William Colley born 1875 in Askern, son of Thomas and Emma nee Speight. Thomas was a Woodsman and worked on the Campsmount and Burghwallis Hall Estates. William was a Blacksmith by trade having served a five year apprenticeship with Mr Anelay of Balne. William joined the Royal Engineers in July 1896 as a Sapper. In 1902 he was promoted to Lance Corporal and in 1904 extended his service, being discharged in July 1912. During this time he served in Halifax Nova Scotia between October 1897 and March 1899 and Victoria, British Columbia between March 1899 and January 1904. In 1904 giving his next of kin as his parents, living at Albert Terrace, Askern.
At the start of the First World War William joined the K.O.Y.L.I. 1/5th Batln. No. 2455 Lance Corporal. Sadly William was killed in action on 25th May, 1915 and is buried in White City Cemetery, Bois-Grenier, France.
William never married.
The news of his death was received by his widowed sister Eliza Anne Mitchell living at 32 Don Street, Doncaster with her children and widowed father Thomas, by Pte John Andrews of the same regiment as William, saying William had been killed by being shot in the head, was killed instantaneously, had not suffered and would be missed by his men.
During the years between being discharged in 1912 and joining up in 1914 William had been employed at the Electricity Dept. of Doncaster Corporation, the Gas Works and the Plant Works.
Eliza’s son Frederick Mitchell, at this time in 1915 was training in Kent with the Canadian force, as he had emigrated to Canada two years previously.
William’s nephew William Harold Good (his sister’s Martha Elizabeth Good’s son) was also serving with the K.O.Y.L.I. (see William Harold Good’s story)