William James Aldis

William was a bell ringer at St. Mary’s Church, Saxlingham Nethergate. In 1908 he is in a photograph taken outside the church when two new bells were being installed. He was also in the first peal that was rung on the new bells by a local band. He came from a ringing family and both his father Jack and his brother Jack junior were ringers.

William is lying on the ground near the bell on the right

William and his father and brother were part of the first peal band of local ringers to ring on the new bells on 13 October 1910

Back row left to right,; William Aldis, John Wilson, John Aldis,senior, Richard Baldry:
Front Row left to right, John Aldis, junior, Alfred Funnell, George Points, William Steele

William was born in Woodton, Norfolk on 26 July 1891 to Louisa and Jonathan ( known as Jack) Aldis. He was baptised William James Aldis in Woodton Church on 13 September 1891. He had two brothers and two sisters.

Ruby Claribel Aldis born 1885 died in 1910 from tuberculosis

Jonathan ( known as Jack junior) Aldis born 1887

Grace Aldis born 1898

Laura Aldis born 1904

In 1901 the family were living in The Street, Woodton but moved to live in Saxlingham between 1904 and 1908. Jack Aldis was a blacksmith.

William worked as a groom and in 1911 was employed by retired Captain William H Long who lived at Hill House, Saxlingham Nethergate. Wililam lived at Hill House not with his parents.

Aldis Family. Back row from left; Grace, Jack junior, Willam, Laura, seated Jack and Lousia

Prior to joining the Army Service Corps in Whitehall on 19th January 1915, William worked as a chauffeur for Captain Long who had moved from Saxlingham to live at Bracondale Woods, Norwich .Bracondale Woods was a large, 21 roomed house on the outskirts of Norwich. William gave his home address as Saxlingham Nethergate.

He was aged 24 years old and 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighed 120lbs. His service number was M2/34208 and he was a motor driver in the Mechanical Transport Brigade. He worked some of the time as a motor lorry driver and sometime as a car driver.

William is standing at the back. The names of the seated soldiers is not known

He left Avonmouth on 29th January 1915 and arrived in Rouen on 2 February 1915. He served in France till 12 August 1919.

On 14th March 1919 he was admitted to 46th Stationary Hospital at Etaples with influenza and stayed there until 3 April when he returned to duty. He came back to England in August and was discharged from the army in September 1919.

On 9 November 1921 he married Daisy Victoria Durrant in Felbrigg, Norfolk. At the time of his marriage William was working as a chauffeur in Virginia Water, Surrey. Daisy was 21 years old when she married  and came from Fellbrigg.

In 1922 they were living at The Lodge, Merlewood in Virginia Water. It is assumed that they were living in a tied house belonging to Merlewood and that he was a chauffeur for the family living there.

Merlewood is a large Victorian house, which had 25 rooms in 1911 and  which is now used as a care home.

He died in 1923 aged 31 years in Norfolk. It is not known what he died from.

After his death Daisy continued to live in Virginia Water. In 1939 she was employed by Albert King for domestic duties and lived at Roselea, Hurst Road, Virginia Water.

 She died in St. Mary Abbots Hospital in 1950. Her address was given as 61 Victoria Road, Kensington.


UK Census Collection

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

British Army Medal Roll Index cards, 1914-1920

British Army WW1 Service Records

Photographs in St. Mary’s Church, Saxlingham Nethergate ringing chamber.


1939 Register- www.findmypast.co.uk

Norfolk Electoral Rolls-Southern Division Saxlingham Nethergate and Thorpe, (Absent Voters Lists 1918-1920) also Bracondale, Norwich 1914, 1915.

Electoral Rolls, Virginia Waters, Egham, Surrey, 1922

Norfolk, Church of England Diocesan Baptismal Records, Woodton and Felbrigg Norfolk.

Norfolk, Church of England Diocesan Marriage records, Felbrigg, Norfolk.

England & Wales, National Probate Calendar 1858-1995

Thanks to Bud Hansen for family information and photographs.

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