William’s description on enlistment records that he was five feet, three inches tall, weighed 126 pounds, had a ruddy complexion, brown eyes, dark hair and… six moles on his back. He was given the number 85523, the rank of driver and posted to Number 4 Depot at Woolwich. On
19th October 1914 he was
posted to the 18th Divisional Artillery and then, on the 2nd November that year, to the 18th Divisional Ammunition Column (DAC).
From his surviving service record it would appear that William did not settle easily into army routine. On
19th November 1914
he was absent from the Defaulters’ Parade at and confined to barracks for seven days. On 9th January 1915 he was charged with
overstaying his leave from
on 7th January to
on the 9th and deprived of two days’ pay. On 18thJanuary he was charged
with being absent from the stables from
on the 17th until 7am on the 18thand denied another
day’s pay. Inattention on parade on 5th
February cost him another two days confined to barracks and on 22nd
February he was charged with being absent without leave from on 13th February until on the 22nd. He forfeited ten days’ pay but otherwise does
not appear to have been punished.
William Pomfrey’s records note that he was posted to RFA 5c Reserve Brigade on 14thFebruary which may or may not have been behind his decision to go absent without leave. He resumed duties with the Reserve Brigade on 23rd February and managed to stay out of trouble for the next four and a half months before again going absent without leave from on 5th July until on the 6th July. For this he forfeited four days’ pay AA and two days’ pay RW.
Between 27th July and
December 1915, William was in France, Chailey Parish Magazine
noting in October 1915, Pomfrey, Dvr W,
Between 14th December 1915 and 17th July 1917, William was back on home soil and being posted to the RFA 5b Reserve Brigade (28th February 1916) and then 20th Reserve Battery (9th January 1917). On
18th July 1917 he embarked again for and was
posted to the 19th DAC 10/88 Brigade. His tenure with them did not last long. By France 30th October 1917 he was back home and back
with a reserve brigade of artillery.
On 10th November William Pomfrey got married at West Ham and on 15th December he was mustered, his rank now being Gunner. On 21st
December 1917 he was caught gambling in
Woolwich Barracks by Sergeant Bell and confined to barracks for three
days. On 28th January, a
daughter, Cecilia Grace Pomfrey was born at Catford.
William Pomfrey was posted back to
for the last time on France 26th
August 1918. This time his
rank was Signaller and he was posted to the 5th DAC. He remained with the 5th Division
until demobilization on 1st March 1919. His Protection
Certificate, issued on 1st
February 1919, gives his home address as 4 Penberth Road, Catford SE.
Further documents in his file at
Kew indicate that
William may have spent time at No 2 , Havre and that
on another occasion his aunt, Miss Pomfrey of General
Hospital 30 Lansdowne Road, Hove,
enquiring about his whereabouts. His
Military History Sheet records that William passed out in signalling.
In total, twelve misdemeanours, mostly for going absent without leave, are noted on William Pomfrey’s service record although the most severe punishment he ever received was being confined to barracks or losing pay. As early as November 1916, Chailey Parish Magazine notes that William has been invalided although this is not borne out by his service record.