William Henry Tozer was born in the spring of 1882, and was one of four children to Elias and Thirza Tozer. Elias was a clay worker from Dawlish in Devon, and but the family were raised in nearby Kingsteignton.
William made his own way early on in life. By the time of the 1901 census he was working as a farm labourer and boarding with the family. Ten years later, he was employed as a porter at the Royal Hotel in Dawlish, and was again living on site.
At this point, William’s trail goes cold. War was approaching Europe, and it is documented that he enlisted in the Somerset Light Infantry at some point before the summer of 1918. Private Tozer was assigned to one of the regiment’s depots, but whether that was as part of the British Expeditionary Force, or on home soil is unclear.
William did survive the war, however, but was admitted to a military hospital at the start of 1919. Again, his condition is unclear, but the record of his passing confirms that he died of ‘disease’. He passed away on 22nd February 1919, at the age of 36 years old.
William Henry Tozer was brought back to Kingsteignton for burial. He was laid to rest in the graveyard of St Michael’s Church.