William James Horsley

ID # 3899, (1875-1916)
BirthWilliam James Horsley was born on 14 March 1875 at Bradford, England. 
MarriageHe married Minetta Lavinia Rosabella Coleman, daughter of (--?--) Duncan and Gomer Coleman, on 2 May 1910 at Hamilton, Ontario.
Mrge reg. 023623-10 Hamilton, Wentworth County
William Horsley, 35 bachelor, trade illegible. Residence Hamilton. Church of England. Parents Robert Horsley and Anna.
Minetta Nixon, 35, widow, residence Hamilton, Methodist. Parents Leonard and....Coleman.
Witnesses illeg. Philpott and G.M. Philpott, both of Hamilton.
On 2 May, 1910, at Hamilton, Wentworth.
DeathHe died on 15 September 1916 at France at age 41. 
NoteWe don't know a great deal about William Horsley, but what is known comes from forms filled out when crossing the border into the United States. William visited Buffalo on the 24th of May 1915, apparently by himself and gives his Canadian contact as his wife Minetta at 53 Crowland Street, Welland. He also states that he first arrived in Halifax on 3 March 1903 on the Ionian. This same form states that he was born in Bradford, England.

A border crossing manifest filled out in Montreal in June of 1903 shows a William Horsley and Ernest Marsh, both shown as cooks and probably travelling together, with a previous address of Winnipeg. It isn't clear where in the U.S. they are going.

In October of 1904 in Hamilton, William was a witness to the marriage of Edith Ann Marshall, born in Yorkshire, England. It's tempting to wonder if the last name of Ernest, previously mentioned, was actually Marshall, but Edith Marshall's family has been located in the 1881 census at Idle, Yorkshire, and no Ernest is present.

Based on the names of William's parents, Robert and Anna, as stated on his marriage registration, William and his family have been found in the English 1881 census at Batley in Yorkshire. There, his place of birth is given as Badsworth. This is not a great distance from Bradford, though Leeds and Pontefract are closer. At the time of the 1881 census, however, William was age 5 and Batley, their place of residence is rather closer to Bradford.

William died in France during the First World War on 15 September, 1916. His name appears on the Canadian War Memorial at Vimy Ridge, but the Commonwealth War Graves has no record for his burial. Likely, his remains were never found, or at least were unidentified.

William James Horsley signed his attestation papers at Welland on July 28, 1915. According to this record, he belonged to a militia called the 44th Regiment. His next of kin is shown as Mrs. Wm. Horsley of Welland and his date of birth is given as 14th March 1879. His month and year of birth, per the 1911 census at Welland, was March of 1875. The 1881 census taken at Batley, Yorkshire, makes an 1875 birth more realistic. The one odd thing is that he gives his place of birth as Belfast, Ireland.

Information from War Graves shows, at the time of his death, his age as 40. It names his parents as Mr. and Mrs. James Horsley of Ilkley, England, and his wife as Minetta Horsley of Welland, Ontario. It also states that he served in the South African campaign.

Canadian Army's circumstances of death record (see microfilm 31829-B016693 pages 140 and 141)
142100 Private Horsley, William. 24th Battalion, date of casualty 15-9-16. HQ file 649-H-4488 Church of England.
Circumstances of casulty:
Killed in action.
While moving forward with his company to take up positions near Courcellette, he was severely wounded by shrapnel from an enemy shell which burst close by. His wounds were dressed by a stretcher bearer but he died while being carried to a dressing station.
The second page states: No record of burial.

Library & Archives Canada are at present in the process of digitizing WW1 soldiers' records and making them available online. William's is now available and while it does show his wife Minetta as his next of kin, it also shows his mother's name and address: Mrs. Annie Horsley, 9 North Parade, Ilkley, Yorkshire, England. We must believe that she was still alive at the time of William's death. 

Child of William James Horsley and Minetta Lavinia Rosabella Coleman

Last Edited18 Aug 2019