John DALEY
Rank: Private
Number: 2033 (query)
Unit: 2nd Battalion SOUTH LANCASHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 14 June 1915
Age: 28
Cemetery: Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium

Frank Daley married Elizabeth Fitzpatrick at St Mary's Church, Reddish in the first quarter of 1887. Later the same year, between October and December, John was born.

John's army service number as above was included in regimental records published after the War and which then formed the basis of the records of the War Graves Commission. However, the National Archives has no record of a man called Daley serving with the South Lancashires and holding this service number. These records are available on-line and are the medal entitlement records of all soldiers who served overseas. However, an examination of the records published after the War shows that a number of men with service numbers in the range of 2000-2100 were killed in the period of the War to June 1915. It is presumed that his lack of a digital record must be an error in the Archives data scanning project.

The 2nd Battalion was one of the Regiment's two regular army battalions. When war was declared, it was amongst the first to go overseas seeing action as early as 23 August 1914 at the Battle of Mons. It's soldiers were the regular troops also, ex-regulars still on the reserve. John's army service number is inconsistent with him being in either of these groups (which tended to have service numbers between 8000 - 9999). It is, however, consistent with him being a member of one of the Regiment's Territorial Battalions. The 1/4th Battalion arrived in France in February 1915 and was part of the same Brigade as the 2nd Battalion. It is easy to imagine that men were transferred between units.

On the night of 13/14, the Battalion had been working overnight constructing assembly trenches in preparation for an attack. They returned to their billets in Ypres at 3am on the 14th. At 8pm, they left again and moved to the east of the town where they continued to build the trenches near a road running north, in the vicinity of Bellewaarde. "D" Company worked east of the road and the other three Companies to the west. The Battalion War Diary records "The first named company being nearest to the enemy's trenches was much exposed to rifle fire - the other three were exposed to considerable shellfire for about two hours."

Casualties for the night totalled 5 killed and I missing. John was probably the man missing. His body was never recovered from the battle field and identified.

   
           
   
     
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