Edward GILCHRIST
Rank: Private
Number: 29462
Unit: 8th Battalion King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment
Date of Death: 28 September 1918
Age:
Cemetery: Grevillers British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

It has not been possible to establish any information about Edward's private life. It is known that he enlisted into the army at Chester and that, at the time, he was living in Stockport. However, he does not appear to have been living locally at the time of the 1901 Census and must have moved to the area from elsewhere.

In mid-September 1918, Edward and his mates spent several days in reserve on rest. Training exercises were undertaken on a daily basis, including a full Battalion attack on the 20th.

Late on the 26th, they moved into assembly positions west of the village of Anneux, about 8 miles south west of the French town of Cambrai. They were in position by 11.30pm and, four hours later, moved nearer the front line ready to attack German positions at Flesquieres at 5.20am.

The Battalion was to follow behind other battalions who would capture the German front line. The King's Own would then overlap to go on to take further positions. At "zero hour", the men left the trenches following closely behind the protection of a creeping artillery barrage working its way across No Man's Land. For a time, the barrage succeeded in silencing machine gun fire from many fortified concrete structures along the German "Hindenberg Line". One of these pill-boxes now opened  fire and the attackers were pinned down, until Corporal Neely and 2 men dashed toward it, killing the garrison and capturing three machine guns. Neeley was later awarded the Victoria Cross for this act.

By 9.45, the Battalion had reached its objective and began to consolidate. It then came under fire from enemy field guns firing over open sights from a ridge south of Ribecourt and from other enemy artillery in Bourlon Wood.

During the day, the Battalion had advanced 4 miles, captured 800 prisoners, 200 machine guns, 3 field guns and 12 trench mortars. But it had not been without cost. 54 men, including Robert Peters, were dead. Many more were wounded, including Edward. He will have received treatment from the Battalion's own medical officer, just behind the front line. This would have been little more than first aid, before he was moved to a Dressing Station, perhaps a mile behind the front. Here his wounds would be properly dressed before he was evacuated to one of the four field hospitals (Casualty Clearing Stations) based at Havrincourt, a few miles away. Here military surgeons would have tried to save his life but without success.

   
           
   
     
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