Littleborough’s History

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Private William Arthur Gledhill - Picture


William was born in Littleborough in 1889 and having lived at 1 Back William St by 1911 he lived with his parents Joseph W (a Lamplighter) and Emily and brothers Joseph, Walter and Gladstone and sister Annis. Prior to enlisting in Bury he was assistant secretary of the Durn Baptists and worked at Ealees Mill. 29 year old Private 24440 W. A. Gledhill 11th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers son of Mrs Joseph W. Gledhill, 126 Stubley Brow was killed in action in France on Saturday 2nd November 1918 just 9 days before the Armistice. William is buried in Grave B 55 Pommereuil British Cemetery, Nord, France. William is likely to have been involved in the Battle of the Sambre on a 30 mile front east of Scheldt. The death of Private William Gledhill was a double blow to his mother as Private Joseph Gledhill was killed in action on the 1st July 1916. 19 year old Private Gladstone Gledhill  suffered a compound fracture of the right thigh. Private Gledhill is remembered on the Littleborough (Durn) Baptist Church Memorial now kept in the Library in Littleborough, Littleborough Central School Memorial (now in the History Centre), St Andrew’s War Memorial and on Littleborough Cenotaph.



Private James Griffin

James was born in Littleborough during 1894, the youngest son of Mr John and Mrs Delia Griffin, 4 Leah Street (off Bare Hill St). Both parents originated in Ireland and his father was a gas stoker. However, all of the children, Thomas, Michael (and James) were born in Littleborough. By 1911, his brothers had left home but the family remained at the same address with James being a painter and decorator being employed by Mr W E Peacock, Painter and Decorator. In 1917 he married Catherine Clucas who resided at 4, Moss Grove, Smithy Bridge, Littleborough. 24 year old Private Griffin 17204 enlisted in Rochdale and served with the 2 Bn Coldstream Guards was killed in action on 4th November 1918 just 7 days before the Armistice. The Rochdale Observer of 12th December 1918 reported ‘Killed by a shell’ at Villers Pol. Private Griffin is buried in grave No D 9 in Villers-Pol Communal Cemetery Extension, France and his name is recorded on the Littleborough Cenotaph. His elder brother Michael was killed in action in France on Tuesday 27th November 1917.


Private Clifford Firth

Clifford was born in Littleborough in 1898 and in 1911 he lived at 24 Excelsior Terrace, Smithy Bridge with his parents Nathan (45, a Foremen in a Chemical works) and Betty (43) together with brothers Arthur and Wilfred and sister Lucy (9). Wilfred was an Assistant in a Chemical Works, presumably the same one his father worked in. Clifford, now 13, was still at school. Having enlisted in Bury he served in France but 20 year old Private 20815 Clifford Firth, 2nd Bn Coldstream Guards died on Friday the 8th November 1918, in a military hospital from wounds he had received during the Last Hundred Days Offensive. William was buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France Grave Number XLI4. D. 24. On the family grave of the Firth family in Littleborough (Dearnley) Cemetery is inscribed Clifford Firth who died of wounds in France 8th November 1918 aged 20 years. Clifford’s name was added to Littleborough Cenotaph in 2018.