William Mayling

4829 Private William Mayling, Hertfordshire Regiment

Born 3rd April 1896 in Ringshall
Died 3rd September 1916 in the 3rd Southern General Hospital, Oxford

Family and Home 1, 2

William was the 3rd of the 4 children of Frank Mayling and Sarah Ann née Newell of 26 Ringshall. His father Frank was a Woodman on the Ashridge Estate. William’s siblings were Harriet Ellen Mayling, born 20th October 1890, John Edward (Jack) Mayling, born 10th October 1894 and Doris Mayling, born 19th April 1899. By 1911 the family had moved to 24 Ringshall, where his brother John lived for the rest of his life.

Education at Little Gaddesden School 3

On 12th April 1899 William, an infant just 3 years old, was entered on the Register of Little Gaddesden School. The School Log Book records both tribulations and successes:

On 6th June 1902 the entry reads: “Am sorry to say that Impeys & Maylings of Ringshall have Chicken Pox.” The Impey family at 25 Ringshall, next door to the Maylings, included six year old Herbert Impey.

The entry for 26th January 1903 names William among the children who distinguished themselves in the annual Diocesan Inspection Religious Knowledge examination.

William left school on 25th November 1908 with a Certificate of Proficiency, which enabled him to go out to work when he was 12 years and 7 months old.

Employment 4

In the 1911 Census, William is recorded as a 15 year old Domestic Gardener’s Boy at Ringshall.

Military Service 5

William enlisted into the Hertfordshire Regiment at Hertford. The Little Gaddesden Roll of Honour for the First World War lists him in the 3rd Battalion, indicating that this was the battalion in which he first served. By the time of his death William had been transferred to the 1/1st Battalion.

Death 6

On 3rd September 1916, William died in the 3rd Southern General Hospital, Oxford following active service overseas; no cause of death is given.

Burial at Little Gaddesden 7

20 year old William was buried in the churchyard of St Peter & St Paul’s Church Little Gaddesden on 7th September 1916. The service was taken by the Rector, the Revd. Edward Clark.

William’s Grave and CWGC Headstone

William’s grave, which has a CWGC headstone, is located in the NE part of the old churchyard. Beneath the badge of the Hertfordshire Regiment is the inscription:

4829 Private
W. Mayling
Hertfordshire Regiment
3rd September 1916 Age 20

We will remember them 8

William Mayling is commemorated on the Little Gaddesden War Memorials on the village green and in St Peter & St Paul’s Church.

He is also named on the First World War Rolls of Honour in the church, as are his older brother John Mayling, 10th Bn. Bedfordshire Regiment and his cousins Frederick Cutler, Mechanical Transport, Harry Cutler 1st Bn. Hertfordshire Regiment and John Cutler, Army Veterinary Corps, who all survived the War. William was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal.


Soon after William’s death, his family received a condolence card from Adelaide, Countess Brownlow, which his family kept in a small album.

Photo of condolence card from Lady Brownlow
Photo courtesy of David Heard

After the War, William Mayling’s family received a Plaque and Memorial Scroll with a covering letter signed by King George V. The letter and scroll were framed and kept by the Mayling family.

Photos courtesy of David Heard, whom William Mayling’s family permitted to photograph the original documents

Printed beneath the Royal Coat of Arms on the Scroll are the words:

He whom this scroll commemorates was numbered among those who, at the call of King and Country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out of the sight of men by the path of duty and self-sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others might live in freedom.

Let those who come after see to it that his name be not forgotten.

Pte William Mayling
Hertfordshire Regt.

The accompanying letter reads:

Buckingham Palace

I join my grateful people
in sending you this memorial
of a brave life given for others
in the Great War.

George R.I.


1. Little Gaddesden Baptism Register 1813 – 1947

2. https://www.ancestry.co.uk  1939 England and Wales Register

3. Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1887 – 1906

4. https://www.ancestry.co.uk  1911 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcription

5. https://www.ancestry.co.uk UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1919

6. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/364450/mayling,-william/ 

7. Little Gaddesden Burial Register 1813 – 1980

8. https://www.ancestry.co.uk  British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards 1914-1920

Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson