William Henry Pearn was born in January 1896, one of two children to Richard and Selina Pearn from Bridgwater in Somerset. Selina had been married previously, and had been widowed, and so William had a further four half-siblings. Richard was a lath renderer – a plasterer in today’s terms – and he was not the only one of the household to be working. According to the 1901 census, Selina was a collar maker and William ‘s two older half-brothers were a landscape gardener and a bookshop assistant.
When William left school, he went to work for a local coal yard as a porter. The next census finds him living with his mother and his older brother, Wallace, who was a labourer in a brickyard. Richard is noticeable in his absence, but Selina is having been married for 18 years.
Sadly, though, at this point William’s trail goes cold. His military records are sparse, but we know that he enlisted as a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery, although I have been unable to identify when he enrolled. The only other information I have I have been able to locate for him are his pension records, that confirm that he passed away from pneumonia on 19th October 1918. Gunner Pearn was just 24 years old.
William Henry Pearn lies at rest in St John’s Cemetery in his home town of Bridgwater in Somerset.