photo courtesy of Pete Hynes
Albert Edward Gresty was born at 47 Thorpe Street, Newton Heath on February 17th 1881. His parents were Isaac and Frances. Isaac worked as a blacksmith and was originally from Cheshire, Frances was a Mancunian. Albert was the youngest child and his siblings were Emma, Squire, Ada, Eliza, Marquis & Frances. In early 1889 Isaac Gresty died and in 1901 the Grestys were still in Newton Heath at 6 Herbert Street. Probably due to a transcription error it has not been possible to find Albert, who by then would have been 20, in the 1901 census but later that year on August 31st he married Sarah Jane Bates at St.John's Church in Failsworth. Settling in Failsworth the couple had two children together - William born March 27th 1902 and Lily born June 3rd 1904. For the first birth the family were at 24 Heywood Street and the latter 156 Oldham Road. Come 1911 and Albert, then working as a stoker in a cotton mill, and family were living at 13 Stott Street.
Later Albert became an Assistant Engineer for the Park & Sandy Mill company in Royton and the family were living at 10 Berkeley Street by the end of 1915. Albert enlisted in Royton on December 11th 1915 and when doing so lopped a year off his age. He was mobilised in February 1916 and after passing a technical exam was sent to the Royal Flying Corps in Farnborough. He was there only a matter of days before they rejected his services and he found himself transferred to the Cheshire Regiment. Which particular unit he was with isn't known but on August 17th he was attached as a labourer to the 12th Battalion Welsh Regiment at Kinmel Camp in North Wales.
Albert had previously suffered from chronic bronchitis and he fell ill through asthma, being hospitalised at Kinmel between September 27th and October 13th. While he was in hospital the 12th Welsh became the 58th Training Battalion as part of an army reorganisation. It seems Albert's health didn't recover as he was discharged as being no longer fit for duty on December 12th 1916. Obviously too sick to return home to Royton he was in hospital at St.Asaph and passed away there on December 22nd 1916. Albert's wife arranged for his body to be brought home and he was buried at Royton Cemetery a week after his death. Perhaps he found himself back in the Cheshire Regiment briefly before his death as it is their emblem that is on his gravestone, not the Welsh Regiment's.
Albert's widow,Sarah Jane married John Martin in 1917, Allan Martin's father, and died in 1927 aged 48. She was buried in Albert's grave.
Date of Death:22/12/1916
Regiment:Cheshire Regiment/Welsh Regiment
Unit:58th Training Reserve Bn.