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

Date published: 11 October 2020

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 whose 75 or 80 years anniversary occurs in October 2020.

The second world war ended on 2 September 1945 and the deaths of soldiers listed here, who died in 1945, were caused by accidents or from injuries received.

  • Littleborough

Stoker William Stanley Thomas

William was born in Rochdale on 18 October 1918, the son of Albert George and Ellen Thomas of Worcester.

Little is known about William’s civilian life, but only two days after his 22nd birthday on 20 October 1940, Stoker 1st Class Thomas C/KX 91768 who was serving on Royal Navy submarine HMS Triad was killed in action.

It is recorded that Stoker Thomas’s ship had sailed from Malta on 10 October 1940 for Alexandria and whilst on passage sighted the Italian submarine, Enrico Toti, which was surfaced and carried out a torpedo attack which missed. In the subsequent surface gun engagement, the ship was hit and sank without survivors. The Italian submarine had been on the surface because of machinery problems with her electric propulsion.

William is remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 38 3. He is also remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph.

  • Milnrow

Driver Kenneth Mann

Kenneth was born in Rochdale on 8 January 1925, the son of John and Alice Mann (nee Hoyle) of 42 Newbold Street. Kenneth had a total of five brothers and sisters: Pearl, Dennis, Doris, Brenda, and Peter. Prior to enlisting in 1942, Kenneth was a woollen worker employed by John Smith Woollen Manufacturers in Milnrow.

During the Second World War, Driver Mann had been in Europe for 14 months having spent some time driving ambulances in Germany. He was then posted to Palestine for further war service.

20-year-old Driver Mann 1437312, Royal Army Service Corps (attached Royal Army Medical Corps) was killed on 13 October 1945 when the Liberator VI of 206 Sqdn, KL 595 LB 30 A, crashed during take-off from Melsbroeck Airfield in Belgium, when the pilot attempted actual take off before air speed was reached. Driver Mann was one of 31 killed.

Kenneth Mann was buried in Brussels Town Cemetery, Grave X 28 34 and is remembered on St Annes War Memorial.

Private Theodore Fletcher

Theodore was born in Rochdale on 21 November 1906, the son of Jack and Annie Fletcher who lived at 21 Newhey Road in 1911. On 2 June 1928, Theodore married Mary Alice Fitton of Newhey at St Patrick’s Church and in 1939, they were both registered at the address 39 Newhey Road. Prior to enlisting, Theodore was a railway engineer and bricklayer.

38-year-old Private Fletcher 14518193 died after the official end of the Second World War on 14 October 1945 whilst serving with the 15th Vehicle Coy., Royal Army Ordnance Corps during the occupation in Germany.

Theodore was buried in Munster Heath War Cemetery, grave No 2 A 20 and is remembered on Milnrow, St James and Milnrow Working Men’s Club War Memorials.

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