Littleborough’s History

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7 Soldiers connected with Littleborough were killed on Thursday 21st March 1918, the first day of the last major offensive by the German Army. Their forces over ran British & Commonwealth lines and caused a general allied retreat over the former Somme battlefields. Within 10 days they had driven allied forces back over 50 miles but subsequent stiffened allied resistance ground the German advance to a halt. The Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France,  relates to the Period 21st March and April when the 5th Army was driven back. The soldiers details are shown below-


Captain Frank Tetlow Deeming

Frank was born in Littleborough in 1893 and 3 years later was living with his parents William and Mary at 1 Prospect View together with his 3 sisters and a brother. His father was shown as a Sanitary Tube Manufacturer with Frank, through his mother, being the grandson of John Tetlow, Sanitary Tube and Firebrick Manufacturer, Punch Bowl Lock, Summit. Later, Frank was a prominent member of the Temple Methodist Chapel in Summit, a member of Littleborough Cricket Club. Frank enlisted whilst engaged in the office of the Gale Print Works in February 1915 (as a private) in the Public School Battalion, he was gazetted in 1916 as a 2nd Lieutenant 3rd Bn Lancashire Fusiliers. In August 1917 he married Miss Gladys Clegg of Frankfort Terrace, Halifax Road.  Weekending Saturday 13th April 1918 it was reported that 25 year old Captain Frank Tetlow Deeming, 12th Batt Northumberland Fusiliers was missing after an engagement on 21st March 1918. Captain Deeming's was presumed killed on 21st March 1918 and his name can be found on Littleborough Cenotaph, Littleborough Central School War Memorial (now relocated in Littleborough’s History Centre) and on the Pozieres Memorial. The Rochdale Observer of 21st September 1918 confirmed that he was now presumed killed. A sentiment was included in the Roll of Honour by his wife Gladys of 24 Halifax Road. The 10th October 1918 edition reported that a memorial service was held in the Temple Summit Wesleyan Church, Summit on Sunday evening.


Private/Signaler Norman Harris

 Born in Littleborough in 1894, Norman was living with his parents William and Elizabeth and 7 siblings at 114 Hare Hill Road in 1901. By 1911 his widowed mother, sister and 3 brothers now lived at 3 Taylor Terrace, Littleborough. Norman was a Pinner in a Flannel Department and prior to enlisting he was employed at the Ealees Dyeing & Finishing Company probably residing at 24 Ealees Road. 24 year old Private 40023 Signaler Norman Harris 10th/11th Bn Highland Light Infantry was killed in action on Thursday 21st March 1918 when Signalman Harris was struck by a shell at Ervillers, France and was killed instantly. Norman is remembered the Arras Memorial, France, Littleborough Cenotaph, Victoria Street Wesleyan War Memorial and on St James’s (Calderbrook) Church, Roll of Honour and War Memorial. He is also remembered on a tablet on a family grave in Littleborough (Dearnley) Cemetery The Rochdale Observer 4th May 1918 included a thank you from Miss Taylor and his relatives for kind letters and sympathy in their sad bereavement. It also included 4 sentiments from his close family including from sweetheart Cilla. In the Roll of Honour of the Saturday 18th May 1918 edition was a memorial to Norman from his brother Harold and sister in law Kate, of Hamilton, Ontario. Later, on 22nd May 1918, the paper reported on the evening service at Littleborough Wesleyan Church on Sunday in memory of Signaler Harris.


Gunner John Sutcliffe Lord

Sutcliffe was born in Smithy Bridge on 19th January 1894 and was baptised at St James, Milnrow on 21st February 1894. In 1901 Sutcliffe lived at 17 Shaftesbury Street, Smithy Bridge with his parents Joshua (a Coal Miner) and Sarah and sister Clara Eliss. By 1911 Sutcliffe had a baby brother Chadwick and his father was still a Hewer of Coal. Sutcliffe was now a Cardroom Hand. 24 year old Gunner Lord (190568) of "A" Bty., 88th Bde Royal Field Artillery was killed in action on 21st March, 1918 and is remembered on the Arras memorial and on the Milnrow War Memorial as well as on the memorial in St James churchyard. According to the Rochdale Times, he was from Annis Hill Farm, Milnrow.


Second Lieutenant Edward Blackburn

 Edward was born in Milnrow on 12th July 1895 and appears to have lived there most of his life. He attended Rochdale Secondary School and is listed on the Roll of Honour of Balderstone Tech. Before enlisting in September 1914 Edward was a playing member of the Milnrow Cricket Club and was employed in the Oldham Branch of the London City and Midland Bank. A report in the Rochdale Observer of 28th April 1917 included “Co Sgt Major Edward Blackburn, the only son of Mr and Mrs Alfred Blackburn of Holly Bank, Milnrow, is now home on a month’s leave. He has been recommended for a Commission and he will go to cadet school for instructions. He was made Sergeant in June 1915 and sent to France in the following October. With the exception of a short leave he has been there ever since. In October 1916 he became company Sergeant Major. He has seen some severe fighting”. He was subsequently Gazetted in April 1917. 22 year old Second Lt Blackburn, 3 Bn (attd. 2/7 Bn) Manchester Regiment was killed in action in France on 21st March 1918 when the Manchester regiment confronted the German advance around Manchester Hill west of St Quentin. Edward’s name is recorded on the Pozieres Memorial. The Rochdale Times of 13th April 1918 reported that his family had received a letter from Private R Church who stated “If it is any consolation for you to know, Mr Blackburn was a good officer and did his duty to the last”. Later, the 17th April edition reported on a Memorial service in the Parish Church on Sunday Morning. Although Edward lived in Milnrow he must at some time have attended the Littleborough Central School as his name is recorded on their Roll of Honour. His name is included on the War Memorial in Milnrow Park and there is a family memorial in St James’s Parish Church, Milnrow,


On 21st March 2018 Privates Kay and Howarth were in support at Templeux-le Guerard. “At about 09:00 hrs the German swarms reached the support position and attacked the 6th and 2/7th in front of the quarries close to Templeux-le Guerard. Two hours later, the enemy had captured the whole of the forward and support lines”


Private Arthur Edward Powell

Arthur Edward was born in Bradford, Manchester in 1881 but by 1911 had married and moved to 14 Bare Hill St, Littleborough where he lived with his wife Beatrice, daughter Alice’s as well as an aunt and a cousin. He was employed as a ‘Carter for Sweets’. Having lost a personal appeal for exemption of service, he enlisted in Rochdale in July 1917. The Rochdale Observer for 8th December 1917 advised that he had been on active service for 6 weeks when he was wounded. His address was at 5 Whittle Street, Featherstall. 38 years old Private 30515, Arthur Edward Powell, 2nd/6th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers was killed in action on Thursday the 21 March 1918 and is remembered on the Pozieres Memorial and on the Littleborough Cenotaph. There is an A Powell listed on Dearnley Wesleyan Methodist War memorial.


Private Leonard Howarth

Leonard was born in Littleborough in 1898 but in 1901 when his parents George Robert (Cotton Spinner) and Annie (Cotton Weaver) lived at 131 Whitelees Rd Leonard appears to have been with his Aunt when the census was taken. In 1911, the family were living together at 110 Calderbrook Road. His father remained a Cotton Spinner and Leonard was a warehouse lad. Prior to enlisting in Rochdale he was employed by the Littleborough Co-operative Society of Industry Ltd. 20 year old Private 281918 Leonard Howarth 2nd/7th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers was killed in action in France on Thursday 21st March 2018... Norman is remembered on Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France, Littleborough Cenotaph, Greenhill Primitive Methodist's War Memorial and the family grave in St James Churchyard.


Private Richard Kay

Richard was born in Littleborough in 1894 and 3 years later was living with his parents William (Brickworks Labourer) and Mary E and his younger brother and sister at 1 homer Terrace.. There were also two boarders in the house. By 1911 the family (including another sister and a boarder) had moved to 1 Bk Featherstall Road with his father a mill hand Piecer and Richard a Cotton Doffer. 24 year old, Private Richard Kay, 202469, 2nd/7th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers was reported missing on Thursday 21st March 1918 but it was later reported that he had been killed in action on that date (Rochdale Observer 22nd June 1918). Richard is remembered on the Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France and on Littleborough Cenotaph.



Link to the first ATS Girl to be killed in action during WW2

Private Harvey Butterworth - See Family Story on the page

Harvey Butterworth was born Littleborough in 1896 and having lived at 15 Newall St by 1911 the family, parents Robert (General Labourer in the Cotton Trade) and Emily together with their 4 sons had moved to 38 Elim Terrace. Prior to enlisting in Rochdale he worked at Fothergill and Harvey’s Sladen Wood Mill and attended the Temple Methodist Chapel, Summit. 21 year old Private 18849 Harvey Butterworth, 7th Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (enlisted Rochdale) was killed in action in France On Thursday 28th March 1918. Harvey is remembered on the Arras Memorial, France, the Oddfellows, Lodge 3397, Roll of Honour – State Section and like his 2 brothers is also listed on Littleborough Cenotaph and the Littleborough Central School Memorial. This triple loss gave Mr and Mrs Butterworth the unfortunate distinction of being the only known Littleborough parents to lose three sons.


Private Ernest Hargreaves Rigg

Although born in Littleborough in 1898 he later lived in Barnsley. By 1911, the family including parents John Ratcliffe (a Machineman) Alice Ann, their children had returned to 23 Railway Street, Littleborough .Ernest worked part-time in a Warehouse. Prior to enlisting in Rochdale Ernest was employed by The Eagle Raising & Dyeing Co Smallbridge, attended Littleborough Parish Church and was an old member of the Church Lads Brigade. He was also a member of the Littleborough Conservative Club. The Rochdale Observer for 23rd August 1917 reported he had been wounded. Prior to 24th April 1918 Mr & Mrs Rigg, now at 17 Todmorden Road had received a letter from an army chaplain informing them that their 20 year old son, Private G/ 42970, Ernest H. Rigg, Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment) 2nd Bn who had been reported missing since 4th April 1918 was presumed to have been killed on that date although it must have subsequently been revised that he died on Thursday 28th March 1918 aged 19. He was the son of Alice Ann Rigg, of Springmill Walk Smallbridge and the Late John Ratcliffe Rigg. Private Rigg was a work mate of Corporal John Wroe Miller, who was killed in action 10th April 1917. Ernest is remembered on Pozieres Memorial, Littleborough Cenotaph, Littleborough Central School Memorial, Littleborough Conservative Club War Memorial and the Holy Trinity Church War Memorial. The Roll of Honour of the Rochdale Observer for 4th May 1918 included 12 sentiments from family, relatives and friends.





Lance Corporal Walter Schofield

Walter was born in Salford in 1898 and 3 years later was living at 5 Finance St, Dearnley with his parents James (a Bricklayer) & Sarah Ann. By 1911 Walter and his family were living at 70 James Street with his younger sister Maud. Walter was employed in a warehouse and his father was a builder’s labourer. He attested at Rochdale showing his address as 82 James Street and his employment as a ‘Packer’ working in Messrs Crossley’s Mineral Water Works in Littleborough. He commenced on 5th May 1915 and after training joined his field unit on the 14th December 1916. He was gassed and went into 64 Casualty Clearance Station on 14th July 1917. He later entered 12 CCS on the 27th July and following another ‘casualty’ on 5th August was transferred to England. He subsequently left UK on 13th February 1918 and was in the field by 20th.  On Wednesday 1st May 1918 his parents, now at 82 James Street, Dearnley, were informed that their 20 year old son Lance Corporal 203790 Walter Schofield, 1st/5th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers, had been killed in action on May 25th March 1918 when his Battalion came under a German attack on their lines, Longeast Wood, Savignies Ridge and Gommecourt Ridge. Corporal Schofield’s officer, Captain Hunt, wrote expressing “The sincere sympathy of the whole company” adding “He was shot through the heart by a sniper and died instantaneously, “We had all got to know and like him very much. He was a splendid type of young N.C.O. and very popular in the company”. The St Andrew's Magazine May 1918 included “We hear with much sorrow that Lance Corporal Walter Schofield was killed in France on March 25th 1918…… Our deepest sympathy to those who loved him ............”. Walter is remembered on the Arras Memorial, France, St Andrew's War Memorial and Memorial Card and Littleborough Cenotaph. The Rochdale Observer for 8th May 1918 reported on an impressive Memorial Service held at St Andrew’s Church. The Rochdale Observer on 3rd August 1918 noted St Andrew’s Church would tomorrow hold a Guild Anniversary service including a Memorial service for those Guild members who had fallen in the 4th year of the war. The Roll of Honour of the Rochdale Observer for 4th May 1918 included sentiments from his parents, sister, sweetheart and friend Harry Salt (France).

Private Fred Playford

Fred was born in Littleborough in 1891 4th Qtr and lived at 49 Rock Nook with his parents Walter (27 – Labourer from Docking, Norfolk) and Elizabeth (26 from South Africa – Cape of Good Hope British Subject). By 1901 the family had moved down to 6 Gale and his father was a Dyers Labourer (Velvet) and his mother a Furrier. Come 1911 the family had moved again to 7 Box Street and his father had changed occupation to become a Briquette Labourer (Bricklayer). His mother was a Furrier and Leather Dresser - whilst Fred was a Labourer – Cotton Dyer. Fred Married Beatrice Lord in 1917 4th Qtr. Fred enlisted in the army in Rochdale but unfortunately 27 year old Private Fred Playford, 21643, 8th Bn Kings Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) was killed in action on 27th March 1918 and is remembered on the Arras Memorial. CWGC notes son of Walter and Lizzie Playford of 6 Low Hill, Smallbridge, husband of Beatrice Playford of 5 Mill Gate, Rochdale. The Rochdale Observer on 13th April 1918 confirmed his parents and other details but added that he worked at Mitchell Hey Mills. In the Roll of Honour in the same edition Fred parents and his wife included sentiments for him and also thanked relatives, friends and neighbours for kind sympathy; 6 Low Hill. The 17th April 1918 edition reported upon a Memorial Service – “On Sunday evening Rev A F Gaskell conducted special service in the Littleborough Parish Church in memory of Private F Playford, formerly of Littleborough and latterly of Wardle Road. He was a past day and Sunday scholar of the Parish Church and chorister at the church. As one of the original members of the Church Lads Brigade in the parish he helped greatly in the formation of the corps”. Private Fred Playford is remembered on the Holy Trinity War Memorial.





Private Cyril Hurst Crabtree

Cyril was born in Littleborough in 1897 and having lived at 8 Spencer Street with his parents Edwin and  Fanny Crabtree, by 1911 they had moved into 160 Whitelees Road, Littleborough and Cyril was employed as a Ring Frame Doffer. Prior to enlisting he worked for Messrs Foxcroft, Featherstall. The Rochdale Observer for 11th May 1918 advised that he had been reported missing from March 22nd 1918. The Rochdale Observer of the 1st June confirmed him missing. At that time, his parents lived at 9 Warley Street. 24 year old Private 34011 Cyril Hurst Crabtree, 8th Bn Leicestershire Regiment, was KILLED IN ACTION in France on Friday the 22nd March 1918. Cyril is remembered on the Pozieres Memorial, the Holy Trinity and Conservative Club War Memorials and Littleborough Cenotaph as well as on a headstone in St James’s Churchyard.


Private Tom Jackson

Tom was born in Littleborough in 1880, the son of Mr William and Mrs Alice Jackson. At the time of the 1881 Census he is recorded as living at Lane Side with his grandparents John (a Warp Sizer Woollen) and Sarah Jackson and their son William (a spinner Woollen) and Grand Daughter Lucy. His father William was a widower. In 1911 Tom and his wife Betty were living at 4 Birch Road, Wardle together with their 7 year old daughter Alice Hannah. Tom was a labourer and worked for Wardle council for 18 years before enlisting in Rochdale. 37 year old Private 34022 Tom Jackson, 6th Bn Leicester Regiment, formerly 12770 Lancashire Fusiliers was killed in action in France on Friday 22nd March 1918. The Rochdale Observer on 3rd August 1918 noted that tomorrow St Andrew’s Church would hold a Guild Anniversary service including a Memorial service for those Guild members who had fallen in the 4th year of the war. The Rochdale Observer for 27th April 1918 included thanks for expressions of and sentiments from his wife and daughter. The 1st May 1918 edition reported on a Memorial Service held on Sunday eve in St John’s church, Smallbridge. Tom is remembered on the Pozieres Memorial, St Andrew’s Memorial Card and War Memorial, St John’s, Smallbridge and Wardle War Memorials.



Private Stanley Bamford

 Stanley was born in Wardle in 1898 and lived at 4 Bk Chapel Street, Wardle with his parents Abraham (a Cotton Weaver) and Fanny. By 1911 Stanley had left school and was recorded as employed in a Cotton Warehouse. Prior to enlisting in Rochdale Stanley worked at Clegg’s Shore Mills, he was both teacher and Secretary of the Watergrove United Methodist Sunday School and Secretary of the Wardle Cricket Club. The family later lived in Henry Street, Wardle. 20 year old Private Bamford 242683, 2/5th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers was killed on 4th March 1918 by the bursting of shell whilst in the trenches at Givenchy. He is buried in grave No V D 24 at Gorre British and Indian Cemetery, France and remembered on Clegg’s Mill and Wardle War Memorials. The Rochdale Observer of 20th April 1918 reported on a Memorial Service held on Sunday Evening in the Watergrove United Methodist Church in his memory

Rifleman Frank Parry Kay – Small picture – part of group

 Frank was born in Littleborough in 1893 and having lived at 8 Wellington Terrace by 1911 Frank and his parents William and Ada were living at 4 Wellington Street. Prior to enlisting in Bury in November 1918, Frank was employed as a clerk at Messrs Kershaw's, Sladen Mill. Frank was a lifelong member of the Littleborough Cricket Club and was a member of the Littleborough Conservative Club. He also attended Littleborough Parish Church. He may also have been a member of their Church Lads Brigade. Having trained to become a Lewis Gunner, he was posted to France on 16th November 1915 and was later recorded as Lance Corporal on 8th January 1917. Rifleman Kay was injured and returned to England in May 1917 and six weeks prior to his death he had been on leave at his home (Son of Ada Kay and the late William Kay) on account of again being wounded. He was then posted to the BEF in France on 9th February 1918 but 25 year old Rifleman C/1032 Frank Parry Kay, 16th Batt Kings Royal Rifle Corps. (Formerly TR/13/78280 112th TR Batt) was killed in action on Tuesday 12th March 1918 having served for 3 years 123 days. Frank is remembered on the Holy Trinity War Memorial, the Oddfellows, Lodge 3397, Roll of Honour – State Section, the Littleborough Conservative Club, Littleborough Cenotaph and on the Tyne Cot memorial, Belgium.