Henry William MATHER
Rank: Private
Number: 18421
Unit: 7th Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry
Date of Death: 1 January 1917
Age: 33
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

Henry had been born in the Stockport area, the eldest child of James and Sarah. By the time of the 1901 Census, James had died. 39 year old Sarah and her six children were living at 5 Percival Court in the Heaton Lane area of town.

Henry was working a thread spinner, most probably at the cotton mill of the Dolphin Doubling Co. Ltd on Warren Street, where he was later recorded as being an overlooker. In 1907, he had married Lily Robinson at St Martin's Church, Norris Bank. They lived together at 28 Heaward Street, off Brinksway and had one daughter.

Henry will have been involved in the fighting during the Battle of the Somme in the summer and autumn of 1916. The major attacks finally petered out towards the end of November and the two sides settled down to the acrimony and relative boredom of trench warfare. The Battalion's War Diary makes no specific mention of the day Henry was killed. They were in trenches near the village of Serre. Over this period the Diary makes regular references to the poor condition of the trenches, mentioning that there were many cases of "trench foot". It is probable that Henry was killed by artillery fire. This may explain why he has no known grave, although it is possible his comrades gave him a proper burial and the grave's location was lost in the remaining two years of War.

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