ABREY, John Manning

No.5144, Private, John Manning ABREY
Aged 20

8th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment
Killed in Action on Saturday, 1st July 1916

John Manning Abrey was born in Barton Mills (Mildenhall Q2-1896 4A:814), son of Samuel and Susan ABREY (née GOOCH).

1901 census...Aged 5, he was at Church Lane, Barton Mills with his father Samuel ABREY [37] farm labourer; his mother Susan [37]; sisters Edith [12], Mary [7] and Mabel [1]; brothers William [10], George [9] and Charles [2]. All were born in Barton Mills.

1911 census...Aged 15, a farm labourer, he was at Wamill Cottages, Mildenhall with his parents (father now a waggoner and mother now recorded as born in West Row); sisters Mabel and Bessie [6] born Barton Mills; brothers William and George, (both farm labourers and now recorded as born in Eriswell), Charles and James [8] born in Barton Mills.

He and his brother Henry had worked on a farm at Wamill Hall before the war.From the pension card, his mother moved to Hall Cottage, Hinderclay, nr Diss.

The two brothers, John and Henry must have enlisted at the same time, having consecutive regimental numbers, serving in the same battalion, they died at the same day, on the 1st day of the Somme. The elder man, Henry was a Sergeant. see here

He enlisted in Botesdale.
The war diary gives more detail than can be displayed here - see http://qrrarchive.websds.net/PDF/ESD0081916001.pdf

In summary, the 8th East Surrey's attacked at Montauban Ridge. They had 3 killed and 10 wounded by German shells even before going over the top. When they did go, 'B' Coy was seen to be dribbling some footballs as they advanced. That presumably quickly ended as they reached the German trenches at 7:70 am and were met with ferocious machine gun fire.
John's brother Henry was killed just after mid day at the junction of MINE ALLEY and MILL TRENCH.
CWGC puts the dead at 140 , 98 with no known grave.

John Abrey is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, pier and face 6B/6C

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details