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Soldiers who died 75 or 80 years ago during World War Two

Date published: 05 February 2019


Volunteers at Littleborough History Centre have been researching the service personnel from the Pennine districts of Rochdale (Littleborough, Milnrow, Newhey, Smallbridge and Wardle) who died during World War Two.

This list is of men who died in February 1939 and February 1944.

Lieutenant Fred Wallwork

Fred was born on 10 July 1919, registered in Rochdale and was the youngest son of Herbert Taylor and Edith Wallwork (nee Sutcliffe) who married in 1908.

Their other son, Eric, was also registered in Rochdale in 1917. As a child Fred attended the Central School in Littleborough. In 1939 Fred lived with his parents and maternal grandfather, Fred Scoteliffe at 8 Furness Avenue, Littleborough and was employed as an Under Carder in a Spinning Mill, classed as hard work and prior to enlisting was employed at Clegg’s Mill, Shore.

Fred joined the Manchester Regiment being commissioned to the rank of Lieutenant (278684) but unfortunately, he was killed in action aged 24 on 9 February 1944 on the Anzio Beachhead and is buried in Anzio War Cemetery, grave II, F, 1.

Fred is remembered on Clegg’s War Memorial in Shore, Littleborough Cenotaph and the Central School War Memorial (now in the History Centre). His parents later lived in Shore, Lancashire.

Lance Bombardier Harry Kershaw

Harry’s birth was born registered in Rochdale in 1920 to parents of George Albert and Rachel Kershaw (nee Burrill). They were married in March 1910 and may well have had a total of 7 children.

By 1939 George had left home but his parents and younger brother George, (born on 7 May 1927), were recorded living at 9 Cote Lane, Shore. Both parents were Cotton Operatives.

Harry was a Lance Bombardier in the Royal Artillery, but the Army Roll of Honour quotes him as a Trooper in the Lancashire Fusiliers, Royal Tank Regiment RAC.

Harry served in Italy but unfortunately when only 23, L/Bombardier H Kershaw, 3448789, 11th Field Regt., was killed on 18 February 1944 when Cassino saw some of the fiercest fighting of the Italian campaign, the town itself and the dominating Monastery Hill proving the most stubborn obstacles encountered in the allied advance towards Rome.

Harry was buried in Cassino War Cemetery I C 7 and is remembered on Littleborough Cemetery. His parents were later still shown as living in Shore, Littleborough.

Guardsman Harold Yeoman Taylor

Harold was born in the Rochdale District during 1923, the son of Mr Maurice Charles (died 1963) and Mrs. Dorothy Taylor (nee Croft), of 78 Buckley Lane, Smallbridge, Rochdale.

Maurice and Doris had married in All Saints Hamer September 1921.

Prior to joining the Army in June 1942, Harold was an apprentice at the Railway Works of Thomas Robinson and was associated Spring Mill Walk Methodist School.

Harold served in the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards but when aged 20, Guardsman Taylor, 14220910 was killed on 23 February 1944 during the Anzio landings around the village of Carroceto and is buried in Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio, grave XVIII. C. 9.

However, it was not until 23 December 1944 that the Rochdale Observer reported that his parents living at 78 Buckley Lane had received official intimation that Harold, previously reported missing, had been killed on the Anzio Beachhead.

The report noted that his brother was also in the Irish Guards. The Rochdale Observer for 24 February 1945 included commemorations from his sister Marjorie and Edgar, his sweetheart Marjorie and other relatives whilst the 14 April 1945 edition reported that 19-year-old Edgar was missing and that he also worked at the Railway Works and was associated with Spring Mill Walk Methodists.

This report also mentioned Harold’s death. It would appear that Edgar survived the war as he is not listed in the CWGC database. Harold is not recorded on any known and researched Local War Memorial.

Fusilier Arnold Entwistle

Arnold was born in Bolton on the 29 January 1919, the son of John and Annie Entwistle. Arnold attended Central Scholl in Littleborough which suggests that the family may have initially lived in Littleborough. However, at the time the 1939 Register was compiled, they (including William Cushion (Entwistle)) lived at 604 Halifax Road, Wardle with Arnold being employed as a Loader, Motors.

Prior to joining the Army shortly after the outbreak of war, Arnold was employed by Messrs Carrington and Dewhurst and was associated with St John’s Church, Smallbridge. Arnold married Amy Buckley in Littleborough on 22 June 1940 but it isn’t clear if that was before or after he enlisted.

Fusilier Entwistle 3451704 Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), aged 25, was killed in action on 24 February 1944 whilst on service in the Mediterranean Area, presumably the Anzio landings and was buried in the Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio, grave I F 9.

Arnold is remembered on the Central School War Memorial (now in the History Centre) and St John’s War Memorial. The Rochdale Observer of 1 April 1944 in reporting his death also advised that Amy, his wife, lived at 600 Halifax Rd but it is possible she later lived wither in-laws at No 604.

Private Roland Fitton

Roland was born in Rochdale on 31 March 1908, the Son of John (34 Joiner) and Emily (34) Fitton. In 1911 the family lived at 101 Louise St, Smallbridge, Rochdale and besides Roland, his widowed aunt Mary also lived in the house.

Roland married Constance Moreland in Littleborough on 11 December 1937 (FreeBMD shows 1939) and lived at 103 Louise Grove being occupied as a joiner, like his father.

Prior to enlisting Roland worked for Messrs T Wilkinson and Sons, joiners based in Rochdale and was associated with St John’s Parish Church. Roland’s father meanwhile was employed by Messrs T Fitton and Sons, joiners, Smallbridge. 

36-year-old Private Fitton, 14616454, 6th Bn Gordon Highlanders died of wounds on 29 February 1944 whilst on service in the Mediterranean Area, presumably the Anzio landings and is buried in Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio, grave VI A 10.

Roland is remembered on St John’s War Memorial. The Rochdale Observer of 25 March 1944 noted that his wife, Constance resided at 101 Louise Street and that Roland was in the East Lancashire Regiment although other records show Gordon Highlanders. Constance placed a commemoration in that edition which records daddy of Jean.

Casualties of the Second World War who were residents of Milnrow and Newhey whose 75th or 80th Anniversary occurs in February 2019. 

Flight Sergeant Frank Mitchell

Frank was born in Rochdale on 3 July 1922 to parents Arthur and Elsie Mitchell, of Newhey. Frank had attended Ogden Endowed School, Ogden Baptist Church and was a member of the Boys Brigade.

Prior to joining the RAF in September 1941, he was employed by Oldham Council Waterworks at Piethorn. As reported in the Rochdale Observer for 12 February 1944, Frank went to America for training and received his wings there on 22 January 1943.

21-year-old Flight Sergeant Frank Mitchell, 1437972, 10 R S (Radio School), RAF was killed on 7 February 1944 when his Oxford I LX 739 of 10 RS dived into the ground near Narbeath whilst flying in cloud. Also killed were Sergeant (W/Op) Stanley Hewitt and Sergeant (W/Op/Air Gunner) James Thomas Horey. Frank was brought back to New Hey where his parents lived at 3 Spring Mill being buried in grave 1019 In Ogden Baptist Chapelyard.

Full details of his burial on the previous Saturday afternoon were reported in the Rochdale Observer of 16 February 1944. Colleagues from Oldham Waterworks acted as pall bearers and members of the RAF together with family and friends were in attendance.

Flight Sergeant Frank Mitchell

Frank was born in Rochdale on 3 July 1922 to parents Arthur and Elsie Mitchell, of Newhey. Frank had attended Ogden Endowed School, Ogden Baptist Church and was a member of the Boys Brigade.

Prior to joining the RAF in September 1941, he was employed by Oldham Council Waterworks at Piethorn. As reported in the Rochdale Observer for 12 February 1944, Frank went to America for training and received his wings there on 22 January 1943.

21-year-old Flight Sergeant Frank Mitchell, 1437972, 10 R S (Radio School), RAF was killed on 7 February 1944 when his Oxford I LX 739 of 10 RS dived into the ground near Narbeath whilst flying in cloud.

Also killed were Sergeant (W/Op) Stanley Hewitt and Sergeant (W/Op/Air Gunner) James Thomas Horey.

Frank was brought back to Newhey where his parents lived at 3 Spring Mill being buried in grave 1019 In Ogden Baptist Chapel yard.

Full details of his burial on the previous Saturday afternoon were reported in the Rochdale Observer of 16 February 1944. Colleagues from Oldham Waterworks acted as pall bearers and members of the RAF together with family and friends were in attendance.

Guardsman Jack Whitehead

Jack was born in Rochdale on 11 January 1920 to parents Frank and Mary Whitehead (nee Crossley), of Roughbank Cottage Newhey. Jack had a twin sister, Elsie as well as an older brother Thomas (born 1917).

In 1939, aged 19, Jack worked as a Bobbin Carrier in a Cotton Mill whilst his father was a House Painter. Jack was associated with Ogden Baptist Church and before enlistment in March 1940 was employed at the Coral Mill, Newhey.

24-year-old Guardsman J Whitehead 2697699, 1st Bn Scots Guards was killed in action on 11 February 1944 whilst on service in the Mediterranean Area, presumably the Anzio landings and was buried in the Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio, grave XXI D 9.

John is remembered on the Milnrow War Memorial. The Rochdale Observer reported on his parents being officially informed of his death and also that Ogden Baptist Church would have a Memorial Service for Jack on Good Friday afternoon. The 10 February 1945 edition carried commemorations from the family including from his parents who were then living at 211 Huddersfield Road, Newhey.

In their ‘In Memorial’ they added “Also his twin sister Elsie and pal Norman, killed at Salerno. His sister-in-law Bette and Brother Tom (in Italy), also from sister Jeanne born 1928 and Harry in 1922 as well as from Grandma and Grandad and Fred also included their thoughts. Records suggest another brother Geoffrey born 1919.

Corporal John Aiden Raynford Pinder

John was born in Rochdale on 16 February 1916, the son of Edward Raynford Pinder and Norah Pinder (nee Regan) of Belfield. John attended Baillie Street School and before moving south worked at the Standard Mill.

At the time of the 1939 Register, John lived (perhaps lodged) at 6 Kirkby Close, Epsom and was employed as a window cleaner but he subsequently became the head barman at the Blenheim Hotel, Epsom.

His parent lived at 12 Firgove Gardens, Belfield with his father shown as a quarryman. It is unclear when John joined the “Buffs” (as his Regiment was known) but 28-year-old Corporal J A R Pinder 6148000, 1st Battalion, The Buffs (Royal East Kents) Regiment was severely wounded and died of wounds on 25 February 1944 and was buried in grave V D 12 in the Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio.

John was presumably injured during the Anzio landings. The Rochdale Observer of 25 March 1944 reported that his parents had been notified the death of their eldest son on Thursday but that only two days earlier had received notice that he had been injured. Although no other children can be seen on the 1939 Register it appears that John had two brothers, Rowland born early 1922 and Gordon in late 1929 and Mabel in 1920.

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