Second Lieutenant William Sinclair Petersen was an English officer of the British Army who died during the First World War.

He was born on 10 July 1892, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the son of Danish ship owner and broker William and his wife Flora Mckay Petersen, of Aberdeen, Scotland. Petersen studied at Glenalmond before graduating from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1913 and furthering his education in Germany (where he developed a fluent command of French and German). While at Trinity, he belonged to the University Officer Training Corps.[1] He went onto be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Essex Royal Field Artillery,[2] in May 1914. On the outbreak of war, he transferred to the 2nd Life Guards so as to fulfill his request to serve overseas.[1]

Soon after joining the regiment, Petersen was given responsibility for the training of 50 men and horses at Ludgershall Camp, at Salisbury Plain. The contingent went to France in October, for employment as a draft, and arrived at the front in Flanders on the 29th. Petersen died on 6 November 1914, in the First Battle of Ypres, during a dismounted bayonet charge undertaken by his regiment to retake a village lost to German forces.[1] His brother-in-law, Major Douglas Reynolds VC, who had married his sister Marie Doris, died in February 1916.

He is buried in Zillebeke Churchyard, Belgium.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Clutterbuck, Lewis Augustus & Dooner, William Toke (1917), The Bond of Sacrifice; A Biographical Record of All British Officers Who Fell in the Great War, p. 305.
  2. The Times (40696), Col A, p. 6: "Fallen Officers". 14 November 1914.


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