Robert GODLEY
Rank: Sergeant
Number: 17324
Unit: 1st Battalion ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS
Date of Death: 23 May 1918
Age: 27 (based on 1901 Census)
Cemetery: New Irish Farm Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium

The 1901 Census shows the Godley family home to have been at 30 East Street, Stockport. Robert and his older sister, Lucy, appear to have been the only children of Robert and Ettie. Ettie was possibly Esther Burgess recorded as marrying a man named Robert Godley at Christ Church, Heaton Norris in the late 1890s.

The future soldier was still connected with the Heaton Norris area when, in early 1912, he married Edith Hargreaves Smith at All Saints Church. They are thought to have had one child, who they named Robert. When War was declared, Robert enlisted shortly afterwards, probably in early 1915. He joined up at Salford, leaving his job at F Reddaway & Co of Pendleton. The Company is understood to have manufactured belts and clothing at premises on Cheltenham Street. It was a large employer with the names of around 100 employees listed in its Roll of Honour entry in the City Battalions Book of Honour.

After a period in reserve, the Battalion returned to the front line on 17 May 1918, relieving the 15th  Royal Irish Rifles, north of the Belgian village of Wieltje, near a well known position called Mousetrap Farm. The Battalion also held an outpost point on the road some 600 yards north east of the Farm. This was known as OW Test Point as the Royal Engineers signallers had previously used it as a test point for their wires. Robert is believed to have one of the small garrison holding the outpost.

At 10.20 on the 23rd, the enemy put down an artillery "box barrage" all round the post and, about 10 minutes later, a raiding party of about 30 Germans was seen moving towards it from Cheddar Villa to the south. The garrison opened fire with rifles and grenades causing four casualties and driving off the raid. Unfortunately Robert and another man (Albert Gibbons from Middlesex) were killed during these few minutes.

Most burials at New Irish Farm Cemetery were made after the Armistice when many small front line cemeteries were closed as the land was returned to civilian use and the bodies reinterred. It can be assumed, therefore, that Robert was originally buried very near to where he was killed

   
           
   
     
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