‚ÄčRoyton Roll of Honour

The tiny figures you can see against the white chalk are the 22nd Manchesters and 1st South Staffords advancing on July 1st 1916. 6 Royton men were killed. Photo courtesy of IWM

The 22nd Battalion were to go over the top on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, July 1st 1916. It was a day that saw the British Army suffer the worst casualties in it's history. The 91st Brigade was to use two of it's four infantry battalions as assault troops - the 22nd Manchesters & the 1st Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment. The men were to attack German positions known as Bunny Alley & Fritz Trench which were north and east of the village of Mametz. They would have to get across 150 yards of No Mans Land first.The men managed to reach the German front line with relatively few casualties but as they advanced further they came under withering machine gun fire from the German troops who had by now surfaced from their underground bunkers, where they had been sheltering from the British artillery bombardment.  Hard fighting went on through the day and by 16:00 the whole of Mametz was in British hands along with Bunny & Fritz trenches. The 22nd Manchesters had taken their objectives, a relatively rare occurrence for British troops on that bloody day but it came at a terrible cost. Of the 796 men with the battalion that morning there were 472 casualties -202 of whom were killed.Along with John; Robert Long, Fred Ludlam, Alfred OliverFred Travis & Harold Fitton all lay dead. In other units another seven Royton men were killed that day.
Two to three weeks later John's wife and parents received unofficial word that he was missing, presumably though a letter sent home by a local survivor of the battalion's attack. Then in early August they received confirmation that he had been killed. His wife Mabel was to lose a brother the following year and his name, like John's, appears on the Thiepval Memorial.
Mabel remarried in 1918 and died in Oldham in 1978. John's mother and father later moved back to Shaw and died in 1940 & 1941 respectively.
The other men of the battalion to be killed alongside those from Royton were:

ACKERS JOSEPH 30 Private 20051 from Manchester
ALLOTT AMOS 20 Private 21141 from Manchester
ARMSTRONG JOHN 20 Private 21192 from Manchester
BARKER JOHN 24 Private 21306 from Manchester
BARLOW ALBERT Private 20412 born Salford,enlisted Manchester
BELFIELD JOHN 31 Private 20834 from Staffordshire
BELL ARTHUR 23 Corporal 20474 from Rotherham
BIRCH FRANK Private 20837 from Manchester
BLAND ALFRED Captain        
BLEASDALE SAMUEL Lance Corporal 21225 from Manchester
BOOTH JAMES 22 Lance Corporal 21436 from Manchester
BRADLEY  JOHN 25 Private  25706 born Burnley.Lived New Bedford,USA
BRADSHAW JOHN Private 21065 from Failsworth
BRAHNEY ANTHONY  Private  32976 from Oldham
BRANDWOOD FRED Private 21230 from Manchester
BRIGG HERBERT 27 Lance Serjeant  20005 from Manchester
BRODRICK ALBERT Lance Corporal 20547 from Manchester
BROMLEY HARRY 24 Private 33213 from Oldham
BROOKES WILLIAM  Private 20206 from Manchester
BROOME WILLIAM 22 Private 20070 from Altrincham
BRUNT WILLIAM 27 Private 20742 from Hyde
BRUNT WILLIAM 22 2nd Lt. from Buxton
BRUTON WILLIAM Private 21390 born Bristol, enlisted Manchester
BURKHILL JOHN  Lance Corporal 21235 born St.Helens,enlisted Manchester
BURRAGE  GEORGE Private 20839 born Middlesbrough, enlisted Manchester
BUTTERS JOHN Private 25737 born Manchester
CALVERT ARTHUR 21 Private 21107  from Todmorden
CHALONER WALTER  Private 20903 from Manchester
CLARK DANIEL Lance Corporal 20904 from Manchester
CLARKE GEORGE 22 Private 20905 from Manchester
CLEGG WILLIAM Private 25752 from Hyde
COLLETT JOHN 20 Private  20215 from Manchester
CONNOR HERBERT Private 20779 from Manchester
COOPER ROBERT 26 Private 20155 from Manchester
CROOK REUBEN Private 25608 from Salford
CROSFIELD GILBERT Private 20217 born Manchester,lived Whaley Bridge
CRYNE THOMAS 34  Private  20906 from Manchester
CULLEN CHARLES Private 25547 born Maidstone,enlisted Manchester
CUNLIFFE FRED 20 Private 33592 born Hindley.Lived Chicopee, USA
DARLINGTON FRANK Private 21242 born Manchester,lived Droylsden
DAVIES EDWARD Private 21454 from Manchester
DAVISON  THOMAS Private 20018 born Keighley,lived Paisley
DEARDEN GEORGE 24 Private 20488 from Manchester
DONOGHUE JAMES 29 Private 25611 from Manchester
DORRICOTT ERNEST 17 Private 25695 from Manchester
DUNSCOMBE JAMES  23 Private 21476 from Manchester
ENTWISTLE HENRY  23 Private 33056 from Ince
EVERETT SIDNEY 23 Private 20627 from Cheadle
FITZSIMMONS JAMES 19 Private 20628 from Manchester
FRANKLAND NORMAN Private 21249  from Manchester
FRIAR SAMUEL 22  Private 25664 from Leigh
FURNESS  GEORGE  25 Private 21216 from Manchester
GALLEY ARTHUR 23 Private 20918 from Manchester
GARLAND  ERNEST Private 20786 from Manchester
GEE WILLIAM 28 Corporal  20291 born Sale, enlisted Manchester
GILL CHARLES 26    2nd Lt. from London
GLEAVE NORMAN Private 21147 from Failsworth
GOMERSALL WILLIAM 21 Lieutenant    from Manchester
GOURLAY ALEXANDER 23 Private 21379 from Manchester
GRANT JOHN  Private 20358 from Manchester
GREENHALGH THOMAS Private 21333 from Pendlebury
HAITH WILLIAM Private 20751 from Manchester
HALLIWELL JOSEPH Private 20028 born Failsworth,enlisted Manchester
HAM JOSEPH Private 20161 from Manchester
HAMPSON  THOMAS  Private  20931 born Derbyshire,enlisted Manchester
HARRISON ALFRED Private  21459 from Stockport
HARRISON WILLIAM Private 33133  born Failsworth,enlisted Hollinwood
HART EDWIN Private 20293 born Manchester, enlisted Stalybridge
HART GEORGE Private 25756 from Manchester
HEAP EDWARD Private 21433 from Manchester
HEAPS GEORGE 25 Private 20697 from Salford
HEATH ARTHUR Corporal 21092 from Manchester
HENESSEY EDWARD Private  20995 from Manchester
HEWITT HAROLD Private 28937 born Oldham,lived Middleton
HIGGINS HAROLD Private 21040 from Manchester
HILTON FRED Private 20495 born Middleton,enlisted Manchester
HITCHEN WALTER 39 Private 21481 from Manchester
HODCROFT HERBERT Serjeant 20155 from Manchester
HOLT BENJAMIN Private 20795 born Heywood, enlisted Manchester
HOLT JOSEPH Serjeant 20089 from Altrincham
HOUGHTON DANIEL 21 Private 20163 born Bury, lived St Annes on Sea
HOYLE HERBERT Private 20930 from Manchester
HOYLE JAMES 20 Private 28389 from Oldham
HUDSON HARRY 21 Private 20362 from Stockport
HURST EDWARD Private 20641 born Salford,enlisted Manchester
ICKE ERNEST 22 Lance Corporal 20095 from Sale
JAMESON  JOHN 19 Private  25571 from Manchester
JEFFREY FREDERICK  21 Private 21000 from Manchester
JENKINS LEONARD Private  20831 from Salford
JOHNSON  GEORGE Serjeant 20862 from Manchester
JOHNSON  THOMAS Private  25716 born Manchester,lived Denton
JOHNSTONE ALEXANDER 24 Private 21124 from Manchester
JONES JOHN Private 21484 from Manchester
JONES THOMAS Private 21343 born Failsworth, lived Weaste
JONES WILLIAM 36 Private 20933 from Manchester
KELLY CHRISTOPHER 21 Private 20445 from Manchester
KELLY JOHN 25 Private 20370 from Manchester
KENNEDY ERNEST Private 20099 from Manchester
KENYON CHARLES Private 20170 from Manchester
KNOWLES  FREDERICK 40 Serjeant 21403 from Nottingham.Boer War veteran
LAMBERT WILLIAM  Serjeant 20938 from Northwich
LANCASTER JOHN Private 25508 from Wigan
LAURENS EDMUND 19 Private 21345 from Manchester
LEAREY JOHN Private 33180 from Manchester
LEE GEORGE Corporal 20305 from Manchester
LEIGH WILLIAM 23 Private 20865 from Bollington
LEWIS GEORGE 19  Private  20585 from Manchester
LISTER THOMAS 18 Private 20800 from Manchester
LISTER WILLIAM 30 Private 21267  from Droylsden
LITTLER JAMES Corporal 20644 from Manchester
LOCKE JAMES 24 Private 21117 from Westmorland
LOUNSBACH HENRY 19 Private 20239 from Manchester
LOUNSBACH JOSEPH 24 Private 21269 from Manchester
MADDOX THOMAS Private 21413 from Salford
MAHER HAROLD Private 20105 from Manchester
MAKIN HAROLD 23 Private  25641 born Radcliffe,enlisted Manchester
MARTIN JOHN Private 21003 born Birmingham, enlisted Manchester
MAY CHARLES 27 Captain from London Mentioned in Despatches
McKEE HENRY 27 Private 21006 from Manchester
McLINTOCK GEORGE Lance Corporal  20647 born Liverpool,enlisted Manchester
MEEK FRED 27 Private 20874 from Burnley
MELDON STEPHEN Lance Corporal 21007 born Salford,enlisted Manchester
MELLOR ROY Lieutenant        
MIDGLEY ERIC 24  Private  20876 from Castleton
MITTON ARTHUR 20 Private 21490 from Manchester
MORRIS GEORGE Private 20514 from Manchester
MORRIS JOSEPH 23 Lance Corporal 20872 from Salford
MOTTERSHEAD ADAM Serjeant 20870 from Manchester
MURPHY JAMES Private 28900 from Oldham
MUSGROVE SAMUEL Private  20591 from Manchester
NADIN WILLIAM 26 Private 25734 from Manchester
NEWTON FREDERICK 26 Lance Corporal 21116 from Manchester
OATES JOHN Private 21009 from Manchester
OATWAY HENRY 25 Private 21275 from Manchester
O'BRIEN  WILLIAM  Private 21010 from Manchester
OLEY JOHN CSM 20592 born Newcastle on Tyne, enlisted Manchester
PARKER ROBERT Private 20315 from Manchester
PART WILLIAM 34  Lance Corporal 25800 from Hale
PAVEY FREDERICK  20 Private 21138 from Manchester
POWELL RICHARD Private 21061 born Lancaster,lived Wales
PRIEST CHARLES 27 Lance Corporal 20654 from Sheffield
PRINCE ARTHUR 32 Private 20252  born Manchester,lived Southport
RADFORD WILFRED  24 Private 20255 from Manchester
REDFERN WILLIAM  Private  20462 from Denton
RICHARDSON ALBERT Private 28379 from Middleton
RIDLEY JOHN Private 20885 from Salford
RODGERS THOMAS Private 21043 from Blackburn
ROGERS JOHN Private 21445 from Wellington,Shropshire
ROGERS WILLIAM Private 20660 from Flintshire
ROSSBOTTOM HENRY 22 Corporal 20829 from Manchester
SALISBURY FREDERICK Private 20952 from Failsworth
SCHOLES CHARLES  27 Private 21496 born Manchester, lived Cheadle Hulme
SIMMONS  ALBERT Private  25917 from Manchester
SKELLY ROBERT 32 Private 20665  from Bradford,Yorks
SMART RALPH 24 Private 25515 from Manchester
SMITH CHARLES Private 20661 from Manchester
SMITH JOSEPH Private 28277 from Manchester
SPEDDING FRANK Private  28775 from Manchester
SPENCER  ERIC 22 Lance Corporal 20115 from Ashton-under-Lyne
STAFFORD HERBERT 27 Private 20323 from Manchester
STANSFIELD UTTLEY 21 Private 20953 from Todmorden
STARBUCK ARTHUR 27 Serjeant 20725 from Manchester
STEPHENSON JOHN Lance Corporal 20815 from Manchester
SULLIVAN ALFRED  Private  21206 from Manchester
SWAN GEORGE 2nd Lieutenant       
SWEATMAN WILLIAM Corporal 21354 from Salford
SWINDELL JAMES 22 Private 21323 from Manchester
TAYLOR OLIVER 21 Private 28394 from Mossley
TETLOW ALBERT 26 Private 21187 from Manchester
THOMAS ALBERT Private 25620 born Salford,enlisted Manchester
THRELFALL FRANK  Private  20957 from Manchester
TOWNSON  HENRY 33 Private 21385  from Morecambe
TRACEY WILLIAM Private 21165 from Manchester
TURNER FREDERICK Private 25593  from Middleton
TURNER HARRY Private 20530 from Manchester
WALKER JAMES Private 21168 from Manchester
WARD FRANCIS Private 21190 from Manchester
WATTS WILLIAM 21 Private 28387  from Oldham
WEEKES THOMAS 25 Serjeant 20133  from Manchester
WHARFE LEONARD Private 25513 born Radcliffe, enlisted Manchester
WHIPP ARTHUR 22  Private 21069 from Oldham
WHITAKER WILLIAM Private 21467 from Manchester
WHITLOCK RICHARD Private 28409 from Shaw
WILD DOUGLAS Lance Corporal 21300 from Radcliffe
WILLIAMS EDGAR 20 Private 20893  from Wilmslow
WILLIAMS OLGAR  Lance Corporal 25860 from Ruabon, Wales
WILLIAMSON FRANK 23 Private 33085 from Oldham
WILSON AUGUSTIN Private 21195 from Manchester
WILSON WILLIAM Serjeant  20823 from Burnley
WINSTON  THOMAS  26 Private 21189 from Manchester
WOODCOCK WILFRED  Private 20538 from Stretford
WOOLLEY  JOSEPH  24 Private 20134 from Manchester
WORTHINGTON GEORGE 19 Private 20826 from Manchester
WRIGHT WILLIAM Private 20964 from Whitefield
YOUNG REUBEN Private 25634 born Leeds,lived Barrow

Date of Death:01/07/1916
Service No:28441
Regiment:Manchester Regiment
Unit:22nd Bn.
Thiepval Memorial
Panel Ref:Pier&Face 13A&14C

John Edward Pickles was born in Shaw in 1895, his parents being John William and Elizabeth. John snr was Royton born whilst Elizabeth was originally from Middleton. John Edward had two younger sisters, Agnes and Mary. At the time of the 1901 census they were living at 4 Wild Street in Shaw but by 1911 they had moved to 20 Springfield Street in Royton.
John Edward Pickles worked as a joiner minder at the Lamb Mill in Higginshaw. On January 2th 1916 he married Mabel Beaumont at St.Thomas' Church in Delph, to those who know the area it's the old chapel up at the Heights. He must have joined up very soon after that, in Royton, although his place of residence is by then listed as Delph which was were Mabel's family lived.
He was assigned to the 22nd Manchesters who had been out in France since November 1915. The unit had been raised as one of Manchester's 'Pals Battalions' in November 1914 as the 7th City Battalion. In February 1916 they arrived in the Somme area, their first operation of note being a trench raid in early June.