52nd Brigade. 17th Division. V Corps. 3rd Army
The villages of Miraumont and Pys were occupied on 24-25 February 1917 following the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line. They were retaken by the Germans on 25 March 1918, but recovered by the 42nd (East Lancashire) Division on the 24 August. Adanac Military Cemetery (the name was formed by reversing the name "Canada") was made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the Canadian battlefields around Courcelette and small cemeteries surrounding Miraumont.
Husband of Emma Louisa Parkin . Alfred had 2 daughters Dorothy Muriel born 1907 and Winifred born in 1910. He was the son of Henry and Jane and had 5 sisters, Edith, Louisa Raine, Florence, Dorothy Sarah, and Mabel and 2 brothers, John Henry, and Ernest.
Alfred was born in Leicester in 1880 . By 1901 he was living with his parents in Harpurhey working as a cotton manufacturer’s estate agent’s clerk . He married Emma Louisa Woolham at the Methodist chapel on Rochdale Road, Manchester in May 1906. and set up their home at Brierly Avenue in Levenshulme . At some point later they moved to Bramhall ,living at Fern-lea on Moss Lane. After the war the family moved to Poynton, they lived at Oakdene on Chester Road.
Alfred volunteered early 1917 at the age of 37 into the Middlesex Regiment, he was later transferred to the Lancashire Fusiliers.
The beginning of the end, 2nd Somme, Battle of Albert
The offensive launched on 8th August had been so successful that the Colonel -in -chief decided to extend it northwards with a view to turning the line of the river Somme and thus making it possible for an eastwards advance on a wide frontage. A general attack followed on the 23rd August. The 10th Battalion were in reserve near to the village of Acheux, when it received orders to move forward to its old trenches facing the river Ancre. During the night the Germans began to retire and the Battalion moved forward early on the 24th, crossing the Ancre by a much damaged causeway that the troops had to wade across. The advance then continued on to the high ground north of Thiepval. In the afternoon the Battalion was ordered to take up positions for the night a mile south west of Courcelette.
At 4am they attacked the village of Martinpuich. The Germans were dug in, and strongly defended with machine guns, but after heavy fighting the garrison was eventually driven out. The Battalion surged forward and reached a crest to the east of Martinpuich where they manned some previously dug trenches. They succeeded in holding off a counter attack by three German companies intent on retaking the village. (It was in this action that Sergeant H J Colley was to die from his wounds ,he was awarded a posthumous VC.) During the night the Battalion reformed and continued the attack in the direction of Fleurs. They were relieved from the line on the evening of the 26th.
Casualties for the 25th were ;
51 NCOs and Men K.I.A. Alfred was one of these men killed. .
1 Officer K.I.A,
4 Officers , 150 Men wounded,
1 Officer, 15 men missing.
Alfred was buried after the battle in a temporary cemetery in Miraumont. His body along with many of his comrades was exhumed in 1920 and reburied at Adanac
The inscription on Alfred’s headstone reads “Only goodnight beloved, not farewell till the day dawns”
Sergeant Colley’s citation reads “For most conspicuous bravery and initiative when in command of a platoon in support of forward platoons which had been ordered to hold at all costs. When the enemy counter-attacked in force, he rushed forward on his own initiative to help the forward line, rallying and controlling the men holding it. The enemy by this time were advancing quickly, and had already obtained a footing in the trench. Sergeant Colley then formed a defensive flank and held it. Out of the two platoons only three men remained unwounded, and he himself was dangerously wounded . It was entirely due to Sergeant Colley’s action that the enemy were prevented from breaking through, and were eventually driven off. His courage and tenacity saved a very critical situation” Colley died of his wounds later that day . His V. C medal is on display at the Lancashire Fusiliers Museum, Wellington Barracks, Bury, Lancashire.
Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank Phil Underwood for compiling this page on Alfred