Private William (“Billy”) Appleby was born in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, to parents William and Sarah Appleby on May 12, 1885. He was living in Ladysmith at the time of his enlistment with the 103rd Battalion in Victoria, British Columbia, on January 27, 1916.
He shipped for England on board the S.S. Olympic in July of 1916, and proceeded to France on October 6, 1916, where he served with the 29th Battalion (aka “Tobin’s Tigers”), Canadian Infantry.
Appleby was killed in action at Vimy Ridge during an advance on April 9, 1917. He was buried at Bois-Carre British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.
Appleby’s name is listed on the Ladysmith Cenotaph along with forty other soldiers who were born, lived, or worked in Ladysmith, B.C., and who died during the First World War. Seven of these soldiers, including Appleby, had wartime letters published by The Ladysmith Chronicle newspaper (see links below).
The complete list of soldiers in the can be found in the Ladysmith and District Historical Society collection.
Pte. William Appleby’s Service Record (Serv/Reg #706843) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
Burial information is available at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
A memorial page honouring Appleby can be visited online at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
His name is inscribed on the Ladysmith Cenotaph, Rotary Memorial Peace Garden, Ladysmith, B.C.
A collection of WWI soldiers' letters published in The Ladysmith Chronicle was undertaken by the Ladysmith & District Historical Society through their work with the Ladysmith Archives.
Appleby’s younger brother Private Herbert Appleby was killed serving with the 7th Battalion at Ypres on June 3, 1916. Pte. Herbert Appleby’s Service Record (Serv/Reg #428109).