Remembering our forgotten heroes

John Waddington

Born in 1879, Heapey, Lived in Whittle le Woods

Age: on Enlistment

Age:  38

Died of Wounds:  21 June 1917

France and Flanders

Reg no: 25365

Rank: Private

9th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment



Married on 3 June 1912 to Isabella Robinson at Heapey, Parish Church.  



Sarah I. Waddington, born on 30 July 1912


He was a Wood Turner


Enlisted at Chorley



The 9th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, War Diary page for June 1917 was missing, but I found them in the Various sections of the 25th Division, 74 Infantry Brigade Diary extracts!


Still, not much to write about...and there are gaps in the information


17th June 1917-

The Battalion relieved the 8th Borderers in the line (MESSINES SECTOR)


He died whilst at the 76 Field Ambulance on 21 June 1917



23rd June 1917-

The battalion moved out of the line to the TRANSPORT LINE on the night of 22\23rd and proceeded to VIERHOUCKE



He is buried at Kandahar Farm Cemetery, Wulverghem (now Wulvergem)


The headstone notes on the CWGC site mention Mrs. Isabella Waddington,

c/o Mrs. I Robinson, Moor View, Blackburn Road, Heapey


No inscription





John Edward Ward

Born in 1894, Blackburn

Age: abt 21 on enlistment

Age: 22

Killed in Action: 1/2 July 1916

France and Flanders

Reg no - 15351

Rank: Private

11 Battalion East Lancashire Regiment



His name is on the Whittle le Woods 1914-1915 Roll of Honour



Enlisted at Chorley


Another member of the Accrington Pals


Specifically, he was in the Chorley Pals and Killed in Action with the attack on Serre


His name and fellow Whittler, J. Hull are mentioned in the Farnworth Chronicle on Friday 11 August 1916 as being Killed with the East Lancashire Regiment 


Son of Thomas and Alice Ward of 2 County Terrace, Clayton le Woods


His brother Richard was also Killed in Action (see below) 


His name is on the Thiepval Memorial


As of 30\11\2020 whilst sifting through old picture files from years ago I found a picture of him 




Richard Ward

Born in 1893, Blackburn

Age: on enlistment

Age: 23

Killed in Action: 30 July 1916

France and Flanders

Reg no: 18117

Rank: Private

2 Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers


Brother of the above


Enlisted at Blackburn



Richard Ward and the 2nd Battalion were involved in the attack on Guillemont.

They assembled in an area east of Trones Wood, moving forward along the

Guillemont Road.

They entered the village from the southwest taking a few casualties.

Later in the attack they became cut off

650 casualties out of the attacking force of 750, the majority dead or missing.



Son of Thomas and Alice Ward of 2 County Terrace, Clayton le Woods


Married Cordelia Ellen Carr, St Matthews, Blackburn on 13 September 1913


Husband of Cordelia Ellen Hinton (formerly Ward), of 146, Higher Audley St., Blackburn.


Think they had a son Frank Clifford Ward in 1914, he married Ella Ashton at

St Matthews, Blackburn in 1935. 


His name is on the Thiepval Memorial


Thank you to Allison Aspden (nee ward) for emailing me and providing

extra information. I have added it to the comments page.





James Waring

Born in 1889, Whittle le Woods

Age: abt 26 on enlistment


Killed in Action: 11 April 1918

France and Flanders

Reg no: 19354

Rank: Private

1 Battalion South Wales Borderers

1st Bn. attached Trench Mortar Bty



Date of Disembarkation was 18 May 1915



His name is on the Whittle le Woods 1914-1915 Roll of Honour 


Enlisted at Chorley


A Weaver by trade

He played the piano and the accordion


James Waring enlisted in the 1st Btn in March 1915, he was posted out to France as part of a replacement draft on 18th May 1915.

He only served with the 1st Btn, spending some time attached to the 7th Entrenching Btn, and at the time he was killed attached to the 3rd Brigade Trench Mortar Battery.

As regards his location, the 1st Btn had left Belgium on the 8th of April 1918, the Battle of the Lys started whilst the men were still moving south, on the afternoon of the 11th of April the men received orders to man the La Bassee canal defences east of Bethune


Extracts from the War Diary say-


On the 8th of April 1918, the 1 Battalion South Wales Borderers set off on a 5-hour train journey from Fouquereil and then marched to Beuvry.

They arrived at a comfortable billet.

On the 9th of April 1918, they were woken by shelling on the village, which lasted until 10.30 am.

The Germans had attacked the line from La Bassee Canal to Armentiers.

On the 10th of April 1918, "the day was more or less quiet"

On the 11th of April 1918, the Battalion was to relieve the front line at Hohenzollern.

But that order was cancelled at 12 noon and they were ordered to the Canal Line.

With two companies holding the line at La Bassee Canal and two companies

in support.



Son of William and Amelia Waring, of The Cross Keys Inn, Whittle-le-Woods.


His gravestone reads






Buried at Browns Road Military Cemetery, Festubert


The words are those of his father Mr William Waring




George Henry Weaver

Born 1880,  Farington

Age: abt 35 on enlistment

Age: 38

Killed in Action: 27 March 1918?

France and Flanders

Reg no:28789

Rank: Private

9th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment


His name is on the Whittle le Woods 1914-1915 Roll of Honour


Enlisted at Chorley


Lodgers at Naylors Fold, Whittle le Woods in 1911 with his wife Alice and their children
Ethel and Mary Hannah. 

George was a Labourer at the Cotton mill


George Henry Weaver was previously Pte. 23223, King's Liverpool Regt.


If this is the correct George Henry Weaver, he is named in a list of local men who were AWOL with the 15 Kings Liverpool Regiment in 1915


It looks like he was a draft transferred to the 9th Cheshires from the King's, possibly in early 1916.


His recorded date of death is wrong, most likely because of the heavy fighting.

The 9th Battalion had been mostly withdrawn from the area.

And the war diary will not have been backdated accurately.


He is buried at SERRE ROAD CEMETERY No.1
















William West

Born in 1892, Whittle le Woods

Age:  abt 22 on enlistment

Age: 23

Died of Wounds: 13 September 1915


Reg no: 11417

Rank: L/Cpl

6 Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment


His name is on the Whittle le Woods 1914-1915 Roll of Honour


Enlisted at Chorley


Previously a Weaver at Kem Mill


A member of the Whittle le Woods Harriers


Parents are William West and Kezia Withnell



He may have been injured in the attack on Chunuk Bair

They were positioned at a place called the apex on the Chailnuk Dera.

The battalion after the attack was moved to Sulva and took over trenches at Green



He is buried at the HAIDAR PASHA CEMETERY, in Istanbul, Turkey


As of 7\3\2021, I have found the information above in the picture






John Westby

Born 1880, Chorley, Living at Clayton le Woods

Age: abt 35 on enlistment

Age: 37

Killed in Action: 28 April 1917

France and Flanders

Reg no: 24981

Rank: Private

10 Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment


His name is not on the Whittle le Woods 19-1915 Roll of Honour


Enlisted at Preston


The 10th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment was in action on the 23rd of April.

Taking part in the 37th Division attacks on GREENLAND HILL during the Second Battle of the Scarpe.

On the 27th they received orders to attack GREENLAND HILL at dawn the next day!

At roughly 4.30 am the battalion attacked and managed to capture one of their objectives.

From the moment they attacked they had come under heavy fire and suffered serious casualties.. and only had 1 officer survive.

Their attack had failed due to a combination of poor weather conditions and the snow wouldn't of helped. The Germans were dug into some very well-defended positions. 



Son of the late Joseph and Mary Ann Westby; husband of Mary Westby, of

6, Pleasant View, Clayton-le-Woods, Chorley, Lancs.


of 3 Brownley Street, Clayton le Woods,

left £199 10s 7d to his wife Mary as of a probate date of 3 Sep 1917


He married Mary Crook in 1909 at Chorley Reg Office

Children -


Mary Veronica Westby born in 1911, Died in 1911

Mary Veronica Westby born in 1913 married James Clayton at Chorley Reg office in 1934


His name is on the Arras Memorial


Robert McClellan was in the same Battalion and was also killed on the same day





Walter Westhead

Born 1894, Whittle le Woods

Age: 21 in 1915

Age: 24

Killed in Action: 29 October 1918

Reg no: 34155

Rank: Private

8 Battalion Yorkshire Hussars (Alexandra, Princes of Wales' Own)



I believe it should actually be the 8th (Service) Battalion Yorkshire Regiment



Formerly 34627, 16 Ches. Regt

and 191 Labour Corp, 114465



Enlisted at Chorley


Served in Italy


On the same day, the Austro-Hungarians asked for an armistice!

Walter Westhead would be Killed in Action during an attack with 8th Green Howards
towards Cimetta during the Battle of Vittorio Veneto on 29 October 1918.


The war diary for October 1918 describes the fighting towards Cimetta as being in the face of heavy opposition including artillery and well­ camouflaged machine guns, resulting in heavy casualties.

The 8th Green Howards received heavy enfilade fire, being well forward of other flanking units who had been held up by the enemy.


Progress during the battle was slow and the enfilading machine gun fire caused them to temporarily withdraw


This day turned out to be their last on the front line, as they moved into reserve on the following day


Bread and Cigarettes were in short supply, as were other things with rationing 

Water had to be carried up by a mule only so far, but getting it to the frontline meant the men had to carry the water themselves. 


The battle was fought from the 24th of October 1918 to the 3rd of November 1918.


This battle helped to end the First World War less than two weeks later with the Armistice of 11 November.


New information found on 18 May 2020 -

His name appears in the  Yorkshire Regiment section of killed, in the Weekly Casualty List (War Office & Air Ministry) on Tuesday 31 December 1918.



Son of Thomas, a Cotton Weaver, and Ellen, Naylors Fold in 1911 


He is buried at Plot 1. Row B. Grave 12. Tezze British Cemetery, Italy


His Brother, William Westhead also served in the Royal Marines (Returned from Duty)



John Whalley, also known as "Jack"

Born 1892, Chorley

Age: abt 23 on enlistment

Age: 24

Killed in Action: 13 March 1916

France and Flanders

Reg no: 5929

Rank: Private

"D" Coy, 20 Service Battalion Royal Fusiliers


 His name is on the 1914 - 1915 Roll of Honour for Whittle le Woods


Enlisted at Manchester sometime between September and November 1914 


He was a colorist with Jos Cunliffe at the Calico Printers in Whittle-le-Woods.

In 1909 he enrolled as an evening student in Science and Technology courses


Soon after war was declared, John Whalley would be enlisted into the recently formed 20th (3rd Public Schools) Service Battalion, Royal Fusiliers in the Sutton and Epsom area


Considering the 20th Battalion formed up at Epsom on 11 September 1914 it makes sense that when John Whalley enlisted he may have had a picture taken

A recently found picture of him is dated 5 February 1915


Then as of 26 June 1915, the Battalion joined the 98th Brigade, 33rd Division, and the Division was at Clipstone Camp, Near Mansfield, Nottinghamshire as of July.1915

In August they moved to Salisbury Plain for their final training and practices.


And John Whalley lands in France on 14th November 1915 and by the 21st they are at Morbecque

On the 27th of November the 20th (3rd Public Schools) Service Battalion, Royal Fusiliers are transferred to the 19th Brigade.


John Whalley is Killed in Action only 4 months later.  


From what I can extract from the War Diary-


At 5 pm on 12 March 1916 the 20th Service Battalion, Royal Fusiliers relieved

the 5th Scottish Rifles in the Cuinchy Section, Cambrin Support Point

Relief was completed at 11.35 pm.


On 13 March 1916, the enemy blew a mine at 6.15 am.

Crater ETNA and GIBBONS, No casualties. Somewhere near those previously blown

mine craters (c1915)

Attack by the enemy in the evening

Captain E.T Wright was killed by a rifle grenade, 2nd Lt T.S Pope wounded.

4 OR killed, 8 OR wounded.

(1 remaining at duty)

We hold near the lip of the crater.


Living at Windfield, Whittle le Woods


Effects £105 5s 10d to wife Elizabeth Whalley on 5 June 1916


Son of George and Elizabeth Whalley, of Chorley, Lancs


His father of 52 Preston Road would have this inscribed on his stone -




He is buried at Cambrin Churchyard Extension, Cambrin plot L1. 10C




His name is also commemorated at -

Manchester Municipal College of Technology Memorial in the Sackville Building, University of Manchester.




Mark Wilson- To Add more information from War Diary

Born 1886, Blackburn

Age: 30 on enlistment

Age: 32, 11 months

Died of Wounds: 31st March 1918

France and Flanders

Reg no: 24968

Rank: L\Cpl

8 Battalion, Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment



He married Alice Lyon on 2nd June 1902 at Christ Church, Blackburn.

As of 1916, they had children, Gladys, Albert, Ethel, and Elenor. and lived at

26 Henrietta St, Blackburn.


He was a Paper Mill Labourer


Alice was living at No 3 Mount Pleasant, Rock Cottages, Whittle le Woods

as of his death


Alice Borsay



Mark Wilson, Enlisted on 25 August 1916 at Lancaster


He was posted as a Pte to the 3 Battalion, Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment on 26 August 1916


On 29 December 1916 he was transferred to the 8 Battalion, Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment and promoted to L\Cpl on 27 October 1917



New information as of 19 May 2020-

His name is mentioned in the Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment list in the Weekly Casualty List (War Office & Air Ministry ) - Tuesday 04 June 1918 for the missing.


Posted as missing I think about 28\29th Mach 1918 whilst at WANCOURT


The War Diary for March 1918-



16 Officers

480 Other Ranks




He died at the Field Hospital at Estrees on 31st March 1918


Alice would receive a war pension of 33/9 a week for herself and the four children.


He is buried at Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery


No inscription from his family





Robert Withnell

Born in 1875, Whittle le Woods

Age:42 on enlistment

Age: 43

Reg no: ME/184

Rank: Sapper

South Africa

South African Mounted Engineers


Enlisted at Joh-Burg as a guess



Robert Withnell was 42 years old on 6 February 1917 when he was taken on strength

They embarked on HMS Profession (?) on 22 March 1917


Died of Blackwater Fever: 19 January 1918 at Mingoyo, Tanzania




Lived at Town Lane, Whittle le Woods in 1901 with his wife Rachel, and their son

Norman William Withnell

He was a Carpenter and Joiner, and Rachel was a Cotton Winder.


Husband of Rachel Withnell, of Carwood Farm, Craighall, Johannesburg, South Africa

at the time of Robert's Death in 1918

Mrs. R Withnell, PO BOX 5309, Johannesburg


He is buried at Dar Es Salaam War Cemetery, Tanzania



Norman William Withnell was born in 1898 in Whittle le Woods, Lancashire, and would marry Kathleen Mary Cooper, who was born on 24 April 1898, in Pretoria, Transvaal


Robert Cyril Withnell, born 9 Dec 1906

Ethel Mary Withnell, born 18 Sep 1902






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