John Edward BENFORD
Rank: Private
Number: 265824
Unit: 1/6th Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 30 March 1918
Age: 22 (probably)
Cemetery: Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France

The family history website, FreeBMD, records that John’s birth was registered at Stockport between March and May 1895. Army records show that he enlisted in the town and his original service number, 2685, suggests that this was during the autumn of 1914.

On 21 March 1918, the Germans launched an overwhelming attack on British positions along a very wide front. Within hours, front line trenches had been overrun and the British army was in full retreat. Over the coming days, many rear guard actions were fought, but all the gains of the previous two years were been lost. By 29 August, the Battalion was at Aubercourt, approximately 25 kilometres south east of Amiens. They had been pushed back 50 kilometres and now comprised only 3 officers and 30 other ranks. Throughout the day, they were shelled intermittently but no attack developed. The next day, the expected attack still failed to develop but the Cheshires (now part of a “Composite Battalion” with men from other units) were subject to heavy artillery and machine gun fire. It is not known how John was killed, but his body was never recovered and identified and he is commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing.

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