Arnold WARD
Rank: Private
Number: 49139
Date of Death: 16 May 1918
Cemetery: Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, Pas de Calais

Other than his inscription on the Bredbury War Memorial, Arnold's connection with the immediate area is not known. He was born in Denton (and is, presumably, the A Ward remembered on that Memorial) and enlisted into the army at Hyde. Other than that, nothing is known of his private life.

His inscription on the Bredbury Memorial records him as serving with the South Lancashire Regiment and, indeed, this is the unit he joined when War was declared. He was allocated 5276 as his service number. This number is associated with one of the Regiment's Territiorial Battalions. It is not a particularly early number but it is reasonable to assume that, by 1916, Arnold was on active service. Territorial soldiers were re-allocated with six-digit numbers at the beginning of 1917 and Arnold's new number was 242494, confirming that he was a member of the Regiment's 1/5th Battalion. He will have taken part in at least the latter phases of the Battle of the Somme in the autumn of 1916 and will have fought at the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendeale) during the summer and autumn of the following year.

In November of 1917, the 1/5th Battalion suffered very heavy casualties at the Battle of Cambrai and it is possible that Arnold was wounded during this engagement. Almost certainly at some point before his death, he suffered injury or illness which meant he was detached from his unit for some considerable time. When he was fit enough to return, it will have been decided that the Lancashire Fusiliers were in greater need of replacement troops and he will have been transferred.

The Regimental History describes what happened on the day Arnold was killed. "In the south, the 15th Battalion exchanged knocks in May. The Germans began on 16 May by sending out two parties, each of three NCOs and about a dozen men, at about 9.30am to work down some old saps which led into the Battalion's lines near Blairville. These parties advanced till they came to blocks which had been established, when they leapt outside the trench, came thus past the blocks and jumped into the British trench and began bombing inwards towards two of the 15th Battalion's post. One party was at once ejected and quickly went back to its own lines, leaving two wounded prisoner. The other party was more successful and when it withdrew 5 men of the Battalion were missing."

Trench raids such as this were regularly undertaken by both sides. They were intended to ensure that the "other side" could never fully relax and, as in this case, the capture of prisoners to gain intelligence was a good bonus.

Arnold was badly wounded, no doubt from the grenades (bombs). He was evacuated from the front line and was probably being taken to a field hospital some miles away when he died. He will have buried near to that spot but, after the War, many of these small front line burial areas were closed as the land was returned to civilian use. Arnold's body was re-interred at Souchez where his grave is now cared for by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The Battalion raided the German lines on 21 May in an act of retaliation for the 16th. Click here for details.

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