The remarkable story of William Newman was brought to our attention by his Great Grandson, Paul Newman. Here we add his words and photos with our thanks:-
I attach some information on my great grandfather who lived in Shrivenham in his later years and is buried in the churchyard of St Andrews Church. Sadly over the years a large conifer tree grew through the middle of the grave causing damage, this has now been cut down to a stump.
William Newman was born at the New Inn, Widcombe Hill, Bath in July 1852, he served as a driver in the Royal Artillery during the 2nd Afghanistan war (1878-80) and Egyptian campaign (1882) and was one of the last survivors of the great March from Kabul to Kandahar under Lord Roberts covering 280 miles in 20 days across difficult terrain. During one attack he had the top of his head taken off by a sabre and from that time had to wear a silver plate. He was so badly wounded in the neck, arms and legs that the bullets remained in his legs up to the time of his death. So badly was he wounded that his comrades had practically given him up as hopeless and were about to cast him into the dead pit when it was discovered that he was still alive.
On returning to England he transferred to the Ordnance Store Corps and was sent to Cyprus where he lived with his wife Sarah for eight years. On completion of 25 years service they returned to England where he entered the GWR and was employed as a ‘Sadler’ in the Trimming Shop until his retirement in 1922. William and Sarah lived at ‘The Cottage’, 55 Station Road, Shrivenham, he died in October 1930.
We have since received more information from Paul Newman who has been in collaboration with other relatives. To read this please go HERE
19th & 20th century
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