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Casulaty Details

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Name: William Atkinson PURVIS
Casualty No.: Ranks: Gunner Initials: W A Service No.: 953589
Date of Birth : - Place of Birth : Age at Death: 22
Unit: Royal Artillery.
Former Unit(s):
Place Enlisted:
Place of Residence: Crookhill, Ryton on Tyne, Co. Durham.
Home Address: 55 Tyne Gardens, Crookhill, Ryton on Tyne, Co. Durham.
Previous Address:
Civilian Employment:
How Died: Injuries received from an accidental fall.
Date of Death: Monday 16th February 1942
Place of Death: Cairo, Egypt, Middle East.
Locally Commemorated: Ryton War Memorial, Station Bank, Ryton on Tyne, Co. Durham. Stargate War Memorial, Ryton on Tyne, Co. Durham.
UK Commemorated: -
Overseas Commemorated: -
Buried: Heliopolis War Cemetery, Egypt.
Decoration and Medals: 1939-45 Star. Africa Star. War Medal.
Photographs: 5
Service Records: No
Death Notice/Obituary:
Family Details:
Son of Henry and Charlotte Purvis, of 55 Tyne Gardens, Crookhill, Ryton on Tyne, Co. Durham.
Notes : William had seen action with the British forces at Tobruk, Libya, and following his seven months there he and his comrades were finally given ten days leave. It was during the seventh day of their leave that the tragic accident occurred. Whilst travelling back to camp with his best Army pal Jack Casey, William slipped off the step of a tram whilst it was coming to a stop and hit his head on the ground. After returning to camp William began to complain of extremely bad headaches and following an examination by a doctor he was admitted to the 9th General Hospital. Jack visited his pal in hospital and he later wrote that William seemed to be sleeping soundly. A fracture of the skull had been diagnosed and William died after his second day in hospital. Later Jack was to write a moving letter to William's mother explaining the tragic circumstances surrounding his death. Three of William's ten serving uncles from World War 1 failed to return to the family home at Addison Colliery. Two were killed in action and the other died of disease. His father, Henry, was one of the surviving brothers, he was also wounded. Another family member was killed in action during World War 1. William's cousin, Thomas Charles Purvis was killed in action in May 1940, whilst serving with the Durham Light Infantry, other cousins were also wounded and taken as prisoners of war.
Sources Used: Commonwealth War Graves Commission Debt of Honour Register. Army Roll of Honour, 1939-45. Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 9th March 1942. Roll of Honour, 11th March 1943.
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