorial there.  In 1911 he was working as a Mechanic.  He was working at Watson’s Engineers at Gomersal prior to enlisting.  He played the organ at Millbridge Wesleyan Chapel and was involved with the Sunday School and Young Men’s group there.

He enlisted in the Royal Engineers and suffered from gas poisoning in 1917 and was confined to hospital for a few months.  He returned to the front line at Cambrai and his family received a letter on December 1st 1917 that he was missing.  He had been forced to withdraw from a part of the line which had become untenable under enemy pressure.  According to the letter from his Major, Victor had lost touch with his Company during this withdrawal and was captured by German troops.  Later his family were notified that he had been captured and was a prisoner of war, being held in Gefangenlager in Germany, but were hopeful that he was still alive and would be released at the end of the hostilities.

Sadly they received the communication from the Red Cross Society, on what would have been his 26th Birthday, that he had died at Friedrichfeld on 18th May 1918 and had been buried at Conde-sur-L’Esaut in Belgium.

His name is commemorated on St. Saviour’s and St. James’s War Memorials.

He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
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