Thomas BARDSLEY
Rank: Private
Number: 16483
Unit: "A" Company, 11th Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 25 August 1916
Age: 20
Cemetery: Blight Valley Cemetery, Authuile, Somme, France

Very little is known about Thomas Bardsley, other than he had been born in Stockport and his parents, Thomas and Elizabeth, lived at 56 Brinksway Road, Heaton Norris. His service number suggests he enlisted in September 1914, no doubt going overseas with the Battalion on 25 September 1915.

Throughout the summer of 1916, the Battalion had been in the heart of the Somme battlefield. The Battle had opened on 1 July and Cheshires had seen major action two weeks later. On 23 August, Thomas and his comrades moved from positions near Aveluy Wood to dugouts at The Bluff near the village of Authuile. Unusually, no daily account was maintained in the Battalion’s War Diary, but the Commanding Officer, Major W R Evans, made the following report of the tour of duty, which lasted until 28 August-

“A portion of the new British line had to be garrisoned – a no easy matter, as this trench was no more than series of shell holes which had its formation altered entirely daily by the heavy shelling of the Germans. The fatigues and working parties too were extremely exacting – and the spirit and stamina of the men was put to the test. New trenches had to be dug and stores had to be carried. The weather was unkind and added greatly to the discomfort of the men as well as making all work trebly difficult. Under these conditions, one learns how hard it is to carry bombs through two feet of mud; how hard it is to get the mud from a shovel and all under a heavy shelling which daily obliterated the trenches dug. The time of casualties had again arrived but signs of the old pluck and endurance of the 11th Cheshires were not wanting.”

Of the four soldiers killed during this tour, three were Stockport – Thomas, Alfred Kelsall and George Wild.

   
           
   
     
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