Roll of Honour
William Henry Langdon Burgess
Mentioned in Despatches
William Henry Langdon Burgess was born in 1897 in Lanchester, County Durham, son of Henry Langdon Burgess and Anna Maria Burgess. His father Henry was a teacher and later headmaster at the Burnhope Colliery Council School. William gained a BSc from the Armstrong College at the University of Durham and attended the University of Glasgow Officer Training Corps in 1913 and 1914. During this time he worked as an ordnance engineer at Barr & Stroud (now Thales) in Glasgow, before joining the army.
He received a direct commission to the 3rd Bn. (attd. 1st Bn.) The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) and was confirmed in the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in August 1914, later rising to the rank of Captain. He served in France from Christmas 1914 until his death.
Captain William Henry Langdon Burgess was killed in action at High Wood in the Battle of the Somme on the 20th July 1916, aged 29, and is commemorated in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, north east of Amiens and north of the River Somme. His name is on Special Memorial 25, signifying that his burial is unidentified but he is known or believed to be among those buried in the cemetery.
William was Mentioned in Despatches for his actions, which entitled him to an emblem on his medals. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, as well as the Victory Medal and the British War Medal, which were passed to his father Henry, as were his effects. His estate was also passed to his father.
In addition to appearing on the University of Glasgow memorial, William Burgess is commemorated in a number of places, including his home town and in Glasgow.
William is commemorated in Burnhope on the town war memorial and in the Book of Remembrance and War Memorial in the Church of St John the Evangelist. His family commissioned a commemorative vase in his name, which was dedicated in May 1925 and can also be found within the Church.
At Armstrong College, Durham University (now Newcastle University), Burgess is named on the War Memorial and his name appears in the Roll of Service book for Durham University. The War Memorial at Barr & Stroud (now Thales) in Linthouse Road, Glasgow where Burgess worked as an ordnance engineer bears his name. A photograph of William as a 2nd Lieutenant in the trenches can be found on the Imperial War Museum website, as part of the Major Robert Cotton Money Collection.
Comments and Citations
Memorial Place: Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Debt of Honour Register
Census. 1891. England. Burnhope, Lanchester, Durham. RG12/40