Rank: Corporal
Number: S/11882
Date of Death: 3 April 1917
Age: 24
Cemetery: Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, Aubigny-en-Artois, Pas de Calais, France

Although the family surname is spelt "Minshull" on the 1901 census, all other records spell it as Minshall and is therefore presumed to be correct.

Albert was born in the Blackley area of Manchester but, by the census, the family was living at 19 East Road, Gorton. Herbert and Annie Minshall were in their early thirties and had four children. Albert, then 8, was their eldest. The others were William (6), Adelaide (5) and Hilda (1 month).

It's not known when the family moved to the Stockport area, but was certainly living in the area in 1917 and, in the early 1920s, Herbert and Annie were living at 37 Didsbury Road, Heaton Norris.

Albert's army service number suggests he enlisted early in the war and was probably one of the newly formed 9 Battalion's original members who went overseas on active service in May 1915. The 9th Battalion was the Pioneer Battalion for the Army's 9th Division. Pioneer soldiers were trained fighting troops but their main role was normally providing labour to construct defensive positions. In early April, that is exactly what they were doing. Throughout the first week they were repairing trenches near the French town of Arras, prior to a major attack that was scheduled for 9 April.

The Battalion's War Diary makes no detailed reference to daily events during this week nor does it mention casualties. However, sometime between the 1st and 3rd, Albert was badly injured. This could have been due to a trench collapse, enemy shelling or, perhaps, a sniper's bullet. He was evacuated from the front line to one of the field hospitals at Aubigny (perhaps 15 kilometres behind the front line to the north west of Arras). Here military surgeons would have assessed his chances of survival. If there was hope, they would have operated on him to try to stabilise his condition before a further evacuation to a base hospital. Otherwise, he would have been made as comfortable as possible until he died.


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