Willoughby Emil Reiss was born on 8th May and baptised on 24 June 1890 at Holmes Chapel Church, the eldest child of merchant Henry Jacques and Emilie Constance Reiss of Weaste, Salford. The 1891 census reveals 11 month old Willoughby living in a wealthy household at 6 Weaste Lane, Salford, with his parents and six servants: a butler, cook, kitchen maid, nurse, housemaid and lady's maid.
Ten years later, in 1901, Willoughby was a boarder at Bilton Grange, a private school in Rugby, Warwickshire; and he later attended Charterhouse School.
By 1911, he was living with the family again at The Hermitage, Holmes Chapel, and assisting his father in the family business, Messrs Reiss Bros. Willoughby's mother was not at home on census night but his father and six of his nine younger siblings were there: Iris (19), Rhoda (17), Nancy (11), Patrick (7), John (6), and Paul Anthony (3).
Willoughby Reiss joined the 6th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment, which was formed on 4th August 1914 at No3 Stretford Road, Hulme, Manchester. At the end of August, as part of the Manchester Brigade East Lancashire Division, the Battalion moved into camp at Hollingworth Lake near Littleborough, Rochdale.
On 10th September 1914, the Battalion departed from Southampton on the Caledonia, arriving at Alexandria, Egypt, on 25th September.
The Battalion landed at Gallipoli with the 5th Manchester Regiment at W and V beaches on the 6th May 1915. On 7th August the Battalion was ordered to attack and occupy the Turkish trenches, working in conjunction with the 8th Manchesters as both had been weakened by the loss of many men. This operation, the Battle of Krithia Vineyard, was an unsuccessful attempt to divert Turk attention from a large British landing. Willoughby was severely wounded during this action, and died of his wounds the following day.
Captain Willoughby Reiss is buried in grave ref. A. 63. of Lancashire Landing Cemetery, Gallipoli, Turkey. His father asked for the inscription “THE DEARLY LOVED SON OF HARRY & CONNIE REISS” to be added to his headstone.
Locally, Captain Willoughby Reiss is commemorated on the Holmes Chapel war memorial.
Brother of Raymond, Peter and Vincent Reiss, who all served and survived the war.
Research by Rosie Rowley, Macclesfield.