Hugh was the youngest son of Patrick and Margaret Goley. The 1901 Census records the family as living in Ashton-under-Lyne where Hugh had been born. Patrick, then 46, worked as coal miner. Hugh's older brothers also worked in the mine. John, aged 13, was a pony driver and Thomas, 19, a waggoner. He also had three sisters - Maggie, 17 (an operative in a cotton mill card room), Annie, 12 and Agnes, 8.
BY the time of the Great War, the family had moved to Stockport and Patrick is thought to have died. Hugh was apprenticed to a Mr West, Grenville Street, as a painter and decorator.
He enlisted in October 1914, no doubt following the example of his brother. John, by this time, was either a regular soldier or an ex-regular who was recalled as a reservist when war was declared (as indicated by his service number - 8170). Sergeant John James Goley is recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as having been killed on 3 October 1915 whilst serving with the 2nd Battalion, Cheshire Regiment. Click here for details of the action in which he died. Unlike his younger brother, John is not commemorated on any war memorial in the Stockport area
By late October 1916, the Battle of the Somme was entering its final stages. Advances had been made since July and the Cheshires were to become involved in an attempt to wrest the high ground away from the Germans. Capture of the ridge, which ran from Martinpuich to Thiepval, would allow the British strategic control of this sector.
On 20 October, the Battalion assembled near Hessian Trench, prior to an attack on Regina Trench, held by the enemy. "A" Company was attached to 8th Battalion, Border Regiment and would attack with them. "B" and "D" Companies would then move up to occupy the front line and act as a reserve. "C" Company would remain in the support trenches.
The next day, the British artillery barrage started at 12.06pm, rolling forward across No Man's Land before falling on the German front line trench. The men of "A" Company followed very closely behind. To their left they may have seen neighbours from Stockport in the 13th Battalion who also attacked. Click here for details of their advance. The attack was a complete success and the Cheshires captured a machine gun, bombed a German dugout and then pushed forward about 400 yards beyond the trench, clearing several dugouts of the enemy and taking prisoners. At this point "C" company were brought forward to help with the consolidation of the newly captured positions.
During the 21st, 8 men had been killed, 52 wounded and another 14 were missing, but Hugh was not amongst them. The Cheshires held their newly captured positions until 7pm on the 22nd. Some time during this day, he was killed. This was most probably by shellfire. Hugh has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. Another local man who died that day was George Holland.