Oldham, St. Mary’s, Panel One


The main memorial for Oldham is in the town centre, on the main shopping street. It was conceived in 1919 after the public raised money to honour the war dead and Albert Toft was commissioned to do the sculpture. It was unveiled in 1923 by General Hamilton and Bishop Temple of Manchester in front of over ten thousand people.

In 2012 and 2013 the memorial was cleaned and repaired ahead of the centenary of the beginning of the Great War. It was rededicated on Remembrance Sunday 2013.

If you know anything about the men below, please get in touch here and let me know. Especially on the blanks.

 

Private JW Abbott, 2nd/5th Battalion, the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
Private Abbott died on the 1st of September 1917 aged 38. He was serving with the 2nd/5th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was the son of Robert and Betty and husband of Mary who lived at Fernleigh, 59 Belgrave Rd in Oldham.

 

Leading Stoker SE Ackroyd, HMS Defence, Royal Navy.
Stephen Ackroyd was serving on HMS Defence during the Battle of Jutland on the 31st of May 1916. His ship spotted a disabled German ship, SMS Wiesbaden and closed in to attack it. A German battlecruiser and four battleships spotted the attack and opened fire. One of the smaller magazines (ammunition stores) was hit and started a raging fire that spread to the larger magazines which exploded and sunk the ship at 6:20 in the evening. All the crew lost their lives.
It was thought that the ship was utterly destroyed, but author Clive Cussler discovered the wreck and found it to be largely intact. In 2001 it was surveyed and classified as a protected site to commemorate the 903 men who died.
Stephen Ackroyd was the son of Stephen and Mary of Brook Lane, Glodwick, Oldham and was married to Alice Maud Ackroyd, of 54 Norbury St, Glodwick, Oldham.

 

C Adams
J Adams
R Adams

 

Private H Addyman, 5th Battalion, the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry.
Private Harry Addyman joined the 5th Battalion of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry in Blackburn. He died on the 9th of April 1917 during the Battle of Arras in the second wave which captured its objectives. The regimental history has this to say about the day he died:

The ground allotted to the battalion was south of Tilloy from a point about half-way between this village and Telegraph Hill to about 300 yards south of the latter. The enemy was caught unawares, in many cases asleep in the dug-outs, consequently a large number of prisoners was taken with their arms and ammunition. In our line of advance there was a very strong work known as “The Harp” on account of its singular shape, but thanks to the accurate bombardment which had preceded the attack, not much of this was left and the battalion had little difficulty in reaching its objective. The second phase of the attack which had been planned was the capture of the village of Wancourt and the line immediately west of the point, but this was not persevered with. A considerable body of our cavalry was concentrated later on in the day near Telegraph Hill, but they were not able to help the situation much for various reasons. The weather on this occasion added much to the difficulty of the troops, there being a series of violent snow­storms. Nevertheless the bearing of all ranks was excellent, and it was good to see the undoubted superiority of our men over the enemy.”

He was married to Mrs S Addyman of 4 Salem Place, Scott St, Oldham and lies in Beaurains Road Cemetery.

 

Officer’s Steward 2nd Class, W Addyman, HMS Good Hope, Royal Navy.
William John Thomas Addyman died on the 1st of November 1914 at ten to eight in the evening. This precision on timing is down to his service aboard HMS Good Hope. It was involved in the Battle of Coronel off the coasty of Chile near to the city of Concepion. The Good Hope lead the attack against a German force and after taking fearsome damage exploded after catching fire which spread and exploded the magazine. It tore the rear of the ship off and it sank taking all the crew with it. The newly formed Royal Canadian Navy suffered its first casualties as four Midshipmen were aboard. William Addyman is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial.

 

Driver F Affleck, 250th Brigade, The Royal Field Artillery.
Driver Affleck served with A Battery of the 250th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery. He was the son of Annie Affleck of Wind Mill Lane Edinburgh. He died on the 24th of July 1919 and is buried in Chadderton Cemetery.

 

Corporal R Affleck, 242nd Company, The Machine Gun Corps.
Richard Affleck served with the 242nd company of the Machine Gun Corps. He died on the 6th of December 1917 and is remembered on the Cambrai memorial. He left behind his wife Maude of 4 Pembroke St, Oldham.

 

Private GG Agar, 1st/8th Battalion, The Manchester Regiment.
George Gill Agar was the son of George and Annie of Whitby and was married to Margaret of Stoke Gabriel. He lies in the churchyard at Stoke Gabriel, after dying of wounds in Lewisham, London. He served with the 1st/8th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment.

 

Private DH Airey, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
David Henry Airey was the son of Frank and Ada and husband to Gertrude Cowper Airey of 139 Shaw St, Oldham.

 

Private J Airey, 15th Battalion, The Tank Corps.
John Airey served with the 15th Battalion of the Tank Corps and died aged 20 on the 27.9.1918. He is buried in Flesquieres Hill cemetery.

 

Private JJ Aldred, 20th Battalion, The Manchester Regiment.
Private JJ Aldred of the 20th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. He was the son of Mrs Aldred of 20 Lytton St Oldham and the husband of Florence of 31 Sholver Lane, Moorside, Oldham.

 

Rifleman WA Aldred, 1st Battalion, The King’s Royal Rifle Corps.
Rifleman Aldred was the son of Mary Haslam of 20 Lytton St, Oldham. He died on the 10th of July 1916 aged 21.

 

JA Alger

 

Private BS Allen, 2nd/7th Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment).
Benjamin Seymour Allen served with B Company. He was the son of Millicent Allen of 18 Dickens St, Moorside, Oldham. He died on the 21.3.18 aged 20 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

 

F Allen
H Allen

 

Private HS Allen, 1st/10th Battalion, The Manchester Regiment.
Henry Seymour Allen was the son of Henry William and Millicent Allen, of Stockport. He was married to Lucy Isabella Allen, of 46 Colwyn St. Westwood, Oldham. He died on the 11th of April 1918 aged 25 and is buried in Wimereux Communal cemetery.

 

J Allen

 

Private TR Allison, 2nd Battalion, The Grenadier Guards.
Private Allison was the son of John Edwin and Elizabeth Allison, of 9 Bowling Street, Hollinwood, Oldham and the husband of Harriet Ann Allison, of 3, Church Lane, Oldham. He died aged 33 on the 27th of May 1918.

 

Private B Alston, 1st/5th Battalion, The East Lancashire Regiment.
Private B Alston was the husband of Mrs. M. E. Alston, of 121, Duckworth St., Darwen.He died on the 12th of January 1918 and is buried in Gorre British and Indian cemetery in France.

 

Private F Alton, 10th Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment).
Frank Herbert Alton died on St Valentine’s Day 1916. He is commemorated on the Menin Gate in Ypres.

 

G Alton
H Alty
GE Ambrose
A Anderson
H Anderson
JW Anderson
R Anderson
RG Anderson
G Anderton

 

Private JC Anderton, 1st/10th Battalion,The Manchester Regiment.
Private John Chadwick Anderton was 24 when he died. He was the son of William and Elizabeth of 245 Rochdale Rd, Oldham.

 

Private RJ Anderton, 2nd Battalion, The Manchester Regiment.
Robert John Anderton was married to Ellen of 6 Florida St, Oldham. He died on the 15th of March 1918 aged 35.

 

H Andrew
J Andrew
SL Andrew
SY Andrew

 

Gunner T Andrew, 117th Battery, 26th Brigade, The Royal Field Artillery.
Gunner T Andrew lies in Cambrai East cemetery after dying on the 6th of November 1918. He was the son of William and Hannah of Oldham and married to Ethel of 20 Tamworth St, Werneth in Oldham.

 

Private WM Andrew, 23rd Battalion,The Manchester Regiment.
Private Andrew died on the 24th of October 1917 aged 29. He lived with his wife at 27 Circular Rd (nowadays Chauncy Rd), New Moston, Manchester.

 

Gunner JE Anson, Royal Garrison Artillery.
Gunner Anson died on New Year’s Eve 1917 fighting in Africa. He is buried in Alexandria (Hadra) cemetery in Egypt.

 

Serjeant G Archbold, 2nd/10th Battalion, The Manchester Regiment.
Serjeant Archbold died on the 15th of September 1917. He lies in Ramscappelle Road cemetery.

 

Lance Corporal R Archer (MM), 24th Battalion, The Manchester Regiment.
Robert Archer was batman to Lt. Col James Chadwick. They both died as a result of the injuries sustained when a German shell exploded close to them. They were building a trench near to Bullecourt when Chadwick took a few men forward for a better appreciation of the lay of the land. They were both laid to rest in Mory L’Abbye cemetery. He was a recipient of the Military Medal.

 

T Arkwright
RW Armitage

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Chesters, Scottish Borders

Chesters (1)

First World War

Sergeant John Brown Balfour, Machine Gun Corps.
John Balfour died on the 21st of July 1918 aged 26. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal which was awarded for “distinguished, gallant and good conduct in the field”. It was the second highest award for gallantry in action after the Victoria Cross.

 

Corporal Frank Bell, 1st/9th Battalion, The Royal Scots.
Frank Bell lived in Lazonby, Cumbria and was the son of Robert and Helen Bell of Newcastleton, Scotland. He died on the 3rd of November 1918 aged 26.

 

Private Andrew Best, 1st/4th Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers.
The son of James and Jane Best of Chesters, he died on the 12th of July 1915 and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial in Turkey which remembers men of the Gallipoli campaign who have no known grave.

 

Lance Corporal Hedley Davidson, 45th Battalion, Australian Infantry.
Hedley Davidson is commemorated on the Menin Gate in Ypres. He died on the 20th of October 1917 aged 27, the son of John and Catherine of Bonchester Bridge, Scotland.

 

Private William Douglas, 2nd Battalion, The Black Watch.
William Douglas was also from Chesters and was the son of Thomas and Agnes Douglas. He died of malaria on the 14th of December 1917 and is buried in the Baghdad War Cemetery, Iraq.

 

Private Adam Maben, 1st Scottish Horse, J Squadron.
Like a high proportion of men from this rural area, Adam Herbertson Maben died at Gallipoli. His unit landed (without horses) at Suvla Bay for the ill-fated attempt to cut the campaign short. He died on the 4th of November 1915, the same day that Lord Kitchener refused to evacuate the army and instead sacked General Monro. Less than two weeks later both decisions had been reversed.

 

Corporal George Paterson, 6th Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers.
George Paterson came from Kelso and lived with his wife, Elizabeth in Bonchester Bridge. He died aged 35 on the 3rd of May 1917 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

 

John Robson-Scott, 1st Lothian and Border Horse.
John Robson-Scott died in Edinburgh aged 20 on the 15th of October 1915. He lies in Southdean Churchyard in a family grave with his parents and two brothers.

 

Second Lieutenant Thomas Scott, 1st Battalion, The Cameronians.
Scott died aged 22 on the 21st of May 1917 and lies in Bucquoy Road Cemetery, France.
Thomas Scott was the son of Thomas and Martha of the Finsbury Park area of London. He was awarded the Military Cross after he rescued two men caught up in a mine explosion. All medals were reported in the London Gazette, and above Scott’s entry is a very famous name of the war:
Scott.PNG

 

Private Andrew Thompson, 1st/4th Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers.
Andrew Thompson died aged 21 on the 12th of July 1915 during the Gallipoli Campaign. His parents lived close to the English border in Camptown, Scotland.

 

Leading Seaman Walter Turner, SS Gambia, Royal Navy.
Walter Turner was serving on the SS Gambia when he died due to illness on the 31st of May 1918. He was from Jedburgh. The SS Gambia survived World War One and was sold to an Italian company in 1933. Under a new name (Leopardi) it was sunk by mines laid by HMS Rorqual a Grampus class submarine. The only example of its class to survive the war it was considered the most successful mine laying sub of the war.

 


Second World War

Flight Lieutenant John Eliott, Royal Canadian Air Force, 9th Squadron RAF.
Flight Lieutenant John Livingston Hopkins Boswell Eliott was born on 24 January 1916 in New York USA, a Canadian citizen. He was the son of Sir Gilbert Alexander Boswell Eliott of Stobs, 10th Baronet and Dora Flournoyonly Hopkins. He graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge with a Bachelor of Arts. He died on 9 May 1942 at age 26, killed in action over Germany and is buried in the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. He was a descendent of the diarist and author James Boswell.

 

Sergeant Thomas Robson-Scott, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 106 Squadron.
Thomas Robson-Scott died on the 12th of December 1941 aged 19. He lived in Lethem before the war and I reckon it’s safe to assume he’s a relative of the Robson-Scott named above who died in the First World War. He was flying a Handley Page Hampden aircraft when it crashed near Oberhausen. He had taken off from RAF Coningsby on a mission to Gelsenkirchen, and is buried with many of his fellow fliers in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery.

Bonchester Bridge, Scottish Borders

Although I said I’d be concentrating on future (and mainly local) sites to begin with, I’ve a few trips from last year to places I’m unlikely to visit again, so thought I’d have a look at those first and avoid the unseasonably cold April weather. My partner and I had slipped away for a romantic week in the Borders and knowing my passion for all things military Nicky was soon pointing out memorials without my prompting. She’s a star.

I’ll begin with Bonchester Bridge and over the next few days look at the others we visited.

 

Bonchester Bridge (1).jpg

At the top of the memorial the inscription reads:

“Erected in honoured memory of the following soldiers from this parish who fell in the Great War”

At the base:

“Do you grieve, O, Reader, that these have gone before and that their graves lie beyond the narrow seas: Do not grieve: your name may perish, theirs will live for ever and ever”

The men of the area commemorated on the memorial are:

First World War

Private James Inglis Anderson, 17th Battalion, The Royal Scots.
Died of pneumonia in Number 3 General Hospital on the 16th of May 1916. More information on the hospital can be found here.

 

Private John Duff Anderson, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).
John Anderson died of wounds in a dressing station on the 26th of March 1918 and is buried in Roye New British Cemetery, on the Somme in France. He worked as a shepherd on the Wolflee Estate two miles to the south of Bonchester before the war and was married to Agnes. They lived on Braidhaugh Farm between Bonchester and Wolflee.

 

Corporal James Baptie, 13th Battalion, The Royal Scots.
James Baptie died on the 30th of March 1918 after being captured and is buried in Sin-le-Noble Cemetery near Douai in France.

 

Private James Bell, 7th Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers.
He died aged 48 on the 7th of March 1916 and is buried in Abbeyville Cemetery on the Somme, France.

 

Private William Bell, 7th Battalion, The Black Watch.
Private Bell died on the 23rd of April 1917 during the Battle of Arras.
william bell.jpg

 

Private David Brockie, 29th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (British Columbia Regiment).
David Brockie died on the 6th of November 1915 and is buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery. On our trip to Ypres in 2006, we stayed in nearby Meteren and spent many evenings in Bailleul.

 

Private John Burnett, 7th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders.
John Burnett died on the 12th of October 1916 during the Battle of the Somme.

 

Private Robert Davidson, 1st/4th (Border) Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers.
Private Davidson died on the 12th of July 1915 at Gallipoli. His name is etched on the Helles Memorial, Turkey.
robert davidson.jpg

 

Lieutenant Alexander Shiels Elliot, 8th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry.
Alexander Elliot was the son of William and Ellen Elliot of Muirglen in Lanark. After surviving Britain’s worst rail disaster, he died just over a month later on the 28th of June 1915 at Gallipoli and like Robert Davidson is commemorated on the Helles Memorial. His brother was the prominent Scottish politician Walter Elliot who was a decorated soldier during the First World War.

 

Private John Gladstone, 50th Battalion, Canadian Infantry.
John Gladstone was from Hartshaugh Mill, Bonchester Bridge and emigrated to Canada in 1914. He was married to Annie and died on the 26th of October 1917 and is commemorated on the Menin Gate on the Somme, France.
john gladstone.jpg

 

Private William Grieve, 1st/4th Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers.
William Grieve was killed in action attacking Turkish trenches at Gallipoli on the 12th of July 1915 aged 19. He’s remembered on the Helles Memorial, Turkey.

 

Private William Smith Heatley, 16th Battalion, Canadian Infantry.
Heatley died on the 16th of August 1917 during the battle for Hill 70 on the outskirts of Ypres and is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial.

 

Private George Jackson, 1st/4th Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers.
George Jackson died in hospital on Malta on the 29th of July 1915 and is buried in Pieta Cemetery, Malta.
george jackson.jpg

 

Private Peter Minto, 1st/4th Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers.
Peter Mito of Bonchester Bridge died on the 12th of July 1915 attacking trenches at Gallipoli. Like others of the area he is commemorated on the Helles Memorial.

 

Private Alexander Ponton, 1st/4th Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers.
Alexander Ponton died in Bonchester Bridge of tuberculosis on the 14th of October 1916. He was buried in Hobkirk churchyard, but his grave has since been lost.

 

Private William James Purvis, 1st Battalion, The Black Watch.
William Purves is commemorated on the Loos Memorial. He died on the 13th of October 1915 aged 24. He and his comrades were attacking the Hoenzollern Redoubt.

 

Private Peter Smith, 51st Battalion, Australian Infantry.
Peter Smith was born in Bonchester Bridge and died aged 33 near Villers-Brettoneux on the 24th of April 1918. The area is famed as the site of the first ever tank battle and is a focal point for Australian commemorations of the war.

 

Captain Charles St.Clair, 1st Battalion, The Seaforth Highlanders.
Captain The Honorable Charles Henry Murray St. Clair to give him his full name and title died aged 36 on the 20th of December 1914 after being shot.
Prior to the war he had served in the Boer War and was then posted to Agra in India.charles st clair.jpg

 

Private George Telfer, 6th Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers.
George Telfer died on the 25th of April 1918 during the German Spring Offensive. He is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial. His brother James also died in the war. See below.

 

Private James Telfer, King’s Own Scottish Borderers.
Before the war James was a gardener at Wolflee. He had three brothers and was born in Hobkirk. He died on the 21st of April 1917 following the Battle of Arras. His brother George died later in the war. See above.
james telfer.jpg

 

Trooper Robert Wilson, 2nd Dragoons, Royal Scots Greys.
Robert Wilson had joined the army in 1904 and served two years. Prior to the war he was a groom for Sir Robert Usher of Wells. He died aged 27 during the 1st Battle of Ypres and is buried in Wytschaete Military Cemetery, Belgium.

 

 

Second World War

Able Seaman James Cairns.
On the night of the 25th and 26th of September 1941 the Lapwing was part of Convoy HG-73 in the Atlantic heading from Lisbon to Glasgow carrying cork and pyrite. The two ships ahead of Lapwing (Petrel & Cortes) were torpedoed. Lapwing halted to take on men abandoning the stricken ships. Later that night HMS Larkspur stopped to help, assuming the stationary Lapwing had also been hit.

 

The attacker U-203, returned to the scene and fired another torpedo at Lapwing hitting it at 6:34am. The ship sunk within three minutes. All but nine of the crew survived along with nine men from Petrel. One man from Cortes survived the sinking but died in the lifeboat before reaching County Galway thirteen days later. The ship had gone down near the Azores, and a Catalina flying boat searched the area finding one man, but the search was called off on the 2nd of October. James Cairns was 26 years old and married to Thomasina Cairns of Jedburgh.

 

Sub Lieutenant Christopher Newburgh-Hutchins, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, Fleet Air Arm, 778 Squadron.
Newburgh-Hutchins was serving on HMS Pretoria Castle testing aircraft landing on the converted merchant ship. He was flying a Fairey Fulmar on the 1st of March 1944 with his observer Sub-Lieutenant J.A. Luke. The plane took off from HMS Pretoria Castle and was attempting to land in snow at RAF Winfield between Berwick and Coldstream when it crashed. He is buried in Fogo Churchyard.

 

Second Lieutenant Robert Primrose, 5th Mahratta Light Infantry.
Robert Primrose was born in Kirkton, Hawick in 1921 to James and Mary Primrose. He died on the 12th of January 1942 and is buried in Karachi War Cemetery, Pakistan.

 

Sapper William Russell, 708th General Construction Company, The Royal Engineers.
William Russell was born in Bonchester Bridge to James and Annie Russell. He died on the 24th of April 1941 in Greece during the German invasion. He is buried near Athens in the Phaleron War Cemetery.

Welcome To My Blog

Welcome to my blog. It will cover the war memorials I visit and the stories of the men and women commemorated on them. I have travelled over the battlefields of Europe and will include a few pictures of these along the way, although primarily it’ll be the places I visit from now on.

I live in Chadderton, Oldham, and come from Moston in Manchester, so the focus will (initially) be on local memorials. I’ll try and find the stories behind the names and give a fuller picture of the life they led and the actions they were involved in.

It’s very much a work in progress, and will probably be quite slow, but I’ll try to get as much research as I can before anything is posted. If you know more to any of the people, please get in touch and I’ll update, delete or remove as necessary.

Thanks for visiting,

 

Kev.