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.
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.