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Wilson Imeson

Wilson ImesonGuardsman Wilson Imeson, 2664535, 5th Battalion, Coldstream Guards.

Wilson Imeson was born in the Dewsbury area in the spring of 1921, the youngest child of seven children, born to Philip Imeson and his wife, Annie Matthewman, who had married at Thornhill Lees Parish Church, Dewsbury on the 28th September 1900. In 1910, Philip was employed as a blacksmith by the Ossett Corporation Gasworks at Healey Road bottom. By April 1911, Philip, born in Earlsheaton, Annie, of Thornhill and their children were living at Combs, Thornhill. Sadly the couple had lost one of their children by this time.

By May 1915, the Imeson family had moved to live at 18, Bank Street, Ossett. It was at this time that Philip Imeson, aged 36 years, volunteered and enlisted in the British Army to serve his Country in WW1. He served in the 4th Battalion, Royal Field Artillery and, just two months after his enlistment, Gunner Philip Imeson, embarked for France on the 13th July 1915. Remarkably, his WW1 medal card carries the inscription "Dead", but in fact, Philip Imeson survived WW1, and at the time of his demobilisation in January 1919, his address for pay was Cardigan Lane, Ossett and the family were living there in September 1920. He was awarded the British the Victory and the 1914/15 Star medals in recognition of his WW1 service.

In 1939, Philip and Annie Imeson were living at 5, Sutcliffes Yard, The Green, Ossett. Philip was still working as a journeyman blacksmith. Their married daughter, Jessie was living in the household, along with two other persons, whose names are redacted. It is possible that one of these names was the couple’s youngest son, Wilson Imeson. By 1941, Philip Imeson was living at 26, Radley Street, Ossett and he was there at the time of his death in late January 1943. Philip was buried at South Ossett Christ Church on the 1st February 1943, just seven days before his 64th birthday.

Wilson Imeson married Annie Shaw in the Hemsworth area in late 1940, and it appears that they had two children: Dorothy born early 1940 and Judith born late 1942, several months after her father’s death in the June of that year. Annie Imeson died in the Doncaster area on the 26th February 1949 and never remarried.

The "Ossett Observer" carried an obituary for Wilson Imeson:1

"Ossett Guardsman's Sad End - Effect Of Recent Illness - The tragic death from coal gas poisoning of Wilson Imeson, of the Coldstream Guards, the 21 year-old son of Mr. Philip Imeson, blacksmith, and of Mrs. Imeson, 26, Radley Street, Ossett has caused a painful sensation among friends, and the deepest sympathy is felt with the family in their sorrow.

Young Imeson, who was about 6 feet 4 inches in height, and of exceptionally smart appearance, had spent ten days' leave with his wife and child at the home of his parents in Ossett, and was returning to his unit on Sunday, when he broke his journey at Wakefield, and called unexpectedly at his lodgings at 10, Ella Street, Fitzwilliam.

Suggested 'Brainstorm' - At the inquest, conducted by Mr. Will Bentley, the Pontefract District Coroner, at South Moor House, Hemsworth, on Wednesday, evidence was given by the father, Philip Imeson, that his son had been in hospital for about three months before coming home on leave, and, whilst at home, he had complained of pains in the head and the inability to see properly. Witness thought he was bad on Sunday morning when he left to return to his unit, and, in his opinion he had a sudden brainstorm to break his journey and go to Fitzwilliam. Hi son told him that because he had been in a dark room in the hospital for a month and that he would 'stand hanging' before he would go through that again. He had never threatened to take his own life; he enjoyed it too much, and had never grumbled about Army life.

'Very Happy' - Mrs. Imeson told the coroner that her husband seemed very happy when he left her on Sunday morning, although she knew he had complained of his eyes and not feeling too well. Mrs. Martha Elizabeth Goodinson, of 10, Ella Street, Fitzwilliam, said that when Imeson reached her house on Sunday afternoon, he 'looked off.' He went into the room, and at night, as she could get no response to her calls and knocking, she fetched her brother-in-law, who forcibly entered the room and found the deceased.

Doctor's Evidence - Dr. M.B. Taylor, of Fitzwilliam, said he was called to 10, Ella Street shortly before 11 o'clock on Sunday night and found Imeson in the room, in which there was a strong smell of gas, which was a bit overpowering. He opened the windows and when the room was cleared he made an examination. Imeson had got the end of a long piece of flexible tubing in his mouth and the other end had been attached to the gas in the ceiling. His head was covered with a tea cloth. He was death through coal gas poisoning. The Coroner recorded a verdict that Imeson took his own life whilst the balance of his mind was disturbed owing to illness.

The funeral took place at Hemsworth Parish Church on Thursday, amid every sign of sympathy and respect. The mourners included the widow and child, father and mother, brothers and their wives from Ossett, and many friends from Ossett and Hemsworth. Many beautiful wreaths were sent, including one from his Company in Aylsbury."

Wilson Imeson died on the 21st June 1942, aged 21 years, and is buried at Grave 3020 in the consecrated area of Hemsworth Cemetery, Wakefield Road, Hemsworth.2

Philip and Bertie Imeson

Above: Wilson Imeson's father Philip (born 1878) and his brother Bertie (born 1912) in a blacksmith's shop located in South Ossett circa 1931.


1. "Ossett Observer", Saturday, 27th June 1942.

2. Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site