Littleborough’s History

Private William Robert Sewell

William was born in Consett, Co Durham, in 1878 with the 1881 Census showing the family living in Ebchester where his father Matthew was a Forman Printer. It is understood that the family later lived in South Africa but by 1901 they were back in the UK and William now had 6 brothers and 3 sisters. William married Eliza Lord, spinster in All Saints Church, Hamer on 19th August 1905 and their son Eric was born on 18th Jan 1910. The 1911 Census record William R (34), Eliza (29) and 2 year old Eric living at 81 Clarke St, Rochdale with William employed as a Machine Minder, Print. His service record shows the family living at 1 Mary St, Hurstead. He attested on 23rd November, 1915 but was in reserve until mobilized on 2nd January 1917 in Woolwich. Prior to enlisting in Rochdale Private Sewell was employed by Ormerod Brass, Printers, Blackwater St, Rochdale. 40 year Private 36515 William Robert Sewell, 1/23rd Batt London East Surrey Regiment attached to the Garrison Battalion, Kings Royal Rifle Corps died of wounds on May 23rd June 1918 with his body interred in Grave Number V C 26 at Pernes British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. In the August 1918 issue of St. Andrew’s Parish Magazine there was published “We deeply regret to record that William Robert Sewell (of Hurstead) has been killed whilst working behind the lines by a bomb from an enemy aeroplane in France. The sad news was conveyed to his wife by his captain”. The Rochdale Observer of 10th July 1918 confirmed that report but added ”he was working a few miles behind the firing line”. On a family grave in St. Andrew’s (Dearnley) Churchyard his name is inscribed together with the information that he was killed in France 23rd June 1918, the headstone also giving that his son Eric died 31st July 1923 aged 17. On Saturday the 20th July 1918 under the Roll of Honour column there were sentiments from his sorrowing wife and son Eric, 1 Mary Street Hurstead. Mrs Sewell thanked friends and relatives for kind expressions of sympathy, also the grocers association for their kind letter. Private Sewell’s name is listed on the St Andrew’s War Memorial and on the Wardle War Memorial.

Pioneer Gilbert Uttley,

Gilbert was born in Sowerby Bridge on 7th April 1899 and lived in the town for some years. He subsequently lived in Rochdale being recorded there in 1911. When he joined the army he confirms that he was the son of Mrs. Jackson, of "Duke of York”, Ealees, Littleborough, Lancs and that he had 3 brothers and 3 sisters. He showed his occupation as a Calico Weaver but also as a Flannelette Raiser and it is known that. prior to enlisting he was employed at Messrs W H Heaps Ltd, Durn Mill and was a member of the Littleborough Parish Company of the Church Lads Brigade. On a corner stone of the former Duke of York there is inscribed the name ‘G Uttley’. Having attested on 4th March 1917, he was mobilised on 16th May and posted on 25th May. He was with the BEF from 26th May. On 5th February 1918 has was transferred to RE RT Division and listed as suitable as a Shed Labourer. 19 year old Pioneer 354803 Gilbert Uttley, 312th Road Construction Company, Royal Engineers  was killed in action on Saturday 1st June 1918 in France as a result of shell injuries, his body interred in grave number A29 Montigny Communal Cemetery, Somme, France. Gilbert is remembered on the Holy Trinity War Memorial and on Littleborough Cenotaph. The Rochdale Observer for 6th July 1918 reported that “Pioneer Gilbert Uttley (19) Royal Engineers, the son of Mr and Mrs Jackson of the Duke of York Hotel, Littleborough was killed in action on June 1st. ……”.

Private Albert Edward Hobbs - Picture

Albert was born in Salisbury, Wilts, in 1898 and remained living in Salisbury in 1901. By 1911 the family had moved to Littleborough and were living at 9 Smithy Nook, Littleborough. His father was a coal miner. He had a brother and 2 sisters. Prior to enlisting in Rochdale, he was employed at the Littleborough Dyeing Company. On his Attestation papers dated 24th September 1916, he showed his employment as a ‘Slasher’ Labourer and his address as 2 Salley St, Calderbrook, Littleborough. By weekending Saturday 29th June 1918, his parents, now of 2 Spring Cottage, Calderbrook had been officially informed that their 19 year old son Private 35518. Albert Edward Hobbs, 2nd/4th Bn Yorks and Lancaster Regiment had been killed in action on Wednesday 5th June 1918. Albert was buried in Grave Number XXI C I Bienvillers Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France and is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph and on St. James’s Church (Calderbrook) Roll of Honour and War Memorial. The Roll of Honour in the Rochdale Observer for 29th June 1918 included sentiments from his family.

Private Frank Greenwood Shore

Frank’s was born in 1898 and in 1901 he was living at 36 Fenton Street (in the parish of St Barnabas) with his parents Robert and Mary together with his sister May. By 1911 Frank had 4 sisters and a brother and was living in Oldham where he enlisted.  Frank was wounded twice but 20 year old Private Shore 147242 of 55 Bn Machine Gun Corp, died from gas poisoning on 12th June 1918 at a CCS and is buried in grave No VA 8 Pernes British Cemetery, France. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records confirm he was born in Littleborough and that his parents, Robert and Mary later moved Rochdale. The Roll of Honour column of the Rochdale Observer for 29th June 1918 included sentiments from his wider family. Frank is not recorded on Littleborough War Memorial or other local war memorials..

Private Charles Robert Kay - Picture

Charles was born in Rochdale in 1891 and having lived at Crompton was recorded in 1911 as living at 1 and 3 Smithy Bridge Road, Smithy Bridge. Charles was shown as being employed as an Oiler in Spinning Mill. His father was a Collier. Prior to enlisting in Rochdale, Charles was a Ring Jobber at Shore Mills. 27 year old Private C R Kay, 234525, serving in the 247th Divn Employment Co was killed in action on 17th June 1918 and is buried in Grave No I F 10 Dainville British Cemetery, France. Private Kay is remembered on Clegg’s Mills War Memorial, Shore. The Roll of Honour in the Rochdale Observer of 12th October 1918 included a sentiment from his soldier chum, Harry B Smith (somewhere in France).