William Arthur Pechey

William is not on the War Memorial or the Absent Voters List but I have included him as Saxlingham Nethergate was his home prior to the start of the war.

William was born 14 March 1883 in North Lopham, Norfolk.

His parents were Frederick and Clara Pechey. 

In 1891 Frederick and Clara ran a grocery and drapery shop in the Street in Saxlingham Nethergate.

William had four siblings;

Mary born 1882

Thomas born 1884

Henry born 8 August 1888

Norman born 17 December 1894

In 1901William was working as a grocer’s assistant and was boarding with Charles Dawson in Great Ryburgh, Norfolk

In 1911 William was helping his father in the shop in Saxlingham Nethergate, Mary was a school teacher, Thomas was a hairdresser and Henry was a warehouseman in London.

Saxlingham Shop at the beginning of 20th Century

William enlisted in the Norfolk Regiment on 30 September 1914, his service numbers were 3110, and 290178. He transferred later to the Essex Regiment, his service number was 204251.

He gave his occupation as a commercial traveller for Lever Bros. Ltd, Port Sunlight, Cheshire. He would have travelled around an area selling their products to shops. Lever Bros. Ltd manufactured washing products and soaps. They were well known for their Sunlight soap, used for washing clothes. They had developed a method of making soap using palm oil, other vegetable oils and glycerine instead of tallow. They cut it into bars and wrapped it. Previously  soap had been in long uncut bars and unwrapped.

His service records have not survived but it is known that he did not serve abroad. His pension records state that during training and forced marches he suffered from shortness of breath. He was therefore considered not suitable for active service.

On 8 May 1916 he married Hilda Isabel Frances Beales, born 22 September 1890. She came from Norwich.

In 1917 he was in Middlewich assisting with breaking up railway trucks when he slipped over and fell onto a piece of iron. As a result of this he broke some ribs. These continued to cause him problems and from 10 January to 13 February 1918 he was in Warley Military Hospital.

He received a pension as a result of his injuries. It is thought that after his marriage he moved to live at Seaton House, Hindolveston, East Dereham, Norfolk as he is on the Absent Voters list in 1919 for that village. He gave that address when he left the army on 22 April 1919.

He had a son Jack Ronald Pechey born 5 April 1920 in Alysham, Norfolk

In 1939 William was living at 375 Tamworth Road, Long Eaton, Derbyshire. He was a commercial traveller. Also living at the address was Jack who was working as a capstan lathe hand. His wife, Hilda, was a patient in the General Hospital, Park Road, Nottingham. She died on 3 September 1941.

William continued to live at the same address. He died 21 February 1967 in the Kingsway Hospital, Derby.

(His brothers Henry and Thomas were also employed in retail. Henry was a commercial traveller for drapery and Thomas had a newspaper shop in Wells next Sea)



England & Wales, Birth, marriage, death index 1837-2005

UK Census Collection

British Army Medal Roll Index cards, 1914-1920

1939 Register- www.findmypast.co.uk

Norfolk Electoral Rolls- (Absent Voters Lists 1918-1920)

British Army Pension Records

England & Wales, National Probate Calendar 1858-1995

Wikipedia , Information about Sunlight Soap

Postcard of Saxlingham Shop . Postcard Collection- Jan Fox

If anyone has any photographs or information about this person, please contact me. Email jan@janmfox.co.uk