Alan NORBURY
Rank: Private
Number: 204374
Unit: 7th Battalion ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT
Date of Death: 28 March 1918
Age: 29
Cemetery: Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France

George Norbury and Susannah Garside had married in 1881 at St Mary's Church, Stockport. Twenty years later, the Census found them living at the "Filter Beds" in High Lane, where George was employed as a waterman. They had three children - Annie (then 18), Felicia (16) and Alan (11).

When he enlisted into the army at Manchester, Alan was assigned to the Cheshire Regiment and was given the service number 5107. This is not an early number and probably dates his enlistment to around mid-1916. He undertook his training with the Regiment but his medal entitlement records at the National Archives show he never served abroad with them He was transferred to the West Kents and was given the above new number, which is part of a batch associated with the Regiment's 2/4th Battalion. At some later date, in France, he was again transferred to the 7th Battalion.

On 21 March 1918, the Germans launched an overwhelming attack on the British defences. Within hours, many Tommies were dead or prisoner. Many more were in retreat. The retreat continued for several days and there was desperate fighting for most of the time. The chaos of battle meant that, unsurprisingly, records were not well kept and, whilst Alan's death is officially recorded as taking place on the 28th, it may have been on any of the previous days. The records may, of course, be accurate.

On the 27th, the few remaining men of the Battalion were withdrawn from the fighting for a brief, but much needed, rest in billets. The next day, they were on the move again and were amalgamated with other troops to form a composite Battalion. They took up a defensive position south east of Gentelles, just south of Amiens (some 30 kilometres to the rear of where the front line had been just a week before) and moved forward again in the evening to near the village of Hangard.

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

   
           
   
     
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