First World War Roll of Honour

Wilfrid Charles Burgess was born in Kensal Green, London in January 1891, the only son of Alfred and Hannah Burgess, both teachers. His father became Headmaster of Burrough Green School in Cambridge the following year and the family moved to School House, Burrough Green, where Wilfrid was organist at the local church from 1906 to 1912.

Burgess went to the Cambridge and County School for Boys (now Hills Road Sixth Form College) before matriculating at Downing in 1909, studying Natural Sciences and proceeding to his degree in 1912 (and his MA in 1916). After graduating he became an assistant master at the Grammar School in Shepton Mallet and volunteered for military service shortly after the outbreak of war. He joined the forces as a private and, after obtaining his commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the Somerset Light Infantry, 4th Bn, proceeded to France on 22 April 1917 as a reinforcement with the 6th Battalion.

He was killed in action near Herenthage Chateau, Ypres, on 22 August 1917 while leading his platoon. He was 26 years old. His commanding officer wrote to his parents that ‘several of his men have spoken to me of his gallantry and fearlessness in the attack.’

2nd Lt. Burgess is buried in Hooge Crater Cemetery, Belgium. He is also commemorated on memorials in Burrough Green Church, Shepton Mallet, Hills Road Sixth Form College and Downing College.

Sources:

The Griffin’ College magazine, 1916-1917

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