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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 10:10 am 
Spider Lady
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Location: Staffordshire
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manc ... 487102.stm

War dead honoured 92 years later

By Clare Purdy
BBC News, Manchester

A memorial to commemorate the sacrifices of more than 1,000 World War I soldiers has been unveiled in France after two years of fundraising.

The project for the 12th Manchester Battalion men was undertaken by the Western Front Association (WFA).

A total of 539 men and 16 officers were killed, missing or wounded in one morning in Contalmaison on 7 July 1916.

The new memorial, installed by the Territorial Army, was unveiled during a civic reception.

The men dashed across open ground in broad daylight and with no covering artillery fire to attack a German stronghold.

Among the dead were 26-year-old cotton mill worker Thomas Arkwright, of Adelaide Street, Oldham; Arthur Gaskell, a 30-year-old father-of-two of Hart Street, Stockport; Corporal John William Anderton, also a father of two, of Broughton, Salford; and Sergeant Samuel Allcock, a Boer War veteran and resident of Chorlton.

Originally the men were remembered with an oak cross in 1927, which was replaced two years later with a granite monument in the village cemetery.

But battlefield tour guides pointed out that few people were aware of its existence.

The Lancashire and Cheshire branch of the international charity The Western Front Association (WFA) made a public appeal for help to install the new stone memorial, quarried in Scotland.

John Richardson, of the WFA, said: "The new memorial was important.

"It not only marks the events of 7 July 1916, but pays tribute to all of the men from the battalion who went on to give their lives - more than 1,000 of them.

"The men came from all over Greater Manchester and it is excellent that people from across the county have helped us with the fundraising."

'Great honour'

The unveiling took place with the Somme Pipe Band, along with soldiers in period dress, leading a parade to the memorial. It was also attended by the villagers of Contalmaison and the town's mayor.

The memorial was installed by the men of the 75th Royal Engineers at Failsworth.

Sgt Jason Shawcross, of the territorial unit, said: "It was an honour to help out.

"We are very aware of the history of the local regiments and the great sacrifices made by an army made up principally of civilian volunteers."


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