Henry (Harry) Jackson CHORLTON
Rank: Private
Number: 5946
Date of Death: 20 April 1918
Age: 27 (approx.)
Cemetery: Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium

Henry is one of four men named Chorlton who are commemorated on the Heaton Mersey and Stockport War Memorials. They are, presumably, related in some way but at the time of writing (September 2006) a connection has not been established.

He was born in 1891 in the Stockport area where, in 1912, he married Bertha Ryder. The ceremony took place at St Agnes' Church, North Reddish and the marriage certificate records his name as Harry.

Harry enlisted into the army at Bury which was the Headquarters of the Lancashire Fusiliers. His low number indicates that he must have joined up very soon after the declaration of War in August 1914 and, indeed, it is possible he was a pre-War regular soldier or a reservist recalled to the colours.

On 9 April 1918, the German Army opened the second phase of its spring offensive in what would become known as the Battle of the Lys (after the nearby river). As in the initial attacks in March, the assault was overwhelming. The next day, Harry and his mates were ordered forward into a counter-attack capturing the village of Croix-du-Bac, but were later forced back after heavy street fighting. The next eight days were spent in an almost constant fighting retreat. By the 18th, losses had been so considerable that the Battalion was amalgamated with two other units and was withdrawn from the action to reserve bivouacs.

The Battalion's War Diary for the 20th notes that they were still in bivouacs. It records that an enemy shell landed on the Battalion's HQ killing two men. Initially, it seemed obvious that Henry must have been one of these two. However, an examination of regimental records published after the War, reveals that the deaths of 74 men are recorded against this day. Clearly that cannot be right. What must have happened is that, once in the relative peace and quiet of the reserve area, the officers had "caught up" with the paperwork and submitted a summary return. It does mean, however, it is now no longer possible to know exactly when Henry was killed.

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