Private, G/15455, 12th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment
Killed in Action on 17 October 1916 at Schwaben Redoubt
near Thiepval, Somme. He was aged 28.
Buried in Mill Road Cemetery, No.2, Thiepval: Grave XIX. D. 7

William Killick

Private William Killick, G/15455, 12th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, was born at Furnace Farm, Hartfield, Sussex, in 1888. He was the son of Amos (1855-1925) and Mary Mancell (née Hemsley) Killick (1869-1924). The ancestors of the Killick family had connections with Hartfield and neighbouring Ashdown Forest parishes dating back to at least 1558 — see their family tree. In the 1911 census William was listed as a gardener at The Bothy, Highfield in Shoreham, Kent. His father Amos was listed as a labourer on a farm in the same census, while William's brothers, Amos and Percy, were listed as scholars. He also had sisters, Alice and Ivy, who were aged 20 and 15 in 1911. Alice was a cook in Beckenham, Kent, in 1911; she was single at this time. Ivy was a domestic nursemaid at Hordore House, Hartfield in 1911 at the house of Nicholas Wright, who was listed as a farmer.

William was still living at Furnace Farm, Hartfield, when he enlisted at Maidstone, Kent, in the 12th Battalion, the Royal Sussex Regiment. We do not have a date of enlistment but it is likely to be the summer of 1915 while the 12th Battalion was based there at Detling Camp.

William was killed in action during the Battle of the Ancre Heights, Battle of the Somme, on 17 October 1916 at Schwaben Redoubt, near Thiepval, Somme, France. He was aged 28.

Newspaper report of death
Click to enlarge

The 12th Battalion took up their position at the Schwaben Redoubt on 16 October 1916 at 3am. They relieved the 118th Infantry under a heavy barrage in full darkness. While establishing their position they were attacked by flamethrowers. On the morning of the 16th the Germans launched a bombing attack which was repulsed. They launched an additional attack on the morning of 17 October which was followed by a heavy bombardment at 3pm. One officer and four other ranks were killed from 15-17 October in this battle and it is likely that William Killick was one of them.

British aerial photograph of German trenches north of Thiepval.
The Schwaben Redoubt is the network of trenches in the upper right of the photograph.
(Click to enlarge)

Schwaben Redoubt, formed from a roughly triangular shaped set of mutually supporting trench systems, was perhaps the most formidable in the German second line. An extensive arrangement of well-constructed field-works — effectively a battlefield fortress or 'redoubt' — it possessed all-round defences and was linked by a maze of subterranean passages and interconnecting tunnels. The position included medical facilities and a telephone exchange.

Mill Road Cemetery, Thiepval
(Click to enlarge)

William Killick's Graves Registration Report Form
(Click to enlarge)

Private William Killick is buried in Mill Road Cemetery, Thiepval: Grave XIX. D. 7. He is listed on the war memorials at Coleman's Hatch and Hartfield.

Carol O'Driscoll