Charles Depree WARDLE
Rank: Private
Number: 34812
Unit: 10th Battalion Cheshire Regiment
Date of Death: 19th November 1916
Age: 26
Cemetery: Tancrez Farm Cemetery, Hainaut, Belgium

Charles Wardle had been born at Chorlton, Manchester. Nothing else has been discovered about his personal life or his connection with Gatley. He enlisted at Knutsford, probably during 1915. His service number suggests that, as a fairly late recruit, he probably went to France as part of a group of replacements for troops wounded or killed in the Battle of the Somme during the summer of 1916.

The Battalion had been in action during October but had then gone into reserve at Pont de Nieppe - Nieppe is a village four kilometres north west of Armentieres. On 13 November, they went forward into trenches described as being at Despierre Farm (thought to be near Frelinghien, north east of Armentieres), where they stayed until 19 November. The Battalion's War Diary records that there was good weather and little activity. There were no casualties.

The opposing sides tended to know when Battalions were being relieved and it was a favourite time for the artillery to shell the incoming or outgoing troops. 19 November seems to have been no exception and, as the Cheshires were leaving, Charles and another soldier were killed.

The cemetery in which he is buried is next to where a first aid post was operating. Had he died here, his records would normally show that he had "died of wounds". Charles' record shows he was "killed in action" (normally meaning killed outright). It is possible to speculate, therefore, that his mates brought him here but he had died on the way.

(NB: Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)

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