Frederick John HAMS
Rank: Private
Number: 235341
Unit: 16th Battalion ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS
Date of Death: 22 April 1918
Age: 21
Cemetery: Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France

Arthur Blunden Hams and Lilly Nevitt married in 1897 at St Mark's Church, Cheetham. A year later, Frederick was born in the Stretford area. It's not known when they moved to 14 Norman Road, Heaton Moor but were certainly living there by 1915 when Frederick enlisted into the army. He joined the local 6th (Territorial) Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment and was given 2465 as his service number.  A later service number, 265685, recorded on his medal entitlement records at the National Archives, was issued sometime after the beginning of 1917, confirming he didn't go overseas on active service before then. At some later point, he was transferred to the Fusiliers - first to its 4th Battalion and then the 16th. He was one of the Battalion's stretcher bearers.

On 21 April, the Battalion moved into the front line in preparation for a small-scale operation the next day in conjunction with the 13th and 14th Battalions. The intention was to capture some high ground, created by the spoil from a shell hole, which would give important observation over the Ancre Valley in the north of what had been the 1916 Somme battlefield.

There was no "softening up" bombardment of the enemy and the Fusiliers left their trenches advancing across No Man's Land behind a fairly ineffective "creeping" British barrage. They suffered heavy casualties but the 13th Battalion was completely successful in capturing the position. However, in the centre of the attack, the 16th Battalion suffered particularly badly and could only advance 250 yards before being checked by the enemy fire. 51 men were known to be dead. Another 22 were missing, and 161 had been wounded. Frederick is believed to be one of those posted as missing. His body was never recovered and identified. Another local man, Harry Beech, was amongst the wounded and died the next day.

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