William Higginson

Died May 9, 1919, age 20 or 21, of cholera, with British forces at Meerut,
India.

William Higginson was born in in Belfast, Ireland in 1898, a son of Edward
and Annie (Elder) Higginson, and came to the U.S. with his family at a young
age, settling into the West End Thread Company village in Millbury. The
family resided at 170 West Main Street, on the shores of Brierly Pond.

According to the Worcester Telegram, Higginson repeatedly tried to enlist in
the U.S. armed forces following the nation’s entry into World War I, but was
rejected because he was missing a finger on his right hand. Determined to
serve, he returned to Belfast in May 1917, where he joined friends who were
enlisting in the British Army.
Higginson was assigned to the British motorized transit training school in the
city of Meerut, India, capital of Uttar Pradesh state. Meerut was very far
from the front lines during the war, but Higginson undertook his role with
enthusiasm.
On May 11, 1919, Higginson’s fellow soldier and friend, J. Rachburn Mann,
wrote to William’s brother, Charles Higginson:
“You will probably have heard by cable, long ago, before you get this, that
your brother passed away at [3:20] this morning. We were all very sorry for
we had come to know him as one of the workshop boys, who was always
ready and willing to patch up our cars for us. And this they always did, with
the use of a monkey wrench and a file, for our supply of workshop
equipment was very meager, and the task of keeping cheerful under these
circumstances was a difficult one, indeed, I can assure you.”
William Higginson was buried in the British cemetery at Meerut, beneath the
Union Jack, as Mann wrote  “… in just such a quiet and restful place, where
anyone would like to be, if they could not be placed beside their relatives.


The Higginson home on West Main Street by Brierly Pond