1. ITV Report

Remembering the heroes of Manchester Hill

Photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

On 21st March 1918 the Germans launched Operation Michael, a last massive offensive designed to win them the war.

Mass attacks forced the Allied troops to fight desperately against overwhelming odds to try and stop the advance, which did almost win the Germans the War.

Amongst the British Troops facing them were the 16th Battalion, The Manchester Regiment, holding Manchester Hill near St Quentin, so called because the regiment had captured it the previous year.

Vastly outnumbered and despite repeated attacks and losing almost all their men the unit managed to hold out until the afternoon of the 21st.

The CO won a posthumous VC for his part in the action, and only 17 of 168 men made it back to British lines with the rest killed, captured or wounded. Only a handful of their bodies were recovered after the war.

To mark the anniversary the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, within which the Manchester regiment was eventually incorporated, are organising a visit to Manchester Hill and a special service in a village not far from the Hill. The service will be attended by around 75 secondary school children from 25 schools in Greater Manchester.