Herbert KELLY
Rank: Private
Number: 30534
Unit: 13th Battalion King’s (Liverpool) Regiment
Date of Death: 17 July 1917
Age: 34
Cemetery: Red Cross Corner Cemetery, Beugny, Pas de Calais, France

Herbert's father had died by the time of the 1901 Census. He lived with his mother, Ann, and two older sisters, Sarah and Ada, at 76 Great Egerton Street, Stockport. At the time, he was working as a cotton doffer at a local mill.

In 1907, Herbert married Elizabeth Dempsey in a civil ceremony at Stockport. They lived at 61 Ann Street, South Reddish and, over the years, had two children. By the time of the Great War, he had changed jobs and was employed by Craven Brothers of Reddish as a crane driver. The Company made cranes and machine tools. Herbert had always been a keen footballer and was still regarded as being one of the best fullbacks in the area. He had played for the St Paul's church team in 1905/6 when they had won the Stockport Cup.

In July 1915, Herbert travelled into Manchester and enlisted into the army and will have gone overseas a few months later after training.

After a period in reserve, the 13th King's took over front lines trenches on the 14 July 1917, near Demicourt (approximately 15 kilometres east of the French town of Peronne). This was a quiet time in the sector but the Battalion maintained its offensive stance by undertaking patrols into No Man's Land during the hours of darkness. On the night of the 15/16th, a patrol came across an enemy outpost. The patrol rushed it, but found no-one there. The tour of duty in the trenches ended during the night of 17/18 July. Although the Battalion's War Diary makes no mention of casualties, Herbert was one of three men to be killed during the day.

Surprisingly, the three men are buried some nine kilometres away from Demicourt in a cemetery that was used by the Field Ambulance. It is possible that the men were wounded and evacuated from the frontline by the Field Ambulance, dying on route. However, they are recorded in Regimental records as having been "killed in action" as opposed to "died of wounds". It is, perhaps, more likely that they were killed, perhaps by an artillery shell, as the Battalion was moving back into reserve.

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