Rank: Private
Service Number: 12877.
Regiment: 19th Bn. Manchester Regiment Killed In Action Saturday 1st July 1916 Age 20County Memorial Congleton
Commemorated\Buried THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
Grave\Panel Ref: Pier and Face 13A and 14C

Son of Mr. James Frederick Bratby and Mrs. Mary Ellen Bratby, of 38, Fox Street, Congleton, Cheshire and 11, Howey Lane, Congleton, Cheshire. He had two sisters, Alice and Nellie Bratby, along with two brothers, James Frederick and Fred Bratby. His father James Frederick Bratby went down with H.M.S. Goliath in the Dardanelles on the 13th of May 1915. Prior to enlistment Albert was employed as a Box maker.

Albert at the age of 19, enlisted into the 19th Battalion Manchester Regiment, on the 19th of April 1915 at Congleton, Cheshire. The Battalion were at Belton Park, where they were placed under the command of the 90th Brigade, 30th Division. In September 1915, they moved to Larkhill on Salisbury Plain, prior to embarking to Le Havre and Boulogne on the 6th of November 1915, where they concentrated near Ailly le Haut Clocher (near Amiens) by the 12th of November. The Battalion transferred to the 21st Brigade on the 21st of December, but remained in the same Division.

During the night of the 30th of June 1916, the Battalion moved into assault positions for an attack the next day that was to become known as the First Day of the Battle of the Somme. The 19th Manchester Regiment were in the front line of the attack on the part of the battlefield that was to capture the village of Montauban. Their task was to capture the enemy strongholds called the u The Alt Trench and The Glatz Redoubt", roughly halfway between the German frontline and the village. Its capture was key to the success of the whole 30th Division's attack on the village. They had spent days away from the front-line training in every detail of the attack. At 05:00 hours the men were given a breakfast of dry bread, cheese and water and were told to fill their water bottles. At 06:45 hours they were given the daily tot of rum. For days, the enemy positions had been constantly shelled and this intensified in the final minutes before the whistles blew. The Manchester's left the protection of the trenches at 07:30 hours, on a front some 300 yards wide, "A" and "C" Companies led the way, with "B" and "D" Companies following about 100 yards behind. Almost immediately, the troops were subjected to fire from a machine gun on their left. This single gun would account for many hundreds of deaths and injuries that day. They advanced slowly, keeping behind the British artillery barrage which was creeping forward in front of them and by 08:26 hours, they were starting to enter the Redoubt. Within a few minutes, it had been captured. B Company had been lucky and had only suffered 15 casualties. The Battalion now turned its attention to defence and the men started deepening the trenches and sand- bagging the parapets. Other battalions now leap-frogged them to capture the village in one of the few successes along the 17-mile battle front that day. 61 members of "the Pals had been killed including Albert Edward.

Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank John and Christopher Pullen for the information on Albert.

© Cheshire County Memorial Project