© Helvellyn Consulting 2023
This information has been expertly researched by Norman Jackson. More information can be found in the History Section of the Patterdale Today website.
Corporal William Carmichael Wilson
6th. Bn., King's Own Scottish Borderers
Born About 1919, Wanlockhead, Dumfries, Ayrshire
Died 19 September 1944, Oosterbeek, Holland (Age 25)
Son of William Carmichael Wilson (Snr) and his wife Thomasina Love
Husband of Eileen Elsie Wilson, of Penrith
William Carmichael Wilson was born around 1919 in Dumfries, Ayrshire. Son of William Carmichael Wilson (Snr) and his wife Thomasina Love (nee ??). We cannot find his father in the 1911 Census of England and do not have access to Scottish records, so cannot write more about the family in these early years or say when the family arrived in Patterdale. There is a W C Wilson listed amongst the employees of the Greenside mine in 1943 but we do not know if this is William Junior or Senior?
William gave his address as 8, Brow Field, Glenridding and his occupation a Soldier when he married Eileen Elsie Cooper on the 11th May 1944 at St Patrick's Church, presumably whilst home on leave. Elsie was in the W.A.A.F and gave her address as 7, Low Glenridding. Elsie was in fact the niece of George Cooper, who died in World War One, and is also commemorated on the Patterdale Memorial.
William's parents were still at 8, Brow Field when William Senior died in February 1945. The 6th Bn. KOSB landed with the 15th Division on the Normandy beaches on the 15th June 1944, and soon found themselves involved in the fierce battles around Caen and the River Odon, fighting through France, Belgium and Holland, and eventually crossing the Siegfried Line, ending the war just beyond Hamburg.
It is very likely that William was killed in The Battle of Arnhem or 'Operation Market Garden' as it is more often called -
It was fought in and around the Dutch towns of Arnhem, Oosterbeek, Wolfheze, Driel and the surrounding countryside from the 17th–26th September 1944. There were many famous actions, particularly around the bridge at Arnhem, but we are focusing on the location of William's Regiment.
On the morning of the 19th September, the 4th Parachute Brigade led an attempt to break through the German lines and seize the high ground in the woods north of Oosterbeek but communication difficulties and enemy resistance caused the attack to fail with heavy losses. The Division, scattered far and wide and hard pressed by the enemy on all sides had lost its offensive capability. The remaining soldiers attempted to withdraw into a defensive pocket at Oosterbeek (near Landing Zone 'L') which was defended by the King's Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB on the above map), who were awaiting the arrival of the Glider borne elements of the Polish Parachute Brigade. Heavy fighting and confusion ensued as the gliders arrived in the middle of the retreat, with even more more heavy losses including, no doubt, Corporal William Wilson (Note: 90% of the nearby 7th Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers, were killed).
Montgomery claimed that "in years to come it will be a great thing for a man to be able to say: 'I fought at Arnhem'", a prediction seemingly borne out by the pride of soldiers who took part, and the occasional desire of those who did not to claim that they were there!
Given that both his wife and his parents were living in Glenridding in 1944, it is unusual that his death was not reported in the Cumberland and Westmorland, Herald.
Corporal William Wilson is remembered and commemorated on The Patterdale War Memorial, The Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Netherlands (Plot 9, Row D, Grave 8), and The Wanlockhead War Memorial in Dumfriesshire.
His father died on the 23rd February 1945 and is buried in St Patrick's churchyard. We have been unable to find a death record for his mother Thomasina Love Wilson in the English records, perhaps she moved back to Ayrshire.
As a widow after only 5 weeks of marriage, it is not surprising that Elsie, still living in Glenridding, married again; this time to John Alexander Ferguson, a 29 years old Fitter from Liverpool. No children have been found from her marriage to William.
His younger brother Andrew Sloan Wilson was born around 1922. Whilst working at the Patterdale Hotel he met and married, at St Patrick's Church on the 28th October 1950, Alaine Nocher Robb a Housemaid at the hotel. They continued to live in Glenridding until at least 1958 and had two sons, William Carmichael Wilson and Brian Charles Wilson, both baptised at St Patrick's.
If you have any more information on William’s family please contact us.
William’s name on the Wanlockhead War Memorial