PRIVATE WILLIAM JOHN LARKIN
ROYAL SUSSEX REGIMENT
10TH OCTOBER 1916 AGE 26
BURIED: EUSTON ROAD CEMETERY, COLINCAMPS, FRANCE
William Larkin's sister, Edith, chose his inscription. She was his only living relation their parents having both died by 1911. She chose a line from verse 3 of the hymn 'For all the saints'.
O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old
And win with them the victor's crown of gold,
The siblings had not had an easy life. Father was a groomsman and domestic gardener who died in 1908. Their mother was deaf and had been since she was 25. Edith spent two years in the care of the Maidstone Poor Law Union between the ages of five and seven, and aged fourteen was living with her mother's sister. William doesn't appear in the 1901 census but by 1911 he was a grocer's assistant in Rottingdean.
William Larkin joined the 12th Battalion Sussex Regiment. The battalion were in France by March 1916 where they were heavily involved in the Somme campaign. On 8 October they relieved the 14th Battalion in the trenches at Auchonvillers. The war diary brackets the next three days with the comment:
"Our artillery & TMs (trench mortars) active in wire cutting & bombardment of enemy line. Enemy retaliated to some extent with TMs and 77 mm shells. Our trenches slightly damaged, but repaired each night. Enemy appear to have few heavy guns opposite us on this sector. 5 OR (Other Ranks) wounded, 3 OR killed."