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Dimmock, William Horace
1890-1915; e.m.1913

Born on 4 February 1890 in Rowley Regis, Staffs, he was the first WM minister to be killed in action in World War One. His father Samuel Dimmock, a former coal miner, was a self-employed grocer who later became a mining engineer in Netherton.

William was converted in his early years, became a member at Old Hill Wesleyan Church, Dudley and began preach at 17. Accepted for the ministry, he was sent for three years to Richmond College. In 1913 he was placed on the President’s List and stationed for one year in the Scunthorpe and Brigg Circuit as the first residential minister of the fast-growing Ashby Wesleyan Church. From there he was sent to Bradley in the Bilston Circuit, where he persuaded the trustees to offer the school premises to the War Office as a military hospital. Although he was ‘a man of peace’, early in 1915, unable to obtain appointment as an army chaplain he enlisted as a Private in the newly formed London Regiment 25th Battalion, despite most of its recruits being older men. In May the Battalion was posted to British East Africa and from there by train to Kisumu in present-day Kenya. Sailing across Lake Victoria with instructions to take the German headquarters town of Bukoba, they were engaged in a fierce two-day battle, in which Dimmock was mortally wounded on 23 June 1915. A fellow private recorded that ‘Quite characteristic of himself he got up from cover to help a wounded man & so gave his life,’ the first Wesleyan minister to do so. After the war his body was exhumed and re-interred in Dar-es-Salaam War Cemetery (Grave 8 D 1-4).

Sources

  • Birmingham Mail, 15 July 1915
  • Donald H. Ryan, in West Midlands Methodist History Society Bulletin, 10:6 , Autumn 2015, pp.95-100

Entry written by: DHR
Category: Person

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