Littleborough’s History



Private William Whitworth

William was born in 1917, the son of Arthur and Nancy Whitworth, of Littleborough, Lancashire. In 1939 his parents were living at 15 Salley St, Calderbrook together with Robert, his elder brother. William attended Redcross St school and was a resident of Rochdale but before enlistment in November 1942,he was employed at Fothergill and Harveys Sladenwood Mill, Summit. Just 2 years after joining the Army, Private Whitworth 14322409, 7/9th Royal Scots was killed on 6th November 1944 in northern Europe  probably during the Battle for Walcheren (Operation Infatuate), a heavily defended island that dominated the entrance to the River Scheldt. William is buried in Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery, Netherlands, grave No 21 A 3 and is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph. His elder brother, Robert was also serving in the army and he survived the war.

Corporal Harold Low (Lowe)

Harold was born on 23rd January 1917, the son of David and Eva Low (nee Crabtree - married in Littleborough in 1911). Prior to enlisting he was the manager of the Painting and Decorating dept of the Littleborough Co-operative Society. It is believed that Harold married Marjorie Howarth in Littleborough early in 1940, presumably before he enlisted in May 1940. 27 year old Corporal Lowe 4460405, 204 Field Coy. Royal Engineers went to France four days after D day but was killed in action in an explosion in a German minefield 14th November 1944.  and is buried in Brunssum War Cemetery, Grave No II 61. He is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph and the Holy Trinity War Memorial. At the time of his death his wife and child lived at 29 Mount Avenue, Littleborough and his parents at  79 Hare Hill Rd. Harold’s widow, Marjorie Low,  married a Isaac Chirlin in Littleborough in 1945.

Fusilier Leonard Pickering

Leonard was born in Canada on 25th December, 1922, the son of John and Florence Louise Pickering, of Fort William (later Port Arthur), Ontario. He met his wife, Nellie Calvert, whilst she was in the ATS and they married in Littleborough early 1943. At the time of his death, Nellie lived at  53 Calder Ave., Littleborough but had already completed arrangements to go and live with Leonard’s parents in Canada. Leonard and Nellie had a daughter Valerie Ann, born in Birch Hill 9th June 1943. After 5 years in the Canadian Army, 22 year old Fusilier Pickering H45746, Princess Louise Fusiliers, Royal Canadian Infantry Corps., died on 15th November 1944 as the result of an accident in a jeep he was driving and is buried at Gradara War Cemetery, Italy, grave number I F 35. Leonard is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph



Sergeant Derrick Keen

Derrick was born in Rochdale on 11th June 1925, the son of George and Ruth Keen, nee Sunderland, who in 1939 lived at 12 Highbank Road, Newhey together with daughter Nora. Before joining the RAF in December 1943, Derrick was employed by United Cooperative Dairies and was a member of No1 Newhey Home Guard. 19 year old Sergeant Keen 983506, 44 Sqdn. RAF was killed on 11th November 1944 when his Lancaster LM 648 returning from a bombing raid collided with another Lancaster over Spilsby Lincolnshire all 14 crew died. The Rochdale Observer dated 22nd November 1944 carried full details of the funeral at Newhey Parish Churchyard (North Plot. Row O. Grave 13) and a memorial service on the following Sunday. Derrick is remembered on Milnrow and St Thomas War Memorials.

Sergeant Jack Crowther

Jack was born on Rochdale on 20th November 1918, the son of William and Emily Crowther nee Smith who together with his brother Alan, lived at 5 Highbank Road, Newhey in 1939. Prior to joining the army in October 1939, Jack was a Boudle Woffer Cotton worker employed by Newhey Spinning Co. and was associated with Newhey Methodist Church and school as well as with Moorhouse Methodist Church school. He married Edith Hallett at Moorhouse Methodist Church on  10th February 1940. They had a daughter, Sylvia J Crowther born in 1943.  26 year old Sergeant Crowther 3451678, 2nd Bn Lancashire Fusiliers was killed on 24th November 1944 and is buried in Santerno Valley War Cemetery, Italy, grave No I A 14. Jack in remembered on Milnrow and St James War Memorials. The Rochdale Observer of 9th December 1944 provides details of how his widow was notified of his death and other important details. His daughter married Barrie Greenwood in 1967.



Private Alfred Clark

Alfred was born on 27th October 1916, the son of Alexander and Beatrice Ann Clark (nee Taylor), of Littleborough, Lancashire. In 1939 his parents were living at 15 Welbeck Ave with his younger sister Freda and all 3 worked in the cotton trade. Alfred, who had married Elsie Hartley in Littleborough on 8th October 1944, was also employed as a Ring Jobber at Clegg’s Shore Mill. Elsie was also a cotton worked and they lived at 10 Turf House, Shore; 15 Welbeck Ave. Alfred joined the army in June 1940 and went abroad in April 1943 28 year old Private Clark 3062900, 2nd Bn Royal Scots was killed in action in Ravenna Italy on 1st December 1944 and is buried in Faenza War Cemetery, grave No VI F 13 and is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph, Holy Trinity and Clegg’s War Memorials. At the time of his death, Alfred and Elsie had a 3 year old daughter called Jean. The Rochdale Observers of 16th and 23rd December 1944 carried details about Alfred as well as sentiments and a thank you from his wife and daughter as well as sentiments from sisters Harriet, Barbara, May and Freda and their families.

Bombardier Rennie Chadwick

Rennie was born in Nelson on 16th June, 1910 and at the time of the 1911 census they family, Arthur (a Grocer) and Maud were living at 28 Camden St, Nelson together with Rennie and Alice Maud Reece, their Domestic Servant. Rennie married  Dorothy Clarke in Durham early in 1932 and in 1939 were registered as living at 47 Newall St. Also living there was Winifred Clarke and child Arthur Clarke (presumably Maud’s sister). Prior to being called up in October 1940,  Rennie was an agent for the Prudential Assurance Co Ltd. Having gone overseas in August 1944 it was less than 4 months that 34 year old Bombardier Chadwick 1635351, 115 H.A.A. Regt.. Royal Artillery, died of wounds on 3rd December 1944 in Holland being buried in Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Netherlands, grave No 15 F5. Rennie is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph

Lance Corporal Thomas Henry Barker

Thomas was born in Littleborough on 21st July 1905, the son Harry and Mary Jane Barker. In 1911 the family lived at 124 Featherstall Road, Littleborough. Lancashire. His father was a Stone Mason for the Council and his mother worked in the Cotton Industry. Thomas married Ruby Brabbin on 23rd April 1930 and at the time of the 1939 Register they lived at 161 Ashwood Villas, Todmorden Rd, Littleborough together with 5 year old daughter Sheila, Thomas’s widowed mother and Ruby’s widowed mother. At the time, Thomas was a Newspaper Compositor. Prior to joining the army mid-1941, Thomas worked for Kemsley Newspapers Ltd, Manchester, attended St Andrews Church and was a member of Littleborough Angling Club. 39 year old Lance Corporal Barker T/283056,  282 Gen. Transport Coy., Royal Army Service Corps was killed in a traffic accident on 8th December 1944 in the village where he was buried. Driver Kavanagh was based in Brussels at the time when an order came through to send a vehicle 300 miles past Paris and during the journey was seriously injured in an accident. Thomas H was buried in Chatellerault Northern Communal Cemetery, France, Military Plot. Row 2. Grave 126 and is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph and St Andrew’s War Memorial.



Whose 75 or 80 years Anniversary occurs in these two months

November 2019 & December 2019