Frank HUGHES
Rank: Lance Corporal
Number: 6509
Unit: 16th Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 3 May 1916
Age: 25
Cemetery: Cerisy-Gailly Military Cemetery, Cerisy, Somme, France

Frank was born in Heaton Mersey in 1890 and lived all his life there until he enlisted into the army at Manchester. In 1901, when a national census was taken, the Hughes family was living at 138 Didsbury Road. The head of the household was 43 year John Hughes, a maker up of cloth, and he was married to Mary. They had seven children at home - Herbert (then 21), George (19), Robert (15), Harry (12), Frank (10), James (8) and Charlotte (1).

Frank's social life was also in Heaton Mersey. He had been a member of the Lads' Club and, in adulthood, was a member of the Social Club. He had furthered his education as a member of the Young Men's Class at the Sunday School and also played cricket for the School team. He had also served on the Committee of Heaton Mersey Football Club. A skilled left-winger, he had been part of the 1913/14 team which won the Stockport Championship.

Frank worked in Manchester city centre for Stott and Smith Ltd, 4 Minshull Street and is commemorated in the Company's entry in the Manchester City Battalions Book of Honour. The firm manufactured and wholesaled household textiles, such as towels. Frank joined up in early September 1914 and was one of the first of the Manchester Pals. Details of their recruitment and training can be found here. Frank was assigned to the newly formed Battalion's 5 Platoon in "B" Company.

The men went overseas in November 1915 and, in the spring of 1916, Frank was in hospital for a while with a problem with his foot. He returned to duty only a few days before he was killed.

The Battalion had been in reserve for a while but, on 2 May, they returned to familiar trenches south of the road to Peronne near the village of Maricourt. As was often the way for both sides, the Germans seemed to have realised that fresh troops were occupying the British front line. And, as often the way on both sides, they welcomed them by opening up an intense artillery bombardment. On the 3rd, the shelling continued. Frank and his mates had just finished their turn of sentry duty and gone back to their dug-out to get some sleep, when it took a direct hit from a shell. Frank was one of four to be killed. Another 8 were injured.

Frank was, almost certainly, buried in a small Cemetery just behind the lines at Maricourt. His brother Robert was known to have attended his funeral. After the War, many small cemeteries were closed as the land was returned to civilian use. All of the bodies buried at what was then called Maricourt Military Cemetery were exhumed and moved to Cerisy where the graves are now tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

   
           
   
     
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