12668 L/Cpl William Riley, MM.


7th Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment. Awarded the M.M., in the London Gazette of 13 March 1918. Riley was a native of Wigan, Lancashire.


The Burnley Express of 12 January 1918 reported:-

MILITARY MEDALIST KILLED.

Mrs. Abbottt, of 25, Hirst Street, Burnley, has just been officially notified of the death, on 21 December 1917, of her brother, Lance-Corporal William Riley (12668), East Lancashires, who a few days previously distinguished himself on the field, for which he has been awarded the Military Medal, but died without knowledge of his achievement. Lance-Corporal Riley was 36 years of age and a widower with two children. He was formerly a miner at Towneley Pit. It was in September, 1914, that he answered the call for men, and received his training at Tidworth, and in July 1915 was drafted to France, and, sad to relate, his wife died the same day. Sapper Thomas Riley, brother of the deceased soldier, was awarded the Military Medal for distinguished service on 1 July 1916, and on this day by singular coincidence, his brother in law, Private Nathan Abbott, made the supreme sacrifice. A younger brother, Private Patrick Riley, is with the R.A.M.C., in Salonika. Hirst Street has been very hard hit by the war, as no fewer than fourteen former residents have sacrificed their lives in their country's interest. A soldier writer stated in a letter:- "It is with great sorrow I write to you to inform you of the death of your brother, Private Riley, on Saturday, 21 December, at about 10.30 a.m. He was sniped whilst at the head of a sap, and died two minutes after he was hit. I might say that his death was felt by all the battalion, and the short time that I had known him he has proved to be a good and reliable N.C.O., and he is greatly missed by the men of his company. I might add that it has just come through that he has been awarded the Military Medal for good work on a patrol a few days before his death. It is a great pity, and all the company wish me to express to you their great sorrow."


"Soldiers Died in the Great War" shows:- Killed in action 21 December 1917. Born Wigan, Lancashire, enlisted Burnley, Lancashire.

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