Peter GALT
Rank: Lance Sergeant
Number: 5693
Unit: 12th Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 27 May 1918
Age: 35
Cemetery: Knightsbridge Cemetery, Mesnil-Martinsart, Somme, France

Peter Galt had been born at Tottington, Lancashire After the war, his parents, William & Agnes were living at  Campsie Glen, Glasgow, from where they are beilieved to have originated. William was a machine printer by trade and Peter followed him into the industry - the 1901 Census recording him as an engraver at a print works. The Census show he had an older brother, William and three younger siblings, Annie, Sidney and Jennie. At the time , the family was living at 166 Mottram Road, Godley. They had moved from Tottington shortly after Peter's birth and his younger brother and sisters had been born in Gamesley and Droylsden.

In 1910, Peter married Florence Barrington in a civil ceremony registered at Stockport and they probably lived at 11 Holmes Street, Cheadle, although, by late 1918, she had moved to 152 Stockport Road.

He enlisted at Ashton-under-Lyne, probably quite early in the war. He will have seen action during the Arras offensives of April/May 1917 and at Passchendaele during the early autumn. In March 1918, the Battalion was at Havrincourt when the enemy launched a massive attack along many miles of front. Most of the gains made since 1916 were lost, but by the end of the month the German attack had stalled. It had failed to break the Allies. By early May, the front had become relatively quiet and the Battalion was relieved from the front line into reserve for training.

There are some inconsistencies about the record of Peter's death. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records the date as 27 May 1918. The history of the Battalion, originally written in the 1920s but only published in 1994, by the regimental museum trustees, notes that it was well away from the action at Lealvillers Camp on that day. However, an examination of the official War Diary, written at the time, on a day by day basis, confirms that the Battalion history is inaccurate and, possibly, so is the CWGC.

The War Diary records that the Battalion left the Camp two days before that noted by the history - on 25 May. It notes the troops left camp at 7pm, going into the front line to relieve the 6th Buffs and that the relief was completed by just after midnight. The morning of the 26th was quiet, but the Battalion's positions were shelled from 1.45pm to 3pm. It is noted that one "other rank" was killed. This may have been Peter or a Private Ernest Evans (from Salford) who was also recorded in official records as being killed on the 27th. No soldiers are recorded in official records as having been killed on the 26th.

The Diary for the 27th makes no mention of any casualties, only noting that their positions were shelled with gas shells during the day and that the night was quiet.

It will never be known exactly what happened to Peter or exactly when he was killed. He may be the soldier mentioned above. It may be that he was, in fact, killed on the 27th and the Battalion's officer simply forgot to record the fact. It is, perhaps, more likely that both Ernest Evans and Peter were injured on the 26th, with one being killed outright and the other dying very shortly afterwards, before he could receive any proper medical attention. What is certain is that they are buried side-by-side at Knightsbridge Cemetery.

© 2006. Design and Layout are the property of Ihelm Enterprises Limited and cannot be reproduced without express permission.
Enter Search Phrase Here:(search may take up to 30 seconds) 
Close Search Window