William Percy Rampton was born on 27 October 1887 in Tadley, possibly in Doe Lane (now part of Malthouse Lane). He was baptised on 18 December 1887 at the Old Meeting United Reformed Church, Tadley.
His parents were James and Elizabeth Rampton (née Smith). James was a ‘General Labourer’.
He was the eldest of nine children: William Percy, Alfred John, Lily Gertrude, Albert, Agnes Elsie, Sidney, Dorothy May, Ethel, Lloyd Charles ‘Sonner’.
In the 1901 Pamber Census he was 13 years old and living at Pamber Heath. The 1911 Census records that he was aged 23 years, married and living at Tadley Hill, near The Green with his wife Rose. His occupation was listed as ‘Bricklayer’s Labourer’.
William married Rose Stacey on 10 September 1910. They had a daughter, Rose, who was born in either 1914 or 1915. Prior to her marriage, Rose Stacey was living with her family at Bottom Farm, near the ‘New Inn’, in what is now known as Rowan Road.
By 1911, William’s parents, James and Elizabeth, had moved to Westend Cottages, Brimpton and subsequently to Headley Common (Kingsclere).
William’s younger brother Albert also died in World War I. He was a gunner in the Royal Horse Artillery. He was buried at Greenwich Cemetery, London and is remembered on the Headley Common War Memorial.
William is thought to have enlisted in Godalming. He served as a private in the 1/4th Battalion of the Prince of Wales’s Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment) (service number 203439).
In August 1914 the 1/4th Battalion was in Warrington as part of the South Lancashire Brigade in the West Lancashire Division. In February 1915, the battalion left the brigade and sailed to Le Havre. On arrival it was attached to 7th Brigade in 3rd Division and in October 1915 it became a pioneer battalion in the same division. In January 1916 the battalion transferred to the 55th (West Lancashire) Division.
During 1916 the battalion was engaged in the Battle of Guillemont, the Battle of Ginchy, the Battle of Flers-Courcelette and the Battle of Morval.
The 55th Division moved to Flanders in the Ypres salient in October 1916, where it remained for almost a year. The first section of line that was occupied by the division was Wieltje to Railway Wood. Initially, they had a comparatively quiet time, if being surrounded by enemy on three sides and under constant artillery fire could be described as quiet.
William died of wounds on Wednesday 6 June 1917, aged 29.
He was buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery [XIII E 2], Belgium.
He is also remembered on Tadley War Memorial and Headley Common Memorial, Kingsclere.
William was awarded the Victory medal and the British War medal. These would have been sent to his wife.