Picture Courtesy IWM864
The 90th Brigade assault on Trones Wood on the morning of 9th July was initially successful and the 17th Manchesters occupied the northern part of the wood. Following continuing German bombardment the position became untenable and the Battalion withdrew at 5.30pm. At this stage, communication with outlying Platoons and Sections was impossible and many men were left behind when the Germans launched a successful counter-attack. Few men returned and many were taken prisoner. Today we remember the men of III Platoon who died. None of these have known graves; being commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial. The Commonwealth War Grave Commission register the date of death as 10th July, although many of these men will have lost their lives the previous day.
It is not clear which officer was in command of III Platoon. Please see Trones Wood for details of the Officer casualties. These prominently include the diarist 2nd Lieutenant Kenneth Callan Macardle
The most senior NCO, from III Platoon to have died at Trones Wood, was Sergeant Louis Linney 8705. Born in Failsworth, Louis was living at Clayton Bridge before he enlisted and worked at Haslams Limited. He was 28 when he died, having been promoted through the ranks from Lance Corporal in the Heaton Park Roll.
Amongst the other casualties of III Platoon was, former Lance Corporal Stephen Broadmeadow 8084, who had been out drinking with Arthur Bell in Grantham, during their stay at Belton Park. Following promotion to Lance Sergeant, he was Killed in Action at Trones Wood on 10th July 1916, aged 31. Stephen is commemorated on Memorials at Sale Rugby Club and Sale United Church. Courtesy Trafford War Dead. Stephen left is effects to his father Joseph. He had been born in Moss Side and educated at St Margaret’s School Whalley Range and then St Mary’s School, Ashton on Mersey.
Lance Corporal F. Thomas Barnett 8387 was another NCO that died at Trones Wood. Aged 29, Thomas had been born in Lower Broughton. He was one of the 1,080 members of the Adelphi Lads Club, Salford, to have served in the War. Resources – Salford War Memorials.
Also missing from III Platoon at Trones Wood was 8364 Private Walter Ashton. Before the war, Walter had worked as a pawnbroker’s assistant and resident in Stalybridge. He had been a member of Foundry St Primitive Methodist Church and is named on Chapel Hill Memorial and the Baptist Church Memorial, Dukenfield.
A second Private to have lost his life at Trones Wood was 8703 John Laws. John had been born in St James Parish in Salford. John’s Will shows he was married to Agnes and lived at Cornet Street, Higher Broughton in Salford. The Roll of Honour indicates he was employed by David Midgley & Sons Ltd, enlisting with Robert Schofield.
I am trying to find out more about my great Uncle, John Bryan who attacked Trones Wood and was blown up and subsequently captured, spending the rest of the war as a POW
Pte 26295 John Bryan was captured at Trones Wood with B Coy of 17th Bttn. He was held at St Quentin and transfered to Langensalza and then Ohrdruf. He had wounds from shell splinter upper and lower left leg. 72 Ilford St, Clayton. Born 08.04.1896.
Private 26295 John Bryan was a 19 year old collier when he enlisted in 17th Battalion at Manchester on 30 May 1915. John was 5’4” tall and had a chest measurement of 35”. His address was 72 Ilford Street, Clayton and his father was Thomas Bryan od the same address. By this time the Battalion was training at Belton Park near Grantham and John probably joined the Depot at Heaton Park. He was transferred to 25th (Reserve) Battalion on 30 August 1915 and trained Altcar.
John Bryan disembarked in France on 10 March 1916 and will have joined 17th Battalion in the Somme trenches near Maricourt sometime later. The Battalion succeded in the advance on Montauban on 1 July 1916. They returned to the failed assault on Trones Wood on 9 July. Numerous prisoners were taken by the Germans, including John Bryan. He was repatriated on 10 January 1919.
John was transferred to reserve on 14 March 1919 and received a 12 month pension of 5/6 for wounds to his left leg.
After hostilities John lived at 206 Barrington Street, Clayton, where he received his two service medals.