Littleborough’s History

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Private Wilfred Lawson Sager

 Wilfred was born in Littleborough in 1887 and in 1911 was living at 35 Halifax Road with his parents Henry and Sarah and family. At that time, Wilfred was a Greengrocer Asst but prior to enlisting in Rochdale he was a salesman for Messrs Ballinger’s, Bare Hill Street. He Married Emma Fitzsimmons in 1917. On or about mid December 1917, 31 year old born Private 33464 Wilfred Sager 56th Coy. Labour Corp. (Formerly 35517 Welsh Fusiliers) was admitted to a base hospital suffering from pneumonia, from which subsequently he died from on 3rd January 1918 being buried in Grave Number IX. B. 8. Rocquigny-Equancoart Road British Cemetery, Manacours, Somme, France also being remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph and on the War Memorial of Littleborough Central School. His widow resided at 6 Centre Vale, Todmorden Road. On Sunday evening the 3rd February 1918, a memorial service was held in his memory at the Littleborough United Methodist Chapel as reported in the Rochdale Observer for 6th February 1918.


Lance Corporal Harry Seal

 Harry was born in Littleborough in 1898 2nd Qtr and in 1911 he was living with his parents William George (who emanated from Buckland, Dorsetshire) and Charlotte and family at 116 Todmorden Road, Summit, Littleborough. Prior to enlisting, Harry was employed at the Grove Dyeing Co. Todmorden Road. Lance Corporal Seal enlisted in Rochdale on the 28th April 1915 whilst only 16 years of age and saw service in the Dardanelles and Egypt before returning to Europe. His sisters who still lived at 116 Todmorden Road were informed by a letter from his captain that their 19 year old brother Lance Corporal 241324 Harry Seal, Light Trench Mortar Battery had been killed in action on Saturday 5th January 1918. Harry was killed in the Festubert area as detailed in the letter from the captain said " the enemy unfortunately succeeded in dropping a shell directly in the gun pit where it exploded and caused the explosion of our own ammunition and I am afraid that your brother, with four other men must have been killed instantly ". He is remembered on the Littleborough Cenotaph, Ebenezer Congregational Chapel War Memorial and on the Loos Memorial, France. The Roll of Honour in the Rochdale Observer for 16th February 1918 included sentiments from his sorrowing father and sisters as well as from his sweetheart Helen.


Private James Schofield

James was born in Smallbridge in 1878 and in 1901 he lived with his parents John and Alice at 18 Wuerdle. His father was a Coal Miner and James was a Labourer in a Grease Works .In 1905 James married Alice Ann Allonby and at the time of the 1911 Census, they lived at 81 Church Street, Littleborough with James employed as a Filling Miller. James later lived in Smithy Bridge and worked for Mr Kilpatrick of Smithy Bridge before he enlisted in Rochdale. Private Schofield, 47168, 20th Labour Co, died of pleurisy and measles on 16th January 1918 aged 40 and is buried in grave No VIII C 5A, Wimereux Communal Cemetery, France. He is remembered on St Andrew’s and Wardle War Memorials.


Private Henry (Harry) Garstang

 Henry Garstang was born in Blackburn in 1886 and in 1911 was living with his wife Jemima of 4 years at 13 Moorland St. Both worked as Cotton Weavers and they had a 1 year old son called William. Prior to enlisting in Rochdale he was the secretary of the Littleborough Trades and Labour Council and lived at 1 Spring Gardens (off Morgan Street). On 21st January 1918, 31 year old Private Henry Garstang 34557 of the 1st Bn, Lancashire Fusiliers was killed during normal trench warfare in the Passchendaele area of Belgium, and is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium, the Littleborough Cenotaph and the Holy Trinity War Memorial. The Rochdale Observer for 2nd March 1918 reported that a memorial service was held at Littleborough Parish Church on Sunday Evening in his memory with members of the Littleborough Trades and Labour Council and the Rochdale Weavers Association in attendance. He was previously a member of the local Relief Committee.


 Private William Raw

William was born in Muker, Swaledale in 1881 but by 1911 was living at 7 Higher Shore with his widowed mother and brothers Francis and John. All 3 sons employed as Cotton Weavers. Private 241746 William Raw, “B” Coy 11th Bn Cheshire died on Thursday 31st January 1918 in a hospital in France as a result of wounds and is buried in Grave Number P VI I 10B in the St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France. The St Barnabas Parish Magazine for March 1918 recorded “On Sunday February 18th, a memorial service was held in the parish church for Pte Willie Raw of Higher Shore“. His name is inscribed on the Littleborough Cenotaph and the on Shore Mills War Memorial (where he worked prior to enlisting) and St Barnabas Church War Memorial.


Link to the Soldier who fell in February 1918