William BRUNT
Rank: Private
Number: 33048
Unit: 10th Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 16 January 1917
Age: 22
Cemetery: London Rifle Brigade Cemetery, Hainaut, Belgium

In the late autumn of 1893, Thomas William Brunt, from Stockport, married Emma Hibbert (who had been born in Hazel Grove). A year later, William was born. At the time of the 1901 Census, Thomas was working in the local hat making industry.

William worked as a spinner at Broadstone Mill in Reddish until, in early 1916, he enlisted into the army. By early 1917, he was part of the Battalion's Lewis Gun section. Lewis guns were light machine guns operated by two-man teams. One man would carry and fire the gun; the other would carry and load ammunition. Also serving in the section was another local man, Martin Hodgson.

On 16 January, the Battalion was in trenches at a position known as Despierre Farm, near the northern French town of Nieppe, close to the border with Belgium. This was a generally quiet sector throughout the war, but the Battalion's War Diary records "Enemy artillery bombarded our centre section held by "C" Company severely with 4.2s and shrapnel for about an hour. Considerable damage was done to trenches but only slight casualties were inflicted. 2 killed. 2 wounded."

Later, Lance Corporal Bob Henshall, who served with them, wrote to Martin Hodgson's father telling him what had happened. Martin and William had been in their dugout in the trench sleeping "in the customary shoulder to shoulder fashion", when a shell had exploded close to them killing them both. Bob Henshall had had a lucky escape as he usually slept in the same dugout but that night had been ordered further along the trench.

Regimental records note that William died of wounds and, certainly he is buried in a cemetery used by field ambulance units at the time. Perhaps, he lived for a very short time after the shell burst.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission collated its casualty information in the early 1920s and, at that time, noted that William's mother was living at 56 Lord Street, Stockport,. There is no mention of his father.

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