FISON, William James

No.40318, Private, William James FISON
Aged 28

2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment
formerly No. 47754, Suffolk Regiment
Died of his Wounds in Captivity on Tuesday, 27th March 1918

William James Fison was born in Bottisham Lode in 1889 (Newmarket Q3-1889 3B:526), son of Jonathan Carter and Susan Maria FISON (née HANCOCK).

1891 census...Aged 1, he was at Station Farm, Heath Road, Bottisham Lode with his father Jonathan FISON [34] farmer, born Bottisham Lode; his mother Susan M. [31] born Swaffham Bulbeck and sister Florence M. [3] born Bottisham Lode

1901 census...Aged 11, he was still at Station Farm, Lode with his parents, sisters Florence M and Susan M [4] and brothers Carter [8] and Samuel C. [1]. The new siblings were all born in Lode.

1911 census...Aged 21, working on the farm at Station Road, Lode with his parent, sisters Florence Mary and Susan May; brothers Carter (working on farm) Samuel Charles and Jonathan Carter [9] born in Lode.

He enlisted in Cambridge.
He would have attested late 1915, early 1916 under the Derby Scheme. Mobilised 26-2-1917 and posted to 3rd Battalion Suffolk Regiment No. 45xxx, 27-2-1917.
To France and Flanders, 18-5-1917, Arrived at 15 I.B.D., 18-5-1917. Posted to 2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, No. 40318, 10-6-1917. and joined them on 11-6-1917.
Reported missing on casualty lists 23rd May 1918. The International Red Cross records show he died of gunshot wounds at a German Field Hospital at 6 am on 27th March NOT 28th as CWGC ( this appears to be a transcription error by CWGC as their original docs show 27th.). He was buried at 4 pm on 29th March in the military cemetery at Monchy Lagache grave N:6. This grave was later concentrated to Ennemain.

A last gasp attempt by the Germans began the Battle of Arras (III) at the end of March 1918.
The entry in the battalion's war diary for the 25th March explains that the battalion was arranged so that "D" company formed a defensive flank to the Sherwoods and the line to the north, but it was unavoidable that a large gap should exist between "C" and "D" companies. The 4th Yorks were put into the gap but it was too late to deter a determined attack by the Germans forcing the battalion to withdraw a considerable distance. "A" company held their position but became surrounded and had to fight their way out. This action enabled the whole line to withdraw to the railway embankment near Marchelepot. The battalion lost 31 men during this battle. On the 26th the order was given to retire to defend Rosieres. The enemy pursued resulting in the loss of 10 men. The following day the enemy attacked to the right exposing the flank. A small party was formed and issued a counter attack re-establishing the line and driving back the enemy beyond their original position. A further 8 casualties were reported this day. The Germans launched an overwhelming attack on the 28th this time to the left of the Brigade, causing a complicated withdrawal and change of direction towards Caix. The enemy advanced very rapidly and practically surrounded the high ground that the Brigade now occupied. They found a way out of this tight spot and marched 16 miles to Jumel. 7 men lost on 28th. (the 7th Battalion also lost 6 men). William Pammenter died in the same here

William's original burial place

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

William Fison is buried in Ennemain Communal Cemetery Extension, grave 2:A:10
and also commemorated in Lode

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details