Littleborough’s History

Sad to relate but nearly half of all the households suffered from the loss of a loved one during the First World War and one family lost their only two sons. Turf Terrace alone suffered an incredible 3% of around 400 Littleborough men who died during WW1 and its aftermath. During the 2nd World War, fortunately Littleborough’s losses were much less at 128 casualties but 2 houses on Turf Hill alone accounted for 2% of the total. It is interesting to note the many places that families came from presumably looking for work and a better life in Littleborough. The History Society’s researches haven’t revealed whether any relatives still live in the Terrace but their stories are related below by house number.

 3   5   8   10  12   15   17   19   21   22


No 3, one of 2 houses affected by both world wars

Private George Nunn was born in Littleborough on 14th June 1890 and in 1911 he was living with his Aunt, Uncle and nephews at No 3 together with sister Annie and Clara. His two brothers, Nemi and Samuel lived elsewhere. George was a Cotton Weaver at Messrs E. Clegg and Sons, Shore Mills and a member of the Shore Institute. He married Bertha Jackson, at Milnrow Parish Church on 14th November 1914 and later moved to Milnrow. He enlisted in Rochdale on 2nd June 1916 but. 26 year old George serving with the Lancashire Fusiliers was killed in action on May 22nd January 1917. The St Barnabas Parish Magazine for May 1917 reported “Still another death has to be recorded in that of Private George Nunn of Turf Terrace, Shore. Since his marriage he has resided in Milnrow and leaves a young widow and two children (Harry 21, months and Ben only 5 months). His relatives have been connected with Shore for many years …..  much sympathy with the poor young widow and her children. RIP”.

Driver John Dunn(e)

Born in Wigan, John lived with his parents William and Ellen Dunn at No 3, but unfortunately aged only 19 he died 19 whilst serving in Scotland with the Royal Army Service Corp on 8th October 1944. Like George, he worked at Clegg’s Mill and is recorded on their War Memorial and is also on the Cenotaph.


No 5, 2 families lived there at different times

Private Fred Hicks

Fred was born in Shawforth in autumn 1891 and by 1911 his family including brothers Thomas William and Joseph had moved to 3 Lodge Terrace, Littleborough. Prior to enlisting in Rochdale he was employed at Clegg’s Mill and was a member of Shore Primitive Methodist Chapel. By weekending 3rd January 1918 Mrs Hicks now living at No 5 Turf Terrace was informed that her 26 year old son was killed in action on the 20th May 1917 on that date. Fred’s name is on Shore Mills War Memorial, Shore Primitive Methodist Chapel War Memorial as well as on St Barnabas and Littleborough War Memorials.

Private William Lambert

James was born in Bowes, Yorkshire where his father was a Shepherd. By 1911, the family had moved to Higher Shore but William lived at Moor Gate Farm, Shore. William joined up on 16th February and left for France 6 months later but was there for only a month before aged only 19 he was killed in action on May 22nd October 1917. The family were shown as living at No 5. William’s name is on Shore Mills War Memorials, St Barnabas War Memorial and Littleborough Cenotaph.


No 8 Private James Ashworth was born in Bacup 1894 and had later lived in Todmorden. James had served aboard a liner as a steward on a trip to Buenos Aires but later was employed at Clegg’s Shore Mills. Having enlisted and during training 23 year old James died in a Stafford Hospital of pneumonia and a heart attack on Wednesday 27th September 1916. His body was brought to his parents’ home at No 8 on the Friday being buried on the afternoon of Saturday 30th with full military honours in Dearnley cemetery and is remembered on Shore Mills and St Barnabas War Memorials and on Littleborough Cenotaph.


No 10 Rifleman George Richard Hamlet was born in Littleborough in autumn 1892 and by 1911 the family was living No 10. George was (like his father) employed as a Weaver at Clegg’s Mill and was a member of the St Barnabas Co of the Church Lads Brigade. George enlisted in Rochdale in January 1915 and was posted to France in July but just 2 months later 23 year old Rifleman George Richard Hamlet died of fatal wounds on 26th September 1915. His friend, Rifleman T. Gibson wrote to George’s mother informing her of his death and offering his condolences, the letter reading: “I am writing to you under great difficulty, for your son was a great chum of mine, and I am sorry to have to write to you under such circumstances to tell you that George met with the misfortune to be killed on the 26th Inst. I may assure you that I feel very sorry for you in your bereavement, but perhaps it is God’s wish that he should be called. All the time I was with him he was a good companion, and I miss him very much indeed. We always used to share everything, even if it was only half a penny”. George is remembered on Clegg’s War Memorial, Littleborough Central School Memorial and the Cenotaph in Littleborough.


No 12 Brothers Private Lewis and Lance Corporal Clarence William Leach

Lewis, the older brother was born in Littleborough in 1886 and Clarence in 1895; the sons of Stephen & Grace. In 1901, one year after the death of their mother Lewis and 4 other children still lived in No 12 with their widowed father but Clarence had moved out to live with his uncle and aunt in Ripponden. Sadness continued with the death of their sister, Matilda in 1901 aged only 4 years old. By 1911 the family were re-united at No 12, a family of cotton workers most probably at Shore Mills (certainly Lewis and Clarence worked there). Both Lewis and Clarence enlisted into the Lancashire Fusiliers in Rochdale in November 1914 and both went to Gallipoli. Lewis, now 29, was unlucky, he was severely injured during the fighting on 7th August 1915 and was was invalided home to a military hospital in Oxford where he died of septic poisoning and dysentery on Friday 1st October 1915 and Lewis was buried in St James’s Churchyard on Tuesday 5th October with full military honours. Meanwhile, Clarence went through the Dardanelles campaign and after the evacuation of Gallipoli he was transferred to the Western Front. He did not visit England after June 1915. Just over 12 months later, 21 year old Clarence was killed in action in France on Tuesday 26th September 1916. Both sons were remembered in commemorative services at St Barnabas Church as well as being on their war memorial as well as on Clegg’s Mill, Central School and Holy Trinity War Memorials and at the Cenotaph.


No 15 Private Thomas Henry was born in Liverpool in 1896 but had lived at Shore since he was a boy. In 1911 he was living with his uncle Thomas Johnson and cousin Winifred at No 15. Prior to his enlistment in November 1915 he attended St Mary's Roman Catholic Church and was a Twist Weigher at Clegg’s Shore Mills. He joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers at Conway on 11th November 1915 going to the front in April 1916 but by 23rd September 1916, Mr Thomas H Johnson had been officially informed that his nephew and adopted son had died on Friday 15th September 1916 from gunshot wounds. It is thought that he may have had a sister, Catherine (Doherty) who lived in Bradford. Thomas is remembered on Shore Mills and St Barnabas Church War Memorials and also on Littleborough.


No 17 one of 2 houses affected by both world wars

Private Fred Holroyd was born in Littleborough in 1894 and in 1911 with his 5 siblings he lived at No 17. Prior to enlisting in Rochdale he was employed at Clegg’s Shore Mills and was a member of the Shore Primitive Methodist Church. He joined the Lancashire Fusiliers but died of wounds in France on 24th November 1917 in France aged 23. Fred is remembered on their Cleggs Mills and Shore Primitive Methodist Church War Memorials, St Barnabas War Memorial and Littleborough Cenotaph.

Able Seaman Thomas Carter

Local lad, Thomas was born in 1923 and lived at No 17 before joining the Royal Navy when probably only around 14. Unfortunately on the 19th December 1941, his ship, HMS Neptune hit a mine in the Med then hit a further three mines whilst trying to get out of trouble with the loss of all hands bar one survivor. Near 800 men lost their lives. Thomas is remembered on the Cenotaph.

Frank Kershaw was born in Dearnley in 1910, the son of George Albert and Rachel Kershaw.  Frank married Florence Petterson at St Barnabas in late 1935 and joined up but was discharged as unfit for military service 3 months after the declaration of war. Frank then worked as a Vanman for Messrs Clifton’s Bakery for two years but was obliged to give up work and died following a long illness aged 32 whilst living at No 17. He may well have been in Birch Hill as the family thanked the Doctors and Nurses for their kind attention. At his funeral, attendees included Directors & employees of Clifton’s Bakery, employees of the LMS Railway Co as well as The King William at Shore. Perhaps Frank had worked for the railway in Littleborough before the war Frank is remembered on the Cenotaph


No 19 Rifleman Jonathan Partington was born in Littleborough in 1887 and by 1901 the family including sisters Martha E, Sarah E, Elizabeth A, Annie and brother James had moved to No 19. The family later moved to Box Street before 1911. Prior to enlisting in Rochdale in March 1916 Jonathan worked in the making up room of Messrs Heap's West View Mills, Durn. Jonathan went to the front in July 1916 but only 4 months later was confirmed as killed in action on Friday 15th September 1916. Jonathan is remembered on Holy Trinity’s War Memorial and the Cenotaph.


No 21 Private Joseph Scott was born in Walsden in 1885 but by 1901 the family had moved to No 21, parents Samuel and Ann and 5 of the 6 children, Joseph, Walter, Samuel and sisters Mary E and Ruth. Prior to enlisting in Halifax in November 1915 Joseph was employed at the Calderbrook Print Works and was associated with St Barnabas Church in Shore. He went to France in April 1916 but didn’t manage to have any home leave and was killed in action in France on Thursday 3rd May 1917 aged 32. Jonathan is remembered on St. Barnabas War Memorial and the Littleborough Cenotaph. The Todmorden & District News of 2nd August 1918 reporting on his death noted that he was a good all-round sportsman having played football with the Walsden Association Club and cricket with the Littleborough Cricket Club.


No 22 Private Richard Holt was born in Hindley in 1891 and later lived in Bacup until 1910. In 1911, his family parents, John and Eliza and brothers Harold and William and sisters Beatrice. Ann and May lived at No 22. Richard enlisted in Rochdale in November 1914. In May 1915 he returned home from France on leave and married Amy Rhodes in Littleborough Parish Church. He returned to France in September 1915 but during the Battle of the Somme in July 1916 he was badly wounded in the back by a bomb. He was brought back to England but died in a hospital in Guildford; Surrey on Sunday 30th July 1916 aged 25. During the week his body was brought home to his wife at 9 Bare Hill Street and on Tuesday afternoon 3rd August 1916 he was buried in Dearnley Churchyard with full military honour. Richard is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph, Holy Trinity and St Barnabas War Memorials.


TURF TERRACE – SORROW AND GLORY REMEMBERED



Do you live in Turf Terrace? Do you know about its 20th Century’s past? Turf Terrace at the Littleborough end of Shore has only 22 houses but whilst relatively short in length it has played an important, if traumatic role in the History of Littleborough during the 20th Century.