Desmond Carl JONES
Rank: Corporal
Number: 40430
Unit: 20th Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 3 April 1917
Age: 23
Cemetery: H.A.C. Cemetery, Ecoust-St Mein, Pas de Calais, France

Desmond was the son of William & Edna Jones of Elvyn Cottage, Bramhall. Before the war, he served in the Cheshire Yeomanry as a part-time Territorial soldier. He enlisted in Chester remaining with the Yeomanry until he transferred to the Manchesters in, approximately, March 1916. He probably went to France as part of the drafts of troops replacing the casualties of the July offensive in the Battle of the Somme.

Between 23rd and 30th March 1917, Desmond and the rest of his Battalion were at Mailly-Maillet, a village in the north of the Somme battlefield. During the time here, it provided a guard for the Commander in Chief whilst he was in the sector. On the 30th, it marched north towards Arras, to occupy Bucqouy which had been evacuated by the enemy. A history of the Battalion notes that it marched through green fields and witnessed the destruction caused by the enemy in "wiping out woodlands and orchards".

On 1 April they left Bucquoy and moved to Ervillers and, the next night, they went into the front line at Ecoust St Mein. The enemy shelled this position as the troops were settling in and continued throughout the 3rd. Four soldiers, including Desmond, were killed by this shelling. They were originally buried in one of the many small military cemeteries that were created in the area. After the Armistice, many of these were closed and Desmond's body would have been moved to the cemetery where his body is now buried.

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

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