Edward Anthony AXON
Rank: Private
Number: 40514
Unit: 20th Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 29 October 1918
Age: 24
Cemetery: St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France

Thomas Axon and Mary Fidler had married in the early 1890s  at St Mary's Church, Cheadle. The 1901 Census finds them at 20 Hatherlow Lane , Hazel Grove. Edward, who was always known as Teddy, was 7. As with many local men, Thomas worked in the hat manufacturing trade in Stockport - he was a felt hat finisher. Mary was silk weaver, using a hand loom, presumably working at home.

By the time of the Great War, the family are thought to have moved to 22 Argyle Street, where they are known to have lived in the early 1920s. Teddy worked for the Co-op until he enlisted into the army in the autumn of 1915. When he joined up at Chester, he was assigned to the Cheshire Yeomanry (service number 1926). The Yeomanry was the cavalry arm of the Territorial Force. However, Teddy's medal entitlement records, at the National Archives, show that he never served abroad with the Yeomanry and was transferred to the Manchesters when he had completed his training. His service number suggests this was in the middle of 1916 and he will have joined his Battalion as one of a draft of replacements for casualties in the early days of the Battle of the Somme.

He will have taken part in a major action near the French village of Bullecourt in April/May 1917 and, again, at the Third Battle of Ypres from August. In late October, Teddy and his comrades were transferred to the Italian theatre of the War and stayed there until September 1918, when they came back to France. Within a month, Teddy had fallen victim to the worldwide pandemic of influenza. As with millions more, it turned to pneumonia and Teddy was taken to a military hospital at Rouen. In a time before antibiotics, there was little to be done but hope, but he died within days.

Further information about Teddy, including a photograph, can be found in the book "Hazel Grove to Armageddon" by John Eaton.

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