Stanley POWELL
Rank: Private
Number: 75089
Date of Death: 23 August 1918
Age: 19 (based on 1901 Census)
Cemetery: Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval, Somme, France

Walter Powell and Elizabeth Rees had married in 1896 in the Crewe area. They had then lived at Frodsham and Northwich before moving to the Stockport area in about 1899. They are thought to have first lived in Marple, where Stanley was born, before moving to 1 Hampson Street, Hazel Grove by 1901. The census of that year shows he had three older siblings – May, Cyril and Walter.

Nothing is known of his early life and he was, almost certainly, conscripted into the army when he became 18, being originally assigned to the Border Regiment (service number 36045). He served overseas with the Borders and, at some point, was transferred to the Fusiliers. In the spring of 1918, a number of battalions of the Border Regiment were disbanded and the troops reallocated to other units and this is probably when Stanley moved.

On 8 August, British troops launched a major offensive which would bring the War to end three months later. The retreats of the previous months were now behind them and there would be no more defeats, although there would still be much hard fighting. On the 21st, a further assault was ordered across the ground of the 1916 Somme battlefield. The Fusiliers attacked at Beaucourt capturing their objective – a German trench known to the British as Luminous Avenue. The next day was spent in consolidated the gains, including building strongholds in the trenches.

On the 23rd, “B” and “C” Companies undertook a further small advance, which permitted other troops to more easily leapfrog them to carry on the attack. The Fusiliers then withdrew slightly and took up defensive positions in shell holes in advance of the trench system. In the early evening, “C” Company sent forward a strong fighting patrol which engaged a group of Germans. Later in the night, the men withdrew back to the relative safety of Luminous Trench. It is not known if Stanley was a member of the patrol and was killed during the fighting, or if he became a victim of the continued German bombardment.

Further information about Stanley can be found in the book “Hazel Grove to Armageddon” by John Eaton.

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