Ralph Heapy, Private T2/SR/02673, Army Service Corps
Died of wounds 6th May 1915 at Bailleul, France, aged 38
Ralph Heapy was born in 1876 at Quarnford, Staffordshire, the fourth son of Ellen and Ralph Heapy, a farmer of 25 acres, of Axe Edge Green, Quarnford, Staffordshire.
By 1891, the family had moved to ‘Brindhurst’, a property in Bollinhead Lane, near Langley, and Ralph senior and his three oldest sons were employed as silk dyers. Ralph, now aged 15 and employed as an agricultural labourer, was living with his parents and siblings John (18), James (17), Abel (16), George (9), Ellen (7), Martha (4), and Fanny (1).
On the 7th May 1899, Ralph married Emma Maud Arrowsmith at St George’s Church, Sutton, Macclesfield. By 1901 they were living at 39 Blackthorn Street, Chorlton, Manchester, where Ralph was employed as a corporation dustman; their first child, daughter Nellie, was born in late 1900.
By 1911 the couple had returned to Macclesfield and were living at 17, Mill Road with their two daughters, Nellie (10) and Edith (7). Ralph was employed as a coal and furniture carter and his wife was a charwoman. A son, Fred, was born the following year and the couple’s youngest daughter, Ethel, was born in May 1915, after Ralph died.
Ralph attested at Macclesfield on 3rd February 1915, reporting to the army barracks at Aldershot two days later. Medical records show that he was 5 feet 6½ inches tall, weighed 156lbs, had a chest measurement of 38 inches, and had previously served with the 4th Cheshire Regiment. Local brewers Lonsdale and Adshead provided the following reference:
“Ralph Heapy has worked for us for a considerable time and we consider him quite capable of taking charge of horses.
Ralph was assigned to the Army Service Corps (Horse Transport), because of his experience of working with horses as a carter.
On 18th March 1915, Ralph left Southampton with the British Expeditionary Force aboard the S.S. Queen Alexandra, arriving the following day at Havre, France. He was attached to the Indian Corps, Lahore Division.
Ralph was admitted to No. 2 Casualty Clearing Station Hospital at Bailleul on 28th April 1915, suffering from a gun shot wound to the arm, resulting in amputation, and also a head wound. He died from his wounds on 6th May 1915.
Private Ralph Heapy is buried in grave ref. I. C. 156. of the Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension in France.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Ralph Heapy, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.