BORN BARMBY MOOR, YORKS 1889. SON OF JOHN DURKIN AND ELLEN S. HARMAN, OF 10 POTTER HILL BEVERLEY. ONE OF FOUR BROTHERS AND A SISTER MARY. HIS FAMILY WERE AGRICULTURAL WORKERS, WORKING AROUND BARNBY MOOR AND POCKLINGTON. WILLIAM WAS ONE OF THREE BROTHERS KILLED IN THE WAR.
HE MARRIED ELIZABETH BRUCE, IN 1911 AND LIVED AT 1 MINSTER MOORGATE, BEVERLEY. WILLIAM AT THIS TIME WAS MEMBER OF THE RAILWAY UNION AND WORKING AS A PLATE LAYER. HE ALSO GAVE THE JOB ON FARM SERVANT ON HIS ARMY PAPERS.
HE ENLISTED AT HULL, IN OCTOBER 1914. TRAINED AT BELTON PARK AND WHITLEY CAMP. SAILED WITH THE 6TH EAST YORKSHIRE PIONEERS, TO GALLIPOLI, ON 01/07/1915. KILLED IN ACTION AT SCIMITAR HILL, ON THE DARDENELLES, 22/08/1915, AGED 26.
HE LEFT WIDOW, ELIZABETH BRUCE AND TWO YEAR OLD DAUGHTER DORIS MAY DURKIN, AT 6 WALTER TERRACE, BRIGHTON STREET, HULL
HIS DEATH WAS REPORTED IN THE HULL DAILY MAIL ON THE 20TH OCTOBER 1915, AND IN THE HULL TIMES, ON 23RD OCTOBER 1915. *
HIS BROTHER, SGT., ROBERT JAMES DURKIN, 1ST/6TH WRR, WAS KILLED ON 27/04/1918, AGED 37 AND IS COMMEMORATED AT TYNE COT CEMETERY AND ON THE BEVERLEY WAR MEMORIAL. ANOTHER BROTHER, PTE., JAMES DURKIN, 1/8TH DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY, WAS KILLED ON 05/11/1916, AGED 34 AND LIVED IN GATESHEAD WITH HIS WIFE ELIZABETH.
21st August 1915 – the attack on Scimitar Hill
Wyrall’s “East Yorkshire Regiment in the Great War” shows that the 6th East Yorkshire Regiment had been in reserve from 10th to the 20th August at Nibrunesi Point where they had dug themselves in at the base of a cliff. On 20th August the 6thEast Yorkshires relieved the Northumberland Fusiliers in trenches South East of Chocolate Hill. They came under the orders of 34th Brigade who would attack “Hill W” the next morning.
The 6th Battalion were to dig in and support the Lancashire Fusiliers and the Dorset’s, who would attack the next morning. There was a delay due to lost orders and confusion, and the attack did not commence until 3pm on the 21st. When the Dorset’s and Lancashire’s left their trenches the 6th East Yorkshires moved forward to occupy these trenches. The Dorset’s and the Lancashire’s ran into stubborn resistance and so most of the 6th East Yorkshires were sent forward to support them. The 6th East Yorkshire‘s captured a Turkish trench in front of them and awaited relief. The 6th East York (Pioneers) had occupied Hill 70 (Scimitar Hill), next to W Hill the most vital of all the semicircle of heights overlooking Suvla Bay and were there only waiting for the brigade’s further advance upon W Hill or Anafarta Sagir, to both of which it is the key. They held this trench overnight, but it became impossible to hold the next morning (22nd August) as the number of Turks increased and they had no bombs. Around 7.30 am the 6th East Yorkshires retreated to their original trenches and later that night they were relieved and moved back to their original reserve trenches at Nibrunesi point the following morning. The 6th East Yorkshire casualties by 22nd August 1915, included 26 Officers and 628 men. Officer casualties were 80% and other ranks 68%.
Theresa Welburn, (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes on 14/10/15:- There were 3 brothers killed in WW1- WILLIAM, whose service records survived and I have copies. ROBERT JAMES, no service records and JAMES, who I can’t find anything on, though on the 1911 census he had moved up north, Durham way. They were from Pocklington/Beverley area, WILLIAM just happened to live in Hull at the time of joining up……. I’m will be contacting the CWGC site as they have his father’s name as WILLIAM when it is JOHN, I have proof.