William Augustus NEWARK

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William Augustus NEWARK

Private William Augustus Newark
First, Twentieth Battalion, The London Regiment

Private Newark was treated at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Netley, Southampton.

William Augustus Newark was 34 years old and had been married for 11 years with an 18 month old son when he signed up as a Private in the 20th London Regiment on 11 December 1915. On call up he was deployed to Belgium where he was part of the Flanders Offensive in May 1916. During the week long Battle of Messines ‎(7 - 14 June 1916)‎ he was hit by enemy fire and was left for dead. By nothing short of a miracle, he was found after several days barely alive with several gunshot wounds to his chest and abdomen. He was eventually transported back to the UK on the HMS St David in June 1917 and was admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Netley, Southampton. On 22 November 1917, he was operated on to remove ribs which were shattered by bullets and also to remove as much shrapnel as possible. He spent over a year in the hospital recuperating and was frequently visited by his wife Florrie and son Norman. He was eventually discharged on 20 December 1918. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Victory and British Medals.

One of his needlepoint pictures, an intricate depiction of a flower garden, which he completed during his time at Netley, is in the family’s possession.

After his recuperation he returned to the bookbinding business he ran with his father which he was still running from 2 Clerkenwell Green at the age of 76. He is believed to have hand-made the leather bound bible used by Queen Elizabeth during the opening ceremonies of the 1956 Festival of Britain. He died in 1967 aged 86 years at his home in Beckenham.

Newark, Private William Augustus 1
Newark, Private William Augustus 2
Newark, Private William Augustus 3
Newark, Private William Augustus - papers 1
Newark, Private William Augustus - embroidery 1
Newark, Private William Augustus - embroidery 2

Documents courtesy of The Western Front Association