© Avening Parish Council 2023
“Preserve, Conserve, Enhance”
42 William George Tanner
Private: 7th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment
On the 4th of August 1914, Great Britain declared war on Germany. Twenty days later, in Avening, at
least three Avening men volunteered for army service and they left for Bristol where they completed their
attestation along with others. Their service numbers help us understand their situation. All joined the 7th
Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment. First in line was 10712 William G Tanner of Avening, 10713
was James Swain of South Wales, 10725 was Arthur Bennett of Cheltenham. He was followed by 10726
Hubert Ind of Bell Cottages, Avening and then, as 10727, came his cousin, Edwin George Ind of the High
Street, Avening, all followed by 10734 William Bishop of London.
The military records are sparse to say the least, having suffered from the Blitz bombing of London in
1940 but we know that James Swain eventually transferred to the Tank Corps and then the Machine Gun
Corps. Arthur Bennett was almost immediately discharged as being unfit for service (hearing defect).
After training, the battalion was shipped with the Middle East Expeditionary Force to Gallipoli on the 19th
June, 1915. William Bishop died there on the 8th August of that year. Hubert Ind (see Roll of Honour No
7) died three days later, neither of them have any known grave. Bill Tanner was injured in the hand from
gunshot wounds three days later and was shipped on the MS Aquitania back to England on the 22nd of
that month for surgery and recovery.
He was fit again for service six months later and was posted back to the 7th Battalion, which by that time
had moved to France, arriving back to his unit on the 14th February 1916.
The battalion was in action at Loos in May and Bill received gunshot wounds again. The records quote:
"In action 14th May 1916 at Loos was bombed when in the course of his duty he was jointing wire around
a bomb sap". He was taken to hospital in Rouen with wounds, again to his right hand but also to his face.
The following day he was returned to hospital in England.
Bill was invalided out of the service on the 10th November 1916 and was awarded a pension from that
day by a Medical Board in Sutton Coldfield.
Before his service, Bill was a baker probably working for Hubert Fowles at Point House but it is unlikely
that he returned to that work because of his disability.
He was the eldest child of six children born to George Tanner, a sawmill worker, and his wife Lucy Ann
(née Newman). The family lived next door but one to the Butcher's Arms in Point Road in the 1911
census, almost opposite to the bakery.
Bill does not appear in the Holy Cross baptism records so he may have been brought up as a Baptist. He
was unmarried and was awarded three medals - the 1915 Star, the Victory and British Medals.
He was buried at Holy Cross on Saturday the 22nd October 1921 but his grave is unmarked.
Such are the fortunes of war, that the remaining colleague, Edwin Ind, survived the war, apparently