William Heinz Gilbert Durrant
2nd Lieutenant, the Dorset Regiment
William Heinz Gilbert Durrant was a student at Alleyn’s and lived in Bournemouth before the start of the First World War. He already had a substantial amount of military experience prior to the outbreak of war, having served in British Army during the South Africa campaign in 1899-1902. After Britain's declaration of war in August 1914, he decided to continue his service in the Army, joining the Dorset Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant on the Western Front in 1915. During this time, he was involved in the largest operation of the year when the Dorset took part in the Battle of the Loos in 1915. This battle would mark the first use of poison gas as a weapon by the British forces and it was hoped that the operation would break through the German defences. However, the attack was a costly failure and the British suffered a high number of casualties as a result of the strong German defences in area. It was during this attack that William was killed in action as he led his men across No Man’s Land on September 26th 1915. He is commemorated on the Vermelles Memorial.