Charles Whittam HYDE
Rank: Private
Number: 52895
Unit: 21st Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: Between 24 & 27 October 1917
Age: 18 (based on 1901 Census)
Cemetery: Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium

Charles' service number confirms that he was not an early underage volunteer for the army and was, almost certainly, conscripted in late 1916 or early 1917, when he became 18. Almost nothing is known of his family life, except the 1901 Census records the Hyde family living at 15 Arnold Street, Edgeley. At some point, between then and the 1920s, they moved to 42 Worrall Street, Stockport.

It isn't known when Charles went abroad on active service but he cannot have been at the front for more than a few weeks before he was killed. The Third Battle of Ypres is often known Paschendaele after the village that was the original "final objective". The Battle had started on 31 July and, nearly three months later, was still grinding slowly on in a series of "bite and hold" attacks.

On the night of 25/26 October, the 21st Manchesters took up assembly positions with the other battalions in its Brigade ready for an attack at 5.30am on German positions at the village of Gheluvelt. The Battalion History records "Heavy rain fell during the night....which rendered the ground exceedingly muddy and made movement a matter of great difficulty. At 5.40am, zero hour, the barrage opened and 21st Manchesters moved forward to get as close to it as possible. The advance continued with accuracy and precision for some time, but later "A" Company on the left came under exceedingly heavy enfilading machine-gun fire from "Lewis House" and the Company was practically decimated. "B" Company on the right, came under heavy machine-gun fire from "Berry Cotts". The survivors of those companies dug themselves in as well as they were able."  Very few men from these Companies survived to return to the British trenches. A few men of "A" Company are known to have managed to reach their objective. However, they found that the mud had so clogged their rifles they were effectively unarmed and had no option but to surrender.

"C" and "D" Companies had also advanced and come under fire from the machine guns at "Lewis House". "C" was reported to have been reduced to just four fit men. The remnants of the Battalion and their comrades in adjoining units all now dug in and held the gains until the next day when they were relieved.

Although there is no firm official date of death for Charles it seems most probable that he was killed during the attack. He has no known grave.

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