Littleborough’s History

6 Littleborough Soldiers who died post Armistice during November 1918

Major Frederick Arthur Harold Bealey

Frederick was born in Eccles in 1880 and had moved to Rochdale by 1901. In 1911, Frederick who had married Muriel Godby, the daughter of Mr. Godby, solicitor was still living in South Rochdale. They had a 7 year old daughter, a domestic living-in nurse and servant. When the war broke out Frederick worked with his uncle, Mr W McNaught of Messrs J & W McNaught engineers and machinists, Crawford Street and lived at Bent House, Littleborough. Captain Bealey had served for about 10 years as an officer in the Rochdale Volunteers and Territorials but resigned his commission a few years before the outbreak of the war. In August 1914 he offered his services and was granted his former rank of captain with 2nd/6th Bn, Lancashire Fusiliers. A few months later he was promoted to Major, going on active service in February 1917. Three months before being made a prisoner he was on home leave in Rochdale. On the 17th April 1918 it had been officially confirmed that Major Bealey who had been reported as wounded and missing on 21st March 1918 and it was confirmed he was a prisoner of war in Germany. In a letter to Mrs. Bealey a fellow officer explained that “Major Bealey was wounded in the leg, but not dangerously on the first day of the fighting. His wounds were attended to, but later in the day, he, with a number of other wounded were captured by the Germans……”. Major Bealey’s batman also wrote a letter to the effect that “the major was wounded in four places (by a shell) though not seriously but was unable to walk”. The batmen then said that “he had to leave to deliver a message ….., adding that he “was unable to get back and he afterwards (found) that Major Bealey had been taken prisoner” during the time when he was setting up his headquarters in Templeux Quarries in the front line at Hargicourt. 38 year old Captain Frederick Arthur Harold Bealey, 2nd/6th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers died of Bronchitis in a officers prisoner of war camp in Colberg, Germany on Sunday the 17th November 1918. Major Bealey was buried in Grave Number III. N. 5. Niederzwehren Cemetery, Germany and is remembered on the Littleborough Cenotaph and the Littleborough Conservative Club War Memorial. The Rochdale Observer of 14th December 1918 reported on the sad news of his death received in his home in Deeplish. It mentioned that “he had been in a hospital for Officer Prisoners in Germany. Typical of the man, his letters home were of a cheerful character and as recently as October 27th he wrote that “he was looking forward to coming home”. The Brigadier General of the camp at Bad Colberg in Saxony said he had practically recovered from his wounds but had succumbed on November 17th to bronchitis following influenza”. The Rochdale Observer for 28th December 1918 reported on a memorial service conducted in his memory at St Peter’s Church, Newbold where his connection with the local territorial volunteers was featured. The last post was sounded.

Private Fred Davies

Fred was born in Littleborough in 1893 and according in 1901 Census he lived with his parents William and Elizabeth and his sister Maggie (2) at 1 Brown Bank, Littleborough. His father was employed as a Carter for a coal merchant like 3 of his near neighbours. In 1911 having gained 2 additional children, Bert (5) and Connie (1) and well as his paternal grandmother, a widower, the enlarged family had moved to 4 Brown Bank, Littleborough. Fred was employed as a labourer and his father continued as a carter. Fred enlisted in Birkenhead but was living in Barry Docks, Glamorgan at the time of his death, Private 27108 Fred Davies, 2nd Bn Lancashire Fusiliers died on May 18th November 1918 in a military hospital in Le Treport. Fred is buried in Grave Number VII O IB Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport, France and is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph and on the Oddfellows, Lodge 3397, Roll of Honour – State Section .

Lance Sergeant James Robert Egerton

James was born in Newton Heath in 1899 and lived in the Manchester area for most of his civilian life. He enlisted in Manchester but whilst on home leave, 19 year old Lance Sergeant 16127 J R Egerton 3rd Bn Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment visited his parents, Samuel and Florence Egerton now living at 59 Smithy Bridge Road, Littleborough. Unfortunately, James died of pneumonia on the 19th November 1918 and is buried in the cemetery adjoining St Andrew's Churchyard, a Commonwealth War Graves Commission Headstone over his grave U54. On Sunday 24th November 1918 a memorial service in his honour was held at the Smithy Bridge United Methodist Free Church. As it hasn’t been possible to prove that Lance Sergeant Egerton actually lived at 59 Smithy Bridge Road, Littleborough (as quoted on the Rochdale Times WW1 Casualty Lists), his name has not been added to the additional memorial plaque adjacent to Littleborough Cenotaph so he remains ‘not remembered on a local war memorial’.

Private James Albert Law

The 1901 Census includes Rochdale born James A Law  living in with his father James, a farm labourer with his mother Mary at Cross Stones Farm, Todmorden. By 1911 the family had moved to 15 Longacres, Whitworth and his father was a farmer and James was employed as a Doffer. At the time of enlistment he was employed by the Whitworth Doubling Co. The Rochdale Observer for November 1918 wrote that 20 years old Private Law 308685,  4th Bn The Kings (Liverpool Regiment) died from pneumonia following an attack of influenza in France on 21st November 1918 and is buried in grave No II A 21 at the Caudry British Cemetery, France. Private Law was of Turner Farm, Rakewood, Littleborough. Though there is a James Law on the Littleborough War Memorial it is believed that it remembers the other James Law from Littleborough. Thus James A Law is another soldier ‘not remembered on a local war memorial’ largely because a local connection has not been proved.

Sergeant Lincoln Rothwell

Lincoln was born in Littleborough in 1892 and by 1911 he was living with his parents James and Mary  and elder brother Fred at 57 Hollingworth Road. Lincoln was a motor mechanic, his brother Fred an Electrician Mechanic and his father was a labourer in a factory refining Oil and Tallow. The family later moved to 31 Willow Cottages, Hollingworth Road, Littleborough. 26 year old Sergeant 12499 Mechanic Lincoln Rothwell, Royal Air Force died in Worthorpe Military Hospital, Stamford of pneumonia on May 25th November 1918 and is buried in grave number II. 5. Calderbrook (St James) Churchyard. James is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph. Littleborough Central School War Memorial (now relocated in Littleborough’s History Centre), the Victoria St Wesleyan Chapel War Memorial and also on the family grave in St James Churchyard, the headstone inscribed " TILL WE MEET AGAIN".

Corporal Walter Shore

Walter was born in Littleborough in and in 1891 he lived with his parents John (born in Walsden, a Fulling Miller/Farmer) and Emma Shore (born in Littleborough) and his Littleborough born sister Bessie at Owlet Hall. By 1901 the family had moved to 13 Old Mill, Ealees. Walter was a Woollen, Fulling Miller like his father and Bessie was a Machine Stocking Knitter, Woollen. In 1902 Walter got married possibly to Isabella Edge. The 1911 Census shows the family had moved to 75 Halifax Road but Walter by then wasn’t registered. A report in the 7th November 1918 edition noted that on 30th November 1918, Corporal Walter Shore (Canadian Engineers) died in a Casualty Clearing Station in France of Influenza, Corporal Shore leaving a widow, his father living at 75 Halifax Road, Littleborough. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records a Private W Shore WRR/319455 who died on 29th November 1918 buried at the Grevillers British Cemetery in France. He had served with the Royal Engineers, 222nd Transport Company. However, there is no record of a Walter Shore in the Canadian Army and of him emigrating to Canada. Whilst the information from the local newspaper doesn’t conform to the other records, the link to an Engineering regiment would suggest that it is one and the same person. His name is listed on the Littleborough Cenotaph, the Littleborough Central School Roll of Honour and the Victoria Street Wesleyan Chapel War Memorial, both now located in the History Centre.