Frederick Joseph THELWALL
Rank: Private
Number: 34742
Unit: 10th Battalion CHESHIRE Regiment
Date of Death: 28 July 1916
Age: 23
Cemetery: Gezaincourt Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France

Fred's father, Charles, had married Hannah Maria Ridgway between July and September 1889. Fred was born three years later - his birth being registered between October and December 1892. The family lived at Hollins Lane, Marple. He had attended Marple Congregational Sunday School and then worked as a weaver at Hollins Mill, Marple.

He enlisted into the army at Hyde in February 1916 and started his training. In mid June, he was given a short leave before going abroad on active service. He took the opportunity to return home and marry Annie Wooley and they are believed to have lived at 9 Chapel Street, Marple (possibly the home of her parents).

Fred joined the Battalion, along with 197 new recruits, on 25 July. They were near Thiepval, at the heart of the Somme battlefield. There was a lull in the heavy fighting in the immediate vicinity and the Battalion took the opportunity to strengthen its defences. During the night of 26/27 July, they started to dig a new trench, hoping that the protection of darkness would protect them from enemy shelling or snipers. In the event, the German artillery shelled the Cheshires and Fred was badly wounded in the leg by shrapnel.

He would have been evacuated from the trench and received immediate attention from the Battalion Medical Officer. He would have been further evacuated to the rear and moved, probably by train, to the Casualty Clearing Station based at Gezaincourt, some miles away. Presumably nothing could be done to save him and he died the next day. Fred's war had lasted three days.

Just over a year later, more devastating news would come to Marple when Charles and Hannah learned that their younger son, Samuel, had also been killed.

   
           
   
     
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