Rank: Private
Number: 34862
Unit: 13th Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 21 October 1916
Age: 21
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

There is some confusion about William's connection with the local area. He is commemorated on the memorials in Gatley and Stockport. Records complied after the war suggest that he had been born in Rossendale, Lancashire, lived in Stockport and enlisted at Hyde.   There is some evidence to support this conjecture. A William Hankinson had been born at Ramsbottom (near Rossendale) and would have been 21 in 1916. It may be of significance, bearing in mind the local bleachworks in Cheadle, that older members of this Hankinson family worked in the same industry.

However, the 1901 Census also reveals a family called Hankinson living at 88 Shadow Moss, Northern Etchells. At the time this would have been a very rural area but Shadow Moss Road is now immediately adjacent to Manchester Airport. The William living there would have been 26 in 1916. The Gatley Memorial would have been the place to commemorate someone living in Northern Etchells.

In 1918, a James Hankinson (also serving with the armed forces) and Rachel Hankinson were registered voters at 1 Church Road, Gatley. They may well have been the relatives who wanted to remember him on the memorial.

It is possible that there are actually two local men called William Hankinson but there is no evidence to support this in military records. It seems as though Private Hankinson's identity will remain a mystery . It is certain, however, that he was killed in the attack described here

(NB: Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)

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