William LEIGH
Rank: Private
Number: 48266
Unit: 2/6th Battalion LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS
Date of Death: 9 December 1918
Age: 22
Cemetery: Charleroi Communal Cemetery, Belgium

William was the first child of William and Florence. William had married Florence Hulme at Christ Church, Heaton Norris in the late summer of 1895. When the 1901 Census was taken, the family was living with her parents at 92 Adcroft Street, Stockport. The future soldier was aged 4 and he had a 2 year old sister, Matilda.

Not too long after this, the family moved to the Marple area, living at 13 Sunwell Terrace, Hawk Green.  The family worshipped at All Saints Church and William received his education at the church's day and Sunday schools. As with many local people, he went to work for the Goyt Spinning Company, Hibbert Lane, Marple.

On 13 November 1914, William volunteered for the army joining the Cheshire Regiment and was given the service number 18388. It is understood that, after training, he was assigned to the Regiment's 2nd Battalion and he will probably have taken part in the Battle of Loos in September 1915. Shortly after this, the Battalion was sent to the Salonika theatre of war in northern Greece.

Over a year later, the Stockport Advertiser, in its edition of 17 November 1916, reported he was being treated at Leicester Hospital suffering from malaria and gastritis contracted overseas. Malaria and other diseases caused most of the deaths in Salonika accounting for three men for every one killed in action. He will have been away from his unit from time and it is not known if, when he was fit, he returned to the 2nd Battalion or to another unit. In any event, he was given a new service number as above.

At the beginning of 1918, he was again back in hospital in England. When he had recovered this time, he was re-assigned to the 2/6th Battalion and went overseas again. He died from pneumonia - most probably having contracted the virulent strain of influenza which caused the loss of millions of lives, worldwide, the latter part of 1918.

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

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