Herbert ADSHEAD
Rank: Private
Number: 48378
Unit: 1/28th Battalion London Regiment (The Artistsí Rifles)
Date of Death: 27 August 1918
Age: 20 (based on 1901 Census)
Cemetery: Bucquoy Communal Cemetery Extension, Pas de Calais, France

John Adshead, a labourer at a printshop, and Lavinia Moss married in 1894 in a civil ceremony registered at Stockport. When the census was taken in 1901, they were living at Chadwick Street, Marple. Herbert was three and his sister, Marion, just 8 days old. As an older boy, and to further his education, he attended the Sunday School run by the local Primitive Methodist Church. As with many local men, he worked at Hollins Mill, assisting the overlookers.

By the time of the War, the family had moved to Lockside (and, later, to "Woodlea", Hawk Green). Herbert enlisted at Stockport and was assigned to the South Wales Borderers (service number 29600). It is possible that this was for training only and, before going on active service, he was reassigned to the London Regiment. His service papers no longer survive at the National Archives so this must remain speculation.

On 8 August 1918, the Allies launched an attack which would bring the War to end three months later. They would suffer no more defeats or setbacks and the coming weeks would be a time of almost constant advance. The Germans, however, would not give up their hard won ground easily and some of the costliest fighting of the War would be seen.

Towards the end of August, there was fierce fighting around the French town of Bapaume - a British objective two years before during the Battle of the Somme. Orders had been issued for the Rifles to take part in an attack on the Germans entrenched around the village of Lingny-Thilloy. It was scheduled for the 26th but was later postponed. Whilst still in the assembly positions, the men were subjected to a heavy artillery barrage.

Zero hour was now 4am on the 27th and the men attacked. As they did so, the German artillery again opened up on No Man's Land and it was during this time that Herbert was reported to be badly wounded by the explosion of a shell nearby. The attack was held up by very heavy and accurate machine gun and sniper fire and was not resumed until 6pm.

Meanwhile, Herbert had been taken to the Regimental Aid Post, just behind the front line, where he would have been seen by the Battalion's medical officer. He would have been able to do little more than administer first aid and arrange for Herbert to be evacuated on his way to a field hospital. Reporting his death, the local newspaper said that he died "in an ambulance". However, his burial at Bucquoy, near to the fighting, suggests he probably died at the Main Dressing Station run by the Field Ambulance of the Army Medical Corps. Unlike our modern understanding of the word "ambulance", solely as a means of transport, the Field Ambulance was an integral part of the casualty chain, staffing the Dressing Stations with doctors and orderlies and providing the stretcher bearers who would carry a casualty hundreds of yards back to the rear area.

The Stockport newspaper described Herbert as "A young man whose amicable disposition made him personally popular".

Further information about Herbert, including a photograph, can be found in the book "Remembered" by P Clarke, A Cook and J Bintliff.

   
           
   
     
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