Rank: Private
Number: 27192
Date of Death: 16 February 1917 (possibly 17th)
Age: 25 or 26 (based on 1901 Census information)
Cemetery: Tancrez Farm Cemetery, Hainaut, Belgium

Albert Arrowsmith was born at Handforth and lived his life in the area until he enlisted in the army at Warrington in early 1916.

In 1901, when a national census was taken, he was living at 244 Wilmslow Road with his mother, Jane and his younger sister, Nellie.

Tancrez Farm Cemetery was next to a First Aid Post so it appears likely that he died of injuries recently received.

The Battalion had been withdrawn from the front line for a couple of days rest but went back into the trenches on 15th February. At 3.15am on the 16th, the enemy shelled the South Lancashires’ positions for about 40 minutes. British artillery retaliated silencing the German guns. There were no reports of any casualties. During the morning, British artillery continued to shell the enemy positions with very little retaliation.

The 17th was a dull, misty Saturday. The weather had started to improve and, with the thaw, water was now collecting in the trenches. During the morning, British artillery heavily shelled the enemy front line. The Battalion’s War Diary notes that “at intervals during the day, men were seen looking over the enemy’s parapet – one apparently an officer using field glasses – they were dispersed by our snipers.” The afternoon and evening were reported to be very quiet. The Diary notes that three men had been wounded during the day. It is probable that one of these was Alfred. He would have been taken from the trench to the Aid Post, just behind the front line, where he would have been seen by the Battalion’s Medical Officer. Presumably, nothing could be done to save him.

The lack of any mention of casualties on the 16th, in an otherwise comprehensive War Diary suggests his official date of death may not be accurate.

(Note: Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle and Gatley War Memorials website)

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