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Local Heroes - Your streets were their streets Local Heroes - Your streets were their streets

The names of 197 local men who lost their lives in World War I are
inscribed on the bells of the Memorial Community Church in Plaistow. They are our local heroes

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William Richard Belcher

Webb Street, Plaistow - November 24th 1882
France and Flanders - 9 May 1915
Killed in action
Served in
Warmington Street, Plaistow

William Richard's story

W Belsher is written on the bell.

William Belcher was the eldest of 14 children. He joined the Regular Army c.1899 as a Private in the 1st Battalion, The Essex Regiment and he fought with the Battalion in the Boer War. He also served in the 10th Mounted Infantry during that campaign, and fought in the Transvaal, Orange Free State and the Cape Colony.

 We also know that he was part of the Essex Regiment contingent that took part in the funeral of Queen Victoria in February 1901.

He left the Army and then worked as a carman in Plaistow. Around 1907 he met Sarah McAllister, and although they did not marry they lived together with his parents in Warmington Street. They had two children, William (Bill) McAllister (who later changed his surname to Belcher) and Edward (Teddy) McAllister.

When war broke out William Belcher was recalled to the Colours and rejoined the Essex Regiment at Warley, near Brentwood, where he was posted to the 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment. He left England for France in December 1914. In April 1915 his Battalion fought in the Ypres Salient and in early May he was badly wounded. Evacuated to No.11 General Hospital at Boulogne, he died there of his wounds on May 9th 1915

He had a younger brother, Robert H Belcher, who was killed in action in France in 1918, serving with the London Regiment. He also lived in Warmington Street.

 A third brother, Charles Thomas (Tom) Belcher, survived the war, where he served as a Sergeant with the 8th Battalion, London Regiment and received the Meritorious Service Medal for Good Conduct.

Many thanks for this information to Paul McAllister, his grandson, who says ” As an ex-soldier myself, I am proud to be one of his descendants and proud to see his name recorded for evermore”.

Service Number
Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, France
No photos found for William Richard Belcher

Do you know anything about William Richard?

Perhaps William Richard Belcher was in your family, or a friend of someone in your family? If you have any information at all we'd love to hear from you. Post a comment using the form below and we'll be in touch.


    December 13, 2011
    7:51 pm

    I am the grandaugther of William Belcher and I was at the rededication of the bells with my cousin who gave you all the details of him.
    While we were there a lady took photos of the medals he was awarded
    It was a wondful day for all our families.

    Thank you


  2. Douglas Belcher
    May 5, 2013
    7:34 pm

    My great grandfather was a William Richard Belcher who came to South Africa from the UK in 1870/71 with his brother who settled in Australia. His wife was Ellen Elizabeth Wahl. Where and when they got married I do not know. I’m trying desperately to trace his history in the UK but haven’t been at all successful. You can see their photo on FB on W R Belcher 1st and Ellen Wahl. If you can help me trace their ancestry I would be very grateful. Thankyou kinly.

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