- Queens South Africa Medal with clasps Cape Colony and South Africa 1902 to 337 Tpr. W. Green, Kimb. H.
Bill Green was born in Nottingham, England in October 1876, the son of William Green, a Coal Dealer by profession, and his wife Fanny. The first sign we have of him comes courtesy of the 1881 England census where a 4-year-old Bill was at home at 2 Martha Terrace in Nottingham along with his parents and siblings Emma (6) and Herbert (2). Also in residence was Frederick Selby, Mr. Green’s brother-in-law who was a 26-year-old Professional Soldier.
Bill Green in 1949, 3 years before his death
Ten years later, at the time of the 1891 England census, Green was a 14-year-old boy and already at “work in a factory”. His father had acquired employment at a Cotton Doubling Mill where he was the Overlooker. There was no respite for working class Victorian children and sister Emma worked alongside Bill. There had been a late addition to the family in the form of 3-year-old Annie. The family had moved to 20 Victoria Street in Mansfield, Nottingham.
The Anglo Boer War, a conflict between the two Boer Republics in South Africa and Great Britain, erupted onto the world stage in October 1899 when Bill was 23 years of age but there would appear to have been no sense of urgency on his side to join the throngs who were wanting to enlist to “take the fight to the Boer”. In fact, the 1901 England census showed that he was still very much at home at 3 Portland Villas in Victoria Street, Nottingham. The family situation was little altered with only Herbert missing from the fold. William was now a Railway Engine Stoker by occupation.
This was also the time in which to alter his domestic arrangements – on 16 October 1901 he took for his wife Lucy Ellen Gunthorpe in the General Baptist Chapel in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.
Perhaps the spark of patriotism finally took flame within Green, having made his way to South Africa he attested, on 9 May 1902, with the Kimberley Horse. His attestation paper confirmed that he was 25 years old and a Platelayer by occupation. It also revealed that he was 5 feet 6 inches in height and weighed 160 pounds. He also had a “strawberry on his left leg” by way of distinguishing features. Initially assigned no. 337 he gave as his next of kin his mother, Mrs. Green of 8 Hawthorn Terrace Hawthorn Street, Meadows, Nottingham.
The Kimberley Regiment, the Cape Police and the Diamond Field Horse were amalgamated on 18 October 1899 to form the Kimberley Mounted Corps, which was re-organised in March 1900 and re-named the Kimberley Light Horse. In March 1902, this regiment amalgamated with Ashburner's Light Horse and Dennison's Scouts to form the Griqualand West Light Horse, which on 24 April 1902 was re-named the Kimberley Horse. It was into this almost composite regiment that Green stepped, unbeknown to him, with only 3 weeks of the war remaining.
Despite having seen almost no action to speak of Green was awarded the Queens Medal with Cape Colony clasp as well as the South Africa 1902 clasp, issued off the roll dated Cape Town 10 May 1905.
Returning to England he settled down to married life, fathering a number of children over the years. The 1911 England census revealed that he was a Railway Fireman living with his wife and two children, aged 7 and 4, at 14 Garfield Terrace, Mansfield.
William Green passed away in Mansfield on 6 June 1952 at the age of 76.