Alfred Siggers GILLIN
Rank: Private
Number: 11979
Unit: 1st Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 7 May 1915
Age: 36
Cemetery: Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium

Alfred originated from Levenshulme, Manchester but had lived in the Stockport area for some considerable time. In the autumn of 1900, he had married Sarah Bradshaw. A year later, the Census shows him, aged 22, living in Stockport and working as a cloth maker. Sarah was 20 and a cotton winder.

In 1914, when he enlisted in the army, they were living at 18 George Street in the Newbridge Lane area of town. By now, they had five children; the eldest being 14. Alfred had changed careers, some 13 years before, and had been working as a lamplighter for Stockport Corporation Gas Department. In his spare time, he was a member of the Newbridge Lane Conservatibve Club.

His service number indicates he enlisted in August 1914, just after war was declared. He probably went overseas around the following January as part of the first draft of replacements for the regular army troops who had been killed or injured in the first few months of fighting.

Few details exist of the Battalion's activities on 7th May. Fighting around Hill 60, to the south of Ypres, had been going on for some time and, on 5 May, the Battalion was ordered out of reserve to move to support trenches near the Hill. As they reached open country near Zillebeke Lake, they came under a heavy shell barrage, combined with a gas attack. At this point in the war, their gas masks were nothing more than wadding held over the mouth by elastic. When they reached the support trenches, they were ordered into an attack as the Germans had recaptured the Hill. They were successful in capturing their allotted objective at Larch Wood, but other units failed to dislodge the Germans from the Hill.

The Battalion's War Diary makes no mention of the 6th or 7th and the Regimental History only records that "further attempts on the Hill were made at dawn on the 7th, but all failed". Records indicate that 20 men were killed on the 7th, including Alfred, Charles Wilkinson and Hugh Williams.

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