Soloman William Wilcox – known by just his middle name – was born in 1894 and was one of seven children. His father, James, was a carter from Keinton Mandeville in Somerset, and he and William’s mother, Eliza, brought the family up in neighbouring Charlton Mackrell.
By the time of the 1911 census, William had left school, and was working as a farm labourer, with his older brother Sidney. James, meanwhile, had found further employment working in a local bluestone quarry.
War was on the horizon and, while it is evident that he enlisted in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, there is little further documentation to track his service. Both of the regiment’s main battalions fought on the Western Front, though where and when William was involved is lost to time.
He seems to have been an ambitious young man; he rose through the ranks and, at the point he was discharged, he had risen to the role of Serjeant. He was also in receipt of the Military Medal, though there is no further information about the events that led to this.
William may well have been spurred on by family losses he suffered during the conflict. His mother Eliza died in April 1915, his brother Sidney was killed in action on 10th September 1916, and his father James passed away in August 1918.
Serjeant Wilcox survived the war, and was eventually discharged from military service in August 1919. Whether he was simply demobbed, or he was medically discharged is unclear, but, given that he died only a few months later, it seems likely that the latter was the case.
Soloman William Wilcox died in Taunton, Somerset, on 10th November 1919, at the age of 25 years old. His body was brought to St Peter & St Paul’s Church in Charlton Adam, Somerset, potentially close to where some of his remaining family lived.