Reginald Stansfield CARR
Rank: Private
Number: 56381
Unit: 14th Battalion ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS
Date of Death: 22 April 1918
Age: 21
Cemetery: Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France

Private Stansfield's parents, William & Jemima, lived at 12 Church Street, Cheadle. William was a blacksmith. The 1901 census records that Reginald was their second child and eldest son. Another son, Harold, served in the army during the War and is understood to have survived.

Reginald enlisted at Stockport, originally joining the Cheshire Regiment (service number 59129), but was transferred at some point. His Cheshire service number suggests that he enlisted around the middle of 1916.

On 21 March 1918, the Germans launched a massive offensive. Within a week, they had won back all of the ground lost in the previous 18 months of fighting and the British were in full retreat. By the end of the month, the impetus had been lost and the Germans were again slowly losing ground.

At the beginning of April, Reginald was in billets at Toutencourt, some miles to the west of Amiens. Several days were spent on training exercises. On the 9th, the Battalion practiced advancing, taking an enemy trench and preparing for a counter attack. On the 11th, they were in the front line near Vadencourt, a few miles away, for a couple of days, before going back into reserve. On the 20th and 21st, two companies practiced the planned attack on a replica of the enemy positions. The afternoon of the 21st was designated as a time for compulsory rest. During the night, "C" and "D" companies moved into the front line.

This was not going to be a major battle, but one of many small scale actions that took place all the time. The purpose was to collect intelligence about which German units were opposite or, simply, to harass the enemy.  Zero hour was set for 7.30 pm. The Battalion's War Diary notes that "Our own barrage was somewhat ragged". The German artillery barrage quickly commenced with shells falling just in front of the British front line. Machine gun fire was also very accurate and accounted for many casualties. Both companies had only been able to advance about 150 yards and could not reach their objective. Both companies had to withdraw, with the loss of 26 men killed and another 90, or so, wounded. Another local man, John Doyle, was also amongst the dead.

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

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