Littleborough’s History

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

Senior Reserve Attendant William S Harrison

William was born in Rochdale and having lived at 432 Halifax Road with his mother Ann and siblings in 1901, a year later he married Eleanor Wolstenholme in Rochdale and in 1911 his 2 children Lydia and Mildred. William was active in all branches of work at St John’s. He was a sidesman and before enlisting was also a Caretaker of both the church and the school. William joined the Royal Navy and latterly worked in Aux Sick Berth Reserve at HMS Vivid, Plymouth. Whilst in Plymouth he became seriously ill and didn’t recover. William S Harrison, M26226, RN died from Pneumonia at Plymouth on 5th May 1918 as reported in the Rochdale Observer of 8th May 1918. Three days later, the paper reported on his funeral quoting his address as St Johns Terrace, Smallbridge. It advised that his remains had been brought from Plymouth and were interred in St Andrew’s Cemetery on Thursday afternoon following a service in St John’s. His coffin was draped with the Union Flag. William is buried in Grave T56 at Littleborough Dearnley Cemetery and is remembered on both St John’s and Wardle War Memorial. His wife Eleanor later lived at 469 Halifax Road, Smallbridge.


Private Samuel Bullock

Born around 1885 born in Brotherton, Yorkshire, it is believed that in 1901 Samuel, aged 16 and a woollen bleacher, was known as Samuel Nunn and was living with his step father Robert Nunn and family at 11 Sally St, Calderbrook. When Samuel attested at Rochdale in November 1915, he lived at 5 Paul Road, Littleborough he mentioned his step father Robert Nunn of 87 Todmorden Road and noted that Benjamin Bullock of 191 Whitelees Road, Littleborough as a blood relative. Samuel left Folkestone on 27th July 1916 being wounded on 9th September 1916 being admitted to a Casualty Clearing Station on 10th. Samuel later contracted pneumonia and was sent to England on 26th September 1916. Samuel was later posted to Etaples, France on 8th May 1918 but less than 2 weeks later, 34 year old Private 204156 Samuel Bullock, 15th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers (enlisted Rochdale) was killed in action in France on Tuesday 21st May 1918 whilst attacking a German outpost. Private Bullock is interred in Grave Number VIII O 14 Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez,  France and is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph and on the Roll of Honour and War Memorial of St. James’s (Calderbrook) Church. Subsequently, his possessions were sent from Preston to Mrs E Nunn, his sister Lizzie of 87 Todmorden Road who together with his sorrowing parents, later commemorated him in the Roll of Honour column of the 15th June 1918 issue of the Rochdale Observer.


Private Robert Cryer

Robert born around 1880 and having lived at Lower Top, Calderbrook and 7 Holmes Passage, Summit and in 1901 he lived at 8 Abbanks Cottages, Gale his widowed mother and siblings together with 3 lodgers including John Schofield. Robert married Sarah Ann at Rochdale in 1903 and in 1911 was living at 8 Gale with his wife 3 children Charles; Robert and Alice and lodger John Schofield. Robert later had two further children, Edith and Jack. Robert and family later moved at 6 William Street, Hurstead and prior to enlisting in Rochdale had worked at Rock Nook for Fothergill and Harvey. The Rochdale Observer 29th September 1918 noted that Robert was in hospital suffering from wounds to the left arm and left leg and that he had been successfully operated on – “proceeding nicely”. It added that he had only a few weeks ago Robert had returned to France after recovering from previous wounds. Private 20025 Robert Cryer 19th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers died of wounds received in action in a Military Hospital in Boulogne, France on Sunday 5th May 1918. Robert is buried in Grave Number IX B 43 Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, France and remembered on Holy Trinity Church, St James, Calderbrook and Wardle War Memorials and Littleborough Cenotaph. Family sentiments were published in the Rochdale Observer Roll of Honour column of Saturday the 1st June 1918.


Lance Corporal Ernest Cockcroft

Ernest was born in Halifax in 1887 (4th Qtr) and lived there for many years. However in 1911 Ernest Cockroft lived at 15 Sale Street. Prior to enlisting Ernest was employed as a Weaver at E Clegg & Son, Shore Mills. On the 15th June 1918 it was reported that 23 year old Lance Corporal 241458 Ernest Cockcroft 1/5th Bn  Lancashire Fusiliers, who had been taken prisoner on the 25 March with both legs broken, had died on May 27th May 1918 in a military hospital in Hamelin, Germany and was buried in Niederzwehren Cemetery, Germany Grave Number X C 5, the cemetery made by the Germans for the burial of prisoners of war who died at the local camp called Niederzwehren. Ernest is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph, E Clegg & Son, Shore Mills and Holy Trinity War Memorials. He was the son of Mr John and Mrs Ann Cockcroft 3 Howarth Street.


Private Frederick Bernard Hayes

Frederick was born in Wandsworth, south London in 1892 later living with his widowed mother Annie, his two brothers and a sister at 2 Newlands, West Hoathly, East Grinstead. In 1911 the family had moved to 7 or 17 Sunny Bank, Shore where Frederick was employed as a Cotton Operative Warehouseman. 25 year old Private 217729 Frederick Bernard Hayes 59th Co Labour Corps was killed in action in France on Tuesday 28th May 1918 and is buried in Grave No II C 23 Daours Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France. Private Hayes’s name is also inscribed on St Barnabas Memorial and Littleborough Cenotaph. The St Barnabas Parish Magazine for July 1918 records “We sincerely regret to record the loss of another church worker, Private F Hayes of the Royal Engineers. The sad news of his death in France on May 28th caused great sorrow to all who knew him….. RIP”.


Private Edward Mills Picture

Edward was born in Smallbridge in 1882 and having lived in Wilds Passage with his family for many years by the time of the 1911 census he was living on New Road with his wife Elizabeth Ethel (whom he married in 1904) and their son, Edward Mathew aged 5. Both Edward and his wife were Calico Weavers and Edwards’s parents Edward snr and Alice and brothers Fred and Willie were also living on New Road (No 118). Prior to enlisting in Rochdale during November 1914, Edward Mills worked as a Loom Overlooker at Clegg’s Mill at Shore.  Private E Mills was home over Christmas 1914 and was recorded as being in Southport during 1916. Whilst Private Teddie Mills 9789 of D Co 11th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers had been missing since 27th May 1918 it was in early 1919 before he was finally declared killed in action on 28th May 1918 during a German attack at Sapignies, France. Edward’s name is remembered on Soissons Memorial, France as well as on the Littleborough Cenotaph, Clegg’s Mills and St Andrews and Wardle War Memorials. His wife was later reported as living at 8 White Gates, Halliday Lane, Smithy Bridge and her loss was reported in the St Andrew’s Magazine for June 1919 which have expressed deep sympathy mentioned that includes “He was an old day and Sunday school Scholar and enlisted as a duty. He met the vicar just after he had joined up at the Manor house and said ‘Mr Oakley, have I done right?’