William Chesterman was born in Cheriton, Kent in c1888 and was the son of William Chesterman and Daisy Ellen (Russell) of Mill House, Lydd, Kent.
His memorial in Lydd Churchyard is inscribed William C Chesterman and known as “Charlie.”
William senior and Daisy Ellen married in Islington, London in 1884 but oddly William could not be located in any census after that date nor in the national deaths index.
In the 1891 census Daisy and William junior were listed as visitors at Daisy’s parent’s home, John and Caroline Russell, at 2, Mill Cottages, Lydd, Kent. Daisy was married, aged 23, and William was aged 5.
In 1901 Daisy and William were still living with her parents but this time it was at Mill House, Lydd, Kent. Daisy was listed as “single” and a self employed laundress and William was a grocer’s assistant. They were all still there in the 1911 census and Daisy was still listed as unmarried, employed as an assistant laundress, and William was unmarried and employed as a grocer.
Very soon after the 1911 census was taken, in early April, he moved to Flint where he was employed as the manager of the Flint Branch of the Star Tea Company. He also became involved with the Flint Wednesday Football Club as a member of the committee as the photo below reveals.
William junior never married and enlisted in the army at Lydd, Kent and with his regiment was posted to France on 31st August, 1915.
His death was reported in the County Herald on 14th July, 1916 and is as follows:
ANOTHER DEATH ON THE BATTLEFIELD
FORMER EMPLOYEE AT FLINT
The “Kentish Express and Ashford News contains the following, which is of special interest to a number of residents in the Borough of Flint and district:- Sergt Major W Chesterman, Queen’s West Surrey Regiment, who was killed in action in France, was the son of Mrs Chesterman, of Lydd, and grandson of Mr John Russell, Mill House, Lydd. For many years he was in the employment of Messrs A and W T White, going from there to some stores in Sierra Leone. He returned home after two years’ service, but went back under the same Company after his holiday had expired. He was with them about another year and a half until the war broke out, when he at once came home and joined up in ‘The Queens.’ He was of splendid physique, and speedily got promotion, being raised to Sergeant Major just before his death. Much sympathy is felt with his mother and other members of the family. Writing to deceased’s mother Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant Kerswell says:- “You have no doubt by this time had the sad news that your son, Sergeant Major Chesterman, has given his fine life for his country. We who have known him less than two years feel the loss very much indeed, and can therefore realise to some extent the feelings of you, his mother. Your son was my platoon sergeant when I first enlisted. Subsequently, I became his Company Q.M.S., and we became real comrades, and at a later date we had between us the management of the sergeants’ mess. Out here we continued our friendly attitude, although often separated, and his loss is to me, as to others, a personal blow. I do not think he suffered at all. His body was brought to the dressing station, and we laid him to rest in the soldiers’ churchyard here the following morning. Had the Battalion not been in the trenches a large number of the men who respected him would have been present. As it was, there were representatives of the three Companies he had been attached to. His body was covered with the Union Jack, and the beautiful Church of England burial service was read in an impressive manner by the Church of England clergyman, the Rev —- Steel attached to this Brigade. With the passing of Sergeant Major Chesterman we have lost a man in the best sense of the word. From the Regimental Sergeant Major down to the latest recruit of his Company his death is deplored. He gave his very best – his fine, manly life.” Deceased some few years ago was employed as the manager of the Flint Branch of the Star Tea Co.
He is also remembered in Lydd Parish Church and Churchyard.
His mother, Daisy Ellen, who was born in Tenterden, Kent, died in Folkestone, Kent in 1952 aged 84.