Benjamin Cropper Bury, Private G/17463, 4th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers
Killed in action 11th July 1916 in the Somme, France, aged 24
James Benjamin Cropper Bury was born in March 1892, the son of Mary Jane and Benjamin Cropper Bury, an earthenware tile manufacturer of 15 Byron’s Lane, Sutton, south Macclesfield; he was known as Benjamin. In 1901, nine year old Benjamin was living at the same address with his parents and siblings Arthur Neville (14), Margaret Elsie (13), Sarah Gladys (10), and Norman (7). Benjamin’s father died in June 1901, and in 1911 every member of the family was working, Benjamin being employed as a shop assistant in a clothing establishment, namely Messrs F W Nixon & Co, Clothiers of Mill Street.
Benjamin was educated at Sutton St George Branch (London Road) School, being admitted to the junior department from the infant room on 10th October 1898. He attended St George’s Street Baptist Church and Sunday School, was co-secretary of the Young Men’s Class, and was a member of the YMCA.
Benjamin enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers on May 25th 1915, trained at Dover and went out to France on December 8th, 1915, entering the trenches two days before Christmas. He served with number 12 Platoon.
His death was reported in the Macclesfield Courier of 22nd July 1916:
PRIVATE B BURY
Information was received on Sunday morning by Mrs B C Bury, of Byrons Lane, Macclesfield, of the death of her son, Private B Bury. Private Bury was 24 years of age, and was formerly in the employ of Messrs F W Nixon & Co, Clothiers, Mill Street. He was associated with the St George’s Baptists and a member of the YMCA. He joined the Royal Fusiliers about 11 months ago and was sent to France before Christmas. The news of his death was conveyed in a letter from one of his comrades.
… He met with a fatal accident this morning whilst detonating hand grenades. I am a personal friend of Ben’s … we were in the recruits company and also in the training company together … when he was [drafted] last December I volunteered to go with him…. To the last he did his duty bravely, and exceedingly well, and on behalf of No 12 Platoon I offer you our deepest sympathy…
His death was also reported in the Macclesfield Times of 21st July 1916:
“DID HIS DUTY BRAVELY” – REPORTED DEATH OF PRIVATE B BURY
Unofficial news of the death on active service of Private Benjamin Bury … has reached his mother… in a letter sent by Lance-Corporal S. Hill, of the same regiment…. Private Benjamin Bury is Mrs Bury’s second son and only unmarried child… Enlisting in the Royal Fusiliers on May 25th 1915, Private Bury trained at Dover and went out to France on December 8th, 1915, entering the trenches two days before Christmas. He has been at the front ever since. Like his family, he had been all his life connected with St George’s Street Baptist Church and Sunday School, and was co-secretary of the Young Men’s Class.
Of his two brothers, the elder, Neville, enlisted in the 2/7th Batt. Cheshire Regt., and was discharged a fortnight ago for medical reasons.
A memorial service was held at St George’s Street Baptist Church the following month. This was reported in the Macclesfield Courier on 12th August 1916:
MEMORIAL SERVICE AT ST GEORGE’S STREET BAPTIST CHURCH – MACCLESFIELD HERO’S LAST LETTER TO HIS MINISTER
On Sunday evening last the Rev E A Hobby conducted a memorial service to the memory of the late Private Benjamin C Bury, who was reported killed in action on July 11th.
The preacher took for his text, “To what purpose is this waste?” Matthew xxvi, 8, … [and] paid a very high tribute to the … fallen soldier, who was the friend of all… wherever Bennie went he was loved and respected. In the Bible class, behind the counter, in the camp or in the trenches, Bennie was like a ray of sunshine… He was a true patriot, a brave soldier, a worthy son, and a consistent Christian. “Faithful even unto death.”
Private Benjamin Bury is buried in Grave Ref. II. E. 19. of the Dive Copse British Cemetery in Somme, France. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Benjamin Bury, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, Private Benjamin Bury is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall, St Michael’s Church, St George’s Church and St George’s Street Baptist Church war memorials. He is also remembered on a family gravestone in Macclesfield Cemetery at grave ref. O. 11417.
Brother of Arthur Neville Cropper Bury, who served as Private 3517, 2nd/7th Bn. Cheshire Regiment, and died of pulmonary tuberculosis on 25th May 1918 in Macclesfield.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
Census (England & Wales): 1901, 1911
National School Admission Registers and Log-books: Sutton St George Branch (London Road) School
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects
WWI British Army Medal Rolls Index Cards
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Courier: 22nd July 1916, 12th August 1916
Macclesfield Times: 21st July 1916