Saturday, 31 October 2015

Another story from Tony Goulding .......... THE METHODIST CHURCH WAR MEMORIAL

Below are recorded , in no particular order, "pen pictures" of ten of these names-being the first instalment of a project to feature all the 32 men and 1 woman remembered here

William Eric Lunt
(D.o.W.14/10/1916 France)

Born in 1895 the son of John Henry Lunt, a greengrocer, and his wife Mary Ann of 60, Sandy Lane

Enlisted at Ardwick on 5th. September, 1914 into the 8th (Home Service) Battalion, Manchester Regiment transferred in 1916 to the 18th Battalion for service in France.

William's civilian occupation was as an apprentice in a millenary warehouse. William's papers indicate that he was a tall lean youth of just 19; 5'11'' and 129 lbs. with a 351/2'' chest and had brown eyes, dark hair and a sallow complexion. We even can discover his cap and boot sizes -7 and 10 respectively.

He had three cousins (and fellow Chorltonians) who were all also killed on the Western Front (2)

Thomas Roy Ellwood  
Son of the noted chronicler of old Chorlton-cum-Hardy, and chief clerk of Manchester City Council's Public Health Office, Thomas Loft house Ellwood

Thomas Roy was born in 1896, lived at 68, Brundretts Road and in civilian life worked as an apprentice in a Macintosh works warehouse until his family moved away to Bedale in Yorkshire.

He enlisted at Harrogate into the West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales Own) reaching the rank of lance sergeant before his death in France.

His body was one of the tens of thousands which were never recovered from the battlefield and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.
Christopher Thomas Bottrill
(K.i.A. 1/7/1916 France)

Resident of 52, Keppel Road. A sergeant In"C"company 16th battalion, Manchester Regiment and one of the casualties in the carnage that was the first day of the Battle of the Somme, he is also commemorated at Thiepval.

Christopher was born at Shelley Nr.Huddersfield, West Yorkshire in 1891. Sometime in the 1890's his father Christopher George, a master bread baker, moved his wife, Jane, young Christopher and his four sisters to Chorlton-cum-Hardy and opened a bakery at! 2, Barlow Moor Road.(3)

Christopher also (like William Lunt) worked as apprentice in a millenary warehouse (at 29, Dale Street for Pugh , Davies &Co.) while his two oldest sisters both worked as elementary school teachers.

Robert Taylor Hardman
( K.i.A. 1/7/1916 France)

Temp. 2cnd Lt. Royal Engineers, Special Brigade. (4)

Another casualty of the first day of the Somme. He was born in Higher Crumpsall, on 22nd July 1889, from where he attended Bury Grammar School.

Later attending schools in Manchester before completing a M.Sc. degree in Chemistry (1907-1911) at Manchester University. He gained a 2cnd class honours degree which was good enough for him to get a research fellowship (1912-1913).

At the outbreak of War, Robert had not long retuned from New York, where he had been working as a research chemist (Aug. '13-Apr '14) , and was living with his father, also a Robert Taylor  and mother, Alice Ann at the family home of 30, Church (now Chequers) Road -- later 32,Stockton Road.

At university he had spent more than four years in the Officer Training Corps and he was "gazzeted" in November 1914 into the The Kings Own Royal Lancs. Regiment before the formation of the "Special Brigade" saw his transfer to the Royal Engineers to better utilize his expertise. Again he lies in no known grave and is included in the list of the missing at Thiepval.


Arthur Kettle
(K.i.A. 18/11/1916 France)

Private in the 19th battalion, Manchester Regiment.  Yet another recorded on the Thiepval Memorial.

Married Mabel Lillian (nee Jones) at the Primitive Methodist Church on High Lane, April 2nd 1904.

Home addresses 2, Swayfield Ave. Born in Grantham, Lincolnshire in 1879. Parents Joseph and Emily lived at 5, Oswald Lane.

Enlisted at Manchester on 7th September, 1914 despite being nearly 35 years old and a married man with six young children the oldest just turned 10 and the youngest, Pearl a 6 months old baby.

According to army records he stood 5'7'' tall, weighed 123 lbs and had a 35" chest, fresh complexion with blue eyes and brown hair.

Leonard Kitchen.
(K.I.A. 25/10/1918 France)
Private in Machine-gun Corps (originally "B" company 23rd battalion Manchester’s) born in 1888 at Worcester.

His mother, Annie moving   her young family back to her home town of Manchester following the death of his father John in 1895.

He married Agnes Kettle in 1913 making him the brother-in-law of the above man. They resided at 6, Provis Road. Tragically he perished less than three weeks before the Armistice of 11th. November, 1918, ended the fighting.

Raymond Percy
(D.o.W. 12/8/1918 France)

Temp.Lt. (acting Captain) 12th.battalion Kings Liverpool Regiment. Awarded a Military Cross.
Raymond was born in 1896 in Echuca, Victoria, Australia but was brought up in Chorlton-cum-Hardy at 20, Salisbury Road with his father, John Arthur, a pawnbroker and jeweller, mother Katie (nee. Kemp)  and older brother, George Leslie.

In the years prior to 1914 Raymond had attended a boarding school with his brother in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire.

His parents had been married at St.Matthew's, Stretford on 29th. November, 1893 prior to their move to Australia.

Arnold Clifford Wagstaff M.M (1)  (D.o.W.29/8/1916 France)

A Lance Corporal in the Manchester Regiment -20th battalion and a recipient of the Military Medal, he was born in Sercombe ,Cheshire in 1894.

Before the hostilities he was an apprentice dental mechanic living with his parent’s , George Arthur an advertising agent and Rosa Ellen at 103 , Beech Road . Arnold would certainly have been well acquainted with the three Lunt brothers (referred to above) who lived above their father's greengrocer shop at 119, Beech Road.

Frederick Pontefract
(died 16/6/1918.France)

Frederick enlisted in Manchester on 11th May , 1915 , when aged 19 years and 2 months

He was assigned to the Royal Army Medical Corps and posted to join the 2/3 field ambulance unit of the East Lancashire Regiment, spending some time with The Expeditionary force in Egypt before being transferred to France.

At his medical on the 11th. May 1915 the record shows he was 5' 6" and had a chest measurement of 35" with good vision and no distinguishing marks or "defects.”

The attestation papers reveal that he was a cashier by trade and resided with parents Frederick William, a cotton fabrics buyer, and Agnes Anne at 11,Grange Avenue.  He was born at 15, Beechwood Avenue and later lived at 5, Beech Road.

An examination of the service record of this individual brought to light a very sad story indeed
Frederick died of a skin infection "cellulitis lace" at Perronne Reserve Hospital , France whilst "a prisoner of war in German hands"

Very unfortunately it seems that due to the vagaries of communications between the combative powers (perhaps exacerbated by the imminent internal collapse of Germany) notification that Frederick was a P.O.W. only reached his parents on 9th August 1918 .
In the following weeks as the feeling that the end of hostilities was approaching grew, they likely had great hope that their son had survived only for it to be dashed with the notification of his death on 15th. October, 1918

Cecil William Somerville
(K.i.A.24/8/1918 France)

2nd.Lt. 82cnd. sqd. R.A.F. (originally joined the Manchester Regiment) Cecil had Irish parentage. William, a commercial traveller/linen merchant and his wife Mary of 11, Torbay Road and later 32, Egerton Road hailed from Co. Armagh.

Cecil was their eldest (surviving) child born in the Toxteth Park area of Liverpool on 19th.September 1897.

By the time of the 1911 census, Cecil had four siblings a brother, Vivian, and three sisters Doris, Edith, and Maudie. The family's initial home in Chorlton-cum-Hardy was at 29, Needham Avenue.
K.i.A. = killed in action.
D.o.W. = died of wounds.
Died = died of illness or injury while on active service

1) There is a double entry on the Memorial. The list of names on the front includes A.C. Wagsraffe whilst on the side the name A. Clifford Wagstaffe appears.

The explanation for this comes courtesy of my good friend David, a member and official of the Methodist Church.

According to him when the Primitive Methodist Church, on High Lane closed in 1967 and amalgamated with church on Manchester Road they added the names from their memorial to the side of this one .Presumably Mr. Wagstaffe had been a member of both congregations.

2) William Eric Lunt is also a relative of my friend David whose family resided in Dartmouth Road, which is just opposite the location of "Lunts" greengrocer shop on Sandy Lane. Gladys May, William's younger sister and only sibling married a Thomas H. Patching in 1916. My friend David's mother, Constance was the half-brother of the groom.

3) The Bottrill’s lived at 2, Oak Bank Avenue which is now Silverwood Avenue. The bakery on Barlow Moor Road was in the building on its comer now occupied by the Halifax.

4) The Royal Engineers "Special Brigade" was formed in 1915 as a response to the use of poison gas by the Germans. Its remit was to both expand Britain's own chemical warfare initiatives and develop defensive measures to counter any future German attacks.

© Tony Goulding

Pictures; from the collection of Tony Goulding

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