Wilfred Cameron SAWBRIDGE
Rank: Private
Number: 19504
Unit: 21st Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 14 July 1916
Age: 23 (based on 1901 Census)
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

Wilfred was born in the Longsight area of Manchester in the early 1890s. His parents were Henry Sawbridge, a railway ticket examiner and Ann Sawbridge. When the Census was taken in 1901, the family was living at 56 Albert Grove. They later moved to the Reddish area where, in 1916, one of his brothers was known to be living at 29 Station Road.

Nothing is known of Wilfred's early life but, around November 1914, he travelled into Manchester to enlist in the army. He joined the 21st Battalion - the sixth of the Pals Battalions formed that autumn by the Manchester Regiment - and was assigned to No. 13 Platoon, "D" Company. Some details of the Pals recruitment and training can be found here.

The Battalion went overseas on active service to France in November 1915 and Wilfred will have taken part in the "Big Push" on 1 July 1916. Two weeks later he was back in action.

On the day before he was killed, the Battalion marched to the village of Mametz (which had been captured by the Manchesters a fortnight before) and bivouacked for the night. The next day, they moved to Sabot Copse where they would be held in reserve by their Brigade whilst other units led an attack on German positions on the Bazentin Ridge. The leading units advanced at 4.50am securing their objectives with relative ease. At about 8am, Wilfred and his mates in "D" Company were ordered forward to reinforce the troops now dug-in at the wood at Bazentin-le-Grand. He was, almost certainly, killed by enemy shellfire whilst they held this position throughout the day.

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