Fred WHALLEY
Rank: Private
Number: 35767
Unit: 8th Battalion CHESHIRE Regiment
Date of Death: 11 July 1917
Age: 29
Cemetery: Basra Memorial, Iraq

Fred's mother is known to have been Mrs Emma Whalley who, after the war, was living at 58 Lloyd Street, Heaton Norris. Between January and March 1887, a young woman called Emma Harrop married a James Whalley at Christ Church, Heaton Norris.

Emma is listed on the 1901 Census, then aged 34 and working as a calico weaver. James Whalley, presumably the same man, was 36 and working as a calico cop packer in a cotton mill.

The mill may have been India Mill where Fred first started work. He later went to work for Greg & Co., Reddish before he enlisted into the army. His service number indicates this was in early 1916 and, after training, he would have joined the Battalion in Mespotamia (modern day Iraq).

On 28 April 1917, the Cheshires moved into a position known as "Three Ridges", north of the village of Satha (about 100 miles of Baghdad. At 5am , on the 30th, 40th Brigade, including the 8th Cheshires, led another attack on Turkish positions. The Regimental History recounts "Our men advanced across the bare plain under the protection of an artillery barrage and a screen of smoke and dust. The drove the Turks from their trenches, suffering few casualties. The enemy seemed surprised and retired behind Adhaim village. .......the men pressed on into the village under a storm of rifle and machine gun fire and drove the Turks out with bomb and bayonet."

The Cheshires and the South Wales Borderers had achieved all their objectives, had captured enemy artillery and taken 800 prisoners, but were now two miles ahead of the support troops and out of communication. This was quickly spotted by the Turkish commander who sent in a counter attack of 2000 men at 8.15am. The History continues "A bloody hand-to-hand struggle took place behind the screen of dust. The Turks regained seven of their guns and more than half the prisoners". Light Lewis machine guns covered the desperate withdrawal of the Cheshires but there was no time for them all to retreat. About 50 men, including Fred, were cut off north of the village and taken prisoner. During his several weeks' captivity, Fred contacted dysentery and died. He will have been buried by the Turkish Army but, after the War, the location of his grave had been lost and he is now commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing at Basra, in southern Iraq.

   
           
   
     
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