WILLIAM TALLON 1891 – 1918

7367 Private William Tallon, VII Cyclist Battalion, Army Cyclist Corps died of wounds 24 March 1918 and is buried at Rosieres British Cemetery, France.[1]  He was 26 years old and is commemorated on West Auckland War Memorial and the Roll of Honour, West Auckland Memorial Hall.

Family Details

William was born 1891[2] the son of Thomas and Mary Jane Tallon.  There were 3 children:

  • William born 1891 at Bishop Auckland
  • Lily bc.1894 at Bishop Auckland
  • Thomas bc.1897 at Shildon

In 1901, the family lived at Tindale Crescent where 36 year old Thomas worked as a bootmaker and 36 year old Mary was a grocery shop keeper.[3]  By 1911, the family lived at Coronation Street, St. Helens where 46 year old Thomas was a coal miner (hewer), 19 year old William was a coal miner (putter) and 14 year old Thomas was a coal miner (screener).[4]

Military Details

William Tallon enlisted at Bishop Auckland 10 August 1914 aged 23 years 79 days.  He was a Special Reservist who served with his local Territorial Force, the 6th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry and was given the regimental number 8774.[5]  He underwent a medical examination 11 August 1914 at Newcastle upon Tyne and was considered fit for service.  He was 5’3¾” tall and weighed 115lbs.[6]  He had blue eyes, fair hair and his religion was Church of England.[7] He was posted to 4th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry.[8]

4 April 1915: Private W. Tallon was transferred to the Army Cyclist Corps.  He was given the regimental number 7367.

  • 21 April 1915: he was posted to ASC T.C. [Territorial Cyclists?]
  • 15 May 1915: He was transferred to 37thC. [37th Divisional Cyclists?]
  • 11 May 1916: he was transferred to VII Corps Battalion.[9] [7th Corps comprised 9th 16th 21 & 39 Divisions Fifth Army][10]

The formation of the Army Cyclist Corps was authorised by Army Order 477 of 1914 dated 7 November 1914 with more instructions given in Army Order 478.  A number were formed for the Territorial Force in 1908 and later, most were units of infantry regiments whilst others were independent cyclists such as the Northern Cyclist Battalion.  The primary role of the cyclists was reconnaissance and communications (message taking).  They were armed as infantry and could provide mobile firepower if required.  In May and June 1916 the divisional cyclist companies were withdrawn to form a cyclist battalion for each Corps HQ.[11]

Private W. Tallon entered France 28 July 1915 probably with the 37th Division and was posted to the VII Corps in May 1916.  The VII Corps saw action 1 July 1916, the Attack on the Gommecourt Salient.[12]  Private W. Tallon was on leave in November 1916 and wounded January/February 1917, re-joining his unit 19 February 1917.[13]  In 1917, VII Corps was involved at:[14]

  • 14 March – 5 April: the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line
  • 9 – 14 April: the First Battle of the Scarpe
  • 23 – 24 April: the Second Battle of the Scarpe
  • 3 – 4 May: the Third Battle of the Scarpe
  • 20 May – 16 June: Actions on the Hindenburg Line
  • 20 – 21 November: the Battle of Cambrai, the Tank Attack
  • 30 November – 3 December: the German counter attacks
  • 30 December: Action of Welch Ridge

Private W. Tallon was on leave to England in 17 November to 1 December 1917.[15]  The VII Corps was involved in the following battles during the commencement of the German Spring Offensive 1918: [16]

  • 21 – 23 March: the Battles of St. Quentin
  • 24 – 25 March: Actions on the Somme Crossing
  • 26 – 27 March: the Battle of Rosieres

Private W. Tallon served a total of 3 years 227 days as follows:[17]

  • Home: 10 August 1914 to 27 July 1915…………………….…352 days
  • BEF France: 28 July 1915 to 24 March 1918……2 years 240 days

Private W. Tallon was wounded 23 March 1918 and was treated at 47 Casualty Clearance Station.  He died of wounds the next day, 24 March 1918[18].  Private W. Tallon was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War and Victory.[19]


Private W. Tallon is buried at grave reference 32 Rosieres British Cemetery.[20]  His parents had the following epitaph inscribed on his headstone:

“At Rest”

There are 60 commonwealth WW1 burials at this cemetery.


[1] Commonwealth Wat Graves Commission

[2] England & Wales Birth Index 1837-1915 Vol.10 p.183 Auckland 1891 Q3

[3] 1901 census

[4] 1911 census

[5] Soldiers Died in the Great War & Army Form

[6] Army Form B.178A

[7] Description of William Tallon

[8] Army Form B.103

[9] Description of the Services

[10] I’m not certain if this assumption is correct.

[11] http://www.1914-1918.net/armycyclistscorps.html

[12] http://www.warparth.orbat.com/battles_ff/1916.htm

[13] Army Form B.103 Note: this form is difficult to decipher

[14] http://www.warpath.orbat.com/battles_ff/1917.htm

[15] Army Form B.103 Note: this form is difficult to decipher

[16] http://www.warpath.orbat.com/battles_ff/1918_pt1.htm

[17] Military History Sheet

[18] Army Form B.103 Casualty Form – Active Service Note: this form is difficult to decipher

[19] Medal Roll

[20] CWGC