Service Number 24431
Battalion 3/31st Battalion
Regiment Army Pay Corps
On the 9th December 1915, William Heaps attested for Military Service. He gave his place of birth as Linton.
William's military service was straightforward - after attestation he was placed in the Army Reserve until he was mobilised about two and a half years later on the 26th June 1918. The following day, William was posted as a private to the 3rd Battalion of the West Riding Regiment.
It is likely that William undertook some basic training with the West Riding Regiment, but on the 23rd November 1918, after the war had ended, William was "permanently and compulsorily transferred as a private to the 3/31 Army Pay Corps". It is likely that his basic training was not complete in time for him to serve in a fighting role and that his services were retained to help with pay for men who were being discharged at the end of the war. William remained in the Army Pay Corps until demobilization on the 25th February 1919.
Compared with this straightforward military service, trying to identify William's family and life before the war has been difficult.
On enlistment, in December 1915, William was noted as being aged 37 years and 5 months, suggesting his birthday might be in July 1878, but no records can be found of a William Heaps born in Linton in 1878.
However a William Heaps, born in 1878 in Wetherby, does appear, living at 74 Cross Flats Place in Beeston, Leeds in the 1911 census - an address which matches that in the service records. This census record shows William married to Mary Elizabeth Heaps, that the marriage had taken place in 1906/7 and that the couple had had one child, who had unfortunately died before the 1911 census.
The record of this marriage has been found - on the 9th May 1906 at the Independent Chapel, in Marshall Street, Holbeck, Leeds. The record shows that William Manners Heaps (a bachelor aged 26) married Mary Elizabeth Crispin (a 27 year old spinster). This record is the first to show a middle name for William, and it also identifies William's father as Matthew Heaps. At the time of the wedding, William was living at 2 Beechwood View, Leeds.
Another search of the 1911 census for William's father finds a Matthew Heaps, born in 1854 in Clapham, Yorkshire, living in Beechwood Avenue, Leeds with his wife Priscilla (born in Linton in 1857) and a son, Leonard. Tracking the movements of Matthew Heaps through the 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 censuses shows him as single and living in Clapham in 1861 and 1871, single and living in Headingley in 1881 and married and in Headingley in 1891. In 1901, Mathew and Priscilla are living in Potter Newton. A search for Matthew and Priscilla's marriage record show that, in the fourth quarter of 1887, Matthew Heaps married Priscilla Manners.
These census records also allow us to find Matthew and Priscilla's children and the apparently ever-changing name of William Heaps.
The 1901 census of Potter Newton reveals Matthew and Priscilla living with their children Annie (born in Leeds in 1889) and Leonard (born in Leeds in 1892) as well as Matthew's step son William Manners (born in Wetherby around 1880). Going back to the 1891 census of Headingley cum Burley, Matthew and Priscilla are found with their daughter Annie and stepson William H Manners. Finally, returning to the 1881 census of Linton, we find William Hutchinson Manners living in Linton with his widowed grandmother, Mary Manners. William Hutchinson Manner's birth was registered in the third quarter of 1879 in the Wetherby District.
It therefore appears that William Heaps who attested in 1915, was actually born as William Hutchinson Manners and later took the name Heaps.
William Heaps died in Pontefract in 1965.
Biography last updated 19 January 2020 14:00:05.
1911 Census. The National Archives. Class RG14 Piece 27181
First World War British Army Service Records. The National Archives (WO363).
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