W/519 Private Albert Williams served in No.3 Coy. 13th (Wirral) Bn Cheshire Regiment. He lived at 256, Laird Street, Birkenhead, and was employed in the No.2 Oil Mills, Messrs. Lever Brothers, Port Sunlight, and enlisted into this battalion on 7th September, 1914. He trained at Perham Downs, Codford St. Mary Camp, Bournemouth, and finally Malplaque Barracks, Aldershot, prior to being drafted over to France on 25th September, 1915. Albert Peers saw action at the Le Touquet Salient; Vimy Ridge, and was killed in action on 7th July, 1916, attacking the village of Ovillers. His body was never recovered and identified from the battlefield, and is therefore commemorated on Pier 3, Face C, Pier 4, Face A, The Thiepval Memorial, France.
The 13th (Wirral) Bn Cheshire Regiment was part of 74th Brigade, 25th Division, and this brigade was detached on the morning of 5th July, 1916, and attached to the 12th Division for its attack on the positions on the right flank of the village of Ovillers. Attacking with them were the men of 9th Bn Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. In support of their attack were the men of 11th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers. Just prior to the start of the attack on the morning of 7th July, 1916, rumours began to circulate that the attack was going to fail, and the Lancashire Fusiliers got the wind up and were just about to try and get out of the line, until Captain Lionel Ferguson, No.3 Coy. 13th Cheshires, threatened them with his pistol. Just then the whistle blew, and the Lancashire Fusiliers calmed down and maintained their position. Captain Ferguson noted that his company did not flinch. The attacking battalion's went "over the top" and eventually would suffer 261 casualties, of which 111 were killed in action.
It had been arranged that the attack should be protected by smoke and by an intense barrage. But there was no smoke and our men thought the barrage particularly feeble. It is probable that, as the wind dropped, the smoke rose at once. Our advance, being thus unscreened, drew heavy artillery fire. This fire, together with machine gun fire from front and flanks, stopped the attack about half way to Ovillers.......The 13th Battalion lost eight officers killed...eleven other officers were wounded. 243 NCOs and men were killed or wounded. (extract from regimental history for the attack on 7th July at 8:05am)
Albert with his wife Margaret and sons Bill (standing) and George
Letter sent to Margaret, detailing where Albert was reported to be buried.
Another letter dated 1919 to say they had not been able to find Albert's grave.
Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank Andrew Peers for the pictures and information on Albert.