200784 PTE. W. UTTING. L.N.LAN.R.
William (Bill) Utting was born in Lostock Hall on 18 July 1895 and baptised at Bamber Bridge St Saviour on 29 September. His father was Joseph Utting (born 1855 in Manchester), a railway wagon builder (he had worked as a wagon builder in the Lostock sheds since 1881). His mother was Ellen Lomax (b. 1856 in Liverpool). Joe and Ellen were married in Preston in 1876 and they had 16 children, but lost 7 in infancy. The 9 survivors were: Margaret (b. 1880), Sarah (b. 1883), Joseph (b. 1885), Mary Alice (b. 1889), Elizabeth (b. 1892), Ellen (b. 1893), then Bill, then Lillian (b. 1898) and finally Rose Ann (b. 1902). In 1891, the family lived at 85 Watkin Lane, Lostock Hall, and in 1901, they lived at 5 Victoria Terrace (Leyland Road). By 1911, however, the family had moved to 8 Hawkins Street, Preston and Joe was now making cars rather than railway wagons. Bill (then aged 16) was working as a cotton spinner.
Bill enlisted soon after War broke out, on 12 October 1914. By this time the family had moved to 155 Fylde Road, Preston. Bill joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was assigned service number 2880 (changed to 200784 in 1917) and posted to 1/4 Battalion. Bill was 19yrs and 5mths old when he enlisted; 5’ 4½” tall, with a 34” chest and described as in ‘good’ medical condition.
1/4Bn came under orders of 154th Brigade in 51st (Highland) Division. Bill landed with his Division at Boulogne on 5 May 1915. He was wounded at little over a month later, on 15 June 1915, at Festubert, by a bullet hitting his foot. He rejoined his battalion in the field in February 1916. By this time, his battalion had transferred to 164th Brigade, in 55th (West Lancashire) Division. On a number of occasions during the summer that year he was treated in the field for various illnesses. 55th Division were not engaged in the opening phases of the Battle of the Somme and would not join the action until the Battle of Guillemont (4-6 September). A newspaper report back home reported him being hit by shrapnel in the hip but this may be a confusion with the wound he received at Festubert, in any case, on 13 September 1916 he was sent back to hospital in England. He made his way to the Manchester General Hospital where he received further treatment. He was allowed home on leave over Christmas 1916 but he was back in hospital there by the New Year and he died there of pneumonia on 26 April 1917, aged 21. He is buried in the family grave at Preston Council Cemetery, on New Hall Lane.
Service No: 2880 (CWGC uses the original service number)
Date of Death: 26 April 1917
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1/4Bn
Cemetery/memorial reference: F. CE. 386.
Cemetery: PRESTON (NEW HALL LANE) CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of Joseph and Ellen Utting, of 155 Fylde Road, Preston.
The photograph shows Bill Utting (standing) with his brother-in-law, Robert Moss. Robert was born in Hesketh Bank in 1887 and in 1910 he married Bill’s sister, Sarah. I don’t know anything more about Robert’s military service, but he survived the War, came home, and worked at Leyland Motors. The photo was provided by Olga and Wayne Utting, from Western Australia.