Daniel KILDAY
Rank: Private
Number: 46920
Unit: 19th Battalion King’s (Liverpool) Regiment
Date of Death: 28 March 1918
Age: 35
Cemetery: Namps-au-Val British Cemetery, Somme, France

Daniel was the second son of James and Ann Kilday. By the time of the 1901 Census, James had died and Ann was living at 57 Ratcliffe Street, Stockport with her four sons - Thomas (then 20), Daniel (17), James (9) and Arthur (5). In the late spring of 1904, Daniel married Margaret Barry in north Manchester. After the War, her address was 44 Hatherlow Lane, Hazel Grove, but it is not known if this is the home she shared with her husband.

When he married Daniel was working a caretaker at Stockport Technical School but, by the time he enlisted, he had become a knife grinder. His service number is not an early one and it is possible that he was conscripted into the army in 1916 rather than being an early volunteer.

On 21 March 1918, the German Army launched a massive and overwhelmingly attack on British positions along a wide front. Within hours, the front line had been overcome and the British Army was in headlong retreat. Some time over the coming days, Daniel would be fatally wounded and would die in a field hospital (55th Casualty Clearing Station). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Battalion's record of these days is somewhat sketchy.

On the 21st, the Germans attacked at 5.30am. Daniel and his comrades were in reserve and the alarm was given to "Man battle stations". Within a short space of time, the battalion was on the move from Dury to Germaine, where it took up a defensive position.

The next day, the enemy attacked in strength at 3pm, driving in the positions held by the King's. There were over 200 casualties, dead, wounded or missing. Orders were given to withdraw to the village of Ham (to the south west of the town of St Quentin). A further withdrawal to Moyencourt was made on the 23rd. casualties were now nearly 360.

On the 24th, another 60 casualties were incurred and the Battalion pulled back to Roye Eglise. Now very tired, the men were moved by bus to Plessier on the 25th and went into billets for the night.

A roll call was taken on the morning of the 26th and only 7 officers and 211 other ranks answered. Even so, the situation was desperate and, at 11am, the Battalion was ordered to take up a position between Rouvray and Bouchoir as the enemy had broken through and captured Roye. It was not until the next day that the Germans attacked the positions held by the Kings, but the strength of the attack again forced a retreat to a position between Folies and Arvilliers.

The Battalion's War Diary entry for the 28th reads "During the morning, the enemy attacked the troops on our right flank and succeeded in capturing Arvillers, menacing our right flank. Three companies had to be immediately echeloned backwards as protection for the Battalion engaging the enemy who were attempting to come out of Arvillers. This position was held during heavy fighting until 2pm when the Battalion was informed that French troops had come to the rear."

The King's held its ground allowing other battalions of the Division to withdraw through the French troops. At 4pm, they then moved back in small parties and re-assembled. They then marched to Morisel where a hot dinner was served. In the week's fighting there had been a total of 457 casualties. In the week, the Battalion had retreated about 40 kilometres.

Further information about Daniel, including a photograph, can be found in the book "Hazel Grove to Armageddon" by John Eaton.

   
           
   
     
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