Service Number 217862
Battalion Railway Operating Division
Regiment Royal Engineers
William Ernest Caird was born in Swansea, the eldest of four sons of William Clagget Caird and his wife Annie Maria Caird.
By 1911, the family (mother father, all four brothers and one servant) was living at 81 Reginald Terrace, Leeds. William (Snr) was a retired railway clerk for the LNW Railway, William (Jnr) was also a railway clerk and his brothers worked as insurance clerk, assistant in a drapery warehouse and as a bank clerk.
At some time the family moved from Leeds to Collingham and took up residence at 1, South View, Collingham.
In 1915, William (Jnr) attested for military service but was initially placed on the reserve and was not called up for service for about a year. In the meantime, on the 22nd December 1915, he married Constance Ethel Neale at the Parish Church in Christchurch, Cheltenham.
William was mobilised for military service on the 28th December 1916 and was posted as a Sapper in the Royal Engineers. We believe that he first went overseas on the 7th February 1917 and served with the Railway Operating Division of the Royal Engineers. By 1917 over 40,000 rail employees had been drafted into the Royal Engineers to help build, maintain and run the rail system that was needed to supply the British Army.
William's service record was badly damaged during the second world war blitz and is hard to follow, but we believe he was transferred to the Director General of Transport unit in April 1917 and served with them until 2nd January 1918. At that point he seems to have joined the Accounts Depot and in November 1918, just before the end of the war, William was promoted to corporal and at the end of November 1918 his salary was raised to very superior rate as he continued working in the Railway Operating Division.
The end of the war did not end William's career in the railways. In 1939, he and Constance were living at The Guest House in Willersey, North Cotswolds and William gave his occupation as a railway clerk. Before moving to the Cotswolds, William had returned after the war to Collingham, living at South View Collingham from his return until 1926. Between 1926 and 1927 the family moved to Woodhall Lane, Linton, were they remained from 1927 until 1933. Sometime after that they left the Wetherby district.
William died in 1971.
1911 Census. The National Archives. Class RG14 Piece 26999
First World War Medal Index Cards. The National Archives (WO372).
First World War Medal Index Rolls. The National Archives (WO329).
First World War British Army Service Records. The National Archives (WO363).
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