In the late autumn of 1887, Albert Bardsley married Fanny Toplis at St Saviour's Church in the Chorlton on Medlock district of Manchester. They would have two children before Colin was born on 12 December 1898. By then the family had moved to the Stockport area, no doubt living at 53 Lloyd Street, Heaton Norris where they were known to be in 1901 (and later at No. 18). Albert was a manager at a nearby rope works. After he left school, Colin found work as a clerk.
Colin was conscripted into the army, on 9 December 1916, as he approached his 18th birthday. His service file still exists at the National Archives and this shows him to have been a short man, even for those times, standing at just 5' 4". He weighed 113 pounds and the medical examination noted he had "some bad teeth". Colin had recorded his religious denomination as Church of England.
His services weren't needed immediately and he returned to Stockport posted to the Reserve until 5 March 1917 when he was mobilised to undertake his training with 52nd Graduated Battalion. He spent a few days in October at the Norfolk War Hospital, Norwich, suffering from diarrhoea and was able to return home on leave between the 25th and 31st January.
On 1 March, he left Southampton for Le Havre, where he joined the Battalion on the 18th. In the opening days of May, Colin and his mates were in the front line at Aveuly Wood, scene of fierce fighting during the 1916 Battle of the Somme. There are no details of the 9th May in the Battalion's War Diary which notes only that two companies were in the front line, with a third a little way to the rear in support and the fourth behind that in reserve. Sometime during the day, Colin was badly wounded, no doubt by shellfire. He was treated at the nearby Dressing Station operated by the 131st Field Ambulance of the Army Medical Corps. His condition was stabilised there and he was then evacuated to 3rd Canadian Stationery Hospital at Doullens where he died of his injuries on the 13th.