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  • Writer's pictureSarah von Allmen

Remembrance 2020 (2)

2. Alan Davenport Adshead

Alan Davenport Adshead was born in Stockport on 23 October 1895 and was the only surviving child of William Adshead, a foreman engineer from Longsight, and his wife Ada Gradwell Davenport. He spent part of his childhood in Levenshulme before the family moved to Grange Avenue in Heaton Chapel. By 1911, Alan was apprenticed as a draughtsman in the Openshaw branch of Armstrong, Whitworth & Co, a major manufacturing company involved (among other things) in the production of naval ordnance. His father William appears to have worked for the same company. The family were Methodists and after moving to Heaton Chapel attended the Heaton Moor Wesleyan Methodist Church.

Alan enlisted in the 19th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment (the 4th “Pals” battalion) on 8 September 1914, just a month after war was declared. The idea behind the “Pals” battalions was that workmates and friends could serve together, and this was probably the reason for Alan’s choice. One of his neighbours, Cyril Billing, joined the battalion on the same day and five others very shortly afterwards, including two of Alan’s contemporaries from Heaton Moor Methodist church: Charles Davies and James Derbyshire.

Cyril was discharged from the army on medical grounds without going overseas, but after training Alan and the others were drafted to France on 7 November 1915. Alan and James both became specialist machine gunners and may have been part of the same 7-man Lewis Gun team. Their fates were certainly intertwined, as Alan was killed in action on 23 July 1916 while James was seriously wounded on 12 October 1916 and died the following day.

Alan has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial along with over 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. He is also recorded on the Stockport and Heaton Moor/Heaton Chapel war memorials as well as the Heaton Moor Methodist Church memorial.

My WWI website is dedicated to all First World War servicemen from the Heatons and Reddish: the survivors as well as the casualties.

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