Stanley WARBURTON
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Number:
Unit: 12th Battalion LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS
Date of Death: 14 September 1916
Age: 26
Cemetery: Doiran Memorial, Greece

Stanley's connection with Hazel Grove is unknown and it is possible that his name was included on the village War Memorial by relatives living nearby who wanted to remember him. He had been born in Poynton, the son of Mary and Thomas (a colliery under-manager). At the time of the 1901 Census, the family was living at Beech Cottage, Poynton and, in the early 1920s, at Woodside. It is possible that, in the intervening years, they had spent time in hazel grove, but it seems unlikely. Stanley is also commemorated on the village War Memorial in Poynton.

Stanley was born on 9 May 1890 and, about two years later, his brother, Allan, was born. He attended Macclesfield Grammar School (and is also remembered on the School's War Memorial), before attending Manchester University, where he was a member of the Officer Training Corps between 1908 and 1911. After graduating, Stanley gained employment as a teacher at Colston's School, Stapleton, Bristol and was still employed there when War was declared.

When War was declared in August 1914, Stanley was quick to enlist into the army and, as with many young middle class men, was soon selected to become an officer. His enlistment papers show him to have been 5' 9" tall and weighed 143 pounds. The doctor examining him recorded that he had good hearing, teeth and vision.

In March of 1915, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant into the newly formed 12th Battalion of the Fusiliers. On 4 September, Stanley went overseas as one of approximately 30,000 troops that made up the British 22nd Division. The Division concentrated in France around Flesselles, but their stay in France was to be brief. By the end of October, the Division was re-assigned to the Salonika front in northern Greece, where they would face the Bulgarian army. Stanley arrived in Greece on 6 November.

In the middle of September 1916, the Battalion was at Smol, near the Macedonian town of Macuovo (Machukova). On the 13th, the Fusiliers were kept busy carrying ammunition forward  in preparation for an attack the next day. They would support a major assault by Serbian forces by attacking the Bulgarian Army positions on a nearby hill called the Piton des Mitrailleuses.

The Battalion's War Diary records that the Allied artillery barrage lifted at 2am on the 14th and the men advanced. "There was a fair amount of opposition from rifle and machine guns but the position was captured after a short time. Captain Wormald was killed almost as soon as the assault began.....We had very few casualties up to this period. There was very little time left before daylight whilst most of the men were consolidating the position, the remainder were busy bombing dug-outs with great success - a number of prisoners were taken and others who would not come out were killed."

About 7.30am, the enemy artillery started to shell the Fusilers and this increased "in fury" as the day went on. "About 14.00, a report was received that the enemy was massing behind The Dome - a position which overlooked the one we held and the order was given to man the front line trenches. The artillery fire of the enemy was at its worst; we suffered considerably. On the Piton des Mitrailleuses, our men were driven back but a counter-attack regained the trench. On the right, we held the line. About 16.00, we withdrew our men to the south west side of the hill until the order to retire was received."

The Battalion had suffered 190 casualties - dead, wounded or missing. It was noted in the Diary that Stanley had been killed later in the day. Another local man, William Brooks, was also killed.

Stanley's effects were later sent home, no doubt packed in his Wolseley valise. They included his "Sam Browne" belt, a balaclava, a crucifix, three tins of tobacco, two pairs of boots, a pair of canvas shoes and five handkerchiefs. He had also acquired some souvenirs - a French bayonet scabbard and two shell cases. When his affairs were settled, his estate as valued at £396 9s 10d (nearly £18,000 at 2005 prices).

   
           
   
     
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