Frederick THACKRAH
Rank: Private
Number: 45486
Unit: 21st Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 11 December 1916
Age: 28
Cemetery: Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France

Arthur Thackrah and Agnes Cooke married in the closing months of 1883. It is an unusual surname and the family history website, CheshireBMD, lists only a few births in the coming years and these are presumed to be their children - William (1884), Agnes (1885, Harry (1986), Sarah, (1887). Fred was born in 1889 and is followed by Florence in 1890.

Nothing is known of his early life except his home address was probably 50 Alldis Street, were his parents were known to be living after the War. When he enlisted, he was posted to a Territorial Battalion of the Kings Liverpool Regiment but he never served abroad with that unit. When he had finished his training, he was reassigned to the Manchesters and will have gone overseas in the summer of 1916 as one of a draft of replacements for casualties incurred in the early weeks of the Battle of the Somme.

Although Fred's date of death is officially recorded as 11 December, he may in fact have been killed in the previous two days. On the 9th, the Manchesters started another tour of duty in the front line at near the Somme village of Mailly. The Battalion's War Diary, written at the time, does not describe the coming days and the next reference is on the 11th, when they are relieved and march back to billets. It is usual for a Diary to record casualties on a daily basis but, in this instance, it would appear the report has been submitted for the complete tour and both men who were killed have been officially recorded as dying on the 11th. It is, of course, possible that this is correct as the times of reliefs were often known to the opposite side and it was a favourite time for shelling, in the hope of catching the men away from the protection of their trenches. However, it cannot be said for certain that this is what happened.

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