b. 31/12/1870 Hull, Yorkshire. d. 20/10/1956 Dover, Kent.
William Bernard Traynor (1870-1956) was born in Hull, Yorkshire, on 31st December 1870. He joined up as 2332 in the West Yorkshire Regiment on 15 November 1888. He was then working as a labourer and had a tattoo on his left forearm. His next of kin was Francis Traynor, of Hull, and his religion was described as Roman Catholic.
Appointed Lance Corporal on 7 October 1896, he became a Corporal on 8 September 1897, three months after his marriage on 12 June at Hunton, Kent, to Jane Elizabeth Martin. On 16 September 1899, William Traynor became a Sergeant. He re-engaged at Aldershot a month later, to complete his 21 years of service. He went to East India on 29 January 1891 until 21 April 1893, and to South Africa on 20 October 1899 to 9 March 1901.
It was here that he gained his Victoria Cross. On 6 February 1901, at Bothwell Camp, South Africa, Sergeant Traynor ran out of a trench to assist a wounded man. He was wounded himself, and Lance-Corporal W T Lintott came to his aid. Between them they carried the wounded man to safety.
Though wounded, with a splinter in his chest and a bullet in his thigh, Sergeant Traynor remained on duty "and was most cheerful in encouraging his men". His award of the Victoria Cross was Gazetted on 17th September 1901, as was a Medal for Distinguished Conduct in the Field for Lance-Corporal Lintott.
Such were the conditions, a telegram was sent to Mrs Traynor, announcing that her husband had been killed in action. However, this was certainly not so, though Sergeant Traynor was returned home on 10th March 1901, and discharged as medically unfit for further service on 29th September 1901. His wounds meant that he could not travel to London to receive his VC from the King, but instead received it at York in July 1902, from Colonel Edward Stevenson-Browne, himself a VC recipient.
The Traynors settled in Dover in 1902, Mr Traynor becoming an Orderly Room Clerk with the Royal Artillery. In 1911 they was living at 36 Eaton Road, an army pensioner and barrack warden, which job he retained until he retired in 1935. With him were his wife and their sons, Francis Bernard R, born in 1899 at Hunton, and who was to die later in 1911, Cecil Robert, born 1903, twins William Bothwell and Victor Charles, born in 1905, and Eileen May, born in 1910, all in Dover. Another daughter, Alice Kathleen, had been born in 1898 but had died in early 1901.
At the end of the Great War Mr Traynor was mentioned in dispatches for "valuable services in connection with the war". He became a member of the British Legion in Dover, and was for ten years Vice Chairman. He was also a Freemason, initiated into Military Jubilee Lodge No 2195 in February 1919, and a founder of Snargate Street Lodge No 6770 in November 1946. He served too on the Whitfield Parish Council.
He died on 20th October 1954, at Buckland Hospital. He was buried in Charlton Cemetery, Dover, Kent. Traynor’s medals were sold at auction at Dix Noonan Webb on 1st September 2013 and were purchased for a hammer price of £160,000 by the Ashcroft Trust and are now displayed in the Imperial War Museum.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: CHARLTON CEMETERY, DOVER, KENT.
William Traynor's medals including VC on display at the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, London.
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
PLOT XL, GRAVE 28
A replica VC on display at the Regimental Museum, York