' Stockport Soldiers who died 1914 - 1918 - Battle Report
Battle of the Somme taking Regina Trench
Date: 21 October 1916
Regiment: 13th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment

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 in Hessian Trench, prior to an attack on Regina Trench. 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 Cheshire's followed very closely behind, finding the barrage was protecting them, by preventing the German machine gunners from coming out of their dugouts. They advanced in three waves and, finding the enemy's barbed wire had been destroyed by the artillery, took their objective without much difficulty.

The Battalion's War Diary records they "took about 250 prisoners and captured a machine gun. One party, advancing well forward, put a German field gun out of action, but was unable to bring it back". They now consolidated the position and held it until 6pm on the 22nd. The attack had been successful but costly. Three officers and 74 men had been killed. Another 120 were wounded and out of action.

The local men, who had been killed and are commemorated on war memorials, were Joseph Burgess, Albert Clegg, Frank Clough, William Hankinson, George Murphy and Charles Stewart. Most have no known grave. The Battalion Chaplain wrote to the family of Frank Clough saying that it had only been possible to bury the men where they lay. It is probable that the grave locations were never properly recorded and were subsequently lost.

(NB: Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website.)

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