Harold KENNY
Rank: Private
Number: 12962
Unit: 8th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment
Date of Death: 10 July 1916
Age: 20
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

In the late spring of 1885, James Kenny and Annie Fleet married at St Matthew's Church, Stockport. Sixteen years later, when a census was taken, they were living at 31 Grafton Street and had four children - Florence (15), Harriet (14), Harold (5) and Hilda (2). Harold had been born in Heaton Norris and, after the War, James and Annie returned to the area, living at 67 Short Street.

Harold's service number is low, suggesting he joined the army within a few weeks of war being declared in August 1914. He will have gone overseas with the newly formed 8th Battalion, in September 1915.

The Battle of the Somme had opened on 1 July, but Harold and his comrades were held in reserve until they went into action on the 3rd. By the 9th, parts of the German first, second and third lines of trenches had been captured near the village of Ovillers. The captured sections were being consolidated and prepared against counter attack but a further small scale assault was needed to dislodge the Germans from a number of strongpoints.

At 5.30pm, two platoons, assisted by the Battalion's specialist grenade throwers (bombers) attempted to capture one of the points, known as "Point 24". The attempt failed as the men were driven back by heavy machine gun fire. Enemy artillery had now found the range of the Battalion's positions and the men were subjected to heavy shelling. Several men of "A" Company were killed by a single shell-burst.

At 8pm, "C" and "D" Companies rushed across No Man's Land to try to capture the remainder of the third line of trenches, but again came under heavy machine gun fire from positions in Ovillers. The attack again failed with heavy casualties. During the night, the Battalion bombers tried again to capture Point 24, in conjunction with a Company from the 11th Cheshires. This attack also failed.

From early evening on the 9th until the Battalion was relieved on the 10th, they lost 31 men killed, including Harold. Few have a known grave.

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