Arthur RADCLIFFE
Rank: Private
Number: 35375
Unit: 11th Battalion CHESHIRE Regiment
Date of Death: 21 October 1916
Age: 26
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

Arthur had grown up in Stockport and had lived with his parents, Thomas George Radcliffe and Martha Radcliffe, at 130 Hempshaw Lane, Stockport. He worked as a warehouseman for J Preston & Son Ltd. The local newspaper, reporting his death, recorded that he enlisted into the army in October 1915 (although his service number is more consistent with an enlistment in early 1916).

By late October 1916, the Battle of the Somme was entering its final stages. Advances had been made since July and the Cheshires were to become involved in an attempt to wrest the high ground away from the Germans. Capture of the ridge, which ran from Martinpuich to Thiepval, would allow the British strategic control of this sector.

On 20 October, the Battalion assembled near Hessian Trench, prior to an attack on Regina Trench, held by the enemy. "A" Company was attached to 8th Battalion, Border Regiment and would attack with them. "B" and "D" Companies would then move up to occupy the front line and act as a reserve. "C" Company would remain in the support trenches.

The next day, the British artillery barrage started at 12.06pm, rolling forward across No Man's Land before falling on the German front line trench. The men of "A" Company followed very closely behind. To their left they may have seen neighbours from Stockport in the 13th Battalion who also attacked. Click here for details of their advance. The attack was a complete success and the Cheshires captured a machine gun, bombed a German dugout and then pushed forward about 400 yards beyond the trench, clearing several dugouts of the enemy and taking prisoners. At this point "C" company were brought forward to help with the consolidation of the newly captured positions.

The Cheshires held their positions until 7pm on 22 October when they were relieved. During the 21st, 8 men had been killed, 52 wounded and another 14 were missing. Arthur was one of those posted as missing. It was not until August 1917 that the War Office wrote to his parents saying it was presumed that he must have been killed. His body was never found and identified and he is commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

Shortly before he was killed, Arthur's parents had moved to 19 Albert Grove, Levenshulme, Manchester, but, by the early 1920s, had moved back to the Stockport area, living at 48 Winifred Road.

   
           
   
     
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