Private Wilfred Wake

Private Wilfred Hereward Wake, ” C ” Coy. 1st/7th ( Territorial ) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. He was killed in Belgium on 26th April 1915, aged 20. He was the son of Richard and Mary Wake of The Gatehouse, Bamburgh Castle, Bamburgh and is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Flanders, Belgium. It wasa reported that a ” Jack Johnson” shell fell on ” C” Coy. whilst they were digging trenches and killed both Wilfred and his brother Thomas ( see below ).The Battalion had only been on active service since 21st April when it landed in France. On 26th April it was tasked to support a Canadian attack on the village of St Julien in Flanders where it was caught in the open and suffered over 400 casualties before cover could be found. Some baptism of fire ! Before the War he had been employed as a tailor with Messrs. Coxon of Seahouses. He was a keen member of the St Aidan’s Church Choir and was a member of the St Aidan’s Guild of Bell Ringers. Like his brother he was a keen cricketer and footballer. The photograph shows the impressive Memorial raised to commemorate the 50th ( Northumbrian ) Division of which the Battalion was part until February 1918 when it was transferred to the 42nd ( East Lancashire ) Division as the Pioneer Battalion.  It was erected near the village of Weiltje in the Ypres Salient where the Division had fought its first action on 26th April 1915 only days after landing on the Continent.

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