The following article was printed in the Loughborough Echo on 12 May 2017. It provides a full description of the circumstances in which William, a Deddington man, died. His name was not placed on the original War Memorial erected in 1922 nor were 19 other soldiers whose names  were discovered in research recorded in a locally published book A Parish at War in which brief descriptions of when and where they died can be found. William is on p.33. (Rob Forsyth Editor)

Making the ultimate sacrifice...

Here, with the help of Marigold Cleeve and a small number of researchers from the Loughborough Carillon Tower and War Memorial Museum, we continue to look back at those who made the ultimate sacrifice in April 1917.

William Henry Valentine Tustain was born in 1883 in Hempton, Oxfordshire, the son of George Tustain and wife Sarah. William had two brothers and three sisters.

William’s father was a baker and carrier in 1881 and the Tustain family lived in Kempton Road, Barford, but by 1891 George Tustain was landlord of the Red Lion Inn, Deddington, Oxfordshire.

George Tustain died in 1893, aged 45, and William’s mother moved to 40 Forest Road, Loughborough, with three of her children including William.

William joined the Emmanuel Church Lads Brigade and by 1901 was a blacksmith’s labourer.

His mother later moved to 9 Albert Place.

William enlisted with the Leicestershire Regiment probably in late 1914 or early 1915.

He was posted to the 7th (Service) Battalion as Private 20536 and sent to France on December 29, 1915.

At that point, the 7th Leicesters were involved in various trench warfare activities in the Arras area.

The freezing weather of January 1916 made life doubly difficult and in February they were required to take over extra trench areas vacated by the French who were concentrating every effort at the Battle of Verdun.

These new trenches eventually included those in front of Bailleulment to the left of existing positions and to the right as far as far as Hannescamps.

At the same time, the enemy redoubled their efforts in shelling Berles-au-Bois.

In April they were moved to the Doullens area and formed working parties to cut down trees and prepare brushwood for the front line as well as repairing the support trenches in the area.

In May they worked on building a new railway line between Le Bret and Bienvillers-au-Bois.

Towards the end of May the battalion returned to the trenches in the Bienvillers-Bailleulmont area.

At the beginning of July the 7th Battalion moved on to the Somme.

They were at Fricourt on July 13 and at Mametz Wood and in the attack on Bazentin-le-Petit on July 14.

After the Bazentin Ridge battle, the battalion marched away from the Somme and on August 6 they took over a section of battered trenches at Agnez-lès-Duisans, near Arras.

After ten days training, the battalion entrained for the Somme on September 12 and bivouacked outside Montauban.

On September 25 they fought bravely and successfully at Gueudecourt, in an action which was part of the Battle of Morval.

On October 4 the battalion entrained once more for the north and the countryside of Loos, taking over positions opposite the Hohenzollern Redoubt.

Back in the trenches, in March 1917 the battalion experienced what one soldier called ‘the bombardment of our lives’.

On April 4 the battalion went into the front line at St. Leger Croisilles, with breaks at Moyenneville.

From April 15-23 the battalion was in training at Bailleulval before returning to the trenches at St. Leger Croisilles.

William was killed in action on April 28, 1917, the first day of the Battle of Arleux. He was 33.

He is commemorated on Bay 5 of the Arras Memorial.

Read the original article here