William Talbot’s early life is destined to remain a mystery. He was born in Street, Somerset, in around 1869, although there is no concrete information about his family. When he left school, he found work in the local shoe factory – as did the majority of Street residents – and he appears to have married at some point in the late 1890s.
By the time of the 1911 census – the first that can be directly connected to him – William had moved to Frome. He was widowed by this point, and was living in a small cottage with his two sons – Edward, who was sixteen, was labouring in the local flour mill; Albert, who was a year younger, was working as a hairdresser.
William seems to have married again, this time to a widow called Alice; she had four children, and the two of them went on to have another child together.
When war broke out, William joined the National Reserves. He subsequently transferred to the Somerset Light Infantry, and was assigned to the 4th (Reserve) Battalion as a Private. He served on guard duty on the Kent coast, although specific details are not available.
Reporting on Private Talbot’s passing, the Somerset Standard stated that he “did not enjoy good health, and had been several times in hospital” [Friday 29th September 1916]. He had been admitted to the military hospital in Herne Bay, but passed away from ‘disease‘ on 21st September 1916. He was 47 years of age.
William Talbot’s body was brought back to Frome for burial. He lies at rest in the graveyard of the town’s Holy Trinity Church.