Samuel JONES
Rank: Sergeant
Number: 1925
Date of Death: 3 September 1916
Age: 39
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

Samuel was born in Stockport but left he town as a young man to join the army. He served for 19 years, fighting in South Africa during the Boer War. Completing his term, he returned home to settle down to marriage and family life. He lived with his wife and three children at 42 Booth Street, Edgeley. When he left the army, he found work as tram driver and guard with Manchester Corporation Tramways Department. He was, however, still an army reservist and when War was declared in August 1914, he was recalled to the colours, going overseas on 11 November.

The Battle of the Somme had opened at 7.30am on 1 July 1916. Samuel and his mates did not take part in the initial attack but moved up as reinforcements in the afternoon. They were again in action on the 14th. In the south of the battlefield, the village of Guillemont was still in German hands at the beginning of September in spite of several attempts to capture it. Another attempt major assault would be attempted on the 3rd.

In the sector in which the Warwicks would attack, the advance would be led by the 20th Manchesters and 1st Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Samuel and his comrades would be in close support ready to provide reinforcements. By 7am, they were in their assembly position at Folly Trench. During the morning they had one killed and 8 wounded by enemy shellfire and then, at noon, they went "over the top", advancing steadily towards the nearby village of Ginchy.

At about 1.40pm, a runner arrived at Battalion HQ with news that "D" Company had been held up by very heavy machine gun fire coming from German positions known as Hop and Ale Alleys and they were having to dig in. Minutes later another runner arrived saying that "B" Company had reached its objective and was digging in. Meanwhile "A" and "D" had also now reached their designated points. No news was heard of the men of "C" Company.

By late afternoon, the Germans had reorganised sufficiently to mount a counter attack and this drove the Manchesters back from their objective towards the Warwicks and, in turn, they also had to withdraw to safety. 28 men were known to have been killed but of another 90, including Samuel, there was no news. Nothing was ever heard of him again and it would not be until the December that the War Office confirmed to his wife that he must have been killed. His body was never found and identified.

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