William Spratt and Edith Lister married at St Stephen’s Church, Chorlton on Medlock in 1891. They are thought to have had only one child together – Eric who was born in 1895. William had possibly been married before as the 1901 Census would record he had a daughter, Lilian, born in 1887. Edith died in 1900 and, when the Census was taken, they were living at the home of William’s father, Uriah Spratt, at 280 Dickenson Road, Rusholme.
In 1905, William married Honor Long at St Mary’s Church, Cheadle and, presumably, they lived in Cheadle Hulme for a time, although after the War, William was living at 119 Hamilton Road, Longsight. Eric was educated locally, at Stockport Grammar School. When he left school he went to work at Affleck & Brown, Manchester (a department store) but had recently moved to Messrs Scott & Smith, Manchester.
He was scoutmaster of the St Cuthberts Boy Scout Troop, Cheadle Hulme and assistant scoutmaster of the 1st Cheadle Hulme Troop.
He joined the army on 1 March 1915, at Stockport, and left for France in the July. A Field Ambulance unit was very different from what we might understand today by the term. Rather than just being a provider of vehicles to move casualties, it played a full part in the chain that might move an injured man all the way from the front line to a hospital in Britain. The unit would provide an Advanced Dressing Station just behind the front line and would also be responsible for the chain of stretcher bearers. The Station would dress wounds and try to stabilise a casualty before they could be passed on a Casualty Clearing Station some miles away. There would be approximately 250 men in the Unit which was designed to deal with 150 injured or sick men at any one time
Eric had just returned from the front line (which means he was probably a stretcher bearer) and was on duty at the tented “hospital” area when he was killed by a bomb dropped by an enemy aircraft