Sunday, 22 July 2018

News of a Salford soldier from a German POW camp .............. May 1918

Albert Derry was 25 years old when he was captured during the last big German offensive on the Western Front in March 1918.

News from Germany, May 1918
It was the first day of that big attack and I can fully understand the anxiety his family must have gone through, knowing that his battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers were in the thick of the fighting.

And it would not be until May that they got confirmation that he was a Prisoner of War at Limburg an der Lahn.

The camp held 12,000 British soldiers who remained in captivity till the end of the war.

I wish I knew more.  In time I will look up the war diaries of the battalion which will give a detailed account of the fighting.

Church Street, 1911
For now I know that Private Derry had been born in 1893, that  his father was a shoe maker and he was one of eight children.

His father had married Frances in 1880 and along with the eight children there had been another three that had died.

In 1911 they were living at 155 Church Road in Pendleton and a decade earlier they had been on Pimlott Street which was close by.

With a bit more research it should be possible to discover a little more about Pimlott Street and make a comparison between the two houses.

But for now I will just reflect that in the May of 1918 Limburg an der Lahn must have seemed a long way from the butcher’s shop Albert had worked in before the war.  His army records were lost in the Blitz and while I know he was awarded the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal, what happened to him on his return has yet to be discovered.

There is an Albert Derry living in Salford who died in 1940 and that for the moment really is it.

Location, Salford and Germany

Pictures; POW card, May 1918, courtesy of David Harrop

*Anew book on Manchester and the Great War

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