18th Battalion Kings Liverpool Regiment (25703)
Died 1st July 1916, Aged 20
The Stanway family of Westminster Grove were very well known in Ellesmere Port as they owned a business called the Stanway Brothers who were cycle agents and later hauliers. Their business premises were located at 47 Station Road, and 54 Whitby Road. Wallace was for some years a prominent dairyman in the Port.
Wallace joined the 18th Battalion Kings Liverpool Regiment, which may have had an old pals concentration from Ellemere Port within its ranks as Private William Lock, Private A Knight and Corporal J Crosby all local men, fought together.
Unfortunately, on 1st July 1916, Wallace was killed. He was wounded soon after going over the top of the parapet of his own trench, but he went on gallantly until a few yards from the German trench he was shot again, this time fatally. He was shot through the head and died instantly.
What's worse, he was expected home on leave just before the offensive commenced - he never got to see his family. He'd only been in France a few months too, which makes you realise how truly awful the war must have been - terrible enough to take a man's life in no more than half a year. He was also said to have deserved a V.C. by his action.
Wallace's name can be seen to this day on the Thiepval Memorial in France amongst thousands of others. I don't know if any descendants of Wallace and Messers are in Ellesmere Port today, but if they are, then I hope they'll remember him as the hero he was.
Rebecca McHugh (Year 9 - 9H -2007)
The extent of Ellesmere Port by 1914. Wallace lived at Westminster Grove, Ellesmere Port (click to enlarge)
Modern A-Z showing Westminster Grove
William recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France
The Battle of the Somme and the Thiepval Memorial
On 1 July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, thirteen divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt to exploit the modest successes of the first day. However, the German Army resisted tenaciously and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained.
At the end of September, Thiepval was finally captured. The village had been an original objective of 1 July. Attacks north and east continued throughout October and into November in increasingly difficult weather conditions. The Battle of the Somme finally ended on 18 November with the onset of winter.
In the spring of 1917, the German forces fell back to their newly prepared defences, the Hindenburg Line, and there were no further significant engagements in the Somme sector until the Germans mounted their major offensive in March 1918.
The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 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. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. The memorial also serves as an Anglo-French Battle Memorial in recognition of the joint nature of the 1916 offensive and a small cemetery containing equal numbers of Commonwealth and French graves lies at the foot of the memorial. The memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, was built between 1928 and 1932 and unveiled by the Prince of Wales, in the presence of the President of France, on 31 July 1932. The dead of other Commonwealth countries who died on the Somme and have no known graves are commemorated on national memorials elsewhere.
From Albert our tour roughly followed the dotted trench line
|Name:||STANWAY, WALLACE A.|
|Regiment/Service:||The King's (Liverpool Regiment)|
|Unit Text:||18th Bn.|
|Date of Death:||01/07/1916|
|Casualty Type:||Commonwealth War Dead|
|Grave/Memorial Reference:||Pier and Face 1 D 8 B and 8 C.|
In Memory of
Most of the Cheshires are recorded on the panels behind the memorial party