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William Hugh David De Pass

Born:
23 Tishri 5653 (14 October 1892)
Died:
15 Iyyar 5678 (27 April 1918)

Basic Information

Unique reference:
DEP5310
Gender:
Male

Birth

Date of birth:
23 Tishri 5653 (14 October 1892)
Place of birth:
Kensington

Death

Date of death:
15 Iyyar 5678 (27 April 1918)
Died in combat?:
Yes
Place of death:
Puzeau, France
Cause of death:
Killed by a shell exploding amongst his platoon
Burial place:
Fourquescourt British Cemetery

Places

Addresses

Family Home:
46 Queens Gate South Kensington (1911)

Schools

Name:
Mr Ernest Smith's Preparatory School
Name:
Wellington College
Year started:
1906
Year left:
1911
Name:
Corpus Christi, Oxford
Year started:
1911
Year left:
1915
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William Hugh David De Pass
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In Memorium by Corpus Christi College

We have to record to gifts to the Junior Library. W. de Pass, who was killed in France in the spring of 1918, bequeathed us his books, which have now been placed on the shelves of the Library; in the case of duplicates, the copies already in our possession were sold and replaced by those of the bequest. Mr Charles de Pass has most generously further supplemented the legacy of his son by a gift in his memory of £350, the income from which will be spent on the purchase of books for the Junior Library. The books bought under this gift will bear a special label with an inscription indicating the source from which they have been bought. The College owes a great debt to Mr de Pass for supplementing the resources of the Library at a time when the prices of books have increased: his gift has a self-perpetuating and increasing character that will keep alive the memory of the donor and his son in the minds of future generations of Corpus men who profit by it.

Pelican Record Vol. XIV, No. 5:

In a casualty list issued a few months ago it was officially stated that Lieutenant William Hugh David de Pass, 6th Bn (attached to 13th Bn) The Middlesex Regt, who had previously been reported “Missing, believed Killed” since March 25, 1918, was now presumed to have been killed in action on that date.
William de Pass was educated at Mr Ernest Smith’s Preparatory School at Enfield Chase, and at Wellington College, Berkshire. He came into residence at Corpus as a Commoner in October 1911. Most Freshmen, at the beginning of their first Term at Oxford, experience a feeling of acute shyness owing to the fact that the surroundings in which they find themselves are so unlike anything they have known before, and that they are as yet strangers to every one of their companions. It was in these circumstances that I first met William de Pass. With him as a companion such feelings were, however, but short-lived, and very soon the New Buildings became a very cheery spot and one where life was well worth living. So it was with Willie, all through his three years at Oxford. His rooms, both in College and later in Oriel Square, were always crowded with friends; so much so, indeed, that one wondered sometimes how he ever managed to find time to do his reading. That he did so was due to the thoroughness with which he always carried out everything which he began. He took Honour Moderations in 1913, and was in the middle of his preparation for the History Schools at the time of the outbreak of war. In addition to this he played “Rugger” for the College, and was a familiar figure at the Owlets.
Nominally, he would have had another year at Oxford, but when the war came he threw up his work and decided to join the Army. Characteristically enough he decided not to accept a Commission, preferring to enlist in the ranks on the grounds that, in spite of his O.T.C. experience, he had not sufficient military knowledge to justify his accepting a Commission forthwith. Accordingly, in the face of the remonstrances of his friends, he enlisted in August 1914, in the 16th (Public Schools) Bn The Middlesex Regt, and immediately went into training at Kempton Park. The heavy casualties of the Flanders campaign during the winter of 1914-15, and the obvious difficulty which even as late as the Spring of 1915 was being experienced in recruiting the junior commissioned ranks of the New Armies then in the making, caused him to alter his attitude on this question; and eventually he was gazetted to the Special Reserve of his own Regiment in April 1915. After a few days’ leave he joined his Battalion at Chatham, where he was stationed until he proceeded overseas in May 1916. On joining the Expeditionary Force in France he was posted for duty with the 13th Battalion of his Regiment and served with them until he was wounded at Guillemont in August 1916.
After a four months’ spell in hospital he re-joined his Reserve Battalion at Chatham and was immediately given the command of a Company. Ultimately, he was again passed fit for general service and re-joined the 13th Battn in September 1917. Except for a few days’ leave in March 1918, just before the great German offensive was launched against the right flank of the British Army, he never returned to England; for it was during the retreat that followed that he met his death while superintending a part of his company from the village of Puzeau near Chaulnes. Exact information is lacking, but it is believed that he was blown to pieces by a German shell which exploded among the platoon which he was commanding.
Although he served five years in the O.T.C. and always went to camp each year, like many of the officers killed in the war William de Pass was essentially one of the most peaceable of men. Nothing but the most urgent crisis could have made him adopt the profession of arms; but when the need arose he never hesitated in his choice, and lived to become a most efficient officer. His death at the age of twenty-five constitutes a very real loss to all who knew him, while an irreparable gap is made in the ranks of those members of Corpus who were Freshmen in 1911.

Family

Parents

Father: Charles Benjamin De Pass (male)
Mother: Mabel Kate Benjamin (female)

Military Record

Military service:
Army
Date enlisted/conscripted:
1915
Date discharged/death:
27 April 1918
Rank at discharge/death:
Lieutenant
Invalided out of service:
18 May 1917
Returned to service:
18 September 1917
Assignments
Regiment:
Middlesex Regiment
Battalion/unit:
6th Battalion
Campaigns:
Interned in before going to the Western Front at Kempton Park
Regiment:
Middlesex Regiment
Battalion/unit:
13th Battalion
Campaigns:
Guillemont

Roll of Honour

W. H. DE PASS, 28 March 1918

Commonwealth Graves Commission

Rank:
Lieutenant
Date of Death:
25/03/1918
Age:
25
Regiment / service:
6th Bn. attd. 13th Bn., Middlesex Regiment
Cemetery:
Fouquescourt British Cemetery
Grave reference:
Sp. Mem. I. G. 8.
Additional information:

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London Jews in the First World War - We Were There Too

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