Alderley -World War 1. June 1917

We will remember them, June 1917       

 

 

By the spring of 1917 the stalemate on the western front had lasted for 2½years. In April, the French tried to break the deadlock in the Nivelle offensive – with disastrous results.  At this point Haig, the British commander in France, began to formulate plans for the Third Battle of Ypres, more popularly known as Passchendaele. The first stage was a preparatory attack on the German positions south of Ypres at Messines Ridge. This was successfully carried out on 7th June, but at a high cost.  The 11th and 13th Battalions, Cheshire Regiment, were among the British units engaged, and they lost 121 men that day.  

 

Among them were two men from Alderley Edge. Private Joseph Hockenhull was the second son of Richard and Sarah Hockenhull of Chorley Hall Lane.  They had already lost their eldest son, Harry, in the battle of the Somme (he was commemorated in last September’s newssheet).  Joseph was born in 1889, attended the village school and then worked as an assistant in the grocer’s shop of Albert Stevens.  In 1916, five months after enlisting and two months before he was posted to France, he married Amy Withington. On 21st October 1916, he was wounded in action and sent back to England to recover. In March 1917, he was posted to France again and was killed in action on 7th June. He is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres.

 

Private Arthur Taylor was killed in action on the same day. Born in Swinton in 1880, he married Emma Jones in 1905 in Wigan.  In 1907, he moved to Alderley Edge, when his employer, Lawrence Pilkington (father of the two sisters who donated the Edge to the National Trust), moved to Firwood, Woodbrook Road.  Arthur was a gardener and occupied the garden cottage at Firwood.  He joined up in August 1916 (possibly because of the introduction of conscription) and was posted to France in March 1917.  Only three months later he was killed and is also commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial.

 

If you know of Alderley Edge men who served in the war and returned

Michael at the Menin Gate, pointing out Joseph Hockenhull's memorial

Menin Gate at Ypres

 

 


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