DAVID STOCKTON 

Rank: Private
Service Number: 23147.
Regiment: 9th Bn. Cheshire Regiment Killed In Action Saturday 8th July 1916 Age 21County Memorial Congleton
Commemorated\Buried THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
Grave\Panel Ref: Pier and Face 3C and 4A.
France

Son of Mr. Joseph Cliffe Stockton and Mrs. Frances Ellen Stockton of 70 Bromley Street, Congleton. He had five sisters, Hannah Maria, Emily, Gladys, and Fanny Stockton, along with one brother Joesph. Joesph Stockton died of wounds recieved in action, on the 15th September 1918. Prior to enlisting David was employed as a labourer at a Dye Works. 

Private David Stockton enlisted after the visit of a detachment of the Cheshire Regiment from Chester on the 12th May 1915. he joined the 15th battalion on the 14th and was subsequently transferred to the 9th battalion. 

Private David Stockton served with the 9th Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment, under the command of the 58th Brigade, 19th Western Division who on the 1st of July were in Reserve for the attack on La Boiselle. At 22:30 hours the Battalion were ordered forward to make another attack on La Boiselle. The Battalion occupied the original British front line trench although this was now very badly damaged by enemy shell fire and was full of the dead and wounded from the original attacking Battalions. Of the original troops 60 were holding the lip of a crater now known as Lochnagar Crater created when a British mine had been exploded just before zero hour in the morning. Another 200 men had captured part of the German front line, adjacent to the crater and were still managing to hold it. The Cheshire's "D" Company immediately went to support these troops in case there was a German counter attack. It was now 21:40 hours and too late to re organise to undertake the attack. The Commanding Officer reported this to the Brigade and subsequently gave orders to consolidate the current position. The Regimental History notes that;

The scene beggar’s description, every shell hole held a killed or wounded man. The whole area was littered with all debris of a battle, with equipment, clothing, timber, stores and dud shells." Revised orders came at 02:30 hours, on the 2nd of July, that the Battalion was to attack at once. However, as the men were now very scattered and the trenches had to be cleared of the wounded before the Cheshire Regiment could get ready. It was some time before they were fully assembled. At 04:00 hours, the definite orders arrived. The Battalion was to attack the village and clear all the enemy dug outs with the use of grenades. At 04:30 hours, the men went "over the top" and charged across the open to the German support trench. A deep, wide communication trench held up the advance, but most of the troops made it unscathed. Grenade throwers were now sent left and right up the trench system to clear a way forward, but it was slow progress and the Battalion was effectively pinned down some considerable way short of its objective. Through the day and the next night, the Cheshire's very cautiously made their way through the maze of trenches but, by 08:30 hours on the 3rd of July, were obliged to stop and consolidate, still some 300 yards short of La Boiselle. Only two Officers were still at duty. At 14:45 hours on the 4th of July, orders for a further advance were issued and an hour later, the Cheshire Regiment continued their progress through the trench system supported by the Battalion's specialist grenade throwers "bombers". It was impossible to attack "over the top" as there were no troops on either side of the Cheshire's who could give covering fire. The ground was swept by German machine gun fire and there were four rows of barbed wire in front of the German position. The Regimental History records "During this attack, a small party was detached to bomb a post, but the party was driven off and one man was left wounded and prisoner. He was taken down into a dug out where there were twenty-five Germans. There he remained until a commotion overhead and the explosion of a bomb at the end of the dugout told him that the British were advancing again. He was quick to act. He seized a bomb in one hand and a revolver in the other and under this threat his captors more or less cheerfully consented to become the captives. His comrades found him in charge of twenty-five Germans when they started mopping up. These bombing parties continue until they gradually met stronger parties of Germans who drove them back some way. At this point the Battalion consolidated until it was relieved. 

The Regimental History gives no information of any further action up to the 8th of July 1916. Private David Stockton was killed by a bursting shell on the 8th of July 1916, most likely in an isolated incident. His grave was lost during the subsequent actions in the area, but he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, France.

Extract from the Congleton Chronicle 1916.

Private David Stockton, who parents reside at 70, Bromley Street, Congleton, is no more. He was (as writes a comrade at the Front) killed in action on the 8th of July 1916. His parents received the letter which told of the manner of his death on the 13th last, but in the absence of news from official sources they were both to believe that their son had been laid low and so they waited with that hope which springs eternal in the hearts of parents, waited in vain for tidings of their soldier hero. Now they are forced to the conclusion that he is included in the Roll of Congleton's Honoured Dead. The clarion call to arms in the seemingly far off days when Germany through down the gauntlet to the great European powers had greatly impressed young Stockton, he was little more than a youngster and although he did not join up at the outset, he answered the call soon after it seemed that all the forces of Hades had been let loose and the Huns in contravention of The Hague Convention torpedoed the Cunard Liner and sent several hundred innocent souls to a watery grave. The following letter first conveyed the sad news that Private Stockton had died fighting for the honour and glory of old England.

Dear, Mr. Stockton,

It is with regret that I write these few lines to inform you of the death of your son David who was killed in action on the 8th of July. We all send you our deepest sympathy in this hour of trial. He was a good and willing soldier and we all feel we have lost a very good friend, he was well liked not only by men of his own particular platoon but by everyone with whom he came in contact. You may be assured that he suffered no pain, being killed by a bursting shell. I was unable to procure his personal belongings, but they may be sent on later. Put your trust in the Lord, and he will help you in your trouble.




Cheshire County Memorial Project would to thank John and Christopher Pullen for this information on David. 

 

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2016