Littleborough’s History

Guardsman Albert Charles Kershaw

Albert was born on 21st Jan 1920, the son of Albert and Bertha Frances Kershaw (nee Stanley) of Rochdale, Lancashire.  He had a sister Brenda born in 1926. At the time the 1939 Register was compiled the family lived at 298 Halifax Road and Albert was a Fletcher Out in the Wallpaper Industry whilst his father was a Hospital and Institution Porter, presumably at Birch Hill. 22 year old Guardsman Kershaw, 2720785, 2nd Bn Irish Guards attached to H.Q. 5th Guards Armoured Brigade served in Normandy where he died of wounds on 1st August 1944 and is buried in Hottot-Les-Bagues War Cemetery, grave No III B 13. The Rochdale Observer dated 12th August 1944 reported on his death whilst the edition of the 19th carried sentiments from his parents at 103 Birch Road, Wardle and his grandparent and many relatives in Rochdale. Albert is remembered on Wardle War memorial.  

Marine William John Clarke

William was born on 21st January 1922, the son of Edwin George and Mary Clarke (nee Baker) and attended Littleborough Central School. In 1939 his elder sister Annie (born in 1909) lived at 6 Lake View with her husband. The Rochdale Observer of 19th August 1944 reported that William lived with his sister, Mrs Annie Maden, was employed by the Lancashire Tanning Co Works in Littleborough and was associated with St Barnabas Church Shore. William joined up during 1941 but nearly 3 years later 22 year old Marine Clarke RME/12057 Royal Marine Engineers drowned in an accident on 9th August 1944 in River Crouch having got into difficulties during bathing from a boat (reported by Chelmsford Chronicle on 18th August 1944). William was buried with at Whitworth Cemetery, grave No 12424 and is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph and Littleborough Central School War Memorial.

Fusilier James Pennington

James was born during 1910 (Qtr 3), the son of James and Anne Pennington, of 56 Royds Street, Rochdale, Lancashire and brother to Annie (b 1918), Elsie, Ernest, Edmund (b 19140 and Oswald (b 1908). James married  Mary Nicholl  in 1931 Qtr 2 and they had 2 children, Raymond and Valerie (b 1940) but at the time of the 1939 Register, his wife,  Mary Pennington was the only recorded resident at The Green, Ash Brook, Wardle whereas his parents and sister Annie and brother Oswald were living at 46 Royds Street, Rochdale. Prior to enlisting in 1940, James was a Butcher at the Bury Abattoirs. 34 year old Fusilier Pennington, 3460962, 11th B Lancashire Fusiliers spent 3 years in Malta but on 10th August 1944 he died in hospital in Malta and is buried in Imtarfa Military Cemetery, Coll. Malta, grave 3 3 7 being remembered  on Wardle War memorial. The Rochdale Observer in recording his death noted that his wife lived at 5 The Green, Greenfield Lane, Smallbridge, Rochdale. The 19th August edition carried sentiments from his wife and children, parents,  brothers and sisters and in-laws.

Ordinary Signalman Eric Snape

Eric was born on 23rd January 1925, son of Fred and May Snape (nee Bamford), married at St Andrews Church in Dearnley. He was one of 5 children with Herbert (b 1915), Amy (b 1918), Gordon (b 1920) and Irene born on 8th May 1921.When the 1939 Register was compiled Eric was absent but his parent and Irene were living at 15 Crossfield Road, Wardle but 5 years later they lived at 32 Birch Road. Prior to joining the navy Eric was associated with St Andrew’s Church, Dearnley and was employed at Messrs J Schofield’s Buckley Mills. 19 year old Ordinary Signalman Snape D/JX 612071, Royal Navy was killed in action on 11th August 1944 when his ship, HMS Albatross was torpedoed by unknown enemy at Courseulles-sur-Mer. Eric is remembered on Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 88, Column 3 as well as St Andrew’s War Memorial



Whose 75 or 80 years Anniversary occurs this month –  July 2019


Trooper Harry Kenworthy

Harry was born in Glossop in 1919 (Qtr 2), the youngest son of Simon and Alice Kenworthy (nee Moss).It appears that Harry had a twin, James, as well as Glossop born siblings Ellen (b1923), Sheila (b1931), Anthony (b1935) and Ruby born in Littleborough in 1943. Before joining the army during 1939, Harry was a member of St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church and was employed by E Clegg and Sons, Shore Mills. He married Mary Kathleen Ridings of Littleborough whilst on leave during early 1943. Unfortunately some 18 months later Trooper Kenworthy 3450588, 3rd Royal Tank Corps, R.A.C. is believed to have been killed on 16th August 1944 in the area of the River Noireau, the bridge having been destroyed and several tanks lost on the 16th. Harry is buried in Tilly-Sur-Seulles War Cemetery, Grave VII D 9, and remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph and Clegg's Shore Mill War Memorial. The Rochdale Observer of 9th September when reporting on Harry noted that his wife was living in her parents’ house at 9 Calder Ave and in a separate report included sentiments from his wife, father and brothers and sisters, in-laws and nieces at 13 Turf Terrace.

Bombardier Roland Wilson

Roland was born in Littleborough on 15th May 1914, the youngest son of Edmund J and Sarah Alice Wilson (nee Lord), of Littleborough, Lancashire. His siblings names are not completely clear but believe include Tom and Alice. In 1939 he was registered as living with his parents at 2 Sun Street, Durn, Littleborough being employed as a Motor Driver, Bread Van. Before joining the army Roland was employed by Whittles Bakery in Littleborough and was a member of Holy Trinity Parish Church being Assistant Scoutmaster of their troop as reported by the Rochdale Observer on 2nd September 1944 when it recorded that his mother was notified of her son’s death. Bombardier Wilson 1597191, 113 (2/5th Bn. The Durham Light Inf.) Lt. A.A. Regt., Royal Artillery, died 16th August 1944 in the area around Caen whilst closing the Falais Gap. He was buried in Banneville-La-Campagne War Cemetery, Grave VI D 23 and is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph and Holy Trinity War Memorial. The Rochdale Observer for 2nd September 1944 and 18th August 1945 carried sentiments from his mother, brother and sister and family and friends.

Corporal Edmund (Eddie) Whatmough

Edmund was born in 1914 (Qtr 2), the son of Edmund and Mary Jane Whatmough (Kershaw), who married in 1907 at Rochdale. Edmund worked at Clegg's Mills in Shore before joining the army in 1933. It isn’t clear where his early service took him but Corporal Whatmough 3446253, 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, Royal Armoured Corps was killed on 29th August 1944 when all 5 crew were shot as they bailed out of their Sherman tank which had been hit by a German bazooka in the village of Etrepagny where they are all buried together. Apparently the tank is still there having been covered over by the farmer with his bulldozer. Edmund is buried in Etrepagny Communal Cemetery, Grave No 3 and is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph and Clegg's Shore Mill War Memorial. The Rochdale Observer of 16th and 23rd September 1944 carried sentiments from his Sisters Nora, Rita, Muriel and brother John as well as brother Lewis and aunt and uncle in Facit. At that time his mother lived at 13 Croft St, Smallbridge. 


Private Gilbert Robinson

Gilbert was born in Rochdale on 27th November 1913, Son of Herbert Robinson and the late Mary Lily Robinson (nee Gilbert) who died in 1926. His siblings were Ethel (b 1918), Harry (b 1921), Fred (b 1924), Dorothy and Jack (1913). The 1939 Register includes most of the family living at 2 Lanebottom, Ogden with Gilbert being a Builders Labourer . Before joining up in 1940, Gilbert was employed by J E Rangeley, building contractors (as reported by the Rochdale Observer on 19th August 1944).  30 year Private Robinson 2989648, 2nd Bn Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders was killed on 6th August 1944 in the thrust between Caumont l'Evente and Vire Normandy and was buried in Sage War Cemetery, grave no 6 B 8 and is remembered on Milnrow and St Thomas War Memorials.

Sergeant Navigator Derek Souter Armstrong

Derek was born in Milnrow on 17th September 1923, the son of Benjamin and Charlotte Ethel Armstrong (nee Greenhalgh) who were married at St James Church in 1921. In 1939 they lived at Kiln Bank on Kiln Lane, Milnrow. Before joining the RAF in 1942 Derek was studying Architecture at Manchester University and was associated with Milnrow Parish Church and Sunday School. He married Lucille M Kulka in Altrincham by Special Licence on 5th April 1944. The Rochdale Observer for 4th August 1945 reported on a letter to his parents from the Air Ministry confirming that whilst Sergeant Navigator Armstrong had been originally reported as missing, he was now presumed to have been killed on 14th August 1944 when Lancaster III ND 613 PM-R crashed over Normandy area with its target being Fontaine-le-Pin. Derek was buried in Banneville-La-Campagne War Cemetery, Coll. grave II. D. 23-25. The Rochdale Observer of 11th August 1945 carried sentiments from his wife living at 128 Watchfield, Sutton Court Road, Chiswick, London. Parents, grandmother and close relatives living in Milnrow.

Able Seaman Leonard Morris Barnes

Leonard was born on 31st January 1922, the son of Son of George Horridge Barnes and Lucy Anne Barnes, of Newhey, Lancashire. He had two younger brothers, Fred M born on 25th December 1913 with Bernard M born on 14th August 1916. After leaving school Leonard took employment with Wardle Mercerising Co who treated cotton threads. However, prior to joining the navy in 1941 he had been working for Messrs Rangeley, Builders Merchants and had been a long time member of Ogden Baptist Church being involved in their Boys Brigade. The Rochdale Observer of 16th September 1944 reported “Twice within the last eight weeks tragedy has befallen the family of Mr & Mrs Barnes. In July, the 2nd son, Fred ……… died of wounds……. and on Wednesday this week they had a message from the Admiralty that ……….Leonard ……. Has been reported missing”. 22 year old Able Seaman Barnes D/JX 304470, died on 21st August 1944 when HMS Kite was hit by two torpedoes from German submarine U-344. Unfortunately, Leonard was not one of the nine survivors. U boat, U-344 was sunk by depth charges the following day.