Reuban WAGNER
Rank: Private
Number: 27210
Unit: D Company, 2nd Battalion South Lancashire Regiment
Date of Death: 2nd August 1917
Age: 25
Cemetery: Poelcapelle British Cemetery, Poelkapelle, Belgium

 

Reuben was born in Manchester, the son of Lazarus and Rachel, on 28 November 1891. Little is known of his private life but, in adulthood, he had moved to the Stockport area and had married Olive. They lived at 5 Edwin Street and, later, at 13 Glebe Street. They would have two children together. Reuben was a tailor by trade.

His service number suggests he enlisted at the beginning of 1916, going overseas in about July.

A year later, on 31 July, Reuban and his comrades had attacked on the first day of the Third Battle of Ypres (often called Passchendaele). The attack had not been a success.

The next day, they moved back to a support trench just behind the front line. This was just to the west of a position known as "Ziel House" near the Ypres-Roulers railway. On the 2nd, the Battalion's War Diary records "Still raining heavily. Battalion in same position endeavouring to "dig in" - a most difficult and almost impossible task owing to the awful state of ground and the harassing effect of the sustained hostile shelling. All ranks in a deplorable condition being sodden with rain and mud. Considerable difficulty in getting up rations and supplies, the state of the ground and the constant shelling rendered movement both difficult and hazardous."

The entry continues on the same day although past midnight "Shortly after midnight, a party of about 20 men were sheltering on the westerly side of the Battalion HQ dug-out, when a shell landed in the middle of them and killed the whole party."

16 members of the Battalion were killed during the day and it cannot be known for certain if Reuban was amongst the group taking brief shelter form the rain or if he had been killed earlier. His Lieutenant later wrote to Olive "He was helping to dig a trench when he was killed by a shell and his death was instantaneous; he suffered no pain."

In the early 1920s, when the War Graves Commission collated its casualty information, Olive had remarried and had become Mrs Sidney Jones. She was living in Canmore, Alberta, Canada.

(Page updated June 2007, as a result of information received from a descendent)

   
           
   
     
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