Rank: Gunner
Number: 150217
Unit: 211th Siege Battery ROYAL GARRISON ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 5 October 1918
Age: 30
Cemetery: Tincourt New British Cemetery, Somme, France

Although it has not been possible to confirm the connection, Francis is almost certainly the brother of John Pickles. It is a relatively uncommon surname and both men had a father called Frederick and lived in fairly close proximity to each other. Frederick Pickles, recorded by the War Graves Commission as John’s father, lived at 2 Adcroft Street, Stockport.

Francis was born in Warrington but the family had moved to the Stockport area by 1913 when he married Mary Elizabeth Massey at Wycliffe Chapel on Wellington Road. They are thought to have set up home at 77 Oxford Street, Heaton Norris.

The Siege Batteries fired the heaviest weapons in the arsenal of the British Army. They were used to batter enemy strongpoints and were situated some considerable way behind the front line. There are few remaining day-to-day records of their activities and it is not possible to know under what circumstances Francis was killed. However, almost invariably, men of the Garrison Artillery became victims of German counter-bombardment shelling.

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