Arthur Botton BARDSLEY
Rank: Gunner
Number: 18450
Unit: 112th Heavy Battery ROYAL GARRISON ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 11 July 1917
Age: 35 (based on 1901 Census)
Cemetery: St Leger British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

Arthur was born in Manchester, in about 1882, the first child of Mr & Mrs Bardsley. The following year, the family moved to Charlesworth near Glossop and lived there for many years. Arthur’s three younger siblings, Mary, Frank and Robert, were all born there. When the census was taken in 1901, the family was living at Bankwood Gate in the village. Mr Bardsley had died by then and his name is not known but his widow was Mary Alice.

Arthur was working as a labourer and is known to have worked on the railway at Marple at sometime. He had also been postman there for a short whole and also at Romiley. It’s understood that in his spare time, he was a Territorial soldier with the artillery and held the gunlayer’s badge. In 1913, he married Amy Lilian Rosevear at St Paul’s Church, Werneth and they emigrated to start a new life in Canada. Amy had been born in the Bootle area in 1888 but was living in Compstall at the time

When War was declared, Arthur immediately returned to the UK and joined the army. 112th Heavy Battery was formed in September 1914, going overseas the following month. Arthur’s service number is probably low enough to suggest he was an original member. They first fired their guns in action on 20 October.

The batteries of the Royal Garrison Artillery fired the heaviest weapons in the British arsenal and 112th Battery was equipped with four 4.7” guns mounted on carriage drawn by horses. By 1914/15, these were fairly obsolete weapons but still capable of firing their 46-pound shells over a range of 9 kilometres. Arthur was one of just under 150 men in the Battery.

In 1915, he was wounded by a sniper and invalided home for a while. In May 1917, the Battery moved to firing positions near St Leger ready to support the infantry in the forthcoming Battle of Bullecourt. One section was in the village itself; the other section was halfway between St Leger and Ecoust-St-Mein and was the most forward unit of heavy artillery on the sector.

Two months later, they were still in the same area when Arthur was reported killed at 6.30am on 11 July. No doubt, enemy heavy artillery had targeted the Battery position. He was buried at 10.30 with the burial service being conducted by an army chaplain.

Reporting his death, the Stockport Advertiser said he “was a remarkably fine and handsome specimen of manhood being tall, good-looking and well built.”

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