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This blog posting has been prepared by one of our volunteers, Ann Eales.

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W J Dancer is listed on the Weldless Steel Tube Company Roll of Honour, as an employee of the company who had served during the First World War. As he does not have a gold cross by his name, we can assume that he survived. The record of William Joseph Dancer’s birth registered at Wolverhampton in the quarter ended June 1898 was traced via FreeBMD.

William Joseph’s military service records give us further details. He served with the 5th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment (no 27744), and  at the time of enlistment was living at 30 Rookery Street, Wednesfield. He was a tube worker. He later transferred to the Labour Corps.

His height was only 4ft 11 3/8ths inches, and his next of kin was initially “Joseph Dancer 20 Rookery St Wednesfield Father”, but this was then crossed out, and “Mrs Elizabeth Peers 23 Cross Street Wednesfield Aunt” written above. He was wounded by heavy artillery on 22 October 1917 and received a gun shot wound in the right buttock on 24 September 1918.

His Medal Index Card confirms S Staffs R Pte No 203446, then Labour Corps No 397393.  The “Long, Long Trail” gives information about the Labour Corps, which was formed in January 1917 and manned by men medically rated below “A. They were often deployed for work within range of enemy guns, sometimes for lengthy periods.

At the time of the 1901 Census, William J, age 2, Birth Year 1899, was living at Rookery Street, Wednesfield with his mother Sarah, shown as “wife” on the census form – her husband was not present, age 29, occupation Colour Stover. Lily Lathe, age 11 was also present as a Visitor on census day All 3 are recorded as born at Wednesfield.

By 1911, William Dancer, age 12, scholar, Birth Place Wednesfield, was living with his mother Sarah age 39, a widow, Occupation Shopkeeper, born Staffordshire parish, recorded as having had 3 children, 2 surviving, in 3 rooms at 50 Rookery Street, Wednesfield.

Sarah Dancer’s death, at the age of 44, was registered at Wolverhampton in the quarter ended June 1916. The marriage of William J Dancer to Eliza Lees was registered at Wolverhampton in the quarter to December 1929, and a child, William J Dancer, Mother Lees, was registered in the quarter ended March 1931, at Wolverhampton. Sadly, it seems William survived only to age 34, as William J Dancer’s death was registered at Wolverhampton in the quarter ended June 1932.

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