Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1917, Private William Merry, the Royal Marine Light Infantry, died while in service in Dar es Salaam, German East Africa.
One of seven children of a house painter and a laundry worker, he worked as a carter after leaving school. In June of 1915, at the age of seventeen, he enlisted in London with the Royal Marine Light Infantry. His record shows he was 5’7” tall with brown hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion.
Private Merry served on several ships at Deal and Portsmouth before serving on H.M.S. Hyacinth as part of the East African Expeditionary Force in February of 1916. He saw action against the Germans in what is now Tanzania, and died there on the 17th of March the following year of blackwater fever.
Private Merry’s father, Spencer Merry, and his two brothers, Joseph and George, served in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, and all survived the war. Private Merry is buried in the Dar es Salaam (Sea View) Cemetery in Tanzania.
William, from Cowley St. John, Oxford, was 20 years old.