"MIDDLESEX CHRONICLE GARRISON NEWS
The Yeoman of the Guard have lost one of their most respected comrades in the person of Yeoman W.H.Williams who died last week at Hounslow.
Formerly Quartermaster-Sergeant of the 17th Lancers, Mr. Williams had seen much service and wore the medal for S. Africa with clasp and the good conduct and Jubilee medals. His unfailing courtesy made him a great favourite with all classes with whom he was brought in contact and he was in every way a splendid specimen of an English veteran. He wasburied on Saturday with military honours at Heeton churchyard.
Death of a Yeoman of the Guard.
To the deep grief of all who knew him, Mr. William Henry Williams of No. 6 The Lawn, Bath Road, died on the 17th inst. after a long and painful illness at the comparatively early age of 51 years. The deceased who at the time of his death was in the honourable position as a Yeoman of the Guard in Her Majesty’s Body Guard, formerly served in the l7th, DCO Lancers in which Corp. he gained much distinction both on account of his high personal qualities and also by reason of the conscientious manner in which he discharged the responsible duties with which he was entrusted. He joined the ‘Death or Glory’ Boys when the regiment was stationed at Aldershot in 1866 and he served in the distinguished corps for no less a period than 25 years, 319 days, and eleven of these years he spent in foreign service.
He took part in the South African campaign of 1879 and was present at the fall of Ulundi, the stronghold of the Zulus and for this he received the war medal and clasp. That he was a man of striking mental attainments is shown by the fact that after only five months service, his officers recognised his usefulness by making him Pay-Sergeant of the regiment and in 1877 he was promoted to the still more important rank of Quartermaster-Sergeant, which position he held until his discharge on the 22 July 1892. He left the famous 17th not only with an exemplary record but also with that best of all military decoration the medal for long service and meritorious conduct. He then had the further honour of being incorporated in the ‘Royal Bodyguard Of the Yeoman of the Guard’ and with his colleagues in that distinguished corps, received in 1897 the Diamond Jubilee Medal from the hands of Her Majesty the Queen. After leaving the Lancers Mr. Williams settled at Hounslow and became one of the foremost among the organisers of the annual dinner in Celebration of the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava in which memorable engagement the 17th bore so noble a part.
During the period that he resided amongst us, the late Mr. Williams had endeared himself to a large circle of friends. His gentlemanly bearing and unvarying courtesy coupled with a bright intellectuality and a genial companionableness always commanded the affectionate regard and esteem of all with whom he was brought into contact and thus it is that such deep regret is expressed on all sides for the loss the community sustained.
The funeral of the gallant Yeoman took place on Saturday afternoon and as he was at the time of his death still in the active service of his Queen and country, the obsequies were accompanied with full military honours. The 1st Royal Dragoons furnished the necessary adjuncts for the display whilst the rest of the arrangements ware carried out in his usual admirable manner by Mr. Woods of this town in spite of very stormy weather that prevailed, a large crowd assembled in the Back road to see the funeral procession start and at the graveside it was estimated that between four and five hundred were present, most of whom were well known residents of the district or old servicemen to show their last tribute of respect to the memory of the deceased. The cortege was formed at about half past two in the following order:
A firing party drawn from the Royal Dragoons under charge Sergeant Vermerlin and under command of Lieutenant Pilkington the band of the Royal Dragoons in full dress uniform under bandmaster Gladman, gun carriage drawn by two horses in charge of mounted escort of Dragoons. Upon the carriage was placed a polished oak coffin upon which was inscribed: -
William Henry Williams
Died 17th January 1899
Aged 51 years
This was covered with the union jack and surmounted with hat and sword of a Yeoman Guard, the three medals of the deceased mounted on velvet and a large number of beautiful wreaths, three mourning coaches followed conveying following mourners: -
Mr. W H Williams junior. Miss Williams. Miss G Williams and Miss Williams, daughters. Messrs. G Gibbons. Mr Gibbons. F Southwood, nephews; Mr M Southwood, brother-in-Law, Mr Garlinge, robe keeper of the Yeoman of the Guard. Mr Charles Kennedy, ex-regimental Sergeant Major 17th lancers, Mr E Manning, Mr W Garlinge, ex non-commissioned officers of the same. Whilst after the mourning carriages came a private carriage conveying Mr Bowen formerly of the 17th and several members of his family. Mr Hanson and Mr Sam Earnshaw and the 17th Lancers represented Yeomen of the Guard by squadron Sergeant Major Garlinge whilst the different regiments in garrison manifested their sympathy through the presence of Regimenta1-Sergeant Major Parsons and a number of the non-commissioned officers of the Royal Dragoons. Quarter-Master-Sergeant Maule, of the Royal Fusiliers and Quarter Master Sergeant Rigby of the DCO Middlesex Regiment all of whom followed on foot. The procession started shortly before 3 o’clock and went by way of the Lampton Road into Heeton, as the band played Chopin’s, fine funeral march a solemn dirge by Beethoven and finally as Heeton church was approached, Handel’s Dead March. As the solemn strains were continued, the coffin was borne into the church on the shoulders of a number of the, Royal Dragoons through the ranks of the members of the firing party who faced inward leaning on their arms reserved. At the Lichgate the body was met by the Rev. A. E. Bullock chaplain to the troops,who recited the opening sentences of the burial office as the procession of mourners and troops filed after the coffin to the sacred building. The chaplain read the 59th psalm and the appointed lessen followed by usual prayers. After this the cortege reformed and proceeded to the prepared grave in the new portion of the churchyard where the body was duly committed to its last resting place in the presence of several hundred spectators. The accustomed “three volleys” were fired over the grave as the band played the National Anthem and thus ended one of the most impressive funeral functions that has ever been witnessed in the district. The many floral tokens, which were deposited on the grave, included a beautiful floral cross of choice white flowers from Colonel Neele and the Officers of the 17th DCO Lancers, a large and handsome wreath from ‘Old comrades and Members of the Dinner Committee; W H Bond, Whiting, C.Applegate, G. W Paul, W Rees, A. Cook, S. D Temberley, F. Reed; a floral figure eight from old Comrades of the 17th as a token of friendship, wreath from the Sergeants Mess 1st Royal Dragoons. There was also a magnificent floral harp from the widow and family and tributes were also sent by Ex-R.S.M. Kennedy and Mrs Kennedy, Tom, Arthur and Dick Woods with deepest sympathy and regrets; Mr. Thomas Wyse Foster, ‘A soldier’s son’s token of respect’; Mr. Fred Gibbins and Miss Matthews, Miss Elizabeth Smith (Sister-in-law), Mr. & Mrs. Bowen; Miss Garlinge.; Mr.F Southwood Senior; Mr. Frank Southwood and Miss Hetty Southwood; Mr. John Gibbons, Junior Mr. &Mrs. Garlinge; Mr. & Mrs. Charlie Gibbons etc. etc.
We are asked to publish the following letter of acknowledgment: -
On behalf of the widow and family of the late Mr. W. H. Williams, formerly Quarter Master Sergeant 17th Lancers I beg to thank the 1st Royal Dragoons for their good feeling in giving him the grand funeral they did. I also thank them in the name of my old regiment for what they have done for a good and deserving comrade. Although the late Mr. Williams was not personally known to many now serving in the Royals he was well known by the older hands. There was always a very friendly feeling between the two regiments which I am glad to see still exists. I also beg to thank Mr. T. Woods Junior for the admirable manner in which everything was carried out - I am sir, -:
Late Sergeant 17th Lancers."