Charles Stanley GRIFFITHS
Rank: Lance Corporal
Number: 202127
Unit: 2/5th Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 8 June 1917
Age: 26
Cemetery: Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France

David and Mary Jane Griffiths had two sons - Rowland who had been born in about 1885 and Stanley, five years younger.  The family had moved from the Crumpsall area of Manchester, where both boys had been born. In 1901, the family was living at 44 Aberdeen Crescent, Edgeley. David died in 1903 and this is possibly when the family moved nearby to 5 Glanvor Road.

When Stanley left school, he had worked in the printing department of the Stockport Advertiser but had later worked as a linotype operator for a printer in Manchester. It is not known when Stanley enlisted into the army but he is believed to have been an original member of the 2/5th Battalion which did not go overseas on active service until March 1917.

On 3 June 1917, the Battalion was in trenches at Cambrin and the men of "A" and "B" Companies were preparing for a raid on the enemy opposite. Such raids were a common feature of trench warfare and were designed to gather intelligence as well as kill as many of the enemy as possible.  The men who would take part in the raid were training for it at nearby Noyelles. As well as killing anyone they came across, they planned to destroy any machine guns or mortars and generally wreck the trenches as much as possible.

At 8.25pm on the 8th, British artillery, trench mortars and machine guns opened up on the German lines to give the raiders the best chance of getting across No Man's Land undetected. At 8.31, the barrage lifted off the German front line and the raiders were quickly into the trenches, bayoneting two sentries before carrying on to the next objective.

At this point, seven Germans came out of a dug-out with their hands up in surrender but three of them were shot dead and two others wounded.  Others encountered were also attacked although it is not recorded if they were also trying to surrender. Between 8.38 and 8.48, the official report on the raid records that explosive charges were placed by Royal Engineers at the entrances to tunnel dug-outs. Also at this time, 14 prisoners were taken although "9 of whom showed fight on the way back and were bayoneted."

The men started to withdraw at 9.03 and, about this time, 11 unarmed Germans emerged from a dugout. "They tried to show fight but most were killed, 3 or 4 escaping down the tunnel".

The report concludes "It appears our attacks came as a complete surprise to the enemy. If these reports are to be believed, their tunnels contained at least 70 to 80 men, so if all these tunnels were "P" bombed and the entrances blown in by mobile charges, it is reasonable to suppose that good results were obtained. On a moderate estimate, enemy casualties should have amounted to about 100 but these do not include casualties caused by mobile charges in dug-outs which cannot be definitely included."

Stanley was one of five members of the Battalion to have been killed. About 45 others had been wounded but most of these were slight injuries.

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