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Littleborough Soldiers who fell in September 1917

Date published: 01 September 2017


Sergeant 241432 Owen Crossley

Owen was born in Littleborough during 1895 and in 1911 Owen, a Cotton Weaver, was living at 7 Smith Street, Barehill and was with his parents Fred and Alice together with siblings. His father died a year later.

Before enlisting in Rochdale in 1915, he was employed by the Littleborough Dyeing Co and was in the choir of the Zion Methodist Church.

By this time the family lived with his widowed mother Alice Crossley 20 Bare Hill Street. 22-year-old Sergeant 241432 Owen Crossley, 1st/6th Bn, Lancashire Fusiliers (enlisted Rochdale) was killed in action on Saturday 1 September 1917 and is remembered Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium, Littleborough Cenotaph, Littleborough Central School Memorial and on a family grave in St Andrew's Churchyard.

Corporal 74276 John Snape

Soldier uncertain but believed to be this man serving with “A” Bty 112th Bde Royal Field Artillery killed in action on Saturday 1 September 1917 aged 23 and buried in Grave No 1 G 2 Belgium Battery Corner Cemetery.

Private 47973 John William Lovatt

John was born 1876 and in 1891 lived at 60 New Road, Dearnley with his parents Samuel and Eliz, brother, sister and his maternal Grandmother. John and his father were described as Tile Burner Brickworks. John married Ada Horley in 1906 and 3 years later had a son, Harry.

In 1911, they lived at 20 North Street, Smallbridge with John being a Sanitary Pipe Maker. Prior to enlisting in Rochdale in August 1916 he was employed at Ashbrook Hey Dyeworks and attended St Andrews Church.

By Wednesday 10 October 1917 it had been officially confirmed that 41 year old Private 38061 John W. Lovatt, 22nd Labour Bn (formerly 47973 Cheshire Regiment) Labour Corp. had been killed in action in Belgium on Tuesday 4 September 1917 and buried in grave No IV E 48 Bard Cottage Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium, George is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph and St. Andrew’s War Memorial and Memorial Card.

The St. Andrew’s Magazine for October 1917 reported ”We regret to hear that John ……was killed in action ….. Our deepest sympathy is with his wife and family. RIP”.

The Rochdale Observer on 3 August 1918 noted St Andrew’s would hold a Memorial service for those Guild members who had fallen in the 4th year of the war. His widow later lived at 63 Little Clegg Road.

Private 241819 John William Armstrong

John was born in Rochdale on 17 March 1879 to John and Emily Armstrong. Unfortunately, his mother Emily died on 19th July 1881.

In 1892 his father married Ester Butterworth at Rochdale. By 1911 the family were living at Higher Cleggswood, Hollingworth near Littleborough with John employed as a ‘Finisher of Flannel Goods in a Fulling Mill’.

Private 241819 J. W. Armstrong, 1/6th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers was killed in action on Thursday 6 September 1917 and is buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeke, Belgium in Grave Number VII H 5 being remembered on the Littleborough, Milnrow and St James, Milnrow War Memorials, the Oddfellows, Lodge 3397, Roll of Honour as well as on the Rakewood Village Roll of Honour which was located in St Hilda’s church, Hollingworth.

The "In Memoriam" columns in the Rochdale Observer dated 7 September 1918 included an entry from his father, mother, sisters and brother of 4 Antioch, which refers to him as “missing since 6 September 1917 and now presumed to have died of wounds on that date or since” and another in 10 September 1921, from his family who by then had moved to 4 Tunshill, Milnrow from 4 Antioch Littleborough.

Private 241723 Frank Butterworth

1/6th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers, 22 years old, previously reported missing was killed in action on Thursday 6 September 1917 and remembered on the Addenda Panels at Tyne Cot Memorial. Note that is unclear which resident detailed on various censuses was this Frank Butterworth but it is believed that he was born and lived in Littleborough (The Rochdale Observer reported in 1918 that he had previously resided at 26 Featherstall Road) and attended St Andrews Church.

Private 26775 George Henry Fretwell

George was born in 1895 and lived in Whitworth with his parents George and Hannah and his 4 brothers and 3 sisters and other relatives.

By 1911 the family had moved to 175 Whitelees Road, Littleborough. Prior to enlisting in Rochdale, George was a Cotton Weaver at Shore Mills and attended St Barnabas Church.
In April 1917 cousin Herbert who lived with the family was killed in the trenches at Givenchy, France on 16 April 1917.

Some five months later there was another blow for the family when 22-year-old Private 26775, George Henry Fretwell, 1st/6th Bn, Lancashire Fusiliers was killed in action on Thursday 6 September 1917 and is remembered on Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium as well as on Shore Mills and Shore Primitive Methodist Chapel War Memorials and Littleborough Cenotaph.

Private 244288 William Henry Hamer

William was born in Littleborough around 1877 and in 1901 he was shown as working on his ‘own account’ and living at 37 Halifax Road.
By 1911 he was described as a hairdresser and was living at 12 Reform St, Wardleworth.

Prior to enlisting in Rochdale William was formerly a representative of Wuerdle Ward on the Rochdale Board of Guardians. 40-year-old Private Hamer 244288 of 1/6 Bn Lancashire Fusiliers was killed in action on 6 September 1917 and is remembered on Tyne Cot Memorial.

He left a widow and 3 children living at 50, Mount Street, Spotland whilst his parents, Thomas and Emma Hamer moved to 59, Cunliffe Road, Blackpool.

The Roll of Honour in the Rochdale Observer for 6 October 1917 carried sentiments from his sorrowing wife and children. His name is not recorded on researched war memorials or Rolls of Honour.

Private 241457 Stanley Jackson

Stanley was born in Littleborough in 1894 and in 1901 he was living with his parents Thomas and Emma and 4 brothers and 3 sisters at 79 Victoria Street.

By 1911, the family had moved to 33 Hare Hill Road with Stanley being a Cotton Weaver and his father a lamplighter.

By the time of his death they had moved to 85 Todmorden Rd. 24-year-old Private 241457 Stanley Jackson 1st/6th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers was killed in action in Belgium on Thursday 6 September 1917 and is remembered on Tyne cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, and also on Victoria Street Wesleyan Chapel War Memorial, Littleborough Central School Memorial and Littleborough Cenotaph.

Private 241459 Fred Mills

Fred was born in Rochdale in 1892 and in 1911 lived his widowed mother Hannah and brothers and sisters at 570 Halifax Road, Hurstead.

He was a Pieder at State Mills, Rochdale and a member of St John’s Church, Smallbridge.

Private Mills enlisted in May 1915 and after ten months training in England was sent to Egypt before returning to Belgium via France a year later. Private 241459 Fred Mills, 1st/6th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers was killed in action on Thursday 6 September 1917 and is remembered on Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium.

The November 1917 addition of the St Andrew’s Magazine recorded his passing noting “Although mainly associated with Small Bridge church he had connections with Dearnley also in the past and his sister has long been a church member and scholar. Our sincere sympathy …..”

His name is recorded on St Andrews Church War Memorial and Memorial Card, and on the Roll of Honour and War Memorial of St John’s Church Smallbridge. Sentiments were included in the Roll of Honour of the Rochdale Observer of 6 October 1917 and in the In Memoriam column of the Rochdale Observer of 7 September 1918.

Private 203419 Tom Parker

Tom was born in 1896 in Norden but had moved to 3 Brearley (near Syke, Hollingworth) with his parents Henry and Lizzie, two brothers and four sisters by 1901.

By 1911 the family had moved to 78 Victoria Street and Tom was a Flannelette Raiser.

Prior to enlisting in Rochdale 1914, Tom was employed by Messrs Fothergill and Harvey, Summit.

Tom was promoted to Lance Corporal in September 1915 but was demoted to Private for neglect of duty on 12 December 1916 whilst serving in between Egypt from 4 September 1916 until 22 February 1917.

The Rochdale Observer for 3 November 1917 but it was nearly a year later in August 1918 before his parents received official notification that their 22 year old son Private 203419 Tom Parker 1st/5th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers was now presumed killed in action on Thursday 6 September 1917 being remembered on Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Littleborough Cenotaph and the Holy Trinity Church War Memorial.

Sergeant 241322 Albert Seal

Albert was born in Walsden in 1890 but by 1891 he was living at 7 Kershaw Street, Littleborough with his parents William and Charlotte and brother Leonard.

In 1911 the Seal Family had moved to 116 Todmorden Road, Summit, Littleborough with Albert a Weaver. Albert was associated with the Ebenezer Congregational Chapel but prior to enlisting went to Patmos Congregational Church and Sunday School in Todmorden and worked as a Tackler at Derdale Mill.

Albert married Ellen who was later recorded at 46, Sackville Street Todmorden.

He served in Gallipoli and Egypt before going to France and visited Ebenezer Chapel when home on leave in August (presumed 1916).

26 year old Sergeant 241322 Albert Seal, 1/6th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers (enlisted Rochdale) was killed in action on Thursday 6th September 1917 and is remembered on Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium on and like his brother (Harry who died 5 January 1918) is remembered on the Ebenezer Congregational Chapel War.

The Todmorden and District News of 19 September reported on a letter from his brother in law writing to his sister and added that Sergeant Major F Halstead writes “that the warrant officers, staff sergeants and sergeants had asked him to convey to her (his wife) their deep sympathy in the loss of her husband. ……”.

21st and 28th editions reported on Albert’s death and the service held at Patmos Congregational Church. The Roll of Honour in the Rochdale Observer for 16 February 1918 included sentiments for both Harry and Albert from his sorrowing father and sisters Bessie and Nellie.

Private 241536 John Ashworth Walton

John was born in Rochdale in 1896 and by 1901 lived with his parents and brother and sister at 396 Halifax Road, Wardle. In 1911, he was living with his mother Elizabeth, brother and sister and mother in law at 4 Hurstead Drive, Hurstead being employed as a ‘Scavenger’.

Prior to enlisting in July 1915, he was a member of St Andrew’s choir and bible class and a Piecer at Hurstead Mill.

22-year-old Private 241536 J A Walton, 1st/6th Batt Lancashire Fusiliers, having previously reported as missing, was killed in action on Thursday 6 September 1917 and is remembered on Tyne Cot Memorial Zonnebeke, Belgium, St Andrew’s War Memorial and Memorial Card and Littleborough Cenotaph plus there is a J Walton on the Wardle War Memorial.

The St Andrew’s magazine for April 1918 included a letter “I see Jack Walton in missing …..”. The May 1918 edition then included “We are exceedingly grieved to hear that further news seems to make it certain that Jack Walton was killed in action in France on 6 September……… Our deep sympathy is with those who loved him”.

The Rochdale Observer for 13 October 1917 reported that he was missing on 6 September 1917 whilst the 8th May 1918 edition reported on an impressive Memorial Service for L/Cpl Walter Schofield and Private John Ashworth Walton with the “Death March” played and the “Last Post” sounded.

The 3 August 1918 edition noted that St Andrew’s Church would tomorrow hold a Guild Anniversary service including a Memorial service for those Guild members who had fallen in the 4th year of the war. The Memorial Service would include the dedication of the Choir Cross (presented by the Choir in memory of former Choristers.

Private 240750 Arthur Webster

Arthur was born in Todmorden in 1897 but by 1911 the family had moved to 1 Windy Bank, Littleborough with Arthur being as employed Flannel Raising.

Prior to enlisting he worked for the Victoria Dyeing Co. Uber Mill, Durn and was a member of Littleborough (Durn) Baptist Chapel being their team goalkeeper. The family later moved to 7 Old Blackstone Edge Road.

Private Webster enlisted soon after the outbreak of the war being wounded with gunshot wounds to the right wrist on the 13 October 1915 when in the Dardanelles. He was hospitalised in Alexandria, invalided home with enteric fever and then drafted back to Egypt on recovery.

He later went to France. 23-year-old Private 240750 Arthur Webster 1st/6th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers was killed in action on Thursday 6 September 1917 and is remembered on Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Littleborough Cenotaph, Littleborough (Durn) Baptist War Memorial and Holy Trinity Church War Memorial.

Two sentiments were included in the Roll of honour in the 6 October 1917 from his parents and brothers and sisters.

Private 36042 Thomas Whittaker

Thomas was born in Ireland around 1894 and in 1901 he was living at 33 Whitelees Road with his mother Mary, brother and sister together with his mother’s niece.

Prior to enlisting in Rochdale, he was employed at Messrs Kershaw Bros. Sladen Mill.

By Saturday 21 June 1918 it had been officially confirmed to Mrs Whittaker that her 24-year-old son Private 36042 Thomas Whittaker, 1st/6th Bn, Lancashire Fusiliers who had been reported missing since an engagement in France on Thursday 6 September 1917 had been killed in action on that date.

Private Whittaker is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph and Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium.

Private 241821 John William Connolly

John was born in Manchester in 1884 but by 1911 was boarding with the Playford family (his cousin) at 1 Featherstall Square Littleborough working as a Velvet Finisher at the Littleborough Dyeing Co.

On Friday 7 September 1917, his cousin Jane Playford now of 10 Middle Newgate, Calderbrook Road, received news that Private 241821 J. W. Connolly, 1st/6th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers (enlisted Rochdale) died of wounds in a casualty clearing station on 7 September 1917, being buried in the adjacent Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium, grave No XVIII H 16A.

The Rochdale Observer 15 September 1917 carried the news and 12 months later, the 7 September edition included sentiments within its ‘In Memoriam’ column from the family at 10 Newgate.

Private Connolly is not remembered on any known local War Memorial.

Private 19441 John James Milne

John was born in Rainow, Cheshire about 1887 but in 1911 he was living on Stockport Road, Bredbury with his wife of one year, Alice who was born in Heywood. John was servant farm worker.

He later lived in Littleborough before enlisting in Rochdale.

Private 19441 John James Milne 1st Bn, Coldstream Guards died on the 17 September 1917 and is remembered on Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium.

Lance Corporal P/S9346 Leonard Wallwork

Leonard was born in Wardle in 1894 (and in 1911 he was living 11 Ramsden Road, Wardle with his parents Richard and Susan together with his brother and sisters. Leonard was a Fuller - Woollen.

Prior to enlisting in Rochdale on the 17 November 1915 he was a member of St James’s Church, Wardle and was employed as a clerk in the offices of Messrs E. Clegg and Sons, Shore Mills.

Lance Corporal Wallwork had been in France for some 15 months. By Wednesday 28 November 1917, Mr and Mrs Wallwork had received a reply to their letter inquiring about their son informed them that “After careful enquiries he regrets to state that there can be no possible doubt that Lance Corporal Wallwork was killed on the 20/21st September 1917”.

Private P/S9346 L Wallwork, 32nd Batt. Royal Fusiliers died on during September 1917 and is buried in grave No LVII E 13, Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeke, Belgium. However, sources indicate either 19 or 22 September 1917.

He is remembered on Shore Mills and Wardle War Memorials and on the Littleborough Central School Roll of Honour. The Rochdale Observer of 24 November 1917 published sentiments from his family.

Lance Corporal 203870 Harry Allen

Harry was born in Littleborough in 1895 and in 1901 lived at 9 Pikehouse Cottages, Littleborough with his father William Henry and mother Martha, his 2 sisters and brother.

Unfortunately, his mother died on 13 May 1907 but in autumn 1908 his father married Alice Malinda Broadhurst in Rochdale. The family later moved to Rochdale where he worked as a Piecer in at Wright’s Mill.

He was called up with the Rochdale Territorials in August 1914 and went to Egypt.

The Rochdale Observer for 27 February 1915 confirmed that both Allen and his father were in Cairo and that both went to the Dardanelles.

The Rochdale Observer for 26 June 1915 included a letter from his father regarding his being shot in the thigh and going to Lemnos. The article concluded by quoting from a letter sent home by L/Cpl Harry in which he spoke of the losses which the battalion had suffered adding “We have had some revenge and are hoping to have more before we leave here.

Also, the sooner we have a rest the better it will before all of us. We need it. The weather is grand just now but we had a very wet day on 28 May when we were washed out of our dugouts. All the same it didn’t stop us sleeping”.

Lance Corporal 203870 Harry Allen was invalided home in December to England suffering from enteric fever and was in hospital and at a convalescent home.

In September 1916, he was in France and was wounded in the arm. On recovery, he went to the firing line and took part in the “push”.

Lance Corporal 203870 Harry Allen, 2nd/5th Bn, Lancashire Fusiliers was killed in action when on Thursday 20 September 1917.

Lance Corporal Allen has no known grave but his name inscribed on Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium.

The Rochdale Observer of 20 October 1917 reported him being killed in action and noted that his father was in Egypt. A year later, the Rochdale Observer for 28 September 1918 included sentiments from his father, mother, sisters and brothers.

Private 29607 Edward Lord

Edward was born in Colne in 1893 but had moved to Littleborough prior to 1899. In 1911, he lived with his parents, Ames and Ann and brother Harold at 5 Featherstall Square, Littleborough with his father being a News Agent and Edward a Cotton Weaver but when he enlisted in Rochdale on 24 January 1916, he was a motor lorry driver.

The Rochdale Observer for 15 July 1916 reported that Edward was wounded on 2 July. The first finger of his left hand was taken off by shrapnel and two others damaged.

24-year-old Private 29607 Edward Lord 2nd/5th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers, was killed in action on Thursday 20 September 1917 and is remembered on Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium, St Andrew’s Memorial Card and War Memorial, St Barnabas Church War Memoria and on Littleborough Cenotaph.

The St Andrew’s Magazine for December 1917 regretted to record his death noting “He was a former day and Sunday School scholar and called to see the vicar when last on furlough after recovering from a severe wound in the hand”.

The Rochdale Observer on 3 August 1918 noted St Andrew’s Dearnley would tomorrow Sunday 4 August hold a St Andrew’s Guild Anniversary service including a Memorial service for those Guild members who had fallen in the 4th year of the war.

The paper also reported that the Memorial Service would include the dedication of the Choir Cross presented by the Choir in memory of former Choristers of which Edward was one.

Private 203760 Albert Mills

Albert was born in Littleborough in 1896 and in 1911 was employed as a Boiler Brusher Cotton Warehouse living with his widowed mother Mary and two brothers at 1 Whitegate, Dearnley.

Prior to enlisting in Rochdale, he was employed at Messrs Schofield’s Calliards Mill, Smithy Bridge and was a member of the Smithy Bridge United Methodist Church.

Private 203760 Albert Mills, 2/5th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers was killed in action on 20 September 1917 being remembered on Tyne Cot Memorial, St Andrew’s Memorial Card and War Memorial and on Littleborough Cenotaph.

From a letter written by Private Albert Beresford to his wife during the last week in September 1917, he informed her that a neighbour of theirs, Private Albert Mills of 1 Whitegate, Dearnley, had been killed in action in Belgium during a recent engagement.

Later, the Rochdale Observer of 6 October 1917 reported that unofficial information had been received about Albert’s death. Subsequently, the 21 September 1918 edition reported that Albert, previously reported as missing was now presumed dead.

Sergeant 22477 Arthur Stonehouse Thompson

Arthur was born in Littleborough in 1888 Qtr 2 and in 1911 he was living with his parents William, a Grocer and Betsy Hannah and brother Fred at 6 Montrose Avenue, Blackpool with Arthur a Butcher.

Arthur enlisted in Liverpool. Sergeant 22477 Arthur Stonehouse Thompson, 116 Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) was killed in action on the 23 September 1917, his name inscribed on Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium.

Driver 71930 John Greenwood

John was Born in Bacup and lived there for some time but was later a well-known Carter working for Mr Burrell of Summit, Littleborough.

He enlisted in 1915 and was formerly 21298 with the Liverpool Regiment but transferred to either 9th Co Machine Gun Corps or possibly with the Motor Transport Section.

He was 42-year-old and killed in action on 25 September 1917 being buried in grave No I H 22, Brandhoek New British Cemetery No 3. His sister lived in Shawforth.

Second Lieutenant Henry Herbert Hoare Hoard

Henry was born in Bradford on 13 October 1882 to his parents Arthur (of Petersburg, Transvaal) and Ellen Adams Hoard.

He came to Rochdale in 1905 as a reporter for the Rochdale Observer, a position he held until 1913 when he became the representative of the Daily News (Manchester).

In 1913, he married Ester M Scott of Lightowlers, off Blackstone Edge Road. A keen lover of sport, he played as a forward in the (now defunct, September 1917) Rochdale Rugby Union Team and followed the local association football matches as the “Observer” representative and he also represented the paper in the Littleborough District for several years.

2nd/Lieut Hoard joined the army in March 1916 and was commissioned in August 1917 being gazetted to the Northumberland Fusiliers.

By 15 September 1917 Mrs Hoard living in Pullman Street, Rochdale had received information that her 34-year-old husband Second Lieutenant Henry Herbert Hoare Hoard 21st (Tyneside Scottish) Batt. Northumberland Fusiliers had been killed in action on Sunday 9th September 1917 and is buried in Grave Number II D II Jeancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, Aisne, France.

Sergeant 268377 Leonard Greenwood

Leonard was born in Littleborough in 1887 and four years later was one of seven children to James and Louisa Greenwood who lived at 19, Oak Street, Littleborough. He married Alice Walton in Todmorden in 1910 and in 1911 they were living at 6 Top o’ th’ Close Road, Walsden being employed as a Cotton Bleacher's Labourer.

He later became a Grocer and after Sergeant Greenwood had enlisted in Halifax his wife continued to do his rounds with his horse and cart. Sgt Leonard Greenwood, 268377 2nd/6th Bn Duke of Wellington’s (West Ridings regiment) is interred in Grave No Vii. A. 16. Grevillers British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France, died of wounds in a Casualty Clearing Station on Thursday 20 September 1917.

He left a widow (who later remarried - Mrs Alice Sharratt, 68 Knowlwood Road, Todmorden) and a son and daughter.

The Todmorden & District News reported on his death in its 28 September 1917 edition (the previous week it had reported him seriously wounded) adding that his wife had received a letter from the sister-in-charge at No 3 CCS expressing sympathy and stating that he had been buried “in a nice little cemetery at Grevillers”.

Leonard is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph, Holy Trinity and Todmorden War memorials.


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