ROYTON ROLL OF HONOUR

Baguley_Baron

 
WILLIAM HENRY BAGULEY
Age:36-38
Date of Death:21/08/1915
Rank:Private
Service No:9525
Regiment:Lancashire Fusiliers
Unit:1st Bn.
Cemetery:Green Hill Cemetery
Grave Ref:I. B. 16


Copyright of the War Graves Photographic Project

William's exact age is hard to place.The army had him as being 36, he was reported as being 38 in the Oldham Chronicle and the only William Baguley to be found in the records being born in the area would have been at least 42. His family life is likewise difficult to decipher from the distance of a century. He had 6 children, the youngest four of whom at least were born to Margaret Studholme who was not his wife. His wife seems to have left him at some point and she died before William,probably in 1914. William & Margaret Studholme's family was hit by tragedy in 1912 when their daughter Sarah died at the age of 4. They lived at 22 Union Street and William was a carter by trade.
At the time of the outbreak of the First World War, William was an army veteran who had served as a Corporal with the 6th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers during the Boer War. He rejoined his old regiment and found himself fighting in Gallipoli with the 1st Battalion.
William died at the Battle of Scimitar Hill which was the last offensive launched by the British at Suvla.The purpose of the attack was to clear the Turks from Suvla and also link up with the Anzac units further south.  It was a costly failure, in one day of fighting the British suffered 5300 casualties out of the 14300 soldiers who participated.
The unit war diary says:
"Move to Brigade Reserve at 10.30 am and made necessary arrangements for attack on Hill 112 at 3.30pm. Bombardment commenced at 2.30pm. Battalion advanced by companies beginning with A Coy. at 3.30pm as reinforcements to the Munsters – B. C. D. at intervals of 40 minutes. Fire broke out on the ground over which we had to advance and rather disorganised things.
Casualties were NCO's Men 222 – Killed 17. Wounded 50. Missing 155.
Officers 12 - wounded
"
Perhaps the bulk of the missing 155 were eventually located alive as the CWGC has 34 others dying alongside Baguley that day. They were:
Private Edward Ainsworth,1546,27 years old,from Manchester
Private Thomas Beesley,2486,24 years old,from Preston
Private James Birtwell,5088,17 years old,from Blackburn
Private George Bradley,4730,35 years old,from Chorlton-cum-Hardy
Corporal Richard Browitt,4738,from Bolton
Private Richard Brown,4737,20 years old,from Warrington
Private William Burgess,17191,21 years old,from Dalbeattie
Private William Connor,18244,from Salford
Private Joseph Hagan,4233,33 years old,from Chorley
Private John Heywood,4999,18 years old,from Ardwick
Private Stephen Johnson,5496,from Yorkshire
Private John Keegan,9936,from Dublin
Corporal Thomas Kelly,3694,19 years old,from Bolton
Private John Lewis,5234,from Wigan
Private John Miller,3804,18 years old,from Bolton
Private William McHale,4665,26 years old,from Rochdale
Private Arthur Edward Roberts,18207,from Pendleton
Private James Rourke,804,31 years old,from Stoke-on-Trent
Private Joseph Rustidge,785,from Salford
Regimental Sergeant Major George Edward Simpson,4486,36 years old,from Portsmouth
Private David Sinclair,18161,from Kirkcaldy
Private John Smalley,3000,from Oldham
Private John Sullivan,5331,from Hull
Private Oscar Thomas,17160,from London
Private Joseph Travers,3641,23 years old,from Bolton
Private William Tudor,5998,from Berwick
Private Joseph Waite,2853,27 years old,from Manchester
Private James Watkinson,3350,27 years old,from Liverpool
Lance Corpoal George Watson,9551,from Barrow
Private George Whitehead,18100,21 years old,from Manchester
Private John Whittle,3424,from St Helens
Private Thomas Whittle,8496,from Wigan
Private Ernest Williams,5366,from Salford
Private Daniel Winnard,13263,33 years old,from Burnley

 
JAMES WILLIAM BAIRSTOW
Rank:Gunner
Regiment:Royal Field Artillery
Unit:12th Ammunition Col.
Date of Death:14/07/1918
Age:32
Service No:161188
Memorial:Kirkee 1914-1918 Memorial
Panel Reference:Face 1



James Bairstow was born to Robert and Jane in Royton c.1887. They lived on Jones Street but from there moved to Crossley,Longsight in time for the 1911 census. His mother Jane passed away in 1900 leaving his father to bring up William and his two sisters,Mary and Hannah. Another sister,Sarah, had passed away in 1892 at the age of 10.
James worked at the Co-Op as a Grocers Assistant before becoming branch manager. He married Leah Schofield at the Trinity Methodist Church in 1915.He and Leah lived at 35 Glen Grove.

James & Leah


James joined the army in 1916 and was posted to India in March 1917. He died from enteric fever in Amritsar in July 1918 and was buried in the cantonment there. Unfortunately, many of the old British cemeteries have fallen into disrepair since Indian independence in 1947. Sadly the one at Amritsar is now neglected,overgrown and home to several illegal dwellings. James' name, like others buried in cantonments like Amritsar, was inscribed on the Kirkee Memorial.
The year after his death the following appeared in the Oldham Chronicle:

We have lost,heaven has gained,
One of the best the earth contained,
From his loving wife Leah,and his sisters,Mary H and Hannah J.
(his father had passed away in March of that year)



Sister Hannah and wife Leah at the Tandle Hill Monument after the war


The Bairstow family were members of the Primitive Methodist Church on Old Road where this memorial to the war dead of the congregation was erected.

All photos kindly provided by James' relative, Peg Griffin

 
JOHN BAMFORD
Ordinary Seaman
Royal Navy
HMS Edinburgh
Age - 21
Date of Death - 02/05/1942
Service No - D/JX 250281
Plymouth Naval Memorial
Panel 67, Column 1

John was born in Royton in 1920 to Ernest and Alice Ann Bamford. Ernest had been badly wounded whilst serving with the Royal Garrison Artillery in 1918,his left leg had had to be amputated and he also suffered from wounds to the right
hand and leg.Two of John's uncles on his father's side also served as artillerymen in WW1. John has an older brother, James, who was born in 1913.
John served on the famous HMS Edinburgh which was sunk in 1942 whilst carrying a large amount of gold from Murmansk which the Soviets were using to pay for weapons from the western Allies. On April 30th the Edinburgh was struck by two torpedos from the German submarine U456 and seriously damaged, she was taken in tow, but later was able to proceed at slow speed under her own steam.


The crippled HMS Edinburgh

On 2 May, however, after driving off attack by torpedo aircraft, she was attacked off Bear Island by German destroyers (damaging the German vessel Hermann Schoemann so badly that it had to be scuttled), but was agained torpedoed, and later had to be abandoned, being finally sunk by torpedo from the destroyer HMS Foresight, 2 officers and 56 ratings were lost. In addtion to those losses further men were killed when the ships carrying them home were also lost. For an excellent account of the final days and hours of the HMS Edinburgh please click on the link on Walter Gomery's name below.
An incomplete list of those who died (including another local lad,Clifford Stockport from Chadderton) on that day along with John is:

BEATTIE, Patrick K, Stoker 2c, D/KX 118339, 21 year old,Ayrshire
BLEAKLEY, Joseph, Able Seaman, D/SSX 27362, 21 yo, Bolton
BLUNDELL, Peter, Able Seaman, D/JX 223496, 25 yo, Liverpool
BROAD, Colin G, Stoker 2c, D/KX 138087
BROWN, John B, Ty/Leading Stoker, D/KX 79784, Seaham
CARTER, Donald M, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 288532, 35 yo,Liverpool
COLEMAN, William, Ty/Act/Leading Stoker, D/KX 105116,21 yo,St Helens
DAVIS, Charles E, Petty Officer, D/J 93416, 39 yo,Cornwall
DEVONPORT, William, Stoker 1c, D/KX 100748, 20 yo, Leeds
EVANS, Albert E, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 166464, 19 yo,Cheshire
GIBSON, Andrew, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 166477, 19 yo, Glasgow
GOMERY, Walter E, Boy 1c, D/JX 170203,18 yo, Yorkshire
GRAY, Thomas I, Chief Petty Officer Cook, D/MX 45516, 36 yo,Monmouthshire
HARRINGTON, John, Stoker 1c, D/KX 112421, 26 yo, Glamorgan
HARRIS, Frederick W, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 239116
HELLYER, Samuel G, Petty Officer, D/JX 142006, 25 yo,Devonport
HILLER, Benjamin A, Able Seaman, D/SSX 27599, 23 yo,Belfast
HOLT, Neville, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 163655, 18 yo,Sale
HOOKINGS, Thomas E, Act/Leading Stoker, D/K 65032, 40 yo,Devonport
HORSFIELD, Andrew, Stoker 1c, D/KX 103875, 22 yo,Yorkshire
JONES, George W, Stoker 2c, D/KX 134083, 35 yo,Gloucester
JONES, Ronald J, Able Seaman, D/JX 188034, Carmarthenshire
JONES, Thomas, Stoker 1c, D/KX 99764, 22 yo,Lancashire
LLOYD, Ifor O, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 250126
MARSDEN, Harry, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 250503,21 yo,Nelson
MARTIN, Thomas, Able Seaman, D/SSX 28455, 20 yo,Ardwick
MCDONALD, Donald, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 302388, 23 yo
MOREY, Henry S G, Able Seaman, D/JX 95678, 39 yo,Southsea
MURPHY, Charles, Stoker 2c, D/KX 118021, 25 yo,Glasgow
NASH, George H, Boy 1c, D/JX 162888, 17 yo,Dundee
OATES, Dudley, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 170315, 18 yo,Edinburgh
O'HAGAN, Bernard R, Stoker 1c, D/KX 109521
SMITH, Edwin A, Stoker 2c, D/KX 129360, Bristol
SMITH, Mark R, Able Seaman, D/JX 159032, 37 yo,Devonport
SPICER, William G E, Able Seaman, D/SSX 29593, 20 yo,Bedminster
STOCKPORT, Clifford, Stoker 2c, D/KX 127890, 26 yo,Chadderton
STONE, William A, Ty/Act/Leading Stoker, D/KX 97224, 22 yo,Cornwall
TRUSLER, Stephen, Able Seaman, D/J 36012, 42 yo,Gloucestershire
WAFFORNE, John W, Able Seaman, D/SSX 17561, 26 yo, Gorton
WIBBERLEY, Wilfred, Able Seaman, D/J 33757, 44 yo,Stoke-on-Trent
WIGNALL, Arthur, Stoker 2c, D/KX 107674, 25 yo,New Moston
YATES, James, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 286892, 20 yo, Lancashire


Documentary on the salvage operation on the HMS Edinburgh.Contains footage of the vessel and some interviews with crew members

 
ALFRED BARDSLEY
Rank:Private
Regiment:Manchester Regiment
Unit:
18th Battalion
Service No:27249
Date of Death:30/07/1916
Age:22
Memorial:
Thiepval Memorial
Panel Reference:Pier and Face 13 A and 14 C

Alfred was born in Royton in 1893 to James & Rosena and at the time of enlistment was living at 137 High Barn Road. Earlier his family had lived on Rochdale Road. He was one of 9 children, brothers William(who also served in the Manchester Regiment) & James and sisters Mary,Ada,Annie,Alice and Doris (if you know who the 9th was please let me know).
Interestingly Alfred lived right next door to Fred Bardsley (see entry directly below). I have not yet found evidence that they were related but it seems quite a coincidence!
Alfred worked at the King Mill as a piecer and enlisted in Royton on December 11th 1915. His last sight of England was sailing from Folkestone on May 26th and he arrived at the famous British base camp at Etaples the following day before joining his battalion 'in the field' on June 21st. A little over a month later he was dead.
On July 1st,the date of the beginning of the Battle of the Somme, half of the 18th Manchesters were in the Brigade reserve while the other were used as carrying parties for the assault on the village of Montauban.Monatauban was captured, one of the few successes on that infamous day and while playing a back up role Alfred's battalion had 175 men killed,injured or  missing. The 18th were then involved in very heavy fighting from July 7th to 10th and came under very heavy shellfire also. The  battalion was close to being wiped out. The remnants, including Alfred, came out of the front line in the early hours of the 11th and on the 14th a new draft of 470 men joined ready for the next attack. There is an awful symmetry between that number and those that were lost in the assault on Guillemont between July 26th and July 31st - 470 men killed, wounded or missing and of 16 officers’ who took part in the battle only 1 returned. Of those killed, Alfred was amongst their number.
Those who died on the same day as Alfred were (including 1 from Chadderton,1 Hollinwood & 3 Oldhamers):

Private Ernest Bailey,9812,29 years old, from Salford
Private Bruce Gladstone Edmondson,9845,29 years old,from Collyhurst
Corporal Joseph William Harwood,9861,25 years old,from Odiham,Hampshire
Lance Corporal Percy Wilkinson,9955,from Prestwich
Private James Sutton,10217,24 years old,from Manchester
Second Lieutenant Harry Collier Clough,21 years old,from Urmston 
Corporal Leslie Scott Anderson,9963,21 years old,from Urmston
Private James Henry Ashcroft,10074,from Manchester
Private Harold Ball,33459,from Moorside,Oldham
Private Robert Banks,27305,23 years old,from Wigan
Private Arthur Beattie,33705,from Manchester
Corporal Albert Henry Beecroft,31312,from Manchester
Private Herbert Bell,33702,29 years old,from Stretford
Private Harry Bellis,33684,from Manchester
Captain Percy Alfred Blythe,21 years old,from Swinton,M C, Mentioned in Despatches 
Private Albert Booth,11007,from Liverpool
Lance Corporal Archie Booth,10528,25 years old,from Gorton
Private Samuel Dutton Booth,10764,from Hulme
Serjeant Robinson Brant,9824,32 years old,from Spilsby,Lincolnshire
Private Arthur James Brocklehurst,11295,21 years old,from Harpurhey
Private William Carruthers,32533,from Manchester
Private Samuel Chapman,9972,26 years old,from Salford
Private William Edward Chease,10967,from Devon
Private Arthur Clifford,32526,23 years old,from Huddersfield
Private James Leo Coghlan,9829,from Eccles
Private Charles William Cope,10374,25 years old,from Salford
Private Patrick Daley,10108,from West Ham
Private Thomas Davies,33447,25 years old,from Chorlton-on-Medlock
Private Archie Day,11277,25 years old,from Ardwick
Corporal Vernon John Deakin,9838,from Pendleton
Private Fred Delaney,27291,18 years old,from Oldham
Private Benjamin Denton,9844,from St Helens
Private William Dolan, 33460,from Manchester
Private William Domney,9840,from Merioneth,Wales
Serjeant James Donaldson,11001,22 years old,from Altrincham
Company Serjeant Major Reginald Dootson,10108,30 years old,from Gorton
Serjeant Arthur Charles Dunn,10103,from Levenshulme
Corporal John Dyson,9973,from Colne
Private G Eatnough,31448
Private Harold Eaton,34096,from Manchester
Serjeant Francis Egan,10016,from Pendleton
Lance Corporal Harry Eliffe,10862,from Heywood
Private Frederick Faux,5248,from Hulme
Serjeant Joseph Fitzpatrick,10537,from Salford
Lance Corporal Francis Joseph Gargan,10817,from Salford
Private Joseph Gidman,31382,23 years old,from Levenshulme
Lance Corporal John Gough,10586,from Manchester
Private John Greenhalgh,27231,19 years old,from Oldham
Private Vincent Griffin,10813,22 years old,from Manchester
Serjeant Alfred Griffis,10646,20 years old,from Sale
Lieutenant Percy Geoffrey Du Val Haworth,21 years old,from Manchester 
Corporal George William Hayes,10490,from Openshaw
Private William Henry Hewitt,9866,22 years old,from Hyde
Lance Corporal Jack Hilton,11013,22 years old,from Harpurhey
Private Harry Hinchley,27328,from Manchester
Private George William Holmes,31435,from Chorlton-cum-Hardy
Private Ernest Howarth,10400,24 years old,from Bury
Corporal Alfred Hunt,9873,from Salford
Serjeant Robert Harold Hutchinson,10029,32 years old,from Northallerton
Private Hubert Leslie Jones,10666,28 years old,from Thornton-le-Fylde
Second Lieutenant Edward Kavanagh,24 years old,from Ireland 
Private Carswell Groves Kay,33492,from Ramsbottom
Private Arnold Kettle,10284,from Chorlton-cum-Hardy
Second Lieutenant Percy Reginald King,24 years old,from West Ealing 
Private Joseph Langton,27294,from Wigan
Private Stephen Lord,34115,from Manchester
Private James Lunt,10162,from Stockport
Private Francis Macauley,34028,21 years old,from Hollinwood,Oldham
Lance Corporal Reuben Martin,10427,21 years old,from Ancoats
Private Frank Harold May,11089,from Manchester
Private William Mellor,31288,from Manchester
Lance Corporal John Mitchell,9897,21 years old,from Cheetham
Private John Morrison,9894,from Belfast
Serjeant William McCann,10036,from Dublin
Lance Corporal William McCreery,10256,from Moston
Private William Alexander McElroy,27129,23 years old,from Beswick
Corporal Daniel McIntyre,11252,42 years old,from Higher Broughton.Schoolmaster
Private William Thomas Naylor,10691,from Lower Broughton
Private Edwin Normington,10038,25 years old,from Stalybridge
Private George Nutter,31293,22 years old,from Ramsbottom
Private Frederic Samuel Oliver,10437,20 years old,from Higher Crumpsall
Private George Orman,10192,from Collyhurst
Private Harold Wallace Pettigrew,33476,23 years old,from Cheetham Hill
Private Clifford Potts,34024,from Harpurhey
Private Frank Riley,34025,from Chadderton
Private John Ryan,34016,19 years old,from Salford
Private James Sayers,27036,from Manchester
Private Charles Shields,32502,20 years old,from Manchester
Private Samuel Silverstein,31302,from Manchester
Private Albert Stott,9995,28 years old,from Flixton
Serjeant Frank Swindells,31375,27 years old,from Harpurhey
Private Frederick Taylor,10970,from Manchester
Private Frederick James Taylor,35057,20 years old,from Harpurhey
Private James Tidswell,10984,from Beswick
Private James Tucker,31394,born London,enlisted Manchester
Lance Corporal Samuel Edward Tunstall,10573,from Cheadle Hulme
Second Lieutenant Francis Cecil Twist,20 years old,from Paddington.Captain of Rugby School 1914-1915 
Private Richard Valentine,34227,from Gorton
Private Arthur Webb,9948,from Pendleton
Lance Corporal Walter Whitworth,10742,23 years old,from Clayton
Private Frank Wilber,31274,from Manchester
Company Serjeant Major Robert Bertram Wilford,9959,from Chorlton-on-Medlock
Private Frank Newton Woodward,10735,29 years old,from Levenshulme
Corporal Leo Joel Lawson Worswick,11199,22 years old,from Crumpsall
Second Lieutenant John Frederick Motler,21 years old,from Manchester

It was reported in the Oldham Chronicle of September 2nd that Alfred's parents had been notified that he was missing. His body was discovered by three Privates of the 1st Bn.Irish Guards - Hendry (3765),Ruffley(7910)&Crawley(5177) - on September 10th and buried. Ruffley and Crawley were themselves killed in action just 5 days later but Hendry was injured on September 14th and whilst in hospital informed a chaplain of Bardsley's burial. This allowed the authorities to confirm to the Bardsley family that Alfred had been killed.

 
FRED BARDSLEY
Rank:Private
Regiment:The King's (Liverpool Regiment)
Unit: 4th Bn
Date of Death - 28/10/1916
Age - 25
service No:35482
Memorial: Thiepval Memorial
Panel Reference: Pier and Face 1 D 8 B and 8 C

Fred lived at 135 High Barn Street (next door to Alfred Bardsley,see entry above), the son of Ernest & Betty. He had four younger sisters - Alice,Annie,Clare & Elsie. Before joining up in February 1916 he was a minder at the Fir Mill. He went on active service towards the end of August and was dead two months later. Before he joined up with the battalion, Harry Swain had already been killed whilst serving with them.
This online memorial to Stafford Thomas Eaton-Jones describes what happened to Fred and the comrades who fell alongside him:
On the 22nd of October 1916 the 4th Battalion King's Liverpool Regiment arrived at the village of Meaulte where they received orders to move to the Les Boeufs sector of the front line on the Somme. At 8am on the morning of the following day they set out across the old battlefield , through heavy mist, for Trones Wood. It was not until 8pm that evening that they arrived at the remains of the wood where there was no shelter. Here they waited, in heavy rain and appalling conditions until the morning of the 24th when two companies moved off for the trenches at Les Boeufs at 1pm. The two other companies marched off to join them at 3.30pm and, due to the conditions, the relief was not complete until 5am on the morning of the 25th.The battalion remained in the front line under shell fire suffering casualties until orders came through on the 27th for the battalion to make an attack the following day. Their objective was the German trench "Dewdrop trenches and the enemy trenches and dug outs to the north east of "Dewdrop" which were to be cleared. They would be joined by the 1st Battalion Middlesex Regiment, who would attack and clear "Rainy" trench, with the 2nd Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in support.
At 6am on the morning of the 28th of October 1916 the A and C Companies of the battalion, preceded by a barrage, moved across no man's land in four waves. By 10am reports came back that "Dewdrop" trench had been taken and the enemy trench and dug outs beyond had been bombed and cleared. By 5pm the Middlesex had taken "Rainy" trench and both battalions had consolidated their gains.
Eyewitness reports said that Stafford Eaton-Jones was last seen close to the firing line and that he was subsequently seen being carried away on a stretcher having been badly wounded. A further statement said that Eaton-Jones and the stretcher party carrying him were hit by a shell killing them all and leaving no trace of them.
Casualties for the attack had been four officers and fourteen other ranks killed with two officers and sixty three other ranks wounded and fourteen other ranks missing believed killed.
The CWGC has the following men from the 4th Battalion being killed in action that day:

Private    Harry Atkinson,35497,born Bradford,lived Manchester    
Private    Edward Beattie,29878,Liverpool    
Private    Fred Burton,51505,Garston,Liverpool    
Private    John Dickinson Cooper,22 years old,44893,Tarporley,Cheshire
Serjeant Thomas Davidson,21 years old,13224,Perth
Private    David Davies,30432,born Carmarthenshire,lived Wigan    
Private    William F Dykes,14940,Walton,Liverpool    
Second Lieutenant Stafford Thomas Eaton-Jones,20 years old,Walton,Liverpool
Private    Charles Elliott,19023,Manchester    
Private    Joseph Fletcher,21 years old,8678,Runcorn
Private    Patrick Franklin,34741,born Waterford,lived Liverpool    
Private    Daniel Graham,30 years old,12191,Kirkdale,Liverpool
Lance Corporal Frank Eversley Halstead,19 years old,Blackpool    
Private    Robert Higgins,30404,Liverpool    
Corporal Charles Holliday,31479,Bootle    
Private    Herbert Douglas Kelly,21 years old,48512,Liverpool
Private    Samuel Lewis,8666,Liverpool
Second Lieutenant Ronald Hamilton William Murdoch                
Private    Herbert Musgreave,30 years old,30529,Barnsley
Private    John Joseph Power,32 years old,Liverpool
Serjeant Albert Skelton,MM,12434,Liverpool    
Private    William Tedcastle,24 years old,12485,Liverpool
Private    William Thomas,39105,Liverpool
Lance Corporal Frank Wilkinson,9020,Liverpool

 
GEORGE HENRY BARKER
Rank:Private
Regiment:Durham Light Infantry
Unit:9th Battalion
Age - 25
Date of Death - 29/04/1945
Service Number - 4461946
Becklingen War Cemetery
Grave Reference: 2.G.11

George Barker was born in Royton in 1920, the son of George and Mary. He had two younger sisters,Emily and Mary.
His unit, the 9th Durhams, fought through North Africa & Italy before being being involved in D-Day being one of the battalions to land on Gold Beach. The 9th took part in the final push into Germany in 1945 and it is there that George Barker fell in a tragic accident.
Just days from the end of the war whilst the 9th DLI were preparing for an attack on the city of Hamburg he was killed, alongside Corporal Laurence Jones,whilst laying grenades across a road for an enemy that would never come.

JAMES WILLIAM BARKER
Age:30
Date of Death:23/12/1915
Rank:Private
Service No:4247
Regiment: Manchester Regiment
Unit: 12th Bn
Memorial: Menin Gate
Panel Reference: Panel 53

James Barker was born in Poynton,Cheshire c.1885 to James and Mary Ann. The family moved to Failsworth not long after that and were in Royton by the time of the 1901 census. James was living at 342 Oldham Road by the time of the outbreak of war with his parents a little further away on the same street.
Before the war Jimmy worked as a packer at the Shiloh Mill, shortly after it's outbreak he joined up. James sailed with his battalion out from Folkestone on July 15th 1915, reaching Boulogne the following morning. The 12th Manchesters were first shown the niceties of trench warfare by the Liverpool Scottish before going into the line on the 24th July.For the rest of the year they were in and out of the line around Ypres.
The battalion war diary says that there was no action on or around December 23rd but Jimmy and a comrade, Private William Yates (4278) from Manchester died that day.
News travelled fast - presumably through a local man lucky enough to get leave over Christmas - and there was talk around Royton on December 27th & 28th that James had been killed. His parents then received a letter on the 28th from a Private Teddy Beswick:

"Dear Mr & Mrs Barker, just a few lines to let you know how Jimmy died. I was placed in a forward post about 20 yards from the enemy, and Jimmy was just on my left in the firing line. It was about 11am on the 23rd. They rushed down to tell me that he had been hit and I rushed up to the line and saw him on a stretcher and at once saw he was done for. I watched him, hoping he would speak just before he died, but he never regained consciousness. He looked so happy in death, for he had such a nice smile on his face, which made him look so happy. The platoon looked so downhearted. They were all round him, and I looked up at them all and said 'Boys we must avenge his death'. But they could not answer just then, for tears were running down all our cheeks. You see he was so well liked by all of us. he would do any of us a good turn if he could help it. I was at the funeral, his grave was dug at the back of the firing line. It was a deep grave, and Jimmy's body was put in an oil sheet and covered with sand bags. We made a cross and put it at the head of the grave. The Captain gave a splendid service. We were under fire all the time. You can rest contented that he was buried decently".

Barker's inscription on the Menin Memorial.Photo from Manchester Regiment Group

 
RONALD BARKER
Cadet
Merchant Navy
SS Florian
Age - 19
Date of Death - 20/01/1941
Tower Hill Memorial
Panel 49



The inscription for the SS Florian at the Tower Hill Memorial

Ronald Barker was born in Oldham in 1921, the son of Albert and Ada. He died aged only 19 as a Merchant Navy cadet on board the SS Florian which was lost with all hands after being sunk by the U-94. She was sailing from Hull to New York in ballast and went down in 42 seconds - leaving no time for either a distress signal or for any of her crew to abandon ship.
The U94 was itself sunk in August 1942 after being rammed by the HMCS Oakville.
The crew, plus two Royal Naval Gunners,who perished alongside Ronald were:

ALLAN, Fireman and Trimmer, FRANK, 35 years old, Hull - brother of Walter,below
ALLAN, Fireman and Trimmer, WALTER CHRISTOPHER, 21 years old,Hull - brother of Frank,above
ALLEN, Apprentice, GRAHAM SIMSON, 19 years old
BARBER, Trimmer, WILLIAM ERNEST,22 years old,Wellington,Shropshire
BEWLEY, Assistant Cook, FREDERICK,24 years old,Doncaster
BROBERG, Fireman and Trimmer, GUSTAV VICTOR,33 years old,Hull
BROWN, Fireman and Trimmer, JOSHUA, 23 years old,Grimsby
BROWNLEE, Carpenter, GEORGE LESLIE, 30 years old,Warwickshire
CAWKWELL, Fireman and Trimmer, HAROLD, 25 years old,Hull
CONSITT, Able Seaman, VICTOR, 22 years old,Hull
CROWELL, CLYDE. FIREMAN AND TRIMMER. Canadian Merchant Navy.
DEAKIN, Sailor, SIDNEY, 20 years old
EVANS, Able Seaman,ALBERT HENRY,D/JX 219188.RN.23 years old,Llanelli
FOSTER, Cadet, JOHN GERALD, 16 years old, Hoylake,Cheshire
GEDDES, Fireman and Trimmer, JOHN CORAL, 21 years old
HARWOOD, Fourth Engineer Officer, ROBERT SAMSON,21 years old,Wallasey
HAZELL, Chief Steward, GEORGE RONALD,21 years old,Bootle
HOLMES, Able Seaman, THOMAS GEORGE, 60 years old
HUNT, Donkeyman, ALFRED ALBERT DARDANELLES, 25 years old
HUNTER, Able Seaman, WILFRED, 43 years old,Hull
IBBETSON, Able Seaman, LESLIE, 21 years old
KRINKLE, Assistant Steward, FRANK, 18 years old
LIKEMAN, Third Officer, THOMAS GEORGE, 36 years old
LOVE, Cadet, DAVID RONALD, 19 years old,Purley
LOWSON, Trimmer, FREDERICK, 33 years old
MANN, Master, LAURENCE ROBERT,54 years old,Wallasey
MANNING, Donkeyman, ERNEST CARR, 39 years old
MARKWELL, Boatswain, EDWARD, 37 years old
McGOWAN, Fireman and Trimmer, BERNARD, 38 years old
MOIR, Chief Engineer Officer, JAMES ARCHIBALD, 54 years old,Birkenhead
NEEDHAM, Chief Steward, STANLEY OSCAR, 57 years old,Liverpool
PETLEY, Chief Officer, JAMES ARTHUR, 39 years old,Devon
ROCHE, Able Seaman, JOHN WILLIAM, 48 years old
SHAW, Second Radio Officer, JACK, 18 years old
STEPHENS, Third Engineer Officer, CLARENCE FREDERICK,27 years old,Bristol
STEVENSON, Cook, ARTHUR, 18 years old
STONE, First Radio Officer,RENDLE CHARLES JAMES, 34 years old,Liverpool
TAYLOR, Fireman and Trimmer, WILLIAM, 23 years old
WETTON, Donkeyman, JOHN HENRY, 60 years old,Hull
WHEATLEY,Able Seaman,REGINALD HORACE, P/JX 204917.RN.35 years old,Bristol
WILLIAMS, Second Officer, WILLIAM LLOYD, 57 years old,Liverpool
YEOMAN, Trimmer, GEORGE HERBERT, 27 years old
YORGENSON, Second Engineer Officer, ARTHUR CARLO,39 years old,Hull

 
JOHN BARLOW
Age:22
Date of Death:26/08/1916
Rank: Private
Service No:32929
Regiment: Manchester Regiment
Unit: 23rd Bn
Memorial: Thiepval Memorial
Panel Reference: Pier & Face 13A or 14C

John,born in Royton in 1891, was the only child of Robert & Alice Barlow of 33 Queen Street,Royton. Another boy,Joseph,had died in infancy. Robert was the Secretary of the Royton branch of the Oldham Operative Spinner's Association and son John worked at the Vine Mill.
John enlisted on February 5th,1916 and went on active service on July 4th of that year with the 23rd Manchesters. He would have had a baptism of fire as they were engaged in the Battle of the Somme at the time.During the latter half of August they were used in support of other units, trench digging etc but on the night of the 25th/26th John was killed.
His commanding office wrote to his parents:
"Dear Mr and Mrs Barlow - I have the painful duty of informing you of the death of your son J.Barlow(32929). He was killed on the night of August 25th while carrying out his duty during our tour of the trenches.He was buried on the battlefield,as all heroes are.Please accept my sincere sympathy on losing your son.Try not to mourn his loss,but glory in the fact that he
has done his duty"
On the 25th/26th the following men from John's unit were also killed:

BARNARD LEWIS 23 Lieutenant from Manitoba,Canada                    
CUNNINGHAM ARTHUR from Manchester                    
GAVAGHAN MICHAEL 23 Lance Corporal 21731 from Rochdale                        
GREEN JOSEPH 28  21586 from Miles Platting                    
HOWELL JOHN 34249 from Oldham                            
LUPTON ENOCH 33431 from Oldham                        
RODGERS ROBERT 34421 from Manchester    
WAITE WILLIAM 20 27237 from Oldham

The Chronicle of 9/9/1916 reported on the Memorial Service that had been held at St.Paul's,Royton for John & another Royton casualty,Eric Mellor:
First the Rev JH Humphrey went over the letter received by Barlow's parents and then..
"I am quite sure of that - that John Barlow would do his duty.My mind goes back to him as a boy who used to take the deepest interest in the foreign mission work of the Church,and whose missionary box fo rmany many years always headed the list of "amounts collected".That was merely a sidelight into his life generally.He was a good,honest,God fearing young fellow,a credit to his parents,to his church and to all who had the pleasure of his friendship.He never came home
on leave without making it his rule to receive the blessed sacrament. The last time he was with us was at Whitsuntide.In one of his letters he tells how under trying conditions he chaplain administered holy communion.Shells flying,and an air duel up above,and a full view of the battlefield.

"Anybody coming out here will say his prayers if he has never done before".
On the day on which he was killed he wrote his last letter to his parents,and how solemn the words - his last words - ought to be regarded by us! Listen to them:
"I only wish I could see you,if it was only once more.The times that I have said my prayers in the trenches - well, I cannot count them!You must keep on hoping and praying for the best While I am away.We shall have to wait and see what God's will is.I am all right,mother. I hope you are the same.If anybody wanted a wish fulfilling it is the lads out here.They want peace,and pray for it.I will write again as soon as I get more time.Till then,
God bless and guide you till we meet".

Till we meet! Yes, the brave young soldier has fought and laid down his life doing his duty.He is now resting from all the awful din and fury of the contest.He has got the peace which God has now given him.Till we meet.Let us pray as humbly and sincerely as he did and then indeed his last wish will be fulfilled."
Special hymns were sung and special prayers said and the "Dead March" was played at the conclusion of the service.

From the Chronicle of 23/8/1916
In affectionate remembrance of our dear son,Private John Barlow,Manchester Regiment,killed in
action near Guillemont,France on August 25th,1916
Can a father and mother forget
The son they loved so well?
God takes them first who are the best,
His vacant place no one can fill.

Father and Mother.

I often sit and think of you
When I am all alone
For memory is the only thing
That death can call its own

Sweetheart Beatrice


 
GEORGE BARON
Rank:Private
Regiment:Welsh Regiment
Unit:9th Bn
Date of Death:20/09/1917
Age:19
Service Number:62541
Memorial:Tyne Cot Memorial
Panel Reference:Panel 93 to 94


George Baron's inscription at Tyne Cot

George Baron was born in Royton in 1898, the son of James and Hannah.He had a brother Walter and sisters Alice,Mary&Ethel. George like most lads in Royton worked in the cotton industry. He was called up on February 26th,1917 and posted to the Welsh Regiment on 25th August of that year,arriving at Le Havre from England the following day.He met up with his battalion on September 2nd and eighteen days later went over the top during the Battle of the Menin Road.He was killed along with 58 others from his unit whilst under heavy German machine gun fire. They were:

Private    James McDonald Abbott,62535,19 years old,from Carlisle
Private    William Charles Allen,55834,19 years old,from Bath
Private    John Winter Bell,59297,20 years old,from Durham
Private    Harry Bennett,15706,from Taunton            
Private    Henry James Bennett,25946,from Newport,born Taunton
Private    James Berry,62547,from Chorley            
Private    Leslie William Beyer,285407,22 years old,from Maidstone
Lance Corporal William John Bowen,16774,from Bargoed            
Private    Patrick Buckley,285516,20 years old,from Cardiff
Private    Richmond Burd,30426,34 years old,from Shropshire
Private    Frederick John Burns,41996,33 years old,from Swansea
Private    Richard Cartwright,1469,21 years old,from Cheshire
Private    Frederick Chard,55839,from Somerset            
Private    Frank Morris Chorley,242106,enlisted in Cardiff            
Private    Clifford Thomas Colman,46346,from Somerset            
Private    Andrew Coyle,34285,from Newcastle-on-Tyne            
Private    Joseph Crowley,62558,from Liverpool            
Private    Stanley Charles Cryer,62554,19 years old,from Rochdale
Private    Morgan Davidson,39396,from Bridgend            
Private    Evan Thomas Davies,44466,26 years old,from Newquay,Cardiganshire
Private    Joshua Davies,24993,from Aberavon            
Private    Tom Emms,28130,from Cardiff            
Private    Richard John Evans,14816,from Penydarren,Glamorganshire            
Private    Thomas Evans,58737,from Glamorganshire            
Private    Walter Frodsham,62570,from Bolton            
Private    John Henry Fry,2855313,31 years old,from Cardiff
Major John Angel Gibbs,DSO,37 years old,from Penarth,Cardiff
Private    Arthur Gorvin,285005,from Newport            
Private    James William Groves,285520,30 years old,from Hereford
Private    Frank Maurice Guy,60859,from Wolverhampton            
Private    William Hart,62593,19 years old,from Liverpool
Private    William Henry Howland,57161,23 yeard old,from Ramsgate    
Private    David Hughes,21429,36 years old,from New Tredegar
Private    William Thomas John,54265,19 years old,from Haverfordwest
Private    Hugh Jones,34966,37 years old,from Llantrisant,Glamorganshire
Private    John Jones,62600,19 years old,from Shrewsbury
Second Lieutenant John Arllwyd Jones,34 years old from Wrexham
Second Lieutenant Llewellyn Price Jones,24 years old,from Cardiff
Corporal Thomas Owen,20970,30 years old,from Treorchy,Glamorganshire
Private    William Thomas Jones,37184            
Second Lieutenant Frederick Jukes,26 years old,from Cardiff
Private    John Lennon,26221            
Private    Lester,55190            
Private    Arthur Ludgate,43585,22 years old,from Gorton
Company Serjeant Major James Morris,53690,26 years old,D C M,from Newport
Corporal Howell OWen,14544,24 years old,from Merthyr
Private    Edwin Parsell,53841,22 years old,from Ebbw Vale
Lance Corporal John Perry,19121,19 years old,from Pembrokeshire
Private    Edward David Phillips,1642            
Corporal Henry Russell,12894,36    years old,from Cheltenham
Private    James Simmonds,22360            
Second Lieutenant Lionel G.T Thomas,19 years old,from Pembrokeshire
Private    William Henry Trinder,19 years old,from Blackburn
Private    William Ivor Tucker,56579,20 years old,from Swansea
Private    Voisey,51683            
Private    Percy Albert Wildish,57170,22 years old,from Kent
Private    Glyn Williams,46452,20 years old,from Llanelli
Private    Ernest Worth,285049,from St.Helens            

The official history of the Regiment describes the action of that day:
As was to be expected the enemy put up their strongest resistance on the high ground south of St. Julien where the ground was firmer for attack, and Sir Douglas Haig accordingly extended the battle area of the Second Army to include the Menin Road, and brought up fresh Divisions for the attack, which was fixed for 20th September. The weather improved in September, though on the night of 19th-20th September rain fell and there was a morning mist.
The front of attack extended from the Ypres-Comines Canal north of Hollebeke to the railway north of Langemarck, a distance of eight miles.The Welsh were represented by the 9th Battalion in the 19th Division, which attacked on the right of the British line. The task allotted to the Division was to protect the right flank of the 39th Division. This entailed an advance of about 900 yards on the left and centre, to the eastern edges of Belgian and Hessian Woods, and then a curved line running back to our original front line about 600 yards to the north of Lock 6 on the Canal. The 57th Brigade attacked on the left on a frontage of about 700 yards, and the 58th Brigade on the right on a frontage of about 1,200 yards, divided between the 6th Wilts on the south, the 9th Welsh in the centre, and the 9th Cheshires on the north, next to the 57th Brigade.
The first objective was the Red Line, an irregular line, 400 yards to 600 yards from the front trenches, and a pause was made on this before attacking Belgian and Hessian Woods, included in the second objective- the Blue Line- 300-500 yards further forward. The 9th Welsh were brought up from camp on 10th September and took over the narrow attacking frontage of about 400 yards with one Company, the other two Battalions doing the same. Familiarising themselves with the ground, the Battalions were withdrawn from 14th-18th September to rest, coming into line again on the night of 18th-19th September.
At 5.40 a.m. on 20th September the attack commenced, ‘C’ Company leading the attack on the right, with ‘A’ in support, ‘D’ Company leading on the left, with ‘B’ supporting it. The ground was heavy with rain, and the troops could not keep up with the barrage which had been purposely accelerated up to the first objective, to get the troops quickly clear of the counter-barrage. As a result they came in for more machine-gun fire.
At 7.40 a.m., Major J.A. Gibbs, DSO, who was in command, was wounded, and Lieutenant-Colonel Godfrey came up to take his place. The advance to the second objective began at 6.24 a.m. and he found ‘A’ and ‘C’ Companies held up by machine-gun fire from an isolated emplacement, which could not be rushed, and from persistent machine-gun fire from Hollebeke Chateau. On the left ‘B’ and ‘D’ Companies were also held up by machine-guns in the western edge of Hessian Wood, but with the aid of a Company of the Cheshires under Lieutenant Colvin, who outflanked the enemy, they got possession by 1 a.m. At about 2 p.m. the Germans launched a general counter-attack on the front of the 19th Division, but warning had been given from the air and the attack collapsed under our artillery fire.
Brigadier-General Glasgow got the Heavies turned on to Hollebeke Chateau, which quieted the machine-guns, and the eastern part of Hessian Wood was captured, but finding it very marshy the final line was fixed on the western edge.
The assault was generally successful on the whole front, but in the area lately held by the 38th Division, the attack on Eagle Trench and the Cemetery again failed, and these places only succumbed on 23rd September.
The Second and Fifth Armies took 3,243 prisoners this day, to which the 9th Welsh contributed 4 officers and 261 other ranks.
Our casualties, nearly all from machine-gun fire, were very severe.










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