9258 Arthur Leonard Sheldon. Killed in Action 29th July 1916

Bill Edwards has a medal / militaria collection, including Arthur Sheldon’s Death Penny, British War and Victory Medals (above).  Bill has some data and asked if there is anything to add.

Pte 9258 Arthur Leonard Sheldon, 17th Battalion Manchester (perhaps ‘reserve’) Regiment. Born 1889, resided 118 Tower Rd, Aston, Warwck, then of 39 Silver St, Miles Platting, baptised (along with his brother and 3 sisters!) at St Johns (Miles Platting) 26 March 1897, then moved to 160 Varley St, Miles Platting. He would have been 24 / 25 when he enlisted. He was killed in action on 30 July 1916 and is buried in the Danzig Alley Brit Cem. Mametz, ref vii U2.

Arthur’s 9258 fits with the sequence for him enlisting in January / February 1915.  He was posted to XVII Platoon of E Company in 17th Battalion.

 

E Company was a reserve company that was mainly merged into A – D Companies when the Battalion left Heaton Park, Manchester for Belton Park, near Grantham.  The men left behind became the 25th Reserve Battalion, which was used for training new recruits and provided drafts to the 16th-19th Battalions after they left for France in November 1915.  Arthur will have been in one of these drafts, arriving in France in 1916 (No 1915 Star).

I would guess Arthur was drafted in the first few months of 1916, before the Battle of the Somme.  He probably fought at Montauban and Trones Wood.

The Battalion were resting in the original British front line on the evening of 29th July.  The moved up to Glatz Redoubt at 9.30pm before reaching assembly trenches between Bernafay and Trones Wood.  Their assault on Guillemont took place in the early hours of 30th July.

Arthur was killed on 29th / 30th July.  Records are inconsistent as the date.

Sheldon Concentration Record

Courtesy CWGC

Arthur was originally buried near the original British front line, in a place known as Squeak Forward Position.  This location and the date of 29th July on the concentration record indicate he was probably killed south of Montauban between 8.30-10 pm.  He was originally buried with Lt James Watson and Cpl E Moore.  Cpl Moore had trained with IX Pln of C Company.  The group may have been together when they were killed, indicating Arthur was possibly in C Company.  They are likely to have been killed by German shelling.

Squeak Forward Position became known as Vernon Street Cemetery.  After the war, the graves were concentrated to Dantzig Alley in Mametz, where Arthur now rests.  Half of Vernon Street’s 110 graves had been lost and these men have commemorative headstones at the back of Dantzig Alley.  Arthur is also commemorated on the family grave in Phillips Park.

Sheldon 17th Battalion Manchester Evening News - Friday 18 August 1916.JPG

Copyright British Library. MEN 18/8/1916

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