Able Seaman - Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, Nelson Battalion - Regt. No. R/3328
William Frederick Page was born in Gravesend on 21 July 1898 to William Henry Page (born 1867 in Gravesend) and Ellen (born 1878 in Stowmarket, Suffolk). In the 1901 Census William is listed as living at 13 Warwick Terrace, Singlewell Road, Gravesend with his parents and 1 younger brother, Percy Robert (born 1900). After the 1901 Census 3 further siblings were born –Walter Leonard (22/05/1902), Nellie Frances (1906) and Albert Stanley (03/12/1909). William’s father is listed as a Marine Engineer.
The first school that William attended was Wrotham Road School, originally a Board School opened in 1894. He continued his education at The Gravesend County Day School (now Gravesend Grammar School) from 1910-13. The County Day School had been originally opened in 1893 as a school of science and art, located in Darnley Street close to Gravesend Railway Station. (With the move of Gravesend Grammar School in 1938 to its present site in Milton Road, the original school building is now the Victoria Centre for Adult Education). By the time that William attended the School, the 1902 Education Act had been passed and the school had become a recognised Secondary School. Although still a fee-paying school, there were scholarships available, however it is unknown as to whether William was a scholarship pupil. The Headmaster at the time was H F A Wigley, BA, FCS.
The family were still living at Warwick Terrace at the time of the 1911 Census. They also by that time had a General Domestic Servant, Annie Brill age 18. William Page senior is listed as a Marine Engineer employed by HM Customs (Afloat).
After the outbreak of World War One, William first enlisted with the 6th Cyclist Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment on 19 June 1915. He was sent to France on 12 October 1916, before he was the required age of 19. No one was allowed to be sent on active service abroad before that age. There were several letters sent to both his MP and the War Office bringing this matter to their attention. He was recalled from France on 25 November. Page transferred on the 2 June 1917 to the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserves, serving with the Nelson Battalion, Regiment No. R/3328 as an Able Seaman. In December 1917 the Nelson Battalion, part of the Royal Naval Division, were west of Cambrai, known as the ‘Welsh Ridge’ having been involved in the Battle of Passchendaele in October and November. On the 30 December there was heavy shelling from the Germans and Nelson Battalion took part in the counter-attack, succeeding in retaking most of the ground. In the Royal Naval Division 63 Officers were killed and 1355 men were either killed, missing or wounded. William Page died of his wounds that day.
William Frederick Page is remembered at the Thiepval Memorial, near Albert, Somme – Pier and Face 1a. (There is also a memorial to him at Villers Plouich Communal Cemetery).