ALBERT BESWICK 

Rank: Lance Corporal
Service Number: 15089.
Regiment: 8th Bn. Border Regiment Killed In Action Saturday 21st October 1916 Age 21County Memorial Plumbley
Commemorated\Buried THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
Grave\Panel Ref: Pier and Face 6A and 7C.
France

Albert Beswick was born in Plumley in 1895, the son of Albert (a general labourer) and Ann Beswick of Plumley Moor, Knutsford. He took up the occupation of domestic gardener.

He enlisted at Kendal in the 8th Battalion of the Border Regiment as Private no. 15089. His number showing he enlisted in September 1914

Albert was killed in action on the 21st October 1916.

On that fateful day:

The war diary for that day states:

21.10.16

Attack on Regina Trench by the Battn and Coy of 11th Cheshire Regt. The Battn and 1 Coy of X1 Cheshires took over the line in Hessian trench at 6am, the relief being completed by 8am. Borders on the right and Cheshires on the left. The objective in Regina Trench was assigned to the Battn was roughly 330 yards. The 13th Cheshires, 74th Bde. Being on our right and responsible for the sunken road, the 8th Lancers were on our left.

The attack was ordered in four waves, Borders being in ½ Coy Columns A; Coy and the Xith Cheshires in column of platoon 30 paces in advance.

Our artillery barrage opened at 12.06pm, which was the signal to get out of the trench: the waves were not very good but there was no confusion, direction was well kept by the Borders, this was caused by the communication trench running right obliquely across our front, a change of direction had also to be made.

The whole advanced too quickly, sufficient attention was not paid to the barrage orders, officers were few, but watches could not have been properly used.

The ground was not cut up by shell holes as much as expected and was easy to advance over, the leading wave reach the objective before the barrage lifted and suffered some casualties in consequence; the wire was well cut and presented no obstacle. The barrage was excellent, a few shells were short, but I think this must be expected, the attack was sudden and swift, had there been a slight check to allow the barrage to lift the Battn. would have got over almost without a casualty.

When the trench was reached on the left, the men got in so easily they did not realised they gained their objective, a gap was also left on the right owing to opposition from a large dugout on the right where a machine-gun fired a few rounds.

Some dug-outs and emplacement showed up plainly on the left of STUMP ROAD and Germans were seen coming out of them. Within a minute of reaching REGINA TRENCH some officers and about 80 men of whom 40 were Borders left the trench and made straight across for them. Among these men were about 20 of the 13th Cheshires who had some across our front, some went through the barrage and occupied a trench some 600 yards in front of the line, they were withdrawn after dark. Capt. Stewart realised what was happening and stopped a good many from going forward and got them to work at once in the trench. He found he was in touch with the 8th S. Lancs on the left but the right was held up. He ordered a block to be made until he could collect more men as the line was thin and sent back a written report of the situation which was most useful as it arrived after a report came from Lt. Hibbard as to the situation on the right. He said the trench had not been cleared but was full of Borders and Cheshires, this turned out to be the bombers originally told off to clear the right and two details of Lewis Guns and about 30 men of the Cheshire Regt. Who were unable to go on. Lt. Binnie was then sent up with the last remaining squad of Battn. Bombers at Battn HQ to try and get (in) touch with Capt. Stewart by bombing up to the C.T. On arriving at the dug-out he found that the one just beyond the block was ablaze and he could not get on that way but under the cover of the smoke caused by it managed to get his squad and 10 others from the C.T. over man by man to Regina Trench to where Catt. Stewart was, only one man being hit on the way. He got to work at once in a very gallant manner, himself getting on to the parapet and sniping while his men worked up the trench, he accounted for at least 8 German killed, and within 20 minutes the remainder, about 60, surrendered. The trench was cleared and touch gained with the 13th Cheshires

Consolidation proceeded without opposition and several patrols were captured during the night.

3 machine guns were captured, 1 by the Borders, 1 by the XIth Cheshires and 1 by the S. Lancs. 251 Germans were captured and 50 killed were counted. The Coy of the XIth Cheshire Regt and the officers attacked from that Battn rendered very useful assistance. Also the platoon of carriers who did excellent work carrying bombs and ammunition. A Coy of the Xith Cheshires were ordered to reinforce the front line their place in Hessian Trench being taken by a Coy XIth Cheshires, FIELD TRENCH was dug during the night by 1 Coy of the R.Es. also the C.T. on the right was improved and made passable throughout. The trench was very heavily shelled very soon after the attack commenced, this was kept up intermittently for 24 hours until the Battn was relieved. The front line was thinned out on the morning of the 22nd, the Coy of the Xith Cheshires being sent back to their H.Q. The bombers of the XI Cheshires were kept in reserve and were not required.

Casualties Cap.t Miller and Capt. Weston killed, Lt. Le may wounded, 18 other ranks killed, 111 wounded, 30 missing.

Researched and compiled by Tony Davies.

© Cheshire County Memorial Project
2016