Arnold STANSFIELD
Rank: Private
Number: 4078
Unit: 10th Battalion LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS
Date of Death: 9 November 1916
Age: 28
Cemetery: Bancourt British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

Nothing is known of Arnold's early life, other than he was born in Heaton Norris. In 1911, he married Martha Birch at Christ Church and they lived at 9 Hatton Street, Stockport. Over the years, they had three children together. Arnold worked for Craven Brothers Ltd. The Company manufactured machine tools at it's Vauxhall Works on Heaton Moor Road.

Arnold was one of the first local men to join the army - enlisting within days of the declaration of War on 4 August 1914. By the late autumn of 1916, the Battalion had seen action on several occasions during the Battle of the Somme. The most recent attack had been on 3 November near Geudecourt when the advance was recorded as being through waist-high mud.

They were then relieved to a reserve area near Bernafray Wood but came back to the front line at Geudecourt on the 8th. There's no specific mention of the 9th in the Battalion's War Diary but it notes that battalion's were being relieved every 24 hours (instead of the usual three or four day tours of duty). This was "owing to the abnormal state of the trenches - liquid mud 3 to 4 feet deep."

It is not now possible to know how Arnold died. Perhaps he fell into the mud and drowned. Perhaps he was killed by shellfire. In view of the conditions, it is likely that he was buried just behind the front line, rather than being taken to the reserve area. Many of these small front line burial areas were closed after the War as the land was returned to civilian use. At some point, probably in the very early 1920s, Arnold's body will have been moved to Bancourt where his grave is now tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

   
           
   
     
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