CFHS code : AL23
Parish : St Andrew the Less
Inscription : W T BLEET served as 8455 Private W T REED Northamptonshire Regt 29th January 1916 age 29
Monument : Headstone
Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey
Lat Lon : 52.204208, 0.13747491 – click here for location
This Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone in the parish area of St Andrew the Less is located within a few feet of the Norfolk Street entrance, beside and to the left of the path.
‘W. T. Bleet served as 8455 Private W. T. Reed
Northamptonshire Regt. 29th January 1916 age 29’
“At rest with the Lord”
William Thomas Bleet alias William Thomas Reed (1886‒1916)
Private (8455) in the 2nd Battalion the Northamptonshire Regiment, died on 29 January 1916, aged 29. Nothing is known of the circumstances of his death, but since he is buried in this cemetery he presumably died in this country, perhaps of wounds or disease sustained in action. He served under another name: William Thomas Reed.
William was born in 1886 in Cambridge. He was the eldest of at least three children born to Thomas Bleet (c.1859‒1901), labourer, and Matilda Bleet (née Peacock) (1861‒1943). Thomas and Matilda had two other children: Ernest James (1889‒1973); and Florence Mary (1895‒1915). The family lived at at 7 York Street (Sturton Town), Cambridge.
By 1901 William was working as a servant and errand boy at the Temperance Hotel, Petty Cury. His father had died at the beginning of the year. The following year his mother remarried to a Henry Edward German (1862‒1928), a baker, who had been lodging with the family. His mother and his step-father eventually moved to 22 Newmarket Road, Cambridge.
William’s attestation papers show that he enlisted on 2 April 1907 aged 18 years and 3 months. At the time he joined the Northamptonshire Regiment he was employed as a barman. Although, the person who completed the document originally wrote down William’s surname as ‛Reed’, it was corrected by the same person to ‛Bleet’. However, it was only corrected at the top: throughout the rest of the document William’s name remained ‛Reed’. Perhaps, this is why William ended up serving under the name, ‛Reed’. The 1911 census records William as being in the 2nd Battalion the Northamptonshire Regiment, stationed at Floriana Barracks, Malta. He died on 29 January 1916 in Cambridge. He was entitled to the British War medal and Victory medal, which his mother applied for in 1923. At that time she was living at 2 Auckland Cottages, Auckland Road, Cambridge.
[If you know anything further at all about the life, career or family of this man, please contact us with the information.]
War Graves Photographic Project (Bleet)
War Graves Photographic Project (Reed)
Census returns for England: 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911
British Army WW1 War Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
British Army WW1 Pension Records, 1914-1920
Personal communication from Allan Brigham
By Emma Easterbrook and Ian Bent