Samuel Birchanall (Birchnall)
Rank: Gunner
Number: 186023
Unit: 234th Siege Battery ROYAL GARRISON ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 2 November 1918
Age: 26 (believed to be)
Cemetery: Brebieres British Cemetery, France

Sam Birchanall suffers the indignity of having his name spelt wrongly as Birchnall on the Stockport War Memorial. Army records, those of the War Graves Commission and his inscription on the Hanover Church War Memorial (now at Wycliffe Chapel) all confirm the correct spelling.

Other than these commemorations, almost nothing is known of his life. Army records show he was born in Stockport and enlisted in the town and he was, almost certainly, the Samuel Birchanall whose birth in 1892 was registered in Heaton Norris.

His service number suggests that he was not an early volunteer for the army. When he enlisted at Stockport, he was assigned to the artillery. The Siege Batteries fired very heavy weapons, often mounted on railways trucks or in concrete emplacements and they were situated some considerable way behind the front line. There are few remaining records of their day-to-day activities and it cannot now be known how or when Sam received his fatal wounds. He died at a field hospital at Brebieres and, as with most artillerymen, he had almost certainly been wounded by enemy shellfire. The War ended nine days later.

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