Alderley -World War 1.April 1918

We will remember them, April 1918

In March 1918 the German Spring Offensive had broken through the Allied trench line in the Somme area and advanced some 40 miles - almost to Amiens - but they had not succeeded in driving a wedge between the British and French armies. 

On 9th April Ludendorff launched a second offensive further north in the area of the river Lys with the aim of advancing to the Channel coast and cutting off the British Second Army in Ypres.  In the Battles of the Lys, 8th – 29th April, the German made an initial breakthrough but were then held short of their objective.


In the first battle of this offensive, the Battle of Estaires, Alderley Edge suffered its only loss of the month. On 10th April 1918 the 2nd South Lancashires were in action at Ploegsteert on the northern flank of the offensive and it was in this action that Private Harold Wilkinson was killed.  He is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, which indicates that his body was never found.  39 members of his regiment who died on the same day are named on this memorial, one of the others being Private William Hatton, who is commemorated on the memorial in St Mary’s Alderley. 


Private Wilkinson was the son of Henry and Grace Wilkinson of 24 Lydiat Lane.  Henry was a joiner, born in Bollington but living in Alderley Edge since at least 1891.  Harold was born in 1898. We know that he attended the village primary school and that he enlisted at Stockport, but little else. 

When the 1911 census was taken he was still at school, so we do not know what he did between leaving school, probably in 1913, and enlisting at Stockport, probably in 1916.


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