Ben MILLWARD
Rank: Private
Number: 265668
Unit: 1/6th Battalion CHESHIRE Regiment
Date of Death: 12 November 1917
Age: 23
Cemetery: Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, belgium

Ben was born in Stockport and was named after one of his uncles. At the time of the 1901 Census he was living in Salford. A 32 year old woman, Elizabeth Millward, is also listed running a fried fish shop. This woman was born in Cheadle and was probably his mother. Ben's father whose initial was H but whose name is unknown, is not listed as living in Salford at the time

Later, the family moved back to the Stockport area, living at Parsonage Street, Heaton Norris. They worshipped at Hanover Church and Ben had been a member of the Sunday School choir.

Ben enlisted into the army at Stockport, joining the local Territorial Battalion. His original service number, 2442, indicates this would have been within a few days of War being declared in August 1914. He went overseas on active service in January 1915. His father is also reported to have served in the army but was discharged after being seriously wounded.

At the beginning of November 1917, the Battalion was in reserve at Chippewa Camp but, on the 11th, moved into the front line at Polderhoek (approximately 8 kilometres south east of the town centre of Ypres). Conditions were atrocious, even by the standards of the Western Front.  The Battalion History records "The conditions in the Ypres Salient during this period were probably worse than in any war m history. The shell-fire covered the land with holes, which were filled with water owing to the destruction of the drainage system. The operations were therefore carried out in a big swamp. Added to this the enemy used a large amount of mustard gas, and this caused many casualties ". There was no front line trench system to speak of and the men had to dig quickly to link up a series of isolated posts, mainly shellholes half-filled with water.

The Battalion's War Diary for 12 November notes "Hostile artillery and machine gun attack throughout the day and night, mostly from Gheluvelt direction. Germans appeared very uneasy and fired considerable Very lights. All available ranks engaged in linking up front line and strengthening positions."

Ben was one of the men out in the open and one of his comrades later wrote to his family saying he had been shot by a sniper. Another local man, Arthur Morris, went to help him and was also killed by the German soldier. Neither has a known grave.

After the war, Ben's parents emigrated and, in the early 1920s, were living at Inglevale, 70 Boundary Street, Paddington, Sydney, Australia.

   
           
   
     
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