Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence

Lest We Forget
British Legion
The Royal British Legion

WARRINGTON, SACRED HEART ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH WAR MEMORIAL

World War 1 - Detailed information
Compiled and copyright © Stephen Nulty 2008

The Warrington Sacred Heart memorial is to be found in the Roman Catholic Church of that name in Liverpool Road, Warrington. It is in the form of a triptych made from mahogany wood, intricately carved in Gothic style, highly polished with plaster figures. The dedication is on the front of a broad base upon which is mounted a painted pieta. A backboard behind this bears the names and is mounted with finials. The lettering is goilded. There are 23 names listed for World War 1 only. The memroial was dedicated by the Very Reverend Dean Calrke 5th June 1921 and details appeared in the Warrington Guardian 4th June 1921.

Photograph copyright © Stephen Nulty 2008

"THY WILL BE DONE"

R.I.P.
SWEET JESUS HAVE MERCY ON THE SOULS
OF THOSE WHOSE NAMES ARE HERE INSCRIBED
WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR THEIR GOD, THEIR
KING AND THEIR COUNTRY
1914 - 1918
GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS

ATHERTON

James

Private 6180, 1st Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. Died 31st October 1914. No known grave. Commemorated on Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Panel 41 & 43.

Personal Information

Born – Warrington
Enlisted – Crowley
Residence – Warrington
How Died – Killed In Action
Theatre of War – France & Flanders

James Atherton’s birth was registered in Warrington in the June quarter of 1878, Volume 8c, Page 174.

The earliest census record for James Atherton is from 1881. This shows the Atherton family living at 33, Bostock Street, Warrington. Parents James (a 28 year old Labourer) and Martha (24) have children Sarah (5) and James (3). By the time of the 1891 census, the family had moved to 50, Radcliffe Road, Aspull. In addition, the family has grown, with four more children; Annie (10), Martha (7), Lilie (4) and Dina (1).

James Atherton married Alice Shaw in the June quarter of 1899 in Wigan, Volume 8c, Page 30.

Service Information

James Atherton was a soldier long before the outbreak of the First World War. His original attestation shows that he signed up on 27th October 1899 at Chorley. He stated that he was aged 20 years 10 months and worked as a Collier. He noted at that time that he had previously served with the Lancashire Fusiliers Militia. On the form giving his description, however, he states that he is aged 21. This also shows him to be 5ft 9 ¼ inches in height, with a 34-inch chest expanded to 36 inches. He had a scar on his right forearm and several scars on the back of his left hand.

With regard to his service with the Militia, he was discharged on 24th July 1898 after serving just 22 days, upon payment of £1. At that time, he was described as aged 19, of a fresh complexion with grey eyes and dark brown hair. Between 1899 and 1907, he was posted in areas such as Malta, Cyprus, Crete, Gibraltar and South Africa. He was discharged in 1910 but rejoined in 1911.

At the outbreak of war in August 1914, the 1st Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, was based in Aldershot but were sent to France within a few days, moving into Belgium in September.

The history of the Regiment states the following with regard to the 1st Battalion on the date on which Pte. Atherton was reported as Killed in Action. The Battalion was located near to Hooge in Belgium, trying to prevent the German advance as part of what later became know as the 1st Battle of Ypres.

As a result of the hasty reinforcing of the line during the day, units were now much mixed up, and sorting and reorganization went on long after dark. And there was other work to be done. A new line of trenches, roughly north and south through the 8th kilometre stone, opposite the cross-roads captured by the enemy, and half a mile from them, had to be dug during the night, and the line re-allotted; entrenching tools were scarce and time was lost in trying to find more.

During the night of the 30th-31st, the four companies of the Battalion were strung out along a line of trenches, most of the time under a heavy bombardment; and on the early morning of the 31st, the Battalion was ordered to retire through the wood to Hooge, where it formed up. On the receipt of fresh orders it went forward again at 9 a.m. and, in company with the Gordon Highlanders, made a successful attack ending with a bayonet charge on the enemy, inflicting considerable loss upon him. Advancing again, the Battalion occupied a position facing the village of Gheluvelt.

By this time the losses to the Battalion were very serious, some eight officers and four hundred other ranks being missing, while their fate, whether killed or wounded, was wholly uncertain.

Private Atherton was one of those killed, although it is not clear how he met his death, or if and where he was buried. For this reason, his name appears on the Menin Gate memorial to the missing.

His war service records that he went abroad early in August 1914 and was posted missing on 31st October 1914. The War Office wrote on 10th June 1916 that for official purposes, Private Atherton was to be regarded as having died “on or since 31st October 1914”.

His next of kin is listed as his wife, Alice, of 4, Rutters Building, Scotland Gate, Choppington, Northumberland. He had married Alice, nee Shaw, on 6th May 1899 in Haigh and Aspull. Their children are listed as Margaret (b. 05/05/1899, Wigan), James (14/08/1910, Warrington), Harry Nathan (18/08/1912, Choppington), Sydney (01/12/1904, Warrington (Adopted)) and Thomas (11/04/1907, Warrington (also adopted)).

In October 1915, Mrs Atherton was awarded a pension of 18/6 per week (18 shillings and six pence) for herself with effect from 1st November 1915, plus an additional allowance of 14/- (fourteen shillings) per week in respect of the children Sydney and Thomas, this latter payment “not to extend beyond 31st December 1915”. The pension was subject to increase on verification of his wife’s age.

BLACKSTOCK

Christopher [Rowland]

Aircraftman 1st Class F/22914, HMS President II, Royal Naval Air Service. Died 4th September 1917. Aged 26. Son of George and Phoebe Blackstock. Buried in Great Sankey (St Mary) Churchyard Extension, Ref. I. 40.

Personal Information

Born – Old Swan, Liverpool
Residence – Warrington
How Died – Died
Theatre of War – Home

Birth registered Q1/1891, West Derby

Recorded in the 1891 census, Christopher is aged 10 days living at 26, Black Horse Lane, West Derby, Liverpool along with his parents George (43), a shepherd and Phoebe (38), and siblings Elizabeth (15), James (11), Robert (8), Jane (7), Jessie (6) and George (3). By the time of the 1901 census, the family, which by now included an additional daughter Maud, aged 7, had moved to Hood Lane in Sankey.

Service Information

Christopher’s military service record survives at the National Archives in London. It shows that he was born on 16th January 1891 in Old Swan, and that by the time he enlisted on 30th October 1916, he was working as a Commercial Traveller. He is recorded as being 5 foot 7in height, 37 inch chest, Brown hair, Grey eyes and with a fresh complexion.

His complete record is shown to be with President II, which was the accounting base for the Royal Naval Air Service. As such, a person may have simply been recorded as serving on President whilst they were “in between” ships, serving at an external base, and also as it was an accounting base someone listed at President II could also be on a ship or boat too small for it’s own paymaster.

From 30th October 1916 to 2nd November 1916 he is shown to be an Aircraftman 2nd Class serving at Crystal Palace. From 3rd November 1916 to 26 February 1917, he served at Cranwell, and then from 27th February 1917 to 2nd August 1917 at Calshot.

On 3rd August 1917, he is shown to have been promoted to Aircraftman 1st Class but is then shown as “DD”, which stands for “Discharged Dead”. This occurred on 4th September 1917 when he is shown to have been accidentally killed by a seaplane propeller. His discharge further records his conduct as “Very Good” and his Ability as “Satisfactory”.

Newspaper Reports

The Warrington Guardian of 8th September 1917 reported,

STRUCK BY A PROPELLER
-------
TRAGIC DEATH OF MR C. R. BLACKSTOCK

Second Aircraftman Christopher Rowland Blackstock of the Royal Naval Air Service, youngest son of the late Mr George and Mrs Blackstock of 26 Hood-lane, was accidentally killed on Tuesday.

The news was contained in an official notification from the Admiralty, received on Wednesday afternoon as follows; ‘I regret to inform you that the telegraphic information has reached this department that Christopher Rowland Blackstock, Aircraftman Second Grade, belonging to the Royal Naval Air Service, was accidentally killed at Calshot this morning (9th inst.) by a blow on the head from a seaplane propeller’.

By the same post his wife received a letter dated 4th September from his chum who wrote ‘I really do not know how to express my feelings to you in having to give you the sad information that your dearly loved husband was fatally injured this morning at 9.35 and passed away five minutes afterwards. Try and bear this loss as well as you can and rest assured that you have the sympathy of all the lads on the station, by whom he was loved, one and all. He never knew anything about it or suffered any pain. It was not through any fault of his own; the propeller shaft broke clean off and hit poor Rowland’.

Second Aircraftman Blackstock was born at Stoneycroft, Liverpool and was 26 years of age. He was educated at Arpley-street School and afterwards entered the service of Messrs. W. D. Houghton and Co. Ltd., Sankey Wire Mills, eventually becoming their London traveller. He was secretary of Warrington Town FC and was extremely popular.

He was a member of Sankey St Mary’s Church Choir and Bible Class. He joined the Air Service in October 1916 and was married as recently as January last to Miss Elizabeth Moran of Pickmere-street, Warrington. His brother Robert, who was serving with the Royal Garrison Artillery at Gallipoli, was seriously wounded in the head and in consequence received his discharge. Another brother, Corporal John P Blackstock of the Royal Field Artillery, has been on active service for about two years.

The funeral will take place at Sankey Cemetery tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon at 3.45

CALLAGHAN

Daniel [Patrick]

Private 242449, 1st/5th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment. Died 19th April 1917. Aged 23. No known grave. Commemorated on Jerusalem Memorial, Panels 12 to 15.

Personal Information

Enlisted – Warrington
Residence – Warrington
How Died – Died
Theatre of War – Palestine

1901 Census

The Callaghan family lived at Fulwood Barracks in Preston, home to the South Lancashire Regiment. The family comprised father Daniel, a 45 year old Sergeant in the Infantry, mother Elizabeth (28), and children John (12), Frank (10), Daniel (8), Catherine (4) and David (2).

Service Information

Daniel Callaghan attested into the 5th Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment, stating that he was 24 years of age and that had previously served with the as Private 20290, No 3 Supernumerary Company, 3rd Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment and also as Private 493, Rifle Brigade.

He was a labourer, 5 foot 8 inches in height and weighed 154 pounds with a 35 inch chest measurement.

His previous service is further reported to have been initially as a Private with the South Lancs. Regiment from 5th May 1915 to 28th July 1915, on which date he was promoted to Corporal, then transferring to the Norfolk Regiment on 2nd November 1915.

His conduct sheet shows two entries.

1) On 20th December 1915, when based at Halton Camp, Wendover, he was “absent off pass from 11 pm on 20/12/15 to 10 pm on 21/12/15”. For this offence, he did not receive any punishment.

2) That on 31st March 1916, based at Picquet Camp, Ismailia (Egypt), he committed the offence of “When on Active Service, was drunk in camp about 5.50 p.m. when called to guard”. On 3rd April, he was punished with “a severe reprimand” by the Company Sergeant Major. He reverted to Private at his own request on 24th February 1917.

Following the first battle of Gaza in March 1917, in which the Allies had failed to dislodge the Turkish Army from the ridges between Beersheba and Gaza, orders were received to re-engage with the enemy to capture the heights as they formed the only realistic route into Palestine. Despite the fact that the Turks, under German command, were now fully aware of British and Allied intentions, a full frontal assault on the 18,000 strong Turkish force was undertaken on 19th April 1917 by an Allied force with a 2:1 manpower advantage, with the usual artillery barrage preceding the assault.

However, due mainly to the highly effective Turkish defensive system, the attack was called off after three days having made only minor gains and yet incurring over 6,000 casualties killed, wounded and missing. The 4th & 5th Territorial battalions of the Norfolk Regiment suffered 75% casualties in the battle.

On 19th April 1917, Private Callaghan was officially reported as missing. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Jerusalem Memorial.

In April 1920, his family reported to the Records Officer of the Norfolk Regiment that Daniel Callaghan was not married, and that his parents, as next-of-kin, were Daniel and Elizabeth Callaghan, of 152 Wellfield-street, Warrington. Brothers John (30), Francis (28), William (19), Stephen (15) and Bernard (12) were listed, along with his sisters Catherine (23) and one other (name illegible), aged 16.

Newspaper Reports

Warrington Guardian 19th May 1917

CORPORAL D. P. CALLAGHAN

News is wanted of Corporal Daniel Patrick Callaghan of the Norfolk Regiment, son of Mr and Mrs D. Callaghan of 152, Wellfield-street, Warrington, who was reported missing after an engagement on April 19th. He joined the South Lancashire Regiment in July 1915 before afterwards transferring to the Rifle Brigade and again in February to the Norfolk Regiment. He is 23 years of age and an old scholar of Sacred Heart School. He attended the Sacred Heart Church. Before enlisting, he was employed in the Soapery of Messrs. Joseph Crosfield & Sons.

CROWE

[Justin] James

Private 34433, 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Died 14th April 1918. Aged 32. Son of Matthew and Annie Crowe. No known grave. Commemorated on Ploegsteert Memorial.

Personal Information

Born – Liverpool
Enlisted – Ormskirk
Residence – Warrington
How Died – Killed In Action
Theatre of War – France & Flanders

The birth of Justin James Crowe was registered in the June quarter of 1888 in West Derby, Volume 8b, Page 626.

In the 1891 census, Justin Crowe is 2 years old and is living at Signalman’s Cottage, Station Road, Penketh with his parents Matthew (39, a Railway Signalman) and Ann (37, a dressmaker). Also there are his siblings Austen (5) and Harold (1). His maternal grandmother, 82 year old Elizabeth Gore is also resident at the address.

By the time of the 1901 census, the family has an additional daughter - Valeria, aged 8. They still lived at the same address as 1891.

Service Information

Also served in Italy, Formerly 43001, South Lancashire Regiment

Extracted from ‘The First Birmingham Battalion in the Great War’ by J E B Fairclough.

The 5 Div. (13 Bde.,14 RWR) were occupying a line from Robecq in the south through the forest north to La Motte Chateau facing Merville.

‘In the evening of the 13th, Major St. J. S. Quarry arrived to take over command of the battalion, and orders were received for “B” Company to attack Le Vertbois Farm that night. The farm was successfully re-captured, but in the attack we lost our new CO., who was killed whilst gallantly leading his men. Unfortunately the farm had to be evacuated later as it formed a too exposed salient in the line. Captain R. C. Watts again assumed command of the battalion.

Determined attacks were resumed against us on the 14th, and one attack caused a slight withdrawal on part of the battalion front, but a support company of the Devons immediately counter-attacked and promptly restored the situation. Very heavy attacks were delivered on the left, and several times during the day concentrations of infantry and mounted detachments were seen. Our artillery, with plenty of ammunition, had now come up into position, and put down some accurate and devastating barrages, thereby smashing up several attacks.

All the attacks were preceded by bombardments, and it was extremely difficult to move up any reinforcements through the belt of fire. The task of breaking up attacks devolved upon the infantry and machine guns in the front line, who had been there from the beginning and who stolidly stood their ground with the utmost gallantry and coolness.

The practices in musketry indulged in on the Piave front had yielded excellent results and the tradition of the British army for rifle-shooting was well maintained. The artillery, too, deserved praise for they had carried out a rapid march and on arrival quickly got into action. We felt much happier in having their support, for when they did start, they did excellent work and proved of the greatest assistance in repelling the heavy attacks. The front line battalions were relieved on the night of the 14th-15th, the 14th Royal Warwicks being relieved by the Royal West Kents, and the battalion moved back into the wood, as reserve. It had been a very trying time for all ranks; seven attacks had been beaten off in forty-eight hours and the casualties had been very heavy. Our losses were : officers killed 2, wounded 4 ; other ranks killed 25, wounded 109, missing 29.’

It is not clear how Pte. Crowe met his death, or if and where he was buried. For this reason, his name appears on the Ploegsteert Memorial to the missing.

Newspaper Reports

The Warrington Guardian of 1st June 1918 reported:-

Official news has been received that Private Justin James Crowe, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, who was posted as wounded and missing on April 14, has been killed in action on that date.

Private Crowe, who was the second son of Mrs Crowe, 39, Thewlis-street, Warrington, was a member of a well-known local family. He joined the Army Service Corps in 1916, but was afterwards transferred to the South Lancashire Regiment. Subsequently he was attached to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, serving in two theatres of war. An old scholar of the Sacred Heart School, Private Crowe completed his education At the Secondary School, Widnes. He was 30 years of age.

(Note that the reported age does not agree with that held by CWGC).

DORRIAN

James

Private 49018, 7th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment. Died 23rd August 1918. Aged 19. Son of John and Catherine Dorrian, of 79, Liverpool Rd., Warrington. Buried in Warrington Cemetery, Ref. C RC 147.

Personal Information

Born – Glasgow
Enlisted – Warrington
How Died – Died of Wounds
Theatre of War – Home

In the 1901 census, the family are shown as living at “Halecliff” in Hale. The youngest child, James, is shown as aged 1 and had been born in Scotland, so the family must have only recently moved. The head of the household, 39 year old John, is a foreman Shipbreaker. Along with wife Catherine (34), there are also children Patrick (8) and John (5), as well as James. Bridget Gibbons, a 60 year old widow and mother of Catherine, is also living with the family. The three adults are all shown as being born in Ireland.

Service Information

James Dorrian passed his medical as fit for active service on 3rd March 1917. As he was still aged 17, he could not join the services immediately and it was August 1917 before he joined the 72nd Training Reserve Battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment at Warrington, being allocated service number 58490. He gave his address as 79, Liverpool Road, Warrington. At the time, he was single, worked as a Clerk and was aged 18 years 1 month. He was 5 foot t inches tall and had a 34 inch chest measurement, expandable by 2 inches. His father, John, was listed as his next of kin.

He was transferred into the 51st (Young Soldiers) Battalion of the King’s (Liverpool) Regiment on 8th December 1917 before finally being transferred into the 7th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment.

His records show that he trained in the UK until 4th April 1918, when he embarked for France.

The 7th Battalion of the Norfolks were heavily involved in The Battle of Amiens, which began on 8 August 1918. This was the opening phase of the Allied offensive later known as the “Hundred Days Offensive” that ultimately led to the end of World War I. Allied forces advanced over seven miles on the first day, one of the greatest advances of the war.

It is likely that Private Dorrian suffered his wounds in this battle, with his records noting that he suffered from a Gun Shot Wound to the neck. This appears to have occurred around the 11th August. He remained in France until 15th August 1918, when he was sent back to the UK for treatment, arriving in the UK and being admitted to Southampton War Hospital on 16th August 1918.

He died on 23rd as a result of his wounds. The hospital wrote to his unit on 26th August advising them that he had died at 8:10 a.m. on 23rd August as a result of a gun shot wound to the throat, also advising them that his family had been informed. In the same communication, they reported that his body had been sent to Bank Quay Station for internment by the family.

The War Office wrote to the Regimental records officer on 11th January 1919 requesting that any personal effects of Private Dorrian be returned to his father at the Liverpool Road address, also any medals which were to be issued. The medals, as shown on the Medal Index Card below, were posted on 9th November 1921.

To determine the ownership of his Memorial Scroll and Plaque, his father completed the Next of Kin form on 19th April 1919. In addition to his parents, this showed his brothers as Hugo (26), John (20) and Edward (age unknown).

The Memorial Scroll for Private Dorrian was sent to his father on 30th January 1920, receipt being acknowledged on 2nd February. In May 1921, the Imperial War Graves Commission issued the Final Verification Form to the Norfolk Regiment, asking them to confirm the details of Private Dorrian for the IWGC records.

His Medal Index Card, shown below records his entitlement to the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

Newspaper Reports

The Warrington Guardian of 17th August 1918 reported:-

Mr & Mrs John Dorrian, 79, Liverpool Road, Warrington, received a telegram last Sunday to the effect that their eldest son, Private James Dorrian, Norfolk Regiment, is lying dangerously wounded at an Australian general hospital at the front.

Private Dorrian was called up twelve months ago and had been on active service since last April. He was educated at the Sacred Heart School and was formerly employed by the Pearson and Knowles Iron and Coal Co. Mr & Mrs Dorrian have two other sons serving their country. Second Air-Mechanic Hugh Dorrian joined the RAF a few months ago and Second-Mate John Dorrian, Royal Naval Transport, has been with the forces since the outbreak of the war.”

The Warrington Guardian of 24th August 1918 further reported:-

Mr & Mrs Dorrian of 79, Liverpool Road, Warrington, have received news that their son, Private James Dorrian, Norfolk Regiment (last week reported as lying dangerously wounded at an Australian Field Hospital), died of wounds on Thursday”.

It is noted that Pte. Dorrian is recorded within “Soldiers Died” as having died in the “Home” theatre of war and is buried in Warrington cemetery. This indicates that he had been moved from the Australian hospital mentioned in the initial newspaper report and had arrived in the UK for further treatment before dying. The inscription on the family headstone in Warrington Cemetery, shown below, confirms this, stating that he died on Southampton War Hospital from wounds received in France.

EDMUNDS

Peter

Private 3406, 1st Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. Died 25th September 1915. Aged 17. Son of Catherine Edmunds. No known grave. Commemorated on Loos Memorial.

Note: Peter Edmunds name appears to have been spelt in different ways between his birth and death, with some references to “EDMONDS” and some to “EDMUNDS”. Analysis of the various data sources confirms that these both relate to the same man.

Personal Information

Born – Warrington
How Died – Killed in Action
Theatre of War – France & Flanders

The birth of Peter Rylands Edmunds registered in the June quarter of 1898 in Warrington, Volume 8c, Page 214

The 1901 census shows Peter, aged 3, living at 54 Selby Street, with his mother Catherine, aged 30, and sister Jane, aged 1. His father is not present, although his mother is shown to be married and the wife of the head of household. Information that his father fought in the Boer War explains his absence from the census.

Service Information

Peter Edmonds attested to the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at Warrington as Private 3406 on 28th August 1914. He was aged 18 years 6 months and recorded that he worked as a Labourer. His next of kin was listed as his father, Peter of 29, Crossley Street, Warrington. He stood 5 foot 11 inches tall, weighed 105 pounds and had a 33 ½ inch chest measurement, expandable by 2 inches. His complexion was described as “sallow” and he had dark hair and eyes. He recorded his religion as Roman Catholic. Peter passed his medical and was deemed to be fit for active service.

Initially assigned to the 3rd Battalion of the Regiment, he was posted to the 11th Battalion on 30th October 1914, then back to the 3rd Battalion on 5th February 1915. At Felixstowe on 3rd March 1915, he was charged and found guilty of “Inattention at Lecture Parade” and sentenced to 2 days Confined to Barracks. Then on 23rd March, he was again charged and found guilty of “Being Absent from Musketry Parade until about 3.15 p.m.” and sentenced to 7 days Confined to Barracks.

He was finally posted to the 1st Battalion on 5th April, his final day in the UK, as he embarked for France on that date, arriving there the following day.

Details of Private Edmonds movements over the first few months with the British Expeditionary Force are not clear, but by September, his battalion was ready for involvement in the forthcoming Battle of Loos.

The combined British and French offensive at Loos would attack on a 20 mile front eastwards towards the German lines. The plan was brutally simple; the strong enemy positions would be crushed by 4 days continuous bombardment, with a 4-hour final crescendo before the infantry attacked. The latter would be arrayed in great depth, each Division placing no more than half of two Brigades in the first line. A constant flow of men would follow, as would the reserves behind the assaulting Divisions. It was decided to use intense smoke barrages to conceal the front as far as possible, and also to employ Chlorine gas for the first time as a means of compensating for the relatively lightweight artillery.

The attack commenced at 5.50 a.m. on 25th September 1915 with the release of the gas cloud, The gas forms a 30 to 50 feet high blanket, moving forward slowly in places (although still short of the enemy positions at 6.25am), but is virtually standing still in the British assault positions in other areas.

The left-hand 1st Division began to advance a few minutes late, after casualties were suffered from the British gas which had drifted back into the assault trenches. On the right front of 2nd Brigade, which included the Loyal North Lancs., it was discovered that the enemy wire was undamaged, having been out of direct observation over a crest line, and two German machine guns and heavy rifle fire played across the lines of advancing troops as desperate efforts were made to cut the wire. The succeeding lines of infantry could not move forward and took to ground just below the gentle crest line. By 7.30am the gas and smoke had cleared, completely exposing the pinned-down troops in no man's land.

The 1st Battalion, Loyal North Lancs., lost 489 men, including Private Edmonds, in the initial assault. The Battle of Loos continued until it petered out on 13th October. By that time, the British Army had sustained over 61,000 casualties, of which almost 8,000 were dead.

Private Edmonds body was initially recovered from the battlefield and his service record shows that he was buried on 3rd November “on the battlefield in the neighbourhood of LE RUTOIRE and HULLOCK”. However, this grave was lost in subsequent fighting and was never relocated in the post war years. Private Edmonds is now remembered on the Loos Memorial to the missing.

On 8th November 1915, the Regimental Records Officer wrote to the Paymaster asking for details of any individual who was drawing on Private Edmonds pay, or had a Separation Allowance. The Paymaster replied that there were no such cases.

Peter Edmonds father, also Peter, wrote to the Records Office at Preston on 20th May 1919 with details of Private Edmonds family, enabling the records Office to determine ownership of the memorial Plaque and Scroll. He recorded himself as father, but under “Mother” he wrote “none”. Peter’s mother, Catherine, had died in 1907. Peter’s siblings were listed as Thomas (15), Jane (20) and Florence (16).

Newspaper Reports

Warrington Guardian, 27th November 1915

“KILLED AT THE BATTLE OF LOOS

YOUNG SOLDIER’S LAST LETTER HOME

Official news has been received by Mrs Crozier of 16, Crossley-street, Warrington, of the death in action of her nephew, Private Peter Edmonds of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

Private Edmonds, who was quite young, enlisted last year, soon after the outbreak of war, and went to the front last March. It was while taking part in the battle of Loos that he was killed. A comrade, Private Preston, whose home is in Winwick-road, has written saying that he saw Private Edmonds body hanging in some wire entanglements before the German trenches. Three of his comrades volunteered to go out and fetch the body; one of them was shot dead and another wounded.

In the last letter his aunt received from him, written shortly before the battle of Loos, Private Edmonds said, “Give my best respects to all at home, as we are about to go into a warm time. I think I shall get over but if I do not it will not matter, so good-bye and good luck.”

Private Edmonds father is serving in France with the 2nd Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment. He is an old soldier and fought through the Boer War. Before enlisting, Private Edmonds worked for Messrs. Monks, Hall and Co. Ltd., He attended the Church of the Sacred Heart.”

EVANS

Henry

Corporal 13285, “C” Company, 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Died 21st February 1916. Buried in Rue-Du-Bacquerot No.1 Military Cemetery, Laventie, I.F. 5

Personal Information

Born – Warrington
Enlisted – Warrington
How Died – Killed in Action
Theatre of War – France & Flanders

Service Information

The 9th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers had formed in Wrexham in September 1914 as a result of Kitchener’s call for 100,000 recruits, and after training, it crossed to France in July 1915.

After taking part in the Battle of Loos between September and October 1915, the battalion moved around in and out of the line in standard rotation. It is likely that Corporal Evans was part of a working party when he was killed, rather then in any set piece action or battle.

Corporal Evans’ Medal Index Card (showing the usual way of interchanging of the names Harry and Henry), confirms his entry into the France & Flanders Theatre of War on 19th July 1915, qualifying him for the 1915 Star in addition to his British War Medal and Victory Medal. It also notes that he was killed in action.

Newspaper Reports

Warrington Guardian, 26th February 1916

“CORPORAL HENRY EVANS

UNOFFICIAL NEWS OF HIS DEATH

Mrs Evans, of 148, Lovely-lane, Warrington, has this week received unofficial news that her son, Corporal Henry Evans of the 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, was killed in action on Monday February 21st.

The news was conveyed to Mrs Evans by one of her sons comrades on leave, Private Smart, who said that Private Evans was one of a covering party for a section of the Royal Engineers who were fixing barbed wire entanglements when he was killed. He was buried with military honours.

Corporal Evans, who before joining the army was employed by the Co-Operative Society on the Boot Department, enlisted in September 1914 and was sent to the front in July last year. He was highly popular among his comrades at the front.

FARRINGTON

Thomas

Lance Corporal 16562, 7th/8th Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers. Died 9th August 1916. No known grave. Commemorated on Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 4A & 4D.

Personal Information

Born – Fulham
Enlisted – Warrington
Residence – Warrington
How Died – Killed in Action
Theatre of War – France & Flanders

In the 1901 census, the 10 year old Thomas is living at 10, Glasshouse Row, with his parents Thomas (40), a chemical labourer and Anne (37). Also recorded are siblings William (14), Mary (7) and Patrick (4).

Service Information

Lance Corporal Farrington’s Service Number suggests that he enlisted around 9th November 1914.

The book “Battalions on the Somme” by Ray Westlake gives the following information.

7th/8th (Service) Battalion. 46th Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division:

Reached Candas from Bethune sector (28/7) . To Flesselles (31/7), Molliens-au-Bois (4/8), Franvillers (5/8), Becourt (7/8) and from there to forward positions near Martinpuich. German counter attack - (17/8). Casualties - 224. Relieved by 10th Scottish Rifles and to camp just outside Albert on Amiens Road (18/8). To support trenches (29/8), front line (31/8), Scots Redoubt (4/9). Moved forward (14/9) - attack and capture of Martinpuich (15/9). Relieved and to Behencourt (18/9). War Diary gives casualties since arriving in Fourth Army area (28/7) as 34 officers and 886 other ranks. To Albert (30/9), Scots Redoubt (9/10). Took over trenches near Le Sars (15/10). To Lozenge Wood (18/10), front line (28/10), Millencourt (3/11), Baizieux (13/11). Later to Havernas and Wargnies.

Newspaper Reports

Warrington Guardian, 26th August 1916

Official notice was received yesterday that Lance Corporal Thomas Farrington of the Scottish Borderers was killed in action on August 9th by a shell. He was the only support of his widowed mother, Mrs. A. Farrington, of 24, Beswick-street, Warrington, to whom he was much attached. Lance Corporal Farrington, who was in his 25th year, was for 11 years employed by Messrs. Monks, Hall & Co. Ltd. He was keenly interested in football, playing for the Wellfield-street Juniors. He enlisted in October 1914 and was wounded at the battle of Loos. He was an old boy of Sacred Heart School.

Lance Corporal Farrington’s body was never identified and he is remembered on the Thiepval memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

FLEMING

George

Rifleman Z/332, 2nd Battalion, Rifle Brigade. Died 9th May 1915. Aged 19. Son of Mrs. Elizabeth Jane Fleming, of 18, Howard St., Warrington. No known grave. Commemorated on Ploegsteert Memorial, Panel 10.

Personal Information

Born – Warrington
Enlisted – Warrington
Residence – Warrington
How Died – Killed in Action
Theatre of War – France & Flanders

George Fleming’s birth was registered in the March quarter of 1896 in Warrington, Volume 8c, Page 262

Service Information

Most of the Rifle Brigade men with the “Z” prefix to their service number enlisted around August and September of 1914 and were moved to France in mid-March 1915 as reinforcements, following the battalion’s involvement in the fighting at Neuve Chapelle.

On 9th May 1915, the 2nd Battalion took part in the ill-fated attack on Aubers Ridge, part of the Battle of Fromelles.

At 5.00 a.m. on the morning of the 9th, the bombardment of the German trenches commenced, many of the shells falling short of their intended target and causing severe casualties amongst the men waiting to attack.

At 5.40 a.m. the guns were lifted and two huge mines were detonated by the 1/13 London Regiment, taking with them forty-eight men of 16 Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment. The detonation of the mines was the signal for the infantry attack to begin. The 2nd Battalion had only one hundred or so yards of open ground to cover, but as soon as the first line of men began to advance from the forward sap, they were met by a withering hail of rifle and machine-gun fire, resulting in severe losses.

The only place where the German wire had been successfully cut by the artillery bombardment was that part which lay directly opposite the 2nd Battalion. None of the attacks to the right or left of the Battalion had succeeded and only a 250 yard section of the German trench was taken.

The men of the 2nd Battalion, and just a handful of men of the Royal Irish Rifles, found themselves alone and without any further support. Despite this, the men barricaded both ends of the trench, all the while being bombed by the enemy from either side.

At about 6.45 a.m. a number of men were seen to be retiring from the trench, an unauthorised order to retreat having been given. Brigadier Lowry-Cole mounted the parapet in an attempt to halt the retreat and was fatally wounded. German prisoners, running towards the British trenches, gave rise to the mistaken belief that a counter-attack was taking place and the prisoners were fired upon.

Meanwhile, “A” and “C” Companies had reached the German trench, relieving “B” and “D” Companies who now pressed on and were able to occupy the line of the road, but they were subjected to very heavy machine-gun fire from left and right and from the rear. At about 8.00 a.m., with nearly all of the officers having been killed or wounded and being unable to move any further forward, the men began to drift back to the captured trench.

At about 12.00 noon, Colonel Stephens, the Battalion’s commanding officer, received the message telling him that, following the death of Brigadier-General Lowry-Cole, he now had command of the Brigade. Also at about this time, 2nd Lt. Gray (the Battalion’s machine-gun officer) and approximately fifty reinforcements made their way across the open, but such was the ferocity of the opposition, that only the officer and about fifteen men arrived, the rest becoming casualties along the way. 2nd Lt. Gray succeeded in repairing a captured machine-gun and this proved invaluable when the enemy counter-attacked at about 7.30 p.m.. The attack failed and by 8.30 p.m. all was quiet.

At about 2.00 a.m., and under cover of darkness, the enemy attacked again. Having had time to plan, the Germans came prepared. The men were subjected to attack from the left, right, front and rear, the frontal attack being met by machine-gun fire and repelled. By now the defenders’ supply of bombs had been exhausted and the barricades at either end of the trench were destroyed, the men being driven into the centre of the trench.

A fierce, hand-to-hand battle ensued, the men now fighting for their lives, but by 3.00 a.m. it was all over, the exhausted remnants of the Battalion making their escape, but suffering heavy losses from the following machine-gun fire. 2nd Lt. Gray was the last man to leave the trench, using the captured machine-gun to hold the enemy at bay, thereby giving the men a chance to escape.

In the meantime, Colonel Stephens, desperate to save his battalion, had managed to gather together some men of the 2nd Battalion Queen’s Regiment, but this took some hours and by the time he returned to the front line, there was nothing left to save.

At 5.00 a.m. on 10th May and out of a battalion which twenty-four hours before had been nine hundred strong, two officers and one hundred and ninety-five men marched back to their billets in Sailly.

Fifteen officers and two hundred and forty-eight were men killed. Of this number, only two officers and fourteen men have known graves, the rest, including George Fleming, are commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing. Some of the dead were buried by the Germans, but the majority lay out on the battlefield until clearance began in 1919. By this time, their bodies could not be identified.

A Catholic priest, serving with the German Army, later wrote “After two hours fighting the enemy was beaten back. You can scarcely have an idea of the work this represented. How these Englishmen had in twelve hours dug themselves in! The hundred fellows who were in our trenches had brought with them an enormous quantity of ammunition, a machine gun, and one they had captured from us. With the aid of the material laying about they had everything ready and ship-shape for defence. Almost every single man of them had to be put out of action with hand-grenades. They were heroes all, brave and true to the end, until death. We captured about fifty of them, well set up, extremely muscular soldiers. In the course of the day we picked up about thirty more of them wounded. These were men of the active English Rifles-Brigade.”

FAY

John [Edward]

Private 64884, Depot, Lancashire Fusiliers. Died 12th November 1918. Aged 23. Son of James and Annie Fay, of 192, Wellfield St., Warrington. Buried in Warrington Cemetery, Ref. X RC 543.

Personal Information

Born – Widnes
Enlisted – Warrington
How Died – Died of Wounds
Theatre of War – Home

The birth of John Edward Fay was registered in the September quarter of 1895 in the Prescot registration District (which covered Widnes), Volume 8b, Page 681.

In the 1901 census, the family, comprising parents James (28, a Cooper) and Annie (25, a school teacher), children John (5) and Mary (4), along with Annie’s widowed father John Murray (58, a chemical labourer) were living in Bridge Street, Widnes.

Service Information

Although at the time of his death Private Fay was serving in the UK with the Depot Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers, the National Archives holds his Medal Index Card, thereby indicating that he did see overseas service. However, no date is given for the date on which he first served overseas, and this is usually an indication that a serviceman only went overseas after 1st January 1916

His death was registered in the Newcastle-upon-Tyne registration district. It seems likely that he died in hospital of wounds received in action.

HAMBLETT

Richard

Serjeant 6473, 2nd Battalion, Manchester Regiment. Died 23rd April 1915. Aged 36. Husband of Lucy J. Hamblett, of 38, Selby St., Warrington. Buried in Chester Farm Cemetery, Ref. I A 12 A.

Personal Information

Born – Warrington
Enlisted – Fleetwood
Residence – Warrington
How Died – Killed in Action
Theatre of War – France & Flanders

Richard’s birth was registered in the March quarter of 1881 in Warrington, Volume 8c, Page 199.

In the 1891 census, the Hamblett family are shown to be living at 13 Dutton Street, Warrington and comprises parents Richard (40, a bricklayer), his wife Ann (38) and children Mary Jane (19), James (18), John (12), Richard (10), Frederick (8) and Sarah (5).

By 1901, Ann is widowed and the family live at 9, Ellesmere Street, Warrington. There is an additional daughter Annie (9). Richard, now aged 20, is shown to be a Wire Rope Maker.

Service Information

On the 4th August 1914, the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment were based in Ireland and at 5.25pm they received orders to mobilise for active service. As part of the 14th brigade, 5th Division they left Ireland on the 13th August and arrived at La Havre on the 16th/17th.

They spent the next few months in the thick of the action, taking part in Battles of The Marne and Aisne, before the establishment of the trench lines and the beginning of the trench warfare which became so well known.

January 1915 saw the battalion back in billets at Dranoutre, being brought back up to strength with drafts from England. In the following months there was little activity but casualties continued to mount up as the battalion took its turn in the line.

In April the division moved to a sector on the Ypres front, taking a line east of the mound at St Eloi to the western end of Armagh wood, in preparation for the attack on Hill 60. The attack on Hill 60, which came to be known as the Second Battle of Ypres continued for three weeks. It was in this fighting that Richard Hamblett was killed. His body was recovered from the battlefield and he rests in Chester Farm Cemetery.

Newspaper Reports

The Warrington Guardian of 1st May 1915 reported,

LOCAL SERGEANT KILLED

FOUGHT IN SOUTH AFRICA WAR

Sergeant Richard Hamblett of the 2nd Battalion, Manchester Regiment, whose home was at 28, Selby-street, Warrington, was killed in action on April 23rd.

The news reached his wife, Mrs Lucy Hamblett, on Thursday morning in a letter from a comrade of her husband, Corporal Ferguson of the Battalion Headquarters. Writing on April 24th, he wrote, ‘I regret to inform you of the death of your husband, Sergeant Hamblett, who was killed facing the Germans on April 23rd. His loss is greatly felt by all who knew him, for he was a brave soldier and well liked.’

Sergeant Hamblett was the son of Mrs and the late Mr Richard Hamblett, He was 35 years of age and was a Special reservist. Sergeant Hamblett had just returned from his annual two months training when the war broke out. Until he was sent to the front three months ago, he was engaged in drilling recruits at Cleethorpes.

Sergeant Hamblett fought in the Boer War and earned his third stripe and also a medal with five bars. While in South Africa he contracted rheumatism and fever but recovered and was able to return home. Sergeant Hamblett , who leaves three young children, was employed by Messrs. J. Crosfield & Sons Ltd. He attended the Sacred Heart Church

HANCOCK

William

Rifleman A/203045, 2nd Battalion, Kings Royal Rifle Corps. Died 10th July 1917. Aged 19. No known grave. Commemorated on Nieuport Memorial.

Personal Information

Born – Earlestown
Enlisted – Warrington
Residence – Warrington
How Died – Died of Wounds
Theatre of War – France & Flanders

On the 1901 census, William, aged 3, is living with his parents William (28, a Steam Engine Fitter) and Theresa (27) at 31 Liverpool Road, Warrington. Also at the address are his brothers Bernard (6) and Charles (5 months).

The birth of William Joseph Hancock is recorded in the September quarter of 1897 in Warrington registration district, Volume 8c, Page 186. His father, William, had married Theresa Colquitt in the June quarter of 1893 in Warrington, Volume 8c, Page 296

Service Information

Formerly Z/2073, Rifle Brigade. This number suggests that he signed up for “Short Service” (denoted by the “Z” prefix. “Short Service” meant enlisting for three years or the duration of the war. The low number (2073) is amongst a batch used for recruits in late August and early September 1914.

The Battle of the Dunes took place at Nieuport in Belgium, at the extreme northern end of the front line stretching from Switzerland. The Belgian Army manned this sector throughout the war except for a brief period in spring/summer 1917. Following their flooding of the area by the opening of the Nieuport sea locks and sluices under fire the Belgians had maintained a bridgehead on the northern riverbank of about a mile in depth. The British took over the area in preparation for a push up the coast to capture or stop the main U-boat base of Brugges and its seaward end of its canal at Zeebrugge. This was planned to be in conjunction with the Passchendaele offensive further inland.

It appears that there were difficulties in the British takeover early in July 1917, particularly with poor quality bridges over the river, which meant that artillery support was particularly inadequate. Once the Germans realised what was happening they launched a pre-emptive strike on 12th July. Their artillery quickly smashed up what bridging there was leaving the British troops isolated in the sand dunes which covered all this part of the coast. Those in the bridgehead were overrun, killed captured or escaped by swimming the river if they could. As a result the bridgehead was lost and never recovered, that part of the British plan was abandoned and Passchendaele became a bloody slog to capture the ridge and high ground with a view to further operations northwards to the U- boat bases the following year. By September the British had returned that part of the line to the Belgians.

2nd Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps suffered heavy casualties in this operation, and Rifleman Hancock was one of those. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Nieuport memorial.

HARDY

William

Private 201955, 2nd/5th Battalion, Manchester Regiment. Died 13th April 1917. Aged 19. Son of Henry and Emma Hardy, of 83, Cartwright St., Warrington. Buried in Bethune Town Cemetery, Ref. VI D 10.

Personal Information

Born – Warrington
Enlisted – Warrington
How Died – Died of Wounds
Theatre of War – France & Flanders

William’s birth was registered in the September quarter of 1897 in Warrington, Volume 8c, Page 256. On the 1901 census, he is shown as the youngest son, aged 4, of Henry (35, a Wiremill Labourer) and Emma (34) and lived at 14, Kean Street, Warrington . Also there were his brother John (11) and sisters Sarah (13), Elizabeth (7) and Mary (6).

Service Information

The battalion was formed at Wigan in August/September 1914. In November 1914 they became part of the 199th Brigade, 66th Division. They remained in Lancashire until about May 1915 then to Crowborough area. In March 1916 the battalion moved to Colchester, remaining here on Home Service until early 1917

In February 1917 the 2/5th landed in France. At the time of Pte. Hardy’s death, the 2nd/5th Manchesters were part of the 66th Division and were tied up in holding the line north of Arras. There are no records providing details of any specific actions taking place at that time, so it is likely that William Hardy was a victim of the daily trench warfare being fought at that time. Being recorded as Died of Wounds suggests that he was evacuated from the front line to a Casualty Clearing Station, where he ultimately died.

For much of the First World War, Bethune was comparatively free from bombardment and remained an important railway and hospital centre, as well as a corps and divisional headquarters. The 33rd Casualty Clearing Station was in the town until December 1917. It is likely that this is where Private Hardy died.

Private Hardy’s Medal Index Card does not add much to his story, simply confirming his entitlement to the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Newspaper Reports

The Warrington Guardian reported:-

Official notification has been received that Private William Hardy of the Manchester Regiment, son of Mr and Mrs Hy. Hardy, 83, Cartwright-street, Warrington, was killed in action on April 13. Private Hardy, who was in his 20th year, had been at the front only six weeks. Before enlisting in May 1916, he was employed by the Whitecross Co. Ltd., An old boy of Sacred Heart School, he also attended Sacred Heart Sunday School. He was a member of the ‘Whitecross Own’ Troop, Boy Scouts.

HASTRY

John

Private 2773, 1st/4th Battalionn, South Lancashire Regiment. Died 31st July 1916. Aged 37. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Hastry; husband of Mrs. L. Mock (formerly Hastry), of 42, Aikin St., Warrington. Born at Warrington. Buried in Warrington Cemetery, W RC 358.

Personal Information

Born – Warrington
Enlisted – Warrington
How Died – Died
Theatre of War – Home

The 1901 census records John, aged 22, as still living at home (6, Blackhurst Road, Warrington) with his parents Patrick (48, a general labourer born in Ireland) and Margaret (44), along with siblings William (21), Margaret (16), Annie (14) and Agnes (8). John is shown to be a Labourer. His marriage to Louisa Lomax is recorded in the September quarter of 1902 in Warrington, Volume 8c, Page 332.

Service Information

The 1st/4th Battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment was a Territorial Battalion, created from the old 1st Volunteer Battalion (Warrington and Newton). When war was declared, the battalion had just commenced its annual training in camp at Hornby. Notices calling all ranks to the colours were posted in Warrington and the local area by 10 p.m. on the evening of 4th August, whilst additional recruitment amongst the men of Warrington was initiated. On 13th August the battalion was sent to Dunfermline for additional training and by 12th September, the strength was 31 officers and 1342 other ranks. In October, the battalion was sent to Tunbridge Wells were it saw out the remainder of the year, before finally leaving for France on 15th February 1915. Pte. Hastry has no medal entitlement recorded at the National Archives, which suggests that he never served overseas. The newspaper report of his death (below) reports that it occurred “on the East Coast”, It seems likely, therefore, that he was retained in the UK for training or administrative purposes.

Newspaper Reports

The Warrington Guardian of 9th August 1916 reported:-

“SOLDIER’S DEATH FROM HEART FAILURE

The funeral took place with military honours, on Saturday at Warrington Cemetery, of Private John Hastry, of the South Lancashire Regiment, whose home is 44-Aiken-street, Warrington, and whose death took place from heart failure on the East Coast on Monday July 31st. The Rev. Father Rockliff officiated.

The mourners were:- Mrs. Hastry (widow), his young children – John, Ernest, William, Lewis and Stanley; Mr. W. Hastry (brother), Mrs. Whittaker, Mrs. McQue, Mrs. Walker, Mrs. Horrocks, Mrs. Ayres (sisters); Mrs. Williamson (mother-in-law); Mr. Walker (brother-in-law), Mr. P. Lawless (Uncle), Mrs. Moores, Miss S. Lomax, Mrs. Robinson, Mrs. Hastry (sisters-in-law), Mr. S. Lomax (brother-in-law), Miss S. Lomax (niece), and Mr. and Mrs. J. Joyner.

Wreaths were received from the following:-
“His wife and children”, Mr. & Mrs. W. Hastry, Mrs. Whitaker and family, Mrs. McQue and family, Mrs. Walker and family, Mrs. Horrocks and family, Mrs. Ayres and family, Mrs. Williamson and family, Mr. P. Lawless, Mrs. Robinson and family, Mr. S. Lomax., Mr. And Mrs. J. H. Joyner, “His non-commissioned officers” and “His neighbours”.

The late Private Hastry was a married man with six children and was 37 years of age. Before he enlisted in September 1914, he was employed as a mechanic by the St. Helens Cable and Rubber Co. Ltd, at Warrington. He was educated at St. Mary’s school and was a keen all-round sportsman. As a boy he was captain of the St. Mary’s School football team for several years and was a member of the Cable Works cricket team. His brother, Private William Hastry, whose home address is 96, Algernon-street, is serving with the same Regiment, and it was he who sent the news to Warrington.

Captain J. O’Connor, writing to Mrs. Hastry, under date August 2nd says, “As officer commanding the company, I wish to express to yourself and family the most sincere sympathy of officers, N.C.O.’s and men of my company on the sad loss you have sustained by the death of your husband, Private Hastry, who died suddenly whilst in execution of his duty. He was a good soldier, and did his work cheerfully and without complaint, and it came as a great shock to me and his comrades to hear of his untimely decease. It may be some consolation to you to know that he has given his life for his country just as surely as if he had fallen in action. May God in His mercy enable you to bear your great loss with fortitude and may his soul rest in peace.”

LLOYD

David

Private 9592, 1st Battalion, Kings (Liverpool Regiment). Died 28th October 1914. Aged 26. Son of Edward Lloyd, of 140, Evelyn St., Warrington, Lancs., and the late Margaret Lloyd. Buried in Ypres Town Cemetery, Ref. A1 16.

Personal Information

Born – Warrington
Enlisted – Warrington
Residence – Warrington
How Died – Killed in Action
Theatre of War – France & Flanders

14 year old David is shown on the 1901 census to be one of 9 children. Living at 140, Evelyn Street were Edward (44, an Iron Worker) and Margaret Lloyd (43), with children Margaret Ellen (22, a Cotton Weaver), Clara (19, a Cotton Trimmer), Arthur (18, a Striker), Harry (16, a Furnace Helper), David (14, an Iron Cutter), Ernest (11), William (9), Alfred (6) and Frederick (2).

David’s birth was registered in the March quarter of 1887 in Warrington, Volume 8c, Page 218.

Service Information

Private Lloyd originally enlisted in the Army in 1906. After his term had expired, it is likely that he signed on as a reservist which would have ensured that he attended annual training camps. He would also have been mobilised immediately on the outbreak of war. The Regimental history for the 1st Battalion states that they were quartered in Talavera Barracks in Aldershot in August 1914 and that mobilising the battalion took three days, all being “ready for anything” by 8th August. But then the reservists joined them and a further few days were spent in bringing these men up to date with items such as the new short rifle, which they had not used before.

Eventually, the battalion left Aldershot on 12th August at 6 a.m. and marched to Farnborough Station were they entrained for Southampton at 8 a.m. , arriving at 9.30 a.m. They embarked aboard the S.S. Irrawaddy and steamed away at mid-day, arriving it Le Havre at dawn the following day.

The battalion was in the midst of the fighting at Mons, the Marne and the Aisne, before finally, in late October 1914, they became involved in the defence of Ypres from the initial German assault on the city.

The diary of the 1st Battalion, King’s (Liverpool Regiment), records the following:-

“October 27th 1914
Heavy shelling and attacks all day. S. Staffs were pushed through on our left to Point 27.
D and C companies were heavily attacked and the Germans charged but were mopped up and didn’t get far. Ammunition supply was very busy all day and did excellent work.

Casualties 4 N.C.O.’s and men killed and wounded. Gunners got an 18 pdr. up into our front line which did good work.

October 28th 1914
Another heavy attack in morning but was repulsed. The gunners have done excellent work in repelling these attacks. Partial attacks were going on all day, also yesterday. The Germans are wonderful people for their offensive. Our guns blew down several houses in front of us, one only 80 yds in front where the enemy had machine guns.
Were relieved by the HLI at night, relief carried through without any mishap. Moved into billets and bivouac behind old Head Quarters.
2 N.C.O.’s killed and wounded. Received message from G.O.C. 6th Brigade 28/10/14 ‘I appreciate fully what a very important part your battalion has taken in the last few days operations and am very sorry your officers and men should have been hit so hard.’

October 29th 1914
Orders received that everyone was go get as much rest as possible.
1 p.m. received orders to move at once into Divisional Reserve. At NW corner of Polygon Wood.
Stayed there till dark and dug in. General MUNRO came and saw Major S. and said to him ‘Your Regiment has done magnificently, whether on the march or in the field, and even as orderlies., everyone who comes in tells me so. Tell the men from me they ought to be proud of themselves’.

30th October 1914
Received orders at 6 a.m. that we were put back under orders of the 6th Brigade again and moved back to our last nights billets at NORD WESTHOCK. About 3.30 heard that Germans had broken through the line of the Connaught Rangers. C Company sent up to cover that flank. Heavy shell fire but were quite comfortable in our trenches and spend a quiet night.”

From the diary entries, it is hard to be precise about where and exactly when Pte. Lloyd was killed, but his body was recovered from the battlefield and he now lies on Ypres Town Cemetery.

Newspaper Reports

Warrington Guardian, 28th November 1914

“MEMBER OF A MILITARY FAMILY

A member of one of the most noteworthy of Warrington’s many military families, Private David Lloyd of the 1st Battalion, King’s (Liverpool Regiment), son of Mr. Edward Lloyd of 140, Evelyn-street, Warrington, is reported by the authorities to have been killed in action on October 28th. Prior to the war, he was in the employ of Messrs. Joseph Crosfield and Sons, and he was recalled to the colours as a reservist of the Regiment with which he had previously served in India. Private Lloyd was one of five brothers who were serving their country in the forces.

MAHER

George

Private 8812, 13th Battalion, Kings (Liverpool Regiment). Died 28th March 1918. No known grave. Commemorated on Arras Memorial, Bay 3.

Personal Information

Born – Liverpool
Enlisted – Liverpool
Residence – Warrington
How Died – Killed in Action
Theatre of War – France & Flanders

George Maher was born in Liverpool in 1887, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Maher. At the time of his death, his parents lived at 44 Elizabeth St, Warrington.

In the 1901 census, the family lived at Rathbone Street in Liverpool and comprised Michael (39, a Labourer), his wife Charlotte (36) and their children George (14), Charlotte (13), Michael (8), John (4) and Mary (8 months).

In 1910, George Maher, aged 23, married Maria Goncalves in Liverpool. They had four children, including George (b. 1912), Thomas, (1914) and John (1918).

Service Information

Private Maher embarked for France on 12th August 1914 and was badly wounded in fighting on the Aisne, doctors being unable to remove the bullet. He was also wounded by shrapnel in April 1917. He served with the 1st Kings (Liverpool Regiment), and also with the 17th before finally transferring to the 13th, probably on recovery from wounds.

From The Regimental History of the 13th King’s, and referring to 28th March 1918, when the German Army began their offensive. This became known as the First Battle of Arras, 1918.

“At 4.30 a.m. the enemy put down an intense barrage on the whole of our sector. The trench-mortar barrage on the front line was more intense than anything previously experienced. The Reserve Line was barraged with light guns and heavies. Under cover of this barrage the enemy launched a terrific attack with masses of troops. In spite of the intensity of the bombardment, the front line stood firm and poured a devastating fire into the enemy, whose attack was beaten off with colossal casualties to the attackers. The value of this steadfastness against tremendous odds cannot be estimated; it gave the enemy his first check at a point where he was subsequently checked throughout the day. The enemy came back again in a second attack with even greater numbers. The battalion on our right was forced back and the enemy poured in behind “C” and “D” companies from the right flank. What happened on the left is not known, All that is known is that these two companies, attacked on all sides, mounted the parapet and fought to a finish on the ground on which they stood.

Under cover of the barrage, the enemy came on up the hill to the reserve lines. Owing to the nature of the ground, he could not be observed along most of the battalion front until nearly on our wire. The barrage lifted and in dense waves the Germans swept on to out lines. It was the beginning of a fierce battle which lasted until 2.00 p.m.

The coolness, courage and endurance of the garrison were beyond praise. Every rifle and Lewis gun brought a tremendous volume of fire to bear on the approaching masses. In spite of his losses, the enemy continued to push on until the thin line, wavering, could go no further and turned down the slope again. Our men mounted the parapet to keep him under fire so long as they could keep him in sight. The first attack on the front line had been beaten off and our line was everywhere intact. The enemy now resumed his barrage on our positions by firing green lights. An intense barrage came down for 10 or 15 minutes. As soon as it lifted, the enemy immediately came on to another attack. This also was repulsed with heavy loss to the enemy”

The history goes on to state that the battalion were instructed to withdraw at 3.30 p.m. that day, and that despite strong enemy action, the withdrawal was completed by 5.00 p.m. The battalion diary records casualties for the day as one officer killed, two wounded and eight missing, and in other ranks, twenty one killed, ninety-two wounded and 254 missing.

There is no way of knowing in which part of the battle George Maher lost his life. He has no known grave and is recorded on the Arras memorial to the missing.

Newspaper Reports

Private Maher was first reported wounded in the Warrington Guardian of 10th October 1914, when it stated that he was in hospital at Oxford with a bullet wound to his breast. A later article in the Warrington Guardian (date not known) reported:-

“An old soldier with 12 years service to his credit before the outbreak of war – Private George Maher, King’s (Liverpool Regiment), 3, Ernest Street, Warrington – was killed in action on March 28th. A native of Liverpool, Private Maher was employed by Messrs. Joseph Crosfield and Co. He was among the first to be sent to the front. He had been through many notable engagements and besides being wounded on the Aisne – the bullet of which he carried until his death - was also wounded with shrapnel in April 1917. Private Maher was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs Michael Maher, 44 Elizabeth-street, and leaves a widow and four children, the eldest of who is only eight years of age.

He had two brothers and both are on active service. John is with the Machine-gun Corps and Michael with the Royal Engineers

MALLIN

William

Serjeant 17628, 2nd Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment. Died 1st September 1918. Buried in Westouter Churchyard and Extension, II E 1.

Personal Information

Born – Dublin
Enlisted – Warrington
How Died – Killed in Action
Theatre of War – France & Flanders

In the 1911 census of Dublin, there is an entry for a 25 year old William Mallin, living at Bride Road, Wood Quay, Dublin. It is not clear, however, if this is the same man.

Service Information

Distinguished Conduct Medal. Military Medal. Formerly Private 5870, Lancashire Fusiliers

London Gazette 30340, 16 October 1917.
Award of Military Medal announced to “17629 Cpl. (A./Sjt.) W. Mallin, S. Lan. R. (Warrington)”.

No citation published, but it was normal for the award to be announced approximately 3 months after the action for which it was awarded.

The Regimental History of the Battalion, written in 1934 by Captain Whalley-Kelly, reported that the activities of the 2nd Battalion in August and September 1918 were confined to “minor enterprises”. This was as a result of the major offensives in which they pushed the Germans back to and beyond the Hindenberg line. It is not clear in which of these actions Sgt. Mallin was killed, but his body was recovered and he rests at Westouter Churchyard, Belgium.

MULHARE

John [James]

Private 27641, 2nd/4th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment (Attached POW Company). Died 31st March 1919. Buried in Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimlille, XV B 43.

Personal Information

The birth of John James Mulhare was registered in the September quarter of 1895 in Warrington, Volume 8c, Page 255. The 1901 census shows him, aged 5, as the son of Richard (45) and Kate Mulhare, (43), living at 8, Wakefield Street Warrington. Also resident is John’s 8 year old sister, Annie. (In some cases, the surname is spelt as MULHERE).

Newspaper Reports

The Warrington Guardian of 5th April 1919 reported,

DIED IN BOLOUGNE

SOLDIER VICTIM OF INFLUENZA

Telegraphic information has been received by Mrs Mulhare, 13 Arkin-street, Warrington, of the death from influenza and pneumonia on the 31st ult. At No 7 Stationary Hospital, Bolougne, of her husband Private John James Mulhare of the 2nd/4th Royal Berkshire Regiment.

Private Mulhare, who was 23 years of age, joined the Colours on May 13th last, and subsequently proceeded to France, where he served with the 37th Prisoner of War Company. In his last letter home he referred quite cheerfully to his task of ‘guarding Jerry’. Upon his admittance to hospital a very kind letter notifying the fact was received by his wife from Sister L. W. Rowntree of Ward M1.

Private Mulhare was formerly a pupil at the Sacred Heart School and for some time served on the altar of the church. He was employed in Messrs. Rylands Bros. Wire Netting Department.

John Mulhare’s Medal Index Card shows that he had served with the Royal Irish Regiment prior to his service with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He was seconded to the Royal Berkshire Regiment but retained his RDF service number. His medal entitlement is shown as Victory Medal and British War Medal

PERFECT

William [Lewis]

Private 379552, Western Command Labour Centre, Labour Corps. Died 9th February 1919. Aged 37. Husband of Annie Maud Perfect, of 40, Elizabeth St., Warrington. Buried in Warrington Cemetery, X RC 972.

Personal Information

Named as Lewis Perfect on the Sacred Heart Memorial, this man is shown as William Lewis Perfect on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database.

Lewis W. Perfect was born in Malta around 1887. It isn’t clear when he first came to England, but the first official record to be found is the 1901 census, which shows him as aged 14, living as 2 Princes Street, Plymouth in Devon. His father is not shown, but his mother is 44 year old Eliza Goodwin, a laundress. Lewis occupation is shown as a Bill Poster. Also there are Lewis’ brothers John, aged 19, and Alfred, 11, and sister Martha Goodwin, aged 5. This suggests that Eliza had remarried. Lewis is the only family member shown as being born in Malta; the remainder were all Devon born.

The next record for Lewis shows him as marrying Annie Maud Carroll in the September quarter of 1911 in Rugby, Warwickshire. Volume 6d, Page 1133. They had two sons; Lewis W J Perfect was born in Cardiff in 1911 and Leonard J Perfect in Warrington in 1913.

His death in the Whitchurch district register for the March quarter of 1919, Volume 6a, Page 1246, records him as Lewis W, Perfect and shows him as aged 32, which suggests that the age held by CWGC (37) is incorrect, probably as a result of a scanning error when the records were digitised.

Service Information

Although he is serving with the Labour Corps at the time of his death, William Perfect had previously served overseas as Private 66622 with the Royal Fusiliers. He has a Medal Index Card at the National Archives which confirms that he saw active service, and he was probably transferred into the Labour Corps as a result of being designated unfit for front line service after being ill or wounded.

RIGBY

James

Rifleman S/2048, 10th Battalion, Rifle Brigade. Died 15th January 1915. Aged 20. Son of Charles and Rachel Rigby, of 25, Albert Terrace, Howley, Warrington. Buried in Warrington Cemetery, G CE 388 (???).

Personal Information

Born – Warrington
Enlisted – Warrington
Residence – Warrington
How Died – Died
Theatre of War – Home

The birth of Arthur James Rigby was registered in Q3/1894 in Warrington, Volume 8c, Page 188

The 1901 census shows the Rigby family to consist of Charles (47, a letter press printer), Rachel (48) and their children Albert (20, a tannery labourer), Elizabeth (17, a cutter ), Phillip (15, a wire worker), Mary (12), Maud (9) and Arthur (7). They lived at 70 Scott Street, Warrington.

Service Information

No details of James Rigby’s service have yet been located

ROWE

Paul [Leo]

Private 20705, 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards. Died 22nd September 1916. Aged 22. Son of Peter J. and Amelia Rowe, of 129, Lovely Lane, Warrington, Lancs. Buried in La Neuville British Cemetery, Corbie, Ref. II F 15.

Personal Information

Born – Warrington
Enlisted – Manchester
How Died – Died of Wounds
Theatre of War – France & Flanders

The birth of Paul Leo Rowe was registered in the March quarter of 1894 in Prescot registration district, Volume 8b, Page 691. The 1901 census shows him to be the youngest child of Peter Joseph Rowe, 53, a Musical Instrument Agent and Amelia Rowe (48) of 153 Orford Lane, Warrington. The children are shown as twins Kathleen & James (19), Norah (17), John Joseph (15), Amelia (13), and 7 year old Paul. Both of the parents are shown to have been born in Dublin, while all the children were born in Widnes, which was part of the Prescot registration district.

Paul Leo Rowe is also commemorated on the memorial at Our Lady’s Church in Latchford.

Service Information

Taking into account that Pte. Rowe died of wounds and is buried at La Neuville, it seems likely that he was injured in the Guards assault, during the battle of Flers-Courcellette in mid September 1916, towards Guedecourt and was sent back “down the line” to 21st Casualty Clearing Station, based at La Neuville, where he subsequently died and was buried.

Newspaper Reports

Warrington Guardian, 27th September 1916

“KILLED OR WOUNDED

PRIVATE P. L. ROWE

Doubt prevails as to the fate of a member of a well known Warrington military family – Private Paul L. Rowe of the Grenadier Guards – as a letter has been received by his mother, Mrs P J Rowe, who is residing with her son-in-law Mr B. B. Ashbrook at 129, Lovely-lane, Warrington, stating that he was killed in action, while other letters convey that he has been wounded.

On Sunday September 27th, Mrs Rowe received the following letter from a comrade who signed himself “E. Rigg”.

‘Just a few lines concerning your son Paul. We have been chums since we joined the army and we agreed to write to each other’s parents if anything happened to either of us. I am sorry to say that I now find it my painful duty to write and let you know that Paul was killed inn the trenches on September 14th. He put his head too high over the trench and a sniper shot him through the head. He was very well liked by all his section and platoon. Only a few weeks ago, the platoon sergeant asked him to take promotion but he refused.’

On the other hand, the same post brought a letter from the Rev. Joseph Leo Prescott, who says, ‘Your son Paul has asked me to write to you to tell you of his wounds. I am afraid it is serious and hence I want you to pray very hard for him. Don’t be surprised if worse news follows. I have given him the last sacrament.’

More conflicting news was received on Wednesday of last week from the Rev. P. Casey, who wrote, ‘Your son Paul asks me to let you know he is wounded and gone to hospital – not seriously, I hope’.

Private Rowe, who is 22 years of age, was educated at St. Benedict’s and St Alban’s schools. He was afterwards employed by the Pearson and Knowles Coal and iron Co. Ltd. In the weighing office, Dallam Forge. He has taken part on 14 months of fighting. His favourite recreation is billiards.

The “E. Rigg” referred to in the Guardian article was probably Private 21464 Ernest Rigg, of the same battalion. He survived the war

Warrington Guardian, 20th September 1916

“DIED OF WOUNDS

All hope which Mrs Rowe had entertained as to the fate of her son, Private Paul L. Rowe, 3vanished when she received a letter from a sister at a base hospital.

‘Dear Mrs Rowe

I very much regret having to inform you that Private P. L. Rowe, Grenadier Guards, died at 4.45 a.m. on the 22nd. He was brought into hospital very badly wounded in the body, and from the first there was very little hope of saving his life. He was buried in the cemetery attached to the hospital.’”

TRAYNOR

Thomas

Bombardier 71866, 47th Battery, 41st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Died 23rd September 1914. Buried in Vendresse British Cemetery, Ref. II F 13.

Personal Information

Born – Warrington
Enlisted – Warrington
How Died – Killed in Action
Theatre of War – France & Flanders

Thomas birth was registered with the surname “TRAINER” in the September quarter of 1895 in Warrington, Volume 8c, Page 263.

At the time of the 1901 census, the family lived in Goulden Street, Warrington. The census records the spelling of the surname as “TRAINOR”. The family comprises Head of household Peter Trainor, 44, a bricklayer’s labourer and his second wife, Ann, 46. Ann’s children from her first marriage are also there, Mary Price (26), Ann (25), Theresa (20), May (19), Winifred (16), Joseph (14) and George (13). Their own two children are Patrick (8) and Thomas (5).

Service Information

The 41st Artillery Brigade, RFA, including the 47th Battery, went out to France on the 18th August, just a few days after the outbreak of war. They quickly engaged with the German Army as part of the still mobile battles of the Rivers Marne and Aisne.

On the 14th September, the Regimental diary reports that they moved to a position North West of the town of Verneuil, where they dug in and remained under a heavy shellfire until the 19th, when the 47th Battery moved south of Tilleul. For the period 21st – 30th September, the Regimental diary reports “…during this period nothing of particular interest occurred”, although they suffered 3 men killed and 16 wounded. Only one casualty was recorded on 23rd September, Bombardier Traynor. He now rests in Vendresse Military Cemetery.

The neighbourhood of Vendresse-Et-Troyon was the scene of repeated and severe fighting in which British troops took part in 1914 and 1918. Vendresse British Cemetery was made after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from other cemeteries and from the battlefields. It is likely to he would have initially been buried close to where he fell, and moved into the cemetery as part of the post-war battlefield clearance.

Newspaper Reports

Warrington Guardian, 7th October 1914

NOBLY DOING HIS DUIY

WARRINGTON MAN’S HEROIC DEATH

STRUCK BY GERMAN SHELL

How a Warrington soldier, Bombardier Thomas Traynor of the Royal Field Artillery, was killed whilst performing a particularly heroic act on the battlefield is described in a letter received by his father, Mr Peter Traynor, 5, Mill-lane, Warrington, on Saturday. Bombardier Traynor had left the shelter of a trench in order to repair a telephone line which had been cut by the enemy’s guns, when he was struck on the head by a shell and killed instantly.

The letter, from the major commanding the battery is as follows.

‘47th Battery, 44th Brigade, RFA
2nd Division
British Expeditionary Force
24th September 1914

Dear Mr Traynor,

It is with great sorrow that I am writing to tell you that your son was killed in action at about 11 a.m. yesterday, 23rd September. He was nobly performing his duty, ender heavy fire from German artillery, and you may well be proud of his memory.

The enemy’s guns had cut the telephone wire which connected the observing station with the battery, and as it was most important that it should be mended, your son left the cover of the entrenchment to go and carry out this important duty. A large splinter of a shell struck him on the head and killed him instantly.

He was buried by his comrades the same evening in a spot close by. The whole battery mourns his loss and feel the greatest sympathy with you and his mother in your bereavement.

Believe me, yours sincerely,
M. W. NEWCOME, Major, R.F.A.‘

Bombardier Traynor, who was only 19 years of age, was brought up in the Bank Quay district, and in his earlier years attended the Sacred Heart School. For a time he was employed at the Bewsey forge of the Pearson and Knowles Coal and Iron Company, but military life had a great attraction for him and two years ago he enlisted. He was home on furlough last Christmas.

Last week his parents received a postcard from him stating that he was quite well and was having ‘a rather exciting time’. Bombardier Traynor was a great favourite with all his friends, who while regretting his death at an early age, will be proud that he gave his life in such an heroic manner.

Mrs. Traynor’s eldest son, William Price, who has seen eight years military service, has been called up with the Lancashire Fusiliers and is at present stationed at Hull. Another son, Joseph Price, of the South Lancashire Regiment, was recently invalided home from India and has returned to civilian life.”

WHITEHEAD

Henry

The only information determined about Henry Whitehead is a report in the Warrington Guardian on June 19th, 1915 which includes, amongst a list of Warrington men wounded, the following:-

Private H. Whitehead, 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment, Sankey Hall Farm”. The article is reproduced below, with Private Whitehead’s listing at the end.

It has not been possible to determine if and when he died or any further family information. However, a search of the files held by CWGC reveals the following entry:-

Name: HOGAN, WILLIAM
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Royal Irish Regiment
Unit Text: 2nd Bn.
Age: 33
Date of Death: 14/07/1916
Service No: 8698
Additional information: Son of Charles and Maria Whitehead, of Sankey Hall Farm, Mill Lane, Warrington.
Grave/Memorial Reference: Pier and Face 3 A.
Memorial: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

This gives a link to a) the name Whitehead, b) the Guardian entry for Sankey Hall Farm, and c) the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment. A Medal Index Card exists at the National Archives for William Hogan, serving with this number in RIR.

But why is the casualty named “William Hogan”? “Soldiers Died” informs that Hogan was born at St. Mary’s Dublin, that he enlisted in Curragh, Co. Kildare, and that he resided in Warrington.

Aged 33 when he died, he must have been born in 1882 or 1883.

The 1901 census does show a Charles & Maria Whitehead living in Warrington (though not at Sankey Hall Farm), but their children are Agnes and Teresa. In addition, Charles is 39 and Maria 33, so they would be too young to be the parents referred to on the CWGC entry. It seems more likely that Maria Whitehead had been married previously, to a man called Hogan, and that William was their son. She may have then been widowed and remarried to Charles Whitehead.

Last updated 27 September, 2008

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