Herbert PEARSON
Rank: Lance Corporal
Number: 11633
Unit: 1st Battalion CHESHIRE Regiment
Date of Death: 1 September 1916
Age: 29
Cemetery: Quarry Cemetery, Montauban, Somme, France

Herbert possibly met his death by the "friendly fire" of a British artillery shell falling short onto the trench where he was. The Battalion's War Diary entry for 1 September notes that "Shelling was not heavy, but Battalion HQ was shelled intermittently throughout the day. In the early morning a report was received that British artillery were shelling short with shells landing on "B" Company. Casualties during the day were not heavy, but amounted to about 25".

Herbert had been born in the parish of St Thomas' C of E Church, Wellington Road South, Stockport. He was married and lived with his wife and children at 12 Ducie Street. He worked at Greenhalgh's preserve works in Reddish, until he enlisted in August 1914. This was probably into the 8th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment and he saw active service with them at Gallipoli in 1915. He is reported to have been wounded during that campaign and was out of action until March 1916. When he was fit enough to return to duty, he was posted to the 1st Battalion and promoted to Lance Corporal.

Just after midnight on 1 September, the Battalion relieved the 14th Warwicks in front line positions near the hamlet of Meaulte, south of the town of Albert.

After he was killed, his officer, 2nd Lieutenant A Gwynne-Jones wrote to his wife "He was lance corporal in charge of the guard in our support trenches when a shell fell near to him and he and several other men were killed. He was one of the best NCOs in the company, always willing to help anybody and cheerfully undertaking any extra work and not only this, he was always most astonishingly smart and clean. I used to point him out to newly joined soldiers as a model and, had he lived, I most surely should have had him further promoted. I feel his loss very much as for a long while he was in my platoon and I had come to rely on him in many small ways......Before he received his promotion, he did work, gallant work, as Battalion orderly going to and from Battalion Headquarters repeatedly, frequently under fire, bearing messages from the commanding officer to company headquarters. He was what we call out here thoroughly stout-hearted and, alas, we have too few of his calibre not to feel the loss very greatly......"

It would be usual for soldiers to be buried very close to where they were killed but this is not the case with Herbert. Montauban is a couple of kilometres away from Meaulte. It is likely that he was originally buried in one of the very small cemeteries that were closed after the War as the land was returned to civilian use. The bodies from several of these were re-interred at Quarry Cemetery.

   
           
   
     
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