Rank: Private
Number: 49873
Unit: 9th Battalion CHESHIRE Regiment
Date of Death: 21 November 1916
Age: 18
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records William's parents simply as Mr J Tierney and Mrs E Tierney of 6 Buxton Road. John Eaton, in his book "Hazel Grove to Armageddon", which publishes his research into the men on the Hazel Grove War Memorial identifies them as James and Eliza. Between April and June 1893, a James Tierney married Elizabeth Ann Seal in a civil ceremony at Stockport. This may indicate that the family were Roman Catholics as, at that time, formal marriage ceremonies could only be conducted in an Anglican church.

Nothing else is known of William's life until he enlisted into the army.  His original service number, 4046, indicates that he originally joined one of the Cheshire Regiment's Territorial Battalions - probably the local 6th Battalion. This would have been in 1915, no doubt when he was still underage for overseas service. In the summer of 1916, he had finished training and will have been part of a large draft of replacement troops sent to France. It is almost certain that, on arrival there, he was immediately re-assigned to the 9th Battalion which had suffered many casualties in the early part of July during the opening phase of the Battle of the Somme.

On 21 November, the Battalion was in reserve dug-outs in previously captured German trenches near Stuff Redoubt. The unit's War Diary makes no mention of casualties, only recording that they "spent the time cleaning and collecting equipment and generally cleaning up." It is impossible to now know what happened to William. Perhaps he was killed by shrapnel or fell into one of the water and mud filled shell holes and drowned. If he ever had a proper grave, its location was lost over the course of the war. It is, however, more likely that he simply disappeared. William is now commemorated on the nearby Memorial to the Missing.

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