Michael BURKE
Rank: Private
Number: 12241
Unit: 2nd Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 17 April 1915
Age: 38
Cemetery: Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium

Michael was born in the parish of St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Tatton Street, Stockport. As a young man, he had joined the regular army, serving with the Grenadier Guards. He fought in the Boer War and was awared the Distinguished Conduct Medal for an act of bravery. This award was published in the London Gazette on 27 September 1901.

By the time of the Great War, he had left the army and returned to Stockport. He had married and lived with his wife at Brady Street. A man of this name married Winifred Neary in 1907 at Stockport. As an ex-regular soldier, Michael would have had to spend a period of time as a reservist. This time must have expired as he was not recalled to duty with the Guards when War was declared on 4 August 1914. His service number does, however, confirm that he volunteered to rejoin the army towards the end of August or in early September. He was probably assigned to the 2nd Cheshires (a regular army Battalion) when it returned from India on Christmas Eve. He would have gone overseas with them in mid-January.

On the day he was killed, the Battalion was in trenches at a position described as Molenaarelsthoek, near the village of Zonnebeke east of the Belgian town of Ypres (now Ieper). The Battalion's War Diary gives no further details of the day so it is impossible to know how Michael was killed, although his lack of a known grave might mean he was killed by a direct hit from a shell.

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