Frank SMALLEY
Rank: Private
Number: 285552
Unit: 13th Battalion WELSH REGIMENT
Date of Death: 30 August 1918
Age: 22
Cemetery: Morval British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

The Smalleys originated from Lincolnshire and Frank and his five older siblings had been born there. However, in the late 1890s, the family moved to the Stockport area, no doubt in connection with George Smalley's employment as a life assurance agent. In 1901, they were living at 124 Newbridge Lane but, when War was declared in 1914, had moved to 507 Stockport Road, Bredbury.

When Frank enlisted into the army, he was assigned to the Army Cyclist Corps (service number 19876) and went overseas on active service with them. His above service number indicates that, at some point, he was transferred to the Welsh Regiment and initially assigned to its 6th Battalion. This may have been a short "holding" assignment before a permanent battalion was assigned. The number also indicates the transfer was after the beginning of 1917.

August 1918 saw the start of Allied attacks which would bring the War to end by the middle of November. On the 27th, Frank and his mates attacked German positions near High Wood - scene of fierce fighting during the Battle of the Somme two years before. The attack was successful and a number of prisoners were captured. The next day was spent in consolidating the gains and reorganising. On the 29th, the attack continued in the sector but was led by other units. The 13th Welsh "mopped up" pockets of resistance in nearby Delville Wood.

They were back in the vanguard on the 30th, attacking towards the village of Morval. However, this day the German resistance was better organised. Heavy machine gun fire was poured on to the Tommies and they had to take shelter for the night in old trenches without reaching their objective. Frank was amongst the dead.

In the early 1920s, when the War Graves Commission collated its casualty information, George Smalley had returned to live in Spilsby, Lincolnshire, where Frank had been born.

   
           
   
     
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