Private William John Kilsby


William John Kilsby was born on 4 July 1893 in East Ham, London, the first of eight children of coachman and groom William John Kilsby and his wife Jeanette Mary Eliza (née Wardle). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 97 Ponsonby Building, Edwards Street, London SE, with his widowed father and one of his six surviving siblings, and working as a printer.

Kilsby enlisted in the Hussars of the Line at London on 24 October 1913 (No.10589). Posted to the 3rd (King's Own) Hussars, he embarked for France with his regiment on 15 August 1914.

In September 1917, as part of a general reduction in the size of the cavalry, a number of men of the 3rd Hussars left the regiment. The war diary of 15 September records that:

56 other ranks of the regiment proceeded by rail from Hesdin to the Rouen Base for transfer to Infantry on the reduction of the 100 dismounted men allowed to Cavalry regiments.

Between twenty-eight and thirty-four of these men, including Kilsby, were transferred to the North Irish Horse, joining the 1st (NIH) Regiment in the field on 11 October. Kilsby was issued regimental number 2726.

In February-March 1918 the regiment, which had been serving as corps cavalry to V Corps, was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit. This meant a 25 per cent reduction in the regiment's numbers. Kilsby was one of those transferred out, joining the 8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars on 4 April. Returning to the UK on 27 March 1919, he was posted to the 4th (Queen's Own) Hussars on 26 September.

Transferred to Section B, Army Reserve, on 23 October 1920, Kilsby was briefly recalled to duty with the Hussars between April and June 1921. Around this time he was issued a new army number, 532301. He was discharged on the expiration of his sixteen years' service on 23 October 1929. His military character was recorded as 'very good'.

In late 1923 Kilsby married Daisy Julia Carr. At the time of the 1939 Register they were living at 151 Kingston Road, Epson and Ewell, Surrey, William working as a hospital porter. He died in Sutton in 1971.