Vincent BURGON
Rank: Private
Number: 67698
Unit: C Company, 9th Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 4 November 1918
Age: 19 (based on 1901 Census information)
Cemetery: Ors British Cemetery, Nord, France

In 1886, John Burgon and Mary Hanrahan married in a civil ceremony at Stockport. They were probably Roman Catholics as, at that time, only Anglican churches were entitled to conduct marriage ceremonies. No doubt, they had other children before Vincent was born in 1899.

Financial constraints on this project have prevented an examination of the "pay to view" part of the 1901 Census, but the freely available section suggests the family at the time. John Burgon, then aged 41, was a medical herbalist. Mary Hanrahan had been born in Ireland 35 years previously. The children listed, apart from Vincent, are Arthur (7), Ellen (13), Evenyhenry (14), Francis (5), John (9) and Mary (10).

Nothing is known of Vincent's later life until he enlisted into the army. He joined the Cheshire Yeomanry (service number 2589), according to Cheshire Regiment records. However, this is not mentioned in his on-line medal entitlement records at the National Archives, confirming that he did not serve abroad with the Yeomanry. The above Cheshire Regiment service number was probably issued during 1917.

By early November 1918, the German army was in its final retreat and was being engaged on a daily basis. On the 1st and 2nd of November, the 9th Battalion was part of this engagement  and, by the evening of the 2nd was at Sommaing, perhaps 30 kilometres north east of the French town of Cambrai. The next day, the Cheshires two leading companies pushed forward again, coming under fire from German machine guns near Jenlain. One platoon managed to force its way forward into Jenlain. This caused the Germans to withdraw. The Cheshires were then able to occupy positions on the edge of the village. The Regimental History records that "All these movements were carried out not only under hostile but also under friendly artillery fire".

The next day, the attack on Jenlain was resumed and there were, again, casualties from "friendly fire". The Regimental History continues "Realising that the right flank of the Division was exposed to enfilade fire from the southern portion of Wargnies-le-Grand, one of our company commanders mopped up the village and attacked and captured a machine gun nest as well as a number of prisoners."

Regimental records, published after the war, indicate that Vincent died of wounds he had received. It is impossible to be certain exactly when he was injured but it was, almost certainly, on the 3rd or 4th November. He had probably been evacuated from the battle area to just behind the front line where he would have received attention from the Battalion's medical officer at the Regimental Aid Post. A number of soldiers were originally buried in the churchyard at Jenlain, but these bodies were moved after the Armistice to Ors. It is probable that Vincent was one of them.

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