Wilfred Thomas LARMOUR
Rank: Private
Number: 12130
Unit: 19th Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 1 July 1916
Age: 20
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

The 1901 Census shows 5 year old Wilfred living with his parents, Thomas and Elizabeth, at 29 Henderson Street, Levenshulme. They moved to the Reddish area shortly after and Wilfred was educated at the North Reddish Council School. He remained in touch after he left as a member of the Old Scholars Association. When War was declared, Wilfred was working for J F & H Roberts Ltd. The company were textile manufacturers and merchants with offices and warehousing at Portland Street, Manchester.

Wilfred enlisted in Manchester into the fourth of the "Pals" Battalions recruited during September 1914 and was assigned to No. 12 Platoon in "C" Company. Some details of the recruitment and training period can be found here. They went overseas on 7 November 1915, arriving at Le Havre the following day. They continued to train and receive instruction in trench warfare and took over a section of the front line, on their own account, for the first time on 8 January 1916.

Over the next few months, Wilfred spent tours of duty in the front line for two or three days, alternating with similar periods in reserve. Occasionally, the Battalion was withdrawn further into reserve, when the men would be engaged on road building or the movement of stores.

During the night of 30 June, battalions moved into the assault positions for an attack the next day that was to become known as the First Day of the Battle of the Somme. The 19th Manchesters were in the front line of the attack on the part of the battlefield that was to capture the village of Montauban. Their task was to capture an enemy stronghold called the "Glatz Redoubt", roughly halfway between the German front line and the village. Its capture was key to the success of the whole of 30th Division's attack on the village. They had spent days away from the front line training in every detail of the attack. At 5am, the men were given a breakfast of dry bread, cheese and water and were told to fill their water bottles. At 6.45, they were given the daily tot of rum.

For days, the enemy positions had been constantly shelled and this intensified in the final minutes before the whistles blew. Wilfred and his "Pals" left the protection of their trenches at 7.30am on a front some 300 yards wide. "A" and "C" Companies led the way, with "B" and "D" companies following about 100 yards behind. Almost immediately, the troops were subjected to fire from a machine gun on their left and about 40 men fell - dead or wounded. This single gun would account for many hundreds of deaths and injuries that day.

They advanced slowly, keeping behind the British artillery barrage which was creeping forward in front of them. As they approached the German front and second lines, the defenders threw many grenades at them before pulling back. By 8.26am, they were starting to enter the Redoubt. With a few minutes, it had been captured. The Battalion now turned its attention to defence and the men started deepening the trenches and sandbagging the parapets. Other battalions now leap-frogged them to capture the village in one of the few successes along the 17 mile battle front that day. 61 members of the 4th Pals had been killed. Included in the roll call of the dead were two other local men, Percy Harper and Raymond Grimshaw.

When the War Graves Commission collated its casualty information in the early 1920s, Mr & Mrs Larmour were living at 16 Carner Road, Reddish.

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