Private Abraham Wilding


Abraham Wilding was born on 27 February 1886 at Occold, Suffolk, one of at least nine children of agricultural labourer (later thatcher and hay trusser) George Wilding and his wife Mary Ann (née Everson). By the time of the 1901 Census he was living in Church Street, Occold, with his parents, two of his siblings and a niece, and working as an agricultural labourer. On 18 December 1910 he married Eileen Elizabeth Jane Dixon in the Dover Registrar's Office. The couple had at least four children over the next eight years.

Wilding had enlisted as a driver in the Army Service Corps on 9 February 1903 (No. T/20575). By 1911 it appears that he had been demobilised and placed in the army reserve, as the Census for that year records that he was living at 28 George Street, Hanover Square, London, and working as a caretaker.

On the outbreak of war Wilding was called-up to his regiment, and embarked for France on 17 August 1914. He served in France and Belgium in the Headquarters Company, 3rd Divisional Train, Army Service Corps, until 8 February 1916, when his thirteen years' service expired. Wilding elected to be discharged from the army (paragraph 392(xxi), King's Regulations) and return to the UK.

Between 28 June and 19 July 1916, however, he re-enlisted, this time in the North Irish Horse (No.2219 – later Corps of Hussars No.71714). Why he chose this regiment is not known, but the date of his original embarkation for France – 17 August 1914 – matches that of A Squadron, North Irish Horse. It is possible, therefore, that he was part of that squadron's ASC contingent.

Wilding trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France on 31 March 1918. At this time, however, the North Irish Horse regiment in France was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit. This meant a 25 per cent reduction in its numbers, and it is possible that at this time Wilding was posted to the 6th Dragoon Guards. He may have been wounded during the Advance to Victory offensive, for on 5 November 1918, just six days before the Armistice, he returned to the UK.

On 11 August 1919 Wilding re-enlisted at Whitehall in the 1st (King's) Dragoon Guards. He was issued regimental number D/34618 (later No.392644). He was discharged on 10 August 1923 on completion of his four years' service, his military character recorded as 'exemplary'.

At the time of the 1939 Register Wilding was living at 14 LCC Flats, Poynders Gardens, Balham, South West London, and working as a War Office messenger. He died in Wandsworth in 1955.