Arthur W PERRY
Rank: Private
Number: 27007
Unit: 1st Battalion Kings Shropshire Light Infantry
Date of Death: 1 June 1917
Age: 26 (based on information from the 1901 Census)
Cemetery: Chocques Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

The 1901 Census confirms that Arthur had been born at Ashley, Cambridgeshire but certainly by the time he was three, the family had moved to Cheadle. At the time of the Census, he was living at 34 Massie Street, Cheadle with his parents, John & Mary and his six brothers and sisters (Priscilla, Clara, Clarence, Ethel, John and Hubert.

He originally enlisted into the Cheshire Regiment and his service number, 45072, suggests this was probably in early 1916. He served overseas with the Cheshires before transferring to the Shropshires at some unknown point. This was probably after recovery from a wound or illness when it will have been determined that the Shropshires were more in need of replacement troops.

On 26 May 1917, the battalion returned to the front line near Hulluch in northern France. The War Diary makes reference to the fact that there was considerable enemy shelling of the support companies on 29 and 30 May, but makes no reference to casualties.

Prior to this tour of duty, the battalion had been in billets at Fouquieres and, during this time, approximately 130 men had spent nine days special training for a raid that was to take place on 1 June. The intent was to enter the enemy trenches to try to identify which German units were opposite them and, if possible, to capture prisoners.

The men, commanded by 2nd Lieutenants W Beckett, A Mackenzie and J Davies, left their trench at 2am. They managed to enter the enemy positions, killing 16 Germans and destroying several machine gun posts, but were unable to take any prisoners. The official report indicates that there was a suspicion that the raid was expected by the enemy and the front line had been deliberately left lightly defended. Lt Davies and three other soldiers were killed outright. A number of others were wounded.

It is impossible to confirm exactly when Arthur received his fatal wounds, but it will have been during these days. He will have been evacuated from the trenches to No.1 Casualty Clearing Station. His wounds will have been severe and he died whilst receiving treatment and is buried in the adjacent cemetery.

(Original research for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)

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