Alexander Martin CUNNINGHAM (Cuningham)
Rank: Gunner
Number: 98261
Unit: 111th Heavy Battery ROYAL GARRISON ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 17 March 1917
Age: 30 (based on 1901)
Cemetery: Doullens Communal Cemetery, Somme, France

It would seem that those responsible for preparing the names for the Cheadle Hulme War Memorial spelt Alexander’s name wrong – as did those responsible for the two memorials in his birth place of Wilmslow on which he is also commemorated as . It appears to be correctly spelt as Cuningham – with only one “n”. Not only is this the way it is spelt by the War Graves Commission, but it is also similarly recorded on the 1901 Census and in various websites recording birth, marriages and deaths registration.

All records relating his parents, John and Martha and his two brothers, Robert and William, are spelt with the single “n”, but when his sister Norah was born in about 1894, her birth was registered as Cunningham and she continued to use the spelling when she married in 1915. It seems probable that, by the mid-1890s, the family had decided to adopt the more usual spelling for all future matters.

When Alexander enlisted, on 11 December 1915, he was living at 23 Seymour Road, Cheadle Hulme with his wife, Edith. They had married on 12 May 1913. Alexander earned his living as an assistant buyer.  After completing the formalities, he was sent home again and was not mobilised until 6 June 1916 when he started his training. He joined the Battery on 7 October.  

Very few details remain of the day-to-day activities of Royal Garrison Artillery batteries. They used the most powerful guns and were situated some considerable behind the front line. The 111th Battery was equipped with four 4.7 inch guns which would be used to batter the enemy trenches and strongpoints.

He was wounded in action on 6 February 1917, almost certainly be retaliatory enemy artillery fire, causing a fracture to his skull. He was being treated at the 3rd Canadian Stationary Hospital but did not recover.

After the War, Edith was living at 22 High Street, Cheadle.

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

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