13th Battalion, Kings Royal Rifle Corps
William was born on 29 October 1894. His younger brother Robert also attended CCB. His parents were Lt Col Sir David Semple (b. 1856) and Lady Ethel Semple (b.1866). He was one of seven children. The others were Maud (b.1895), Robert (b.1896-1918), John (1899-1900), Mabel (nickname 'Suet', b.1901), Eileen ('Jelly', b.1902) and Noel, (1903-1912, meningitis). His father was RAMC doctor, knighted in 1911. Between 1913 and 1918, he was DG of Public Health, Egypt.
In 1915, his sisters, Mabel (13) and Eileen (12) were sent to Princess Helena's College, then located in Ealing. He wrote letters to them with his brother, over the course of his war service. Sarah Riley compiled this correspondence in S. Ridley, 'Dear Jelly, Family Letters from the First World War' (London, 2014). His family address was given as "Clare Lodge," Firfield Rd., Farnham, Surrey.
William entered CCB in January 1906 and departed in December 1912. In 1915, William was due to go to Cambridge to study medicine but joined the King's Royal Rifle Corps in that year. He was killed in action on 29 June 1916 and is buried at Hannescamps New Military Cemetery.
Send us your own memories, stories and images to help grow the project.