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William Heseltine GREENBANK

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Forename(s): William Heseltine

Place of Birth: Dent, Yorkshire

Service No: ---

Rank: Ordinary Seaman

Regiment / Corps / Service: Mercantile Marine

Battalion / Unit: ---

Division: ---

Age: 32

Date of Death: 1918-07-02

Awards: ---

CWGC Grave / Memorial Reference: ---

CWGC Cemetery: ---

CWGC Memorial: ---

Non-CWGC Burial: ---

Local War Memorial: COWGILL, YORKSHIRE

Additional Information:

William Heseltine Greenbank was the son of James and Margaret Greenbank, née Heseltine. James was born at Dent and Margaret at Thoralby, Yorkshire.

1891 Cowgill Parish, Yorkshire Census: Lea Yet - William Greenbank, aged 5 years, born Dent, Yorkshire son of James and Margaret Greenbank.

William served on the 'Kamona' (owned by the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand) and accidentally drowned whilst in harbour in New Zealand.

A short biography of William is included in: ‘Sedbergh and District 1914-1918 - But who shall return the children?’ Compiled by Sedbergh and District History Society. Edited by Diane Elphick (2016).

Data Source: Craven’s Part in the Great War - original CPGW book entry

View Entry in CPGW Book

Entry in West Yorkshire Pioneer Illustrated War Record:

GREENBANK, William Heseltine, [Dent], son of Mr. Jas. Greenbank, drowned July 2, 1918.


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Ordinary Seaman William Heseltine GREENBANK

Ordinary Seaman William Heseltine GREENBANK

Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: Mercantile Marine

Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: Mercantile Marine

Data from Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 - 1919 Records

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Data from Commonwealth War Graves Commission Records

CWGC Data for Soldier Records

Surname: Not commemorated by the CWGC.


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View Craven Herald Articles

View Craven Herald Articles

Craven Herald and Wensleydale Standard Logo

12 July 1918

GREENBANK – In loving memory of William Heseltine Greenbank, who was accidentally drowned on July 2nd, 1918, at Lyttleton, New Zealand, in his 32nd year, son of James and Margaret Greenbank, Leagate, Dent, Yorkshire.

Oh, for touch of a vanished hand,
Or a sound of the voice that is still.

GREENBANK – In ever loving memory of my dear brother (Bill), who was accidentally drowned on July 2nd, 1918.

Father in Thy gracious keeping
Leave we now Thy servant sleeping.

Deeply mourned by his only sister Florrie.

19 July 1918

DENT – Lost at Sea

Mr. and Mrs. Jas. Greenbank have received word by cable that their son, W. .H. Greenbank, was accidentally drowned at sea near Lyttleton, New Zealand, on July 2nd. When last heard from he was employed on a Government training ship, and it is presumed that the ship has been mined. They are anxiously awaiting further particulars. He was 32 years of age.

27 September 1918

GREENBANK – July 2nd, 1918, accidentally drowned in New Zealand. William Heseltine Greenbank, of the ship ‘Kamona,’ son of Mr. James Greenbank, Leagate, Dent, Sedbergh, aged 32 years.

27 September 1918


We regret to hear of the death by accidental drowning in New Zealand of William Heseltine Greenbank, son of Mr. James Greenbank, Leagate, Dent. Young Greenbank had been 12½ years in New Zealand, and the sad news has naturally come as a shock to the family and their friends. The circumstances are described in the ‘Lyttleton Morning Journal’ as follows:– “At 7 o’clock on Tuesday night (July 2nd 1918), William Heseltine Greenbank, employed as a greaser on the Kamona, lost his life by drowning. Having worked till about 4-30 p.m. Greenbank some time afterwards left his vessel for the purpose of visiting an old shipmate, Jack Irvine, the donkey man on the Tarawera. This vessel had arrived in port at 3 p.m.

“Greenbank went aboard the Tarawera at about 6.15pm, remaining there till 7 o’clock. Irving, being a couple of paces in the lead, stepped onto the wharf from the main deck, which was level with the wharf at the time, expecting Greenbank to follow. He had only proceeded a short distance, however, when he heard one of the stewards shouting out that the man had fallen overboard. He returned to the spot where Greenbank had fallen down between the ship’s side and No. 4 wharf, but the unfortunate man was not to be seen. It is surmised that he either slipped off the boat’s rail when about to step on the wharf, or else accidentally stumbled over the side. It was also thought that he must have struck his head in falling as the contact was heard by the steward. The alarm having been raised, Mr. George Fraser, third engineer of the Tarawera, jumped into the sea fully dressed, and though he remained in the water twenty minutes his search was fruitless. The body had not been recovered up to 8-30 on Tuesday night, when, owing to the darkness, grappling operations had to be suspended. Greenbank was a single man about 32 years of age and a native of Yorkshire. He was a capital swimmer, a good athlete, temperate in his habits, and a special favourite amongst his shipmates. His brother, Mr. Thomas Greenbank, is employed at the Thornton Railway Offices, Wellington. Deceased left the Amokma at Wellington shortly before Christmas to join the Kamona. His father and mother reside at Dent, Sedbergh, Yorkshire.”

04 July 1919

GREENBANK – In loving memory of William Heseltine Greenbank, who was drowned in N.Z. waters on July 2nd, 1918.

At first we think that home is Heaven,
At last we learn that Heaven is home.

Ever remembered by his only sister Florrie.


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