Rank or Title
Date of Birth
Date of Death
20 Jul 1917
War time / or Pre War occupation
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
Pioneer William Rhodes, 528165, 488th Field Company Royal Engineers, was killed in action in Palestine on July 20th, 1917. He was aged 21 and single.
Second Lieut Columbine wrote to mother Mrs Edith Rhodes at 20 Reginald Street, Luton, with the news. He wrote: "At 9.30 at night a telephone line was cut during a small local action. The shelling at that moment on that spot was absolutely intense, but your son immediately dashed out to try and mend the line and was not heard of until the next morning, when he was found nearly in the trench with the telephone line in his hand. He had been hit in the back by a piece of shell, and death must have been instantaneous. His face was perfect calm."
The officer said that Pioneer Rhodes was buried in a little cemetery within sight of Gaza and not many yards behind the British lines.
William Rhodes enlisted in the Royal Engineers in May 1915 and was drafted out to Egypt the following November. He had spent two birthdays fighting out there.
The Luton-born son of William and Edith Rhodes, he was employed by plait merchants Linsell & Co, George Street, before joining up.