Source : The Sphere 5th Dec 1914
TRIMMER, WILLIAM DOUGLAS MACLEAN, Lieut., 1st Battn. Hampshire Regt., only child of Edward Douglas Trimmer, of Oakrigg, Walton-on-Thames, Solicitor, and his wife, Mary Kate, dau. of John Lauchlan Maclean, late of Haremere Hall, co. Sussex; b. Surbiton, co. Surrey, 29 Dec. 1891; educ. Aldenham School and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst; gazetted 2nd Lieut. to the 1st Hampshires, 20 Sept. 1911, and promoted Lieut. 18 March, 1914; left for France, 22 Aug. 1914, in the 11th Brigade of the 4th Division, served through the retreat from Mons, the Battles of the Aisne and the Marne, and was killed in action with his whole platoon, in an advanced and isolated trench at Ploegsteert Wood, during the First Battle of Ypres, 30 Oct. following. Buried in Ploegsteert Churchyard; unm.
Lieut. J. F. Gwynne, Medical Officer to the Hampshires, wrote: “He died like a hero-he was a hero, and the way he and his men fought to the last is one of the finest acts I have heard of in the whole war. He was found in his trench, wounded fatally in the head, grasping unexpended cartridges in his hand-game to the last. He must have died immediately on receiving the fatal shot.” Capt. Clive Garsia, 1st Hampshires, wrote: “The simplest truth about him, uninfluenced by the natural wish to speak well of the dead, is that he was one of the very best subalterns I ever knew. From the day he joined he devoted himself whole-heartedly to work and to play, and exhibited pluck and endurance I have never seen excelled. His success as a cross-country runner was due solely to grit, because he was not the cut of a runner, but he had the heart to stay the pace however hot they made it. As a loyal subordnate who played up to me whole-heartedly on every occasion I should like to pay his memory humble tribute of acknowledgment. I knew when the war broke out that he would do well, and I have frequently asked men coming down wounded for news about the regt. and different officers. The first news I heard was about the retreat from Mons, when a sergt. told me that Mr. Trimmer and the General were the only two that wouldn’t lie down. Several told me that the blokes said they’d follow him anywhere'”; and in a subsequent letter he added “the specially heroic circumstances attending the last stand of Douglas and his platoon are fully appreciated. I am now on the Divisional staff and have frequently heard the Chief Staff Officer say how well my regt. has done all through, instancing the way Douglas’ platoon stuck it to the last man.’ And Capt. Douglas Johnston, 1st Hampshires, wrote: “On the Aisne he [Lieut. Trimmer] did his work perfectly, and I myself was particularly struck with the quiet courage he showed when on really dangerous patrol work. He was far from well there, but got better before we moved. When poor Major Connellan was struck, your boy dashed out and brought him into cover, and the next day, the 21 Oct., he told me about it. It is unnecessary for me to add that he was extraordinarily popular with his men.” Mr. Connellan in a letter to Mr. Trimmer said: “I have heard from Capt. Thurn and I will tell you all that he told me about your son, but I am afraid it is very little. He says, about 28 Oct. he was holding an advanced trench with his platoon in front of Ploegsteert Wood; he was very heavily shelled and attacked by infantry all day, losing most of his platoon. He sent back for reinforcements but apparently there were none to be had, anyhow none were sent. He held his men together and stuck to his trench all day, being finally killed by a shell towards the evening. The remains of his platoon, nine men out of about 40, stuck on and were finally all killed by German infantry, except, I believe, one man who is now wounded and prisoner. The only survivor of his platoon, the messenger he sent back, was killed about two months after. Young Trimmer certainly held his trench very gallantly and I know his name was sent on from the battn.”
He was a good all-round athlete. When at Aldenham he won the School Mile and Half Mile, in 1910, creating school records in both instances. He was also a good cross-country runner, coming in fourth at the R.M.C. in 1911, and he ran in the 1st Hampshire Regimental Teams in 1912, 1913 and 1914, which won the Aldershot Command (twice) and the Eastern Command, Cross Country Runs. In other sports he was a useful Rugby Football and Hockey player, a plucky swimmer and a good horseman.
Source : De Ruvigny’s Roll Of Honour Vol 1
Source : The Illustrated London News 21st Nov 1914