Bruce BERESFORD
Rank: Corporal
Number: 80695
Unit: 134th Army Troops Company ROYAL ENGINEERS
Date of Death: 9 July 1917
Age: 26 (based on 1901 Census)
Cemetery: Canada Farm Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium

Bruce was the eldest of William and Isabella's children. William was a wheelwright and, at the time of the Census was living at 78 Hyde Road, Bredbury (and, later, at 34 Hyde Road, Woodley). The children listed on the Census were Bruce (then 10), William (8), Wallace (5), Kenneth (3) and Norman (1). William and Kenneth would also serve during the War. Kenneth would also not come home.

Like his younger brother, Bruce served at Gallipoli and, after the withdrawal to Egypt, at the end of 1915, he wrote home in February 1916 "We have seen a wee bit more than is good for us and we shall be very glad to get home. Since leaving Cairo, we have been down the Nile, across the desert and alongside the Suez Canal and we are now somewhere in North Africa, ready for another scrap ‘ere long. We are ready for whatever may come. The weather is very hot."

A few months later, in June, Bruce was indeed home on leave. Around this time, Bruce was promoted; first to Lance Corporal and then to Corporal. The Stockport Advertiser also suggested that after the period of leave Bruce was posted to East Africa. There is, however, no evidence to confirm this and all of the deaths of members of the 134th Company appear to have been either at Gallipoli or on the Western Front.

Army Troops Companies would normally undertake bridge-building and water supply duties in the rear areas some way behind the front line. By the summer of 1917, Bruce was certainly in Belgium as a Corporal in the Company's mounted branch. He would, no doubt, have had responsibility for a number of the soldiers who drove the horse-drawn wagons which delivered the equipment to the "trades" soldiers working on the construction projects. The Company spent the beginning of July maintaining the Ypres-Boesinghe water supply pipeline and its various distribution points where troops would draw their water supplies. The entry in its official War Diary for 9 July reads only "Mounted NCO killed by shellfire". The Non-Commissioned Officer was Bruce. In spite of the Diary entry, Bruce may not have died immediately as his body is buried adjacent to where an army dressing station was based. Perhaps his comrades took him there in a vain hope of saving him.

   
           
   
     
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