William Broom

Rank Driver
Service No Unknown
Date of Death 01/12/1917
Age 33
Regiment/Service Royal Field Artillery 112th Battery, 24th Brigade.
Memorial Cambrai Memorial, France. The Memorial commemorates more than 7,000 servicemen of the UK and South Africa who died in the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917 and whose graves are not known.


William was born in Paddington, London, in 1884. His parents were Benjamin (b 1851) and Elizabeth (b 1851) Broom. He had five siblings: Walter (b 1875), Florence (b 1889) and Edith (b 1893) and two others who had died by the time of the 1911 census.

On 17th April 1909, William married Henrietta Mary Pettit (1885-1985). At the time of the 1911 Census, they were living at 4 Western Terrace, Hammersmith, with their son, William Benjamin Walter. William’s occupation is listed as car-man who delivered mineral water.

William joined up on 11th September 1914. He was killed in action at the Battle of Cambrai, an important German garrison and railway depot. The aim of the allied attack was to exploit the favourable terrain by using a new generation of tanks in massive numbers to break through the Hindenburg Line and open up a passage for the infantry to pass through. The plan also relied on the air force to attack the German rearguard to prevent the arrival of reinforcements.

On 20th November, 1917, 476 tanks and six infantry divisions mounted an attack. By the end of the day the British Army had advanced five miles and had for the first time broken through the hitherto impregnable Hindenburg Line. However, over the coming days, the British were unable to consolidate their position and then faced a strong German counter-attack. By 4th December, when the fighting ceased, the British Army had lost almost all of the ground it had gained over the previous days.

The electoral register of 1918 indicates that Henrietta was living at 7 Vineyard Terrace, Finchley. The 1932 register reveals that she and her son, William, were living at 244 Long Lane, Finchley.