Littleborough soldiers who died in December 1918

Date published: 05 December 2018

Driver Walter Travis

Walter was born in Walsden in 1881 but later lived in Victoria Street, Littleborough being associated with Greenhill Primitive Methodist Chapel’s Memorial and Littleborough Central School. However, by 1911 he lived in Scarborough with his wife Alice.

Walter enlisted in March 1917 and one month later departed to East Africa via Durban. Whilst there, he suffered from dysentery and malaria amongst other ailments and was admitted to No 3 General hospital, Beach, Durban where he died from influenza at 3.30 on 13 December 1918. At the time, Driver Travis M/302194 was serving with the Royal Army Service Corps (Mechanical Transport).

Walter is buried in grave No F110, Durban (Stellawood) Cemetery and remembered on the Greenhill Primitive Methodist Chapel’s Memorial and on the Littleborough Central School’s Roll of Honour (now in the History Centre).

His wife Alice received a cable on 13 December 1918 to advise that he was seriously ill. On Tuesday 17 December, she was advised that he had died. The Rochdale Observer for 28 December 1918 included sentiments from his sorrowing wife, mother, sisters and brothers.


Private Thomas Kershaw

Thomas was born in Littleborough in 1887 and in 1891 lived with his parents, Soloman and Esther, and family at 1 Queens Road. In 1901, Thomas was living with his widowed mother and family at 43 Peel Street, Littleborough. Thomas married Maud Dixon in Todmorden in 1908 and in 1911, they lived at 7 Nelson Street with both employed in cotton.

Prior to enlisting in Rochdale, he worked at Sladen Wood. He was a keen sportsman, playing for Littleborough Cricket Club and playing football with the Wesleyan Guild Team. For five years, he was captain of the Woodhall Billiard Team, Littleborough.

31-year-old Private 49246 Thomas T, 17th Battalion Kings Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment), died of pneumonia and septic poisoning on Wednesday 25 December 1918 in Sutton Venry Military Hospital, Wiltshire. He was buried in Grave Number D.54 Littleborough (Dearnley) Cemetery with full Military Honours. Thomas’s name is on the Cenotaph in Littleborough, the Littleborough (Durn) Baptist Church War Memorial and on the Victoria Street Wesleyan Chapel War Memorial.


Frederick Jackson

Frederick was born in Rochdale in 1889. In 1901, he lived with William and Sarah A Crabtree of 22 Molyneux Street as stepson, together with their two-year-old son, Walter. Frederick was a cotton doffer. Sara later moved to Primrose Street and was there in 1919. Before enlisting in 1917, Frederick was employed by W H Heap Ltd, dyers and finishers, Littleborough.

The Rochdale Observer on 1 February 1919 carried a report concerning a Mrs (Sara A) Crabtree of 74 Primrose Street (Spotland), Rochdale and her stepson Private Frederick Jackson. Private Frederick Jackson, 190 Co, Labour Corps, service No 405008 died in a Casualty Clearing Station of pneumonia, following a severe attack of influenza on 20 January 1919.

He was buried in Grave R26 Charleroi Communal Cemetery and is remembered on the Wardle War Memorial.


Private William E. Holt

William was born in Littleborough in 1874 and in 1891 was living at 50 Church Street with his widowed mother Ellen, brother Thomas and uncle, Edwin Lord. By 1901, William a Cotton Weaver was married to Mary and living at 2 back 128 Hare Hill Road with their seven-month-old son, Fred. By 1911, William and Mary and their three children were living at 3 Back James Street.

Prior to enlisting, William worked at Albion Mills, Featherstall, Littleborough’. 46-year-old Private W. E. Holt, Deal/15739 (S) (Dunkerque) Royal Marine Labour Corps died on Friday 31 January 1919 and is buried in Grave Number IV E 19 at Dunkirk Town Cemetery, Nord France being remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph and the Littleborough Central School Memorial (now in the History Centre). His wife later remarried and moved to 3 Back James Street, Stubley.


Lance Corporal Albert Sargeant

Albert was born 25 May 1889 in Salford but by 1901 he appears as the adopted son of Alfred and Agnes Sherratt of 6 Higher Calderbrook.  At some date he emigrated to Canada where he married his wife Margaret.

29-year-old L/Cpl Sargeant 210862 of 98 Bn Canadian Infantry died on 6 May 1919, presumably of wounds or illness and is buried in C of E, St Catherine’s (Victoria Lawn) Cemetery, Canada. Albert is remembered on the St James Church, Calderbrook 1914 – 1918 Roll of Honour but his name is spelt Sergeant. His wife later remarried.


Driver Samuel Ingham Uttley

Samuel, born in Hurstead, Rochdale on 11 September 1892 lived with his widowed mother, Sarah, and siblings at 4 Old Road, Smithybridge, Wuerdle in 1911. Samuel was a clogger's apprentice.

Driver Uttley joined the Royal Field Artillery in mid-1915 and called to see the vicar on the 6 October (per St Andrews Magazine for October 1915).

In the November 1915 magazine, he wrote "I have just started riding now and it feels a bit strange to me... I had a very rough night the other week fetching horses from the station". He married Gladys in September 1918.

Albert contracted pneumonia whilst on leave and died on 27 May 1919. He rests in grave 25 C & D in Dearnley St Andrews Churchyard and is remembered on St Andrews War Memorial.

The St Andrew’s Magazine for July 1919 includes: “With deep regret we record the death on May 27th of Sam Uttley. He had never been the same since he had received a serious injury in France in 1916 which resulted in his discharge from the Army…”


Private Harry Rhodes

Harry was born in Wuerdle, 15 July 1897. In 1901, he was living with his parents Charles (a general farm labourer) and Betty on Old Road, Wuerdle together with his sister and brother. By 1911, the family was living at Wuerdle Farm, with his father still recorded as a farm labourer and Harry as an assistant.

Private Harry Rhodes 41315 of the Yorkshire Regiment was ‘home’ (i.e in the UK) for all of his service, with his records showing him having hospitalisation for 57 days. He was later discharged as ‘No longer fit for service’ on 19 September 1917.

Harry died on 10 July 1919 and is buried in St Andrew’s Churchyard, Grave Number 18 C, his military service duly recognised.


Driver Joseph Uttley

Joseph was born on 31 July 1886 in Walsden. He married Hannah Kershaw in 1906 (4th Qtr) and in 1911, they lived at 4 Wilnes, Littleborough and had two sons – Richard, born 1907 and Walter, 1910 - both born in Littleborough. Joseph was a carter of coal.

Driver Joseph Uttley, I 35260 Royal Army Service Corp was found to be unfit to continue as a soldier so left, receiving a Silver War Badge on 5 April 1919. On leaving the army, he subsequently lived at 4 Rawlinson Street, Littleborough and returned to his old trade but unfortunately, he died from acute endocarditis on 30 July 1919.

Joseph was buried on 2 August 1919, but his death is not recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). Joseph is still remembered on the Littleborough War Memorial and on the Holy Trinity outside memorial.


Lance Corporal Vincent Kershaw

Vincent was born in Littleborough in 1891 and in 1901 and 1911 lived with his parents, William Albert (a warehouseman) and Hannah, and his sisters and brothers at 119 Croft Bank, Calderbrook Road. In 1911, Vincent was employed as a cloth presser.

Lance Corporal T/389576 Vincent Kershaw, H.T. Royal Army Service Corps, died on Sunday 26 October 1919. He is interred in Grave Number L 171 St James’s (Calderbrook) Churchyard and remembered on the Littleborough Cenotaph, Littleborough Central School Memorial (now in the History Centre) and Greenhill Primitive Methodist Chapel War Memorial.


Private Cyril Mills Dawson

Cyril was born in Manchester in 1899. On the 1901 and 1911 census, he lived with his parents Eli (church apparitor/caretaker - born in Littleborough) and his mother Louise (born in Smallbridge) and family at 22 Sherlock Street, Collyhurst, Manchester.

20-year-old Private C M (516244) 836th Co Labour Corps died on Saturday 20 December 1919 and was buried in Grave No 2 M St Andrew’s Churchyard, his military service duly recognised.

The St Andrew’s Magazine for January 1920 recorded: “Many of our older members will deeply sympathise with the sad loss which has fallen Mr Eli Dawson’s family by the sudden death (only 6 months after demobilisation) of Cyril Dawson. Mr Dawson Snr left Dearnley many years ago... but we know Mr Dawson and family have always maintained their affection for Dearnley…”


Private Robert Walter Whaley

Robert was born in Walsden in 1894 and by 1901 was living with his parents, John and Susanna, and six brothers and a sister at Moor Road Farm, where his father was a farmer. Robert’s mother died on 29 May 1907 and the 1911 Census shows the family living at 2 Higher Calderbrook, Littleborough (Charles and Herbert Whittaker, both killed during WW1, lived at this address in 1901). In 1911, Robert’s father was the sexton at St James’ Church in Calderbrook and Robert was a weaver at Sladen Wood Mill.

25-year-old Private Ply/17183 Robert Walter Whaley, Royal Marine Light Infantry, died in England on Thursday 11 March 1920. His body was interred in his mother’s grave, adjoining the south wall of St. James’ Church, Calderbrook, and he is remembered on the churches War Memorial and Roll of Honour.


Lance Bombardier Fred Shore Judson

Fred was born in the Rochdale area in 1897 and lived in Wardle with his parents, William and Elizabeth, and in Smallbridge in 1911, by which time he was employed as a woollen piecer.

Fred attested at Rochdale on 7 February 1916, served in Egypt and was classified as a First-Class Driver on 1 July 1917.

He survived the war, but unfortunately 23-year-old L/Bomb Judson, 85079 of the Royal Garrison Artillery died on 27 June 1920 of wounds or illness and was buried in Grave No C46 at Littleborough Dearnley Cemetery, his military service duly recognised.


Corporal James Evan Crowther

James was born in 1888. In 1901, he lived with his parents Evan (a grocer and butcher) and Martha and 5 sisters at 76 New Road, Dearnley, next to the old Blue Bell pub. James assisted in the shop. By 1911, the family still lived at 76 New Road with James, now employed as a calico printer’s clerk.

James married Annie, possibly in Oldham in 1918, and she was living with his parents at Moorland View, Dearnley, at the time of his death.

Corporal James E Crowther, 8366, served with the Royal Army Pay Corps (8366) and died on 7 October 1920 from illness or wounds and is buried in grave L12 in Dearnley cemetery. Cpl Crowther is included on St Andrew’s Church War Memorial.


Sapper Harry Barker

Harry was born in Bury in 1883 and for a time lived in Castleton. Harry married Mary Jane Greenwood at Rochdale Registry Office on 24 December 1904 and in 1911, they lived with their son, Thomas Henry at 124 Featherstall Road. Harry was a stonemason before enlisting in December 1915 and the family then lived at 54 New Road, Dearnley, Smithy Bridge.

He attested on 11 December 1915 and was mobilised on 7 August 1916. Having served in other regiments, he was subsequently posted to the Royal Engineers.

38-year-old Sapper Barker, 346622 Royal Engineers, died of wounds received during the war on 5 April 1921 and is buried in Grave 24R at Dearnley St Andrew’s Churchyard. Mary Jane later moved to 130 Meraflores Terrace, Stubley Brow, Littleborough.

Harry’s name was added to Littleborough Cenotaph in 2018.


Gunner Robert William Buckley

Robert was born in Manchester in 1877 and lived in the city for some years. He married Alice Sherratt in Bradford, Manchester on 10 October 1896 and they had two children, John and Joseph. By 1901, Robert (a velvet dyer) and Alice were living at 4 Higher Calderbrook and besides their children, there were two lodgers who also worked as velvet dyers. Richard and Alice later had two more children.

Alice unfortunately died on 4 April 1907 and Robert subsequently married Mary Elizabeth Slater from Castleton on 29 August 1908. He had three children with Alice including Annie, Albert and Mary Jane, with the family moving to Rochdale.

Robert enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery as 51453 on 11 November 1914 in Ashton. He was declared unfit for further military service and discharged on 11 April 1915. At the time of his enlistment, his family are recorded as living at 1 Stoney Head, Calderbrook.

Robert’s son, Private 42085 John Alfred Buckley, also enlisted but died of wounds on Tuesday 16 April 1918, aged 20-year-old.

Robert subsequently died on 22 June 1923, but whilst he served in the army, he is not recorded on any known war memorial.

Do you have a story for us?

Let us know by emailing
All contact will be treated in confidence.

To contact the Rochdale Online news desk, email or visit our news submission page.

To get the latest news on your desktop or mobile, follow Rochdale Online on Twitter and Facebook.


Support Rochdale Online

Rochdale Online provides local community news and a local community events diary, as well as local business and community listings. To continue providing these services we are asking for your help and support.

Find out more