This memorial was unveiled on 1st July 1994 by Major General Peter Davies, Colonel of the King’s Regiment. Written in French and English, the memorial remembers the men of the Manchester and Kings Liverpool Regiment who successfully assaulted the village with their comrades of the 30th Division on the first day of the battle of the Somme. This was a one of the few gains made on what is now recognised as one of the most disastrous days of British military history. 350 men from the 17th Battalion, Manchester Regiment died on 1st July, including seven men from Arthur Bell’s III Platoon. These men (and the men who had joined III Platoon by 1st July) have no known grave and are commemorated at Thiepval Memorial
Sergeant Mark Jackson 8197 (not on III Platoon Roll, but transferred by 1st July) had been sniped as the Platoon made their way through Montauban. 25 year old Sergeant Jackson was previously working as a shipping clerk with Messrs Delaney & Co. and living with his aunt Elizabeth at 54 Edward Street, Broughton. Mark was connected with St. Simon’s Church, Salford and assisted with the school football team. Mark’s brother John and Aunt administered his effects.
Sergeant James D Turner 8903 was the second Sergeant from III Platoon to be killed in action
on the 1st July. The Salford Reporter* recounted a letter received by James’ wife from another man in his Platoon. This indicated he was reviewing sentry positions in Montauban when he was killed by a German shell; the shell also wounded one other man.
Sergeant Turner had worked at Messrs. Haslams, Piccadily and lived at 15 Allen Street, Lower Broughton, Salford – in the same Salford suburb as Mark Jackson. Aged 35, James left behind his widow Elizabeth and Daughter Marjorie. Elizabeth and other family members commemorated James in the 1st anniversary edition of the Manchester Evening News. Elizabeth wrote:-
“My memory often wanders, as the shadows fall,
Back to the days of happiness. Days beyond recall
Bravely he fought and fell.”
Sergeant Turner’s brother and sister in law, Sarah and Jack, also provided a poetic tribute:-
“In silent hours we think of you
And of all your pain
But in the land that no sorrow comes,
We hope to meet again.”
James was an accomplished musician and member of the Central Hall Prize Band. He was also a member of Swan Swimming Club. As Arthur Bell was also a swimmer, it is possible the two men may have competed with, or against each other.
James is commemorated at Thiepval and the family plot at Philips Park where his parents and brothers are buried.
Sergeant Percy Amos 8047. Percy had joined the Pals, with the majority of 17th Battalion on 2nd September 1914, as a Private. He was a 33 year old engineering draughtsman from Co-Op Wholesale Society, Architects Department when he enlisted on 2nd September 1914. His maturity must have been recognised and he was swiftly promoted to Lance Corporal on 17th September through the rank of Corporal on 7/1/1915, Lance Sergeant on 23/8/1915 to Sergeant on 1st September 1915. The Roll of Honour lists Percy as a Corporal when the Platoon photograph was taken and it is possible he had transferred to another Platoon by July 1916. Percy had been born in Colchester, Essex and lived at Woodleigh, Western Road, Flixton before he attested. Press reports show Percy had lectured in corn miling at Rochdale Technical School and previously worked for Thomas Robinson & Son of Rochdale. His mother, Annie Elizabeth and father, Charles W. Amos, lived in Ipswich with their remaining family. Percy’s sister Mabel was executor to his will showing a significant estate of £860 8s. 10d. Percy is remembered at Flixton Parish, St. Michael’s, Flixton, Co-operative Wholesale Society War Memorial and Manchester Technical College Memorials.
The junior NCOs from III Platoon also had significant losses. Yorkshire man, 8170 Corporal Sidney Birks Hare was killed in action in the Montauban assault. Sidney had worked for Holmes, Terry & Co at 65 High Street, Manchester, selling clothing and textile products. He was the only son of Samuel Hare of Pudsey, near Leeds and lived at Whaley Bridge, Derbys. with his uncle, who was a local Councillor. Sidney is commemorated at Thiepval, Pudsey Cenotaph and Whaley Bridge. Corporal Hare was 30 years old when he died. He left his Estate to his father.
Lance Corporal James Thomson 8901 was another Private who had earned promotion by 1st July. Lance Corporal Thomson was killed in the Montauban assault, aged 28. He left behind his wife Mary Jane Thomson, known as Polly, at 32 Bradshaw Street, Moss Side. James had worked at Hans Reynolds in Burnage before the war. His mother Rosehannah and father William had two other sons – Fred and Sam – in France when the 1st Anniversary notices were published. Polly Thomson’s brother Will Pegg was also in France
when she wrote for in memory of her husband:-
“I can never forget him, I loved him too dearly
For his memory to fade from my mind like a dream:
The lips need not speak when the heart mourns
For thoughts often dwell where they seldom are seen.
From earthly care to heavenly rest.”
Private Walter Frederick Scott 8856 was 19 years old when he died. His parents, Arthur and Julia lived at 70 Derby Street, Moss Side. Arthur received his sons effects. Walter had been employed at Stott & Sons architects. It’s possible it is Walter who is commemorated at St Clement’s church Memorial, Chorlton cum Hardy
Lance Corporal Arthur Edward Bennett 8392 had been born in Denver, Colorado. As part of the 17th Battalion Machine Gun Section, Arthur had been promoted Lance Corporal. He was killed in action on 1st July 1916, aged 21. Arthur’s family lived at 2 Mount Pleasant Square, Salford and in 1911 he had been a shippers clerk. His father, William Henry received his effects. It is possible Arthur Bell’s recollection is mistaken in relation to the survival of the cheeky American who had called out at the pretty mother as they were marching through Manchester “I wish I was that goldurned dawg.” . No other American born men have been identified in the Platoon. An A Bennett from the Manchesters is included in this memorial:- St Philip with St Stephen – Salford War Memorials. Arthur is also commemorated on the family grave at Weaste Cemetry. Two other brothers were serving by 1916. Private Henry Samuel Bennett 19715 had trained with XV Platoon of 21st Battalion. He had been wounded and was being treated in Hospital in Cranleigh, Surrey when Arthur’s loss was reported. Henry was later transferred to the Labour Corps and discharged in 1919.
Private Joe Clark 8472 was born in Newark, Notts and the son of Frederick and Agnes Jeanette Clark of 115 Chapel Street, Salford. He had been a warehouseman when he enlisted on 3rd September 1914, aged 19. His address seems to have been 17 Cheltenham, Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock. He had two brothers; Fred & Peter and a sister, Dorothy. The Casualty Report confirms Joe was killed at Montauban on 1st or 2nd July 1916. A further fatality at Montauban was Arthur Bell’s school friend
Emerys Edwards 9033, who may have been known as Polly. Emerys, of C Company, was killed in action on 1st July 1916 and is commemorated at Thiepval. The CWGC records show his widowed mother Anne Edwards living at 7, Delamere Avenue, Pendleton, Manchester. Emerys had lived at 25 York Street, Broughton. He had been employed as a yarn agent by J Dilworth & Sons, where he had been since leaving school. Emerys was a member of St.Pauls Football Club in Kersal and worshiped at Pendleton Welsh Chapel
“…there’s some corner of a foreign field that is forever England” Thanks to members of the Manchesters Forum and Great War Forum for help in compiling these profiles. For further details of this – necessarily limited part of an important day in British, Commonwealth & European history – see The Big Push – Montauban For details of the Officers of 17th Battalion that lost their lives, see 1st July 1916 Anniversary – Officers The photograph was taken on the 90th Anniversary when three generations of Arthur Bell’s family were visiting along with some other Manchester Regiment enthusiasts. Should visitors have further details of any of the men who died at Montauban, please leave a comment. * North East War Memorials Project