William Alfred SMEDLEY
Rank: Private
Number: 2755
Unit: 1/4th Battalion SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS
Date of Death: 30 July 1916
Age: 25
Cemetery: Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France

William lived at 4 Newlands Cottages, Cheadle, with his wife, Florence. It's not known what he did for a living.

He enlisted in Manchester, quite early in the war. William would have seen action in the Battle of the Somme which had started on 1 July. The Battalion's War Diary reports that they were relieved during the evening of 26 July, from positions near High Wood, the scene of an attack some days before. It suffered some casualties from gas shelling on its way to the reserve positions.

By 30 July, the Battalion is reported at rest in Meaulte, some kilometres away from High Wood and there are no reports of any casualties. William's burial in the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery is entirely consistent with him having been killed whilst the relief was taking place from High Wood. It is only a few hundred yards from the Wood and tends to confirm that there is, simply, an error in the reporting of the date he was killed. Such errors are not uncommon.

William's headstone is inscribed "Till we meet again" - presumably arranged by Florence after the Armistice.

(Note: Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)

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