Arthur IRELAND
Rank: Sergeant
Number: 5970
Unit: 12th Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 13 October 1916
Age: 38
Cemetery: Cheadle & Gatley Cemetery

Arthur came from Bolton where his parents, James & Mary still lived. He was married to Mary and they lived at 39 Andrew Street, Cheadle with their 3 children. He worked at Clay's Bleachworks. After the war, Mary moved to 137 Thicketford Road, Long Moor, Bolton.

As a young man, Arthur had served for 3 years as a regular soldier with the Coldstream Guards.  He was probably still a reservist and would have been called up at the outbreak of war in August 1914. By 4 September, the Battalion had been formed and it moved to Dorset for training, remaining around that county until 15 July 1915. It left, from Folkestone, to go on active service in France and Flanders. The summer and autumn was a fairly quiet time for the Battalion although they spent time in the front line and would have suffered casualties.

At some point, Arthur was gassed whilst serving in the front line. This was fairly common along the whole of the western front, so it cannot be established when he was injured. However, the Official History of the Battalion only recounts one episode.

On 19 November 1915, the Battalion was in the reserve trenches near Hooge, outside of Ypres in Belgium. At 5.30 am, the enemy artillery heavily shelled the front line just north of the Manchesters' positions. There was also a strong smell of gas. At 7am, "B" and "D" companies were ordered to the front line on the banks of the Ypres-Comines canal and were heavily shelled and gassed. The next day, one and a half companies went into the reserve trenches, the remainder being drafted to the Ypres Ramparts. This area was also shelled with gas, over several days. The Manchesters remained here until 2 December when they were moved back to the Hooge trenches and , on Christmas day, were further relieved to the rest camp at Busseboom 

Whenever it was that Arthur was gassed, he would have first been evacuated to a nearby Casualty Clearing Station, where his condition would have been assessed and medical attention given. At some point, he was returned to "Blighty" and died whilst at Lincoln General Hospital.

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

   
           
   
     
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