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  • Writer's pictureSarah von Allmen

Remembrance 2020 (3)

A short series of blogs about men from Stockport.

3. Herbert Jackson of Heaton Mersey

William Jackson was born in Northern Etchells in 1855 and worked in various labouring jobs around Cheshire until he found his way to Heaton Mersey, where he married 19 year-old Mary Ann Taylor in 1892. Their first child Herbert was born a year later, followed by Annie (1887) and Amy (1900), but Mary died when Amy was six months old and the baby died soon afterwards. William brought the two surviving children up on his own, and by 1911 Herbert was working in the local brickyard while Annie kept house for the family.

Herbert enlisted in the army on 10 September 1914: at this time the family was living on Didsbury Road and his occupation was given as railway fireman. Along with many Stockport volunteers he joined the “local” battalion: the 6th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment. This was a Territorial battalion, but Herbert was not a pre-war member and remained in training when the first draft went out to France.

He joined them there on 25 January 1915 and the battalion spent most of the year on guard and other duties at Rouen, Abbéville, and Dieppe. However, conditions even behind the lines were far from idea, and Herbert was invalided back to England in March suffering from frostbite. It was apparently quite serious as he did not return to France until the beginning of December 1915. Shortly afterwards he received a Christmas parcel provided by the St John’s Parish Magazine to all the young men of the parish serving with the colours, which must have been a welcome reminder of home.

In January 1916 the battalion returned to the front line and over the next two and a half years Herbert saw combat on the Somme, at Ypres and in other parts of France and Flanders. He suffered some kind of hand injury in early 1917 and was again sent to England for treatment, but was able to rejoin the battalion in July.

Herbert’s luck finally ran out on 26 April 1918 when he was gravely wounded in the back and abdomen during the Second Battle of Kemmel Ridge, and he died the following day at 36th Casualty Clearing Station: his father received the news by telegram two weeks later.

Herbert is buried in Haringhe (Bandghem) military cemetery in Belgium, close to the site of the casualty clearing station. He is commemorated on the Stockport and Heaton Mersey war memorials as well as the memorial in St John the Baptist’s Church.

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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