Albert SHARD
Rank: Private
Number: 46816
Unit: 41st Company MACHINE GUN CORPS
Date of Death: 9 April 1917
Age: 22
Cemetery: Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France

Albert lived with his parents, William and Harriett at 78 (or 178) Grove Lane, Cheadle Hulme and worked as a gardener. He attended Grove Lane Baptist Church Sunday School and sang in the church choir.

William had married Harriett in a civil ceremony at Stockport in 1891. Her maiden name was also Shard and was, probably, a cousin. The 1901 Census shows them living at 67 Grove Lane, Cheadle Hulme and, by then, they had three children - Albert (6), Amy (4) and Andrew (2).

He enlisted shortly after war was declared, joining the Cheshire Regiment (service no. 3156) at Stockport. He went to the front in September 1916 and had been reassigned to the Machine Gun Corps after he finished his training. .

On the day he died, his Company was at Ronville, near the French town of Arras. The day was the opening of the Arras offensive and, during the morning, the Company moved forward from reserve trenches. The Company's War Diary notes that No. 2 and 3 Sections moved to a position known as The Harp with their heavy machine guns being carried by pack animals. At 4pm, No. 3 Section relieved machine gunners of the 43rd Company. As the relief was carried out, the enemy shelled the position killing Albert and two other soldiers. It is also noted that 8 animals were killed and 5 soldiers injured.

An officer wrote to the family "He was killed on Tuesday evening while we were advancing. He was killed by the explosion of a large shell and cannot have suffered any pain. I saw him buried close to the wire on the enemy's line which we took." Perhaps, in the heat of battle, Albert's burial site was never properly marked and was subsequently lost. Perhaps, there was little left of him to bury.

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