(L to R 1914-15 Star; Allied Victory medal
William was born in Hellifield, North Yorkshire in November 1894. His father was called Hubert and worked as a Commercial Clerk, his mother was called Jane Eliza. They moved to Urmston near Manchester sometime after William was born. In 1901 they were living at 58 Church Road, and by 1911 they had moved to 14 Queens Road, also in Urmston. William was the oldest of eight children. His siblings were John (born 1896), Mary (born 1898), Hubert (born 1900), George (born 1904), Dorothy (born 1906), Edward (born 1908) and Enid (born 1911). William attended Manchester Grammar School between 1905 and 1912. After school he worked for accountants Messrs Morris, Gregory and Co until the start the First World War.
The exact date that William joined the army is unknown but he initially joined as a private before taking a commission as an officer. He was promoted to Lieutenant on the 15th May 1915 and assigned to the 22nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment.
William was killed on the 1st July 1916 during the capture of Mametz on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. He was 21 years old. He is commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial along with 72,335 others, including 1,863 soldiers of the Manchester Regiment. He is also commemorated on the private family gravestone in Urmston Cemetery, and on a brass plaque in St Clement’s Church which reads,
"Sacred to the memory of William Ellis Gomersall Lieutenant 22nd Batt. Manchester Regiment who fell in the attack on Mametz July 1st 1916 – aged 21 years. May perpetual light shine on those who gave their lives for their country and the right."
He is also commemorated on the Manchester Grammar School War Memorial and in the Book of Remembrance 1914-1918.
William’s medals were donated to the museum collections in 2013.