William EDDY
Rank: Corporal
Number: 73894
Unit: 94th Battery, 147th Brigade ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 1 November 1918
Age: 24
Cemetery: Cambrai East Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

William was the second child, and eldest son, of Charles and Kate Eddy of 49 Didsbury Road, Stockport. Nothing else is known of his life, except that army records published after the War indicate he enlisted at Manchester. His comparatively low service number suggests this was fairly early in the War. It is sufficiently low to suggest he might even have been a pre-War regular soldier – supported by the fact that 147th Brigade was a regular unit.

The Brigade saw action at Gallipoli in 1915 and fought throughout the Battle of the Somme in the summer and autumn of 1916 as part of the Army’s 29th Division. In January 1917, it was detached from the Division and became an “Army Brigade”. Effectively, these were reinforcing units which could be sent to any part of the battlefield to provide additional firepower as needed. No day-to-day records remain of these units and it is not possible to know the exact circumstances in which William died. It is known that he was badly wounded, rather than being killed outright. He was evacuated from the gun positions and taken to a nearby field hospital (probably 30th Casualty Clearing Station, then based at Cambrai where he is buried). Men did not stay at a field hospital for more than a couple of days – either their condition had been stabilised sufficiently for them to be further evacuated or they had died. In William’s case, the army doctors could do nothing to save his life. As with most artillerymen, William had probably been mortally wounded by enemy shellfire.

He had probably survived four years of fighting relatively unscathed. The War ended ten days after he died.

His is a relatively uncommon name and apart from his known commemoration on the Stockport War Memorial, the War Memorial of the Manchester Technical School also commemorates a man of this name which may be him. The School later became the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST).

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