William HARGREAVES
Rank: Private
Number: 52894
Unit: 21st Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 5 October 1917
Age: 19
Cemetery: Godewaersvelde British Cemetery, Nord, France

Thomas and Sarah Ann Hargreaves lost two sons during the War. James was killed on 22 September 1915 whilst serving at Gallipoli with the Royal Marine Light Infantry. About a year later, the postman will have called at 52 Emperor Street, Portwood with William's conscription notification shortly after he became 18. He had no choice but to leave his job at Reddish Vale Bleach Works.

After training, he went overseas in the late summer of 1917 and had only been at the front for about eight weeks when he was killed. The Third Battle of Ypres started on 31 July and was still progressing very slowly through the rain and thick mud of the Passchendaele Ridge weeks later. The action in which Edward was killed was later designated as the Battle of Broodseinde. The attack would be carried out by 12 British Divisions - over 200, 000 men. During the evening of the 3rd, the Battalion moved up to positions at Polygon Wood. They would be in support of the 22nd Battalion and would need to be ready to go forward to reinforce their comrades. The German artillery heavily shelled them from about 2am until the attack started at 6am.

"A" Company was quickly attached to the 22nd Battalion and came under its orders. "C" and "D" Companies took up positions in Jetty Trench, whilst "B" dug in near The Butt and would provide support by carrying up ammunition and other supplies. The attack went in at 6am and, almost immediately, "A" was sent forward into action. By 9.30am, further reinforcements were needed and the men from "D" went forward. They were followed by "C" at about 2.30pm.  Sometime during the day, Edward Bouskill was killed and William was mortally wounded.

He was evacuated from the battlefield to one of the three field hospitals based at Godewaersvelde. The sister in charge of the hospital wrote "Your son was brought to this hospital dangerously wounded in the face and leg. Everything that could be done was done and he had every care and attention but all was of no avail and he died very peacefully at five this morning, October 5th."

   
           
   
     
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