Remembering Rifleman Uglow

The youngest volunteer from the Broxbourne District in the Great War

A young soldier in uniform

William Ernest Taylor Uglow was the son of William Ernest and Florence Uglow, who lived at Beaumont View in Cheshunt. After hearing about the outbreak of the war, he enrolled himself in 1/9th Battalion, Queen Victoria's Rifles, a First Line Territorial Force of the London Regiment, who were part of the initial British Expeditionary Force of 100,000 sent to support France and Belgium against the invasion by the Imperial German Army according to Treaty.

Rifleman Uglow was given the service number 1687 and following three months of training, his unit was sent to fight on the Western Front. They disembarked in France on 4 November 1914, during the First Battle of Ypres.

In the early hours of 1 January 1915, while sleeping in a barn used as a temporary overnight bivouac, Uglow and over 40 others of his battalion were killed by an incendiary bombardment from Hooge heights — the shell was from either a Trench Mortar or Light Field Artillery. Many others were seriously injured. Rifleman Uglow was just 17 years old.

Memorials

W.E.T. Uglow has 'No Known Grave' and is Commemorated on Panel 54, Stone J of the Menin Gate in Ypres (Ieper), Belgium, annotated as a Private.

In 2015, he was posthumously awarded as the Borough of Broxbourne's 'Young Citizen of the Year', and a copy of the certificate was placed on his wreath at the Menin Gate.

He is remembered locally on the Cenotaph at Cheshunt Almshouses, and at the Great War Centennial Corner of Cedars Park, where a Tommy statue contains a button design from his Rifle Brigade.