Rank: Private
Number: 24347
Unit: 13th Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 25 April 1917
Age: 29
Cemetery: Karasouli Military Cemetery, Greece

The name of H Swindells is inscribed on the Stockport War Memorial amongst those serving with the Manchester Regiment. The man whose details are given above is the only one of that name recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as serving with the Manchesters. Although it has not been possible to directly connect him with the Stockport area, he is presumed to be the man remembered. It should, however, be noted that a man also called Herbert Swindells is commemorated on the Bredbury and Romiley Memorials. This man served with the Kings Royal Rifle Corps but it is possible that he is the same man as that on the Stockport Memorial, but his unit is wrongly inscribed.

Regimental records published after the War indicate that the man above was born in the Manchester area and was the foster son of Mrs S E Eddowes, 45 Talmouth Street, Miles Platting, Manchester. The family history website, FreeBMD, does not record the birth in Manchester of a boy of the right age, however, it does note that the birth of Herbert Edwin Swindells was registered in the Stockport area in the appropriate year of 1888. It is possible that, if Herbert had lived in Manchester for most of his life, he might have assumed that this was the place of his birth when he enlisted into the army.

It's not known when Herbert joined up but his service number suggests this was probably in early 1915. The 13th Manchesters left for France in September and he was likely to have been amongst them. The stay there was brief and, at the end of October, the Battalion was reassigned to Salonika in northern Greece where, for the remainder of the War, they would face the Bulgarian army.

On 24 April 1917, British forces formed up for a night attack on the enemy on the western side of Lake Doiran, to the north west of Salonika (now Thessalonika). The Battalion's War Diary notes all the companies were formed up by 8pm, ready for the attack. They went "over the top" at 9.05. The attack was generally successful and they were able to advance to a position known as Jackson's Ravine - a track running between Krastali and Dolzelli. Casualties appear to have been very light.

The next day, the enemy attempted a number of small-scale counter attacks but these were driven off. However, at about 12.30pm, the enemy shelled the positions for about 20 minutes. There was further heavy shelling at 3pm and at 6.30pm. An hour later, the bombardment intensified and was followed by a strong counter attack from the direction of Krastali. The Bulgarian troops managed to get into the British trench but were quickly driven out. Herbert was amongst the 26 who had been killed. 195 had been wounded and, of these, 11 would succumb to their wounds in the coming days. A further 30 men had to be hospitalised with shellshock.

© 2006. Design and Layout are the property of Ihelm Enterprises Limited and cannot be reproduced without express permission.
Enter Search Phrase Here:(search may take up to 30 seconds) 
Close Search Window