Date of Death:14/08/1916
Crompton Seville was born in Werneth in 1887, his parents being Robert and Maria. Robert Seville worked in the cotton industry and was originally from Failsworth. Crompton got his name from Maria's maiden name. He had younger siblings Alice,Edith,Samuel,Gladys and Ella. Robert & Maria had six further children who died in infancy and whose names are unfortunately not know. Gladys and Samuel were also to die young,both in 1901, at the ages of 1 and 2.
By the time of his sister's,Alice,birth in 1889 the Sevilles were living in Failsworth and in 1891 could be found at 5 Cooperation Street in the town. They were still at the same address in 1901 but at some point between then and 1911 the family upped sticks to Rochdale and Robert Seville became a sub postmaster in premises at 13 Milnrow Road, the family living at the same address. Crompton worked as an assistant to his father along with sisters Alice and Edith.
We can't say for certain if Crompton ever lived in Royton but his parents were living on the Royton/Rochdale border at the time of his death in 1916. Crompton rushed to enlist at the start of the war but was rejected. This was probably due to being 5 foot 2 inches tall. The British Army's minimum height was 5 foot 3. This restriction was to be removed later in 1914 with the creation of 'Bantam Battalions' but Crompton had already decided his future lay elsewhere. He left London,heading for Australia, on October 15th 1914 as a 3rd class passenger onboard P&O's Commonwealth. Once there he lived in the Surry Hills area of Sydney and worked as a labourer. At the time of his arrival in Australia the minimum height for the Australian Army was 5ft 6in but in June 1915 this was changed to 5 ft 2in. Crompton did not enlist immediately but did so on December 8th of that year. He officially joined on January 7th 1916 and left Sydney on HMAT Nestor on April 9th 1916. Crompton's destination was Egypt where he joined the Australian Infantry's 13th Battalion. The 13th had been raised in September 1914 and had seen a lot of action,and taken many casualties, at Gallipoli. Upon returning to Egypt,as part of a reorganisation of the Australian forces, many of it's experienced soldiers were transferred to a new unit - the 45th Battalion. Crompton was one of the men to bring the ranks of the 13th back up to full strength.
The Battalion left Alexandria in June 1916 for France and the Western Front, arriving at Marseille on the 14th.For the remainder of the war they were to be involved in many bloody actions, the first being at Pozieres in August 1916 in which Crompton Seville was to be killed.
On August 14th the 13th advanced with two companies and part of a third in two waves. A Captain Murray who commanded the first wave described the German response as "the hottest fire I ever saw, even including the Peninsula". The German trench the men were advancing on was crowded with men as a relief of men had been occurring at the time of the attack. When thirty yards from the trench the Australians charged. After a moment of hesitation many Germans scrambled over the back of their trench or down their flanks with the men of the 13th shooting them down. Within a minute of this the second attacking wave arrived and after sharp fighting with grenades but within the trench and on it's parapet. On the 13th Battalion's right the attack of the 51st Battalion had been unsuccessful so rather than the expected comrades on their flank the men found themselves under attack along the trench from this direction. It is probably around this time that Crompton was shot. Private B J Turner (5188) later reported from hospital in Hendon that while in the German trench Crompton had been shot in the thigh. He had pulled a piece of bullet out but thought that there was still some there. Turner told him he had better get back to the dressing station and thought that this would be quite possible, this was the last time he saw Crompton. Later another injured soldier, Private G.Brown (5329) who was in hospital in Croydon reported that he had seen Seville's head blown off, this must have been when he was making his way back to have his gunshot wound tended to.
The Australian's position rapidly became untenable with attacks coming from the front and the right and ammunition beginning to run low. The Australians were forced to withdraw back across the open ground but before their withdrawal due to skillful use of their remaining grenades they managed to chase off the Germans. The actual withdrawal was managed with little loss but the 13th Battalion's casualty list for the fighting and the frontline duties of the immediate days beforehand was 18 officers and 368 other ranks.
Crompton Seville was one of the many men registered as 'missing'. It wasn't until March 1917 that the Australian authorities, after gathering the testimonies of his two wounded comrades, that his parents were informed that he had been killed. Their address was by then 2 Tandle Hill Terrace which is on the row of houses just over the border from Royton's Summit district. The address was given as Thornham, Royton though so it's possible there was a slight border alteration at some point.
Other men from the 13th Battalion listed as being killed the same day as Crompton Seville were:
ALDERTON HENRY Private 4127 from Sydney
ALLAN WILLIAM Corporal 2552 from New South Wales
ALLEN ROBERT 27 Private 3003 from Sydney.Brother of below
ALLEN STEPHEN 25 Private 3002 from Sydney.Brother of above
BARLOW FRANK 22 Private 3156 originally from London
BISHOP EDWIN Private 2579 from Sydney
BUCHANAN ROBERT 33 Private 4447 originally from Glasgow
CAREY HERBERT 18 Private 5239 from New South Wales
CLARKE HARRY 30 Private 3745 originally from Bromsgrove
CODY CYRIL Corporal 2496 from Sydney
DELOFFLER VAN 37 Lance Corporal 3037 originally from London.Lived Sydney
DONNELLAN STANISLAUS 23 Lance Corporal 3747 from Sydney
FRY ALAN Private 1340 from Sydney.Brother also killed WW1
GADD CHARLES 20 Private 4501 from Helensburgh,NSW
HENDERSON JOHN 24 Captain from Sydney
HORAM JAMES 42 Lance Corporal 3068 originally from Lancashire
HOY HECTOR Private 3788A from Bathurst,NSW
HUNTER JACK Private 3067 from NSW
JONES JOHN 36 Private 5112 from NSW
LAKE THOMAS 22 Private 3372 from NSW.Brother also killed WW1
LE CLERC ARTHUR 23 Sergeant 639 from Sydney
MAIN CHARLES Private 5134 from Sydney
MARPLES GEORGE Private 5127 originally from Nottinghamshire
POWELL EDWARD JAMES 17 Private 3579 from NSW
POWELL WILLOUGHBY Corporal 3109 born Brisbane,lived Sydney
SAMWORTH ANDREW 30 Private 4295 originally from London
SUTTON CHARLES 36 Private 3835 from NSW
THOMAS WILLIAM Private 1369 originally from Carmarthen
WALDRON GEORGE Private 3979 from NSW
WARREN ARTHUR Private 4351 from Sydney
WATSON ALEXANDER 34 Private 3868 from Sydney
WHELAN DANIEL Private 1424 born Victoria,lived Sydney
WILSON GEORGE Private 4334 originally from Jarrow
YOUNG ROY 21 Private 5214 from NSW