Edward R WALSH
Rank: Able Seaman
Number: R/1820
Unit: Anson Battalion ROYAL NAVAL DIVISION
Date of Death: 25 August 1918
Age: 29
Cemetery: Vis-en-Artois Memorial, Pas de Calais, France

Edward was one of the eight children of William and Martha listed on the 1901 Census. The family was then living at 15 Waterloo Road but had moved to 47 Brentnall Street by the time of the War (and later moved to 31 Mottram Street). Nothing is known of his early life until he joined the army on 11 December 1915. He was retained in the UK after training and did not go overseas until 16 June 1917. His original unit is unknown and he did not join the Anson Battalion until 1 April 1918.

The Royal Naval Division had been formed just after War was declared in August 1914 and its original members were Royal Marines and naval reservists who were then surplus to the need for them to serve on ships. They fought on land for the remainder of the War as infantry but retained their naval ranks and many naval traditions. New recruits such as Edward would have had to undergo a short period of  training to the basic army training before he joined the Division

The Allies launched a large scale attack on the German positions on 8 August 1918. Its success made victory in the War inevitable and, although there would be much hard fighting over the final three months, the British would only experience success. In the heart of the 1916 Somme battlefield, troops were pushing forward towards the town of Bapaume. The attack plan for 25 August involved Anson Battalion, amongst others, making a 4000 yard advance to capture an objective beyond the village of Ligny-Tholloy.

The attack started on schedule and the men advanced through a thick mist which helped to cover their movements. Two companies reached high ground east of Thilloy and held the positions. However, other units on their right had been held up by a vigorous defence put up by German troops in Loupart Wood. It was necessary for the Anson men to fall back and it is almost certain they were unable to take their dead with them. The villages and hamlets in this sector were found to be held in great strength and only the very timely intervention of the British artillery prevented a German counter-attack. Edward was posted as missing at the end of the day but nothing was ever heard of him again and his body was never recovered and identified.

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