Wallace DOBLE
Rank: Private
Number: 44949
Date of Death: 9 April 1918
Age: 23
Cemetery: Ploegsteert Memorial, Comines-Warneton, Belgium

The 1901 Census only lists one person called Wallace Doble – a six year old boy living at 6 Jubilee Cottage, Withycombe, Devon. He was the son of James, a labourer, and Elizabeth and had three older brothers – Edward, Walter and Sidney.

Wallace’s service number suggests he was not an early volunteer for the army and probably just before going overseas, he married his fiancée, Lena Plant, in the first quarter of 1916. The ceremony was at St Matthew’s Church, Stockport.

On the day he was killed, the Germans launched the second phase of their spring offensive in what would become known to the British as the Battle of the Lys. As with the attacks the previous month, they would be devastatingly successful, overrunning the British positions within hours and driving the troops back. However, the full force of the assault was south of Wallace’s Battalion then near the French town of Armentieres. The Battalion’s War Diary, held at the National Archives, records “At dawn, the enemy commenced a heavy bombardment of the positions to our right, using gas freely on back areas of our sector and shelling our front line lightly”. The Fusiliers’ position was not attacked so it is probable that Wallace was killed in the “light” shelling. He has no known grave and, if he took the full force of a shell exploding in the trench, there may have nothing left of him to bury.

Lena’s address in the 1920s was 10 Greenwood Avenue, Stockport but it’s not known if this was a home she shared with Wallace.

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