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Colby, M., Pte., 1916
In Nunhead (All Saints) Cemetery is the Commonwealth War Grave of 24/940 Private Michael Colby, serving with the Northumberland Fusiliers who died 17/07/1916.

Tess McTiernan has provided the following:

24/940, 24th (Tyneside Irish) Bn., Northumberland Fusiliers

Born in 1887, Michael was the son of an Irish father, James and a Lancashire mother, Annie Colby (née Ready). The 1891 census shows the family had moved from Wigan and were living at 25 Smokey Row, Framwellgate Moor, Durham. Michael, aged 3 years, was the third of four children. His youngest sister died that year followed by his mother (in childbirth) in 1898, leaving father James with three children to raise. 1901 census shows the family living at Delight Row, Front Street, Dipton. Michael, his father and brother worked in the mines. His sister looked after the home.

Michael enlisted in late 1914 in the 24th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. After initial training near home, he joined the 103rd Brigade, 34th Division at Ripon in 1915 and moved to Salisbury Plain in late August 1915 for final training and firing practice. He arrived in France in January 1916 and first saw action in the Battle of the Somme that year. On the first day on the Somme, the 34th Division attacked astride the Albert-Bapaume road at La Boisselle. The main attack was an almost complete failure and the Tyneside Irish were utterly exposed to the machine guns of the German defences. Michael received gunshot wounds to his thigh.

It is unclear how Michael arrived back in England; however he spent time at the 1st London General Hospital, a military hospital for use and operation by the Territorial Force. Michael died here, on 17 July 1917, from a compound fracture of the thigh from gunshot wounds received in action some weeks previously and bacterial infection.

Michael was entitled to the Victory Medal and British War Medal.

Remembered with Honour

Michael Colby is remembered in Dipton on D46.06, in Leadgate on on L65.01 and on a List of Tyneside Irish

The CWGC entry for Private Colby

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk