NEW MILLS WORLD WAR TWO LOSSES
Maybe you didn't want to frighten me.
Now it's too late.
Now I'd ask you shamelessly.
But then I felt ashamed.
What was my shame?
Why couldn't I have borne to hear you telling what you underwent?
DERYCK ASTLEY NORRIS-JORDAN, 2ND LIEUTENANT, BORDER REGIMENT. KILLED IN NOVEMBER 1940. AGED 22. SON OF MR AND MRS C. F. NORRIS-JORDAN OF "CALDY" WOODBOURNE ROAD, NEWTOWN. FAMILY HAD LIVED IN NEW MILLS SINCE 1922. DERYCK WHO WAS MARRIED, WAS EDUCATED AT ROYAL LANCASTER GRAMMAR SCHOOL, WHERE HE WAS A MEMBER OF THE OFFICER TRAINING CORP FOR THREE YEARS. IT SEEM THAT DERYCK DID NOT SPEND MUCH TIME IN NEW MILLS DUE TO HIS BEING AWAY AT SCHOOL. HE WAS A MEMBER OF MANCHESTER ATHENAEUM DRAMATIC SOCIETY AND WAS VERY KEEN ON ACTING. DERYCK WHO HAD ONLY RECENTLY TRANSFERRED FROM THE SHERWOOD FORESTERS. DIED IN AN ACCIDENT. IT SEEMS THAT A HEAVY IRON DOOR FELL ON HIM. BURIED IN DISLEY PARISH CHURCHYARD.
RONALD BAINES, 7378303 PRIVATE, 141FIELD AMBULANCE. ROYAL ARMY MEDICAL CORPS. KILLED 2ND DECEMBER 1943. AGED 27. ONLY SON OF JOSEPH AND JESSIE BAINES OF DYE HOUSE LANE. RONALD WAS EMPLOYED AT HIGH LANE BRICK WORKS. HE ATTENDED THE CONGREGATIONAL SUNDAY SCHOOL AND WAS AN ENTHUSIASTIC MEMBER OF THE BOYS BRIGADE. RONALD HAD BEEN SERVING WITH THE CENTRAL MEDITERRANEAN FORCES FOR TWO YEARS BURIED SANGRO RIVER WAR CEMETERY.
SAMUEL COOPER BATES, PRIVATE, SECOND BATTALION CHESHIRE REGIMENT. LOST IN THE SS SCILLINON THE 14TH OF NOVEMBER 1942. AGE 25. SON OF SAMUEL AND JEMINA E. BATES OF THORNSETT; HUSBAND OF ENA BATES OF HURST LEA ROAD. SAMUEL WAS BY TRADE A STONEMASON WHEN HE JOINED UP HE WAS EMPLOYED BY MESSRS MARKLAND OF ROMILEY. WHILST SERVING IN THE MIDDLE EAST SAMUEL WAS REPORTED MISSING. AFTER A PERIOD OF UNCERTAINTY, NEWS CAME VIA A RADIO BROADCAST FROM ROME THAT HE WAS A PRISONER OF THE ITALIANS. BROADCASTING THE NAMES OF PRISONERS AND THEIR MESSAGES WAS A PROPAGANDA EXERCISE. RELATIVES WOULD LISTEN EAGERLY FOR THE NAMES AND MESSAGES OF LOVED ONES WHICH WOULD BE MIXED WITH ITEMS THAT THE ITALIAN PROPAGANDA MACHINE WANTED THEM TO HEAR.
IT APPEARS, IN A CRUEL TWIST OF FATE, THAT SAMUEL AND MANY OTHER PRISONERS WERE LOST AT SEA WHILST BEING TRANSPORTED OUT OF NORTH AFRICA ABOARD AN UNMARKED PRISON SHIP IN AN ITALIAN CONVOY. IT WAS BELIEVED AT THE TIME THAT THEIR SHIP WAS ATTACKED AND SUNK BY ALLIED FORCES. MANY PRISONER WERE LOST. COMMEMORATED ALAMEIN MEMORIAL, EGYPT.
CYRIL BOWDEN, BOMBADIER, ROYAL ARTILLERY. KILLED 24TH JANUARY 1945. AGED 29. SON OF MR F. BOWDEN OF LOW LEIGHTON; HUSBAND OF EDITH BOWDEN. EMPLOYED AS A PENTOGRAPHER AT MESSRS CAMPBELLS ENGRAVING WORKS. CYRIL WAS CONNECTED TO THE PARISH CHURCH WHERE HE WAS AN ENTHUSIASTIC BELL RINGER. CYRIL ENLISTED IN EARLY 1940 AND WENT TO FRANCE SOON AFTER D-DAY. HE WAS KILLED IN ACTION IN HOLLAND. CYRIL'S FATHER HAD SERVED IN BOTH THE SOUTH AFRICAN CAMPAIGN(BOER WAR) AND THE FIRST WORLD WAR.
BERNARD BROE. 1450090 SERGEANT (W. OP/Air Gnr) ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE. KILLED 26TH MAY 1944. AGE 22. SON OF HAROLD EDWARD AND ELSIE BROE OF PARK ROAD. BEFORE ENLISTING BERNARD WAS EMPLOYED AS AN APPRENTICE SKETCHMAN AT MESSRS CAMPBELL AND CO's ENGRAVING WORKS IN NEW MILLS. HE WAS A WELL KNOWN FOOTBALLER WHO PLAYED OUTSIDE-RIGHT FOR NEW MILLS AFC IN THE MANCHESTER AMATEUR LEAGUE. BERNARD HAD SHOWN ENOUGH PROMISE TO BE CONSIDERED FOR A CAREER IN THE GAME. HE WAS A SCHOLAR OF THE PARISH CHURCH SUNDAY SCHOOL. BERNARD HAD TAKEN WELL TO THE RAF AND HIS PROMOTION WAS RAPID AND HE HAD BEEN ON OPERATIONAL FLYING FOR TWELVE MONTHS. BERNARD WAS ABOARD LANCASTER L7578 OF No5 LANCASTER FINISHING SCHOOL, BASED AT SYERSTON, WHEN IT DIVED INTO THE GROUND NEAR THE VILLAGE OF GONALSTON WHILST ON A TRAINING FLIGHT. THE CREW OF SEVEN PERISHED. A MEMORIAL STONE PAID FOR BY THE FAMILIES OF THOSE WHO DIED NOW MARKS THE PLACE OF THE CRASH. BERNARD AND THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CREW ARE BURIED IN NEWARK CEMETERY.
JAMES BROOME PRIVATE, ARGYLE AND SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS. KILLED IN ACTION 12TH MAY 1944. AGE 29. SON OF MR JAMES BROOME OF DISLEY. MARRIED TO MISS BERESFORD OF ST. ALBAN'S STREET, NEW MILLS. EMPLOYED AT STRINES PRINTWORKS. JAMES PLAYED FOOTBALL FOR DISLEY AFC, HE WAS ALSO A WELL KNOWN SWIMMER. ENLISTED IN 1940 AND WENT OVERSEAS IN OCTOBER 1943.
LESLIE ALFRED CAREY 6984811 PRIVATE, 2ND BATTALION. YORK AND LANCASTER REGIMENT. DIED 27TH MARCH 1944. AGED 32. SON OF JESSE AND ELLEN CAREY OF BUXTON; HUSBAND OF OLGA CAREY OF NEW MILLS. LESLIE SERVED HIS TIME AS A PAINTER AND DECORATOR IN BUXTON. HE CAME TO NEW MILLS TO WORK FOR MESSRS ALSOP AND CLAYTON. DURING WHICH TIME HE WAS A MEMBER OF THE MOUNT PLEASANT METHODIST CHOIR AND LOCAL AMATEUR DRAMATIC SOCIETY AND APPEARED IN MANY SHOWS. HAVING MARRIED MISS OLGA STANWAY LESLIE MOVED TO JOIN HIS FAMILY IN NEWARK. WHILST THERE HE JOINED THE ARMY AND HAD BEEN OVERSEAS SINCE AUGUST 1941. KILLED IN THE INDIAN THEATRE OF WAR. BURIED TAUKKYAN WAR CEMETERY. MYANMAR.
HARRY CARTHY, SICK BERTH ATTENDANT. P/MX 80977. H.M.S. ITCHEN; ROYAL NAVY. KILLED THURSDAY, 23RD SEPTEMBER 1943 AGE 34. SON OF JAMES AND LUCY CARTHY; HUSBAND OF FLORENCE CARTHY OF LOW LEIGHTON. HARRY AND HIS WIFE WERE LIVING IN BIRMINGHAM. THEY WERE BOMBED OUT AND CAME TO LIVE WITH HARRY'S SISTER AND BROTHER-IN-LAW ON THE ARDEN ESTATE. HARRY MADE MANY FRIENDS HERE DURING HIS PERIODS OF LEAVE. HARRY WAS PRESUMED LOST AT SEA AFTER THE H.M.S. ITCHEN WAS ATTACKED AND SUNK BY A U-BOAT. COMMEMORATED PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL, HAMPSHIRE.
WALTER COFFEY PRIVATE, SHERWOOD FORESTERS, ANTI AIRCRAFT BATTERY, ROYAL ENGINEERS (T.F.). AUGUST 1939. AGED 31. LIVED ON JUBILEE STREET WITH HIS WIFE AND TWO CHILDREN. WALTER HAD BEEN EMPLOYED ON THE RAILWAY AT NEWTOWN BEFORE JOINING THE TERRITORIALS AS A DISPATCH RIDER IN 1935. WALTER, AND A PASSENGER CORPORAL JEBB OF CHAPEL STREET, WERE FOUND NEAR A DAMAGED MOTOR CYCLE BY A GROUP OF TERRITORIALS RETURNING TO A CAMP IN EAST YORKSHIRE. WALTER WAS DEAD AND CORPORAL ALAN JEBB WAS LYING INJURED CLOSEBY.
HARRY CONWAY 7373733 PRIVATE, 160 FIELD AMBULANCE. ROYAL ARMY MEDICAL CORPS. DIED AS THE RESULT OF INJURIES 4TH FEBUARY 1944. AGED 26. SON OF JOHN GILBERT AND EDITH CONWAY OF LOW LEIGHTON. HARRY WAS A SCHOLAR OF NEW MILLS COUNCIL SCHOOL, HE WON A DERBYSHIRE SCHOLARSHIP TO NEW MILLS COUNTY SECONDARY SCHOOL. ON LEAVING SCHOOL HE WAS EMPLOYED IN THE OFFICE OF THE CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY. ATTENDED THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH AND SUNDAY SCHOOL. HARRY WAS A KEEN SPORTSMAN WHO ENJOYED BADMINTON, FOOTBALL, TENNIS AND CRICKET. HE WAS ALSO A MEMBER OF THE LOCAL AMATEUR OPERATIC SOCIETY. IN 1940 HARRY JOINED THE ROYAL ARMY MEDICAL CORP. IT APPEARS THAT HARRY WAS FATALLY INJURED WHEN AN ARMY TRUCK OVER TURNED IN EAST ANGLIA.COMMEMORATED IN THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH BURIAL GROUND.
GEORGE COOPER, GUNNER, 1609557. 241 BATTERY; H.A.A. REGIMENT, ROYAL ARTILLERY. KILLED 4TH MARCH 1943. AGED 32. ONLY SON OF MRS ADA COOPER OF 106, LANESIDE ROAD. EMPLOYED AT FURNESS VALE PRINTWORKS. GEORGE ENLISTED IN 1941 AND AFTER TRAINING WAS POSTED TO THE FAR EAST. IT WAS WHILST GEORGE WAS TRAVELLING EAST ABOARD A TROOPSHIP IN JANUARY 1942 THAT HIS MOTHER RECEIVED HER LAST LETTER FROM HIM. HE WAS POSTED MISSING IN MARCH 1943, AND IT SEEMS REASONABLE TO PRESUME THAT HE FELL IN THE ILL FATED DEFENCE OF SINGAPORE. COMMEMORATED KRANJI WAR CEMETERY, SINGAPORE.
JOHN ALFRED CRITCHLOW 4460185 PRIVATE, 1ST BATTALION. SOUTH STAFFORDSHIRE REGIMENT. DIED OF WOUNDS 21ST MAY 1944. AGED 24. SON OF HENRY AND HANNAH CRITCHLOW OF MARSH LANE. EMPLOYED AT THE GARRISON BLEACH AND DYEWORKS BEFORE JOINING THE ARMY IN 1940. JOHN WHO HAD BEEN OVERSEAS FOR MORE THAN TWO YEARS WAS A SCHOLAR OF THE PROVIDENCE CONGREGATIONAL SUNDAY SCHOOL. HE WAS VERY FOND OF FOOTBALL. ONE OF FOUR BROTHERS. COMMEMORATED ON THE RANGOON MEMORIAL. MYANMAR.
JOHN JOSEPH CUFFE, PRIVATE, 2934794. QUEEN'S OWN CAMERON HIGHLANDERS. KILLED SUNDAY, 12TH MARCH 1944. AGE 28. SON OF JOHN AND MARY CUFFE OF TORR TOP STREET. HUSBAND OF DORIS CUFFE OF BRIDGE STREET. EMPLOYED AT BIRCH VALE PRINTWORKS. ASSOCIATED WITH ST MARY'S CATHOLIC CHURCH WHERE HE WAS A DEVOTED MEMBER. A NATIVE OF HAYFIELD JOHN HAD LIVED IN NEW MILLS ABOUT EIGHT YEARS. HE JOINED THE ARMY IN 1940 AND HAD BEEN OVERSEAS ONLY ABOUT FOUR MONTHS. COMMEMORATED CASINO WAR CEMETERY, ITALY.
HAROLD DAWSON 7615178 PRIVATE. 1/5TH WELSH REGIMENT. KILLED 26TH AUGUST 1944. AGED 26. SON OF THE LATE JOHN AND MARY DAWSON; NEPHEW AND WARD OF JAMES AND MELINDA GODDARD OF MARSH LANE. EMPLOYED AT WHITEHALL BLEACH AND DYEWORKS, CHINLEY. SCHOLAR OF THORNSETT METHODIST SUNDAY SCHOOL. HAROLD JOINED THE ARMY IN OCTOBER 1939 AND WENT TO FRANCE WITH THE EXPEDITIONARY FORCE. HE WAS EVACUATED FROM DUNKIRK. ON D-DAY HAROLD RETURNED TO FRANCE WITH THE INVASION FORCE. BURIED BANNEVILLE-LA-CAMPAGNE WAR CEMETERY-CALVADOS.
VINCENT DUXBURY. DFC. 127141 FLIGHT LIEUTENANT (PILOT). ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE, KILLED ON THE 1ST OCTOBER 1943. AGED 22. SON OF MR AND MRS DUXBURY OF WATFORD BRIDGE ROAD. A NATIVE OF GLOSSOP VINCENT HAD SPENT TWO PERIODS OF HIS LIFE IN NEW MILLS. AS A BOY HE HAD ATTENDED SCHOOL HERE AND IN 1938 HIS PARENTS MOVED HERE TO LIVE ON WATFORD BRIDGE ROAD. HIS MAIN EDUCATION WAS GAINED AT GLOSSOP GRAMMER SCHOOL WHERE HE CAPTAINED THE SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAM AND LED THE SCHOOL DANCE BAND. HE PLAYED THE SAXOPHONE. AFTER PASSING THE CIVIL SERVICE EXAM VINCENT ENTERED THE INLAND REVENUE AT NOTTINGHAM. WHEN HE ATTAINED THE AGE OF 18, VINCENT JOINED THE ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE AND HAD ALREADY DONE SOME TRAINING WHEN THE WAR BROKE OUT. HIS RISE THROUGH THE RANKS WAS RAPID. WHILST A PILOT OFFICER IN NOVEMBER 1942 VINCENT HAD RECEIVED THE DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS FROM KING GEORGE IN A CEREMONY AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE. VINCENT WHO HAD TAKEN PART IN 65 OPERATIONAL FLIGHTS WAS SERVING AS AN INSTRUCTOR WITH NUMBER 1660 HEAVY CONVERSION UNIT WHEN ON THE 1ST OCTOBER 1943, HALIFAX DG275 BROKE UP IN THE AIR NEAR BARDNEY, WHILST ON A ROUTINE TRAINING FLIGHT. BURIED ST GERMAIN CHURCHYARD, THURLBY, LINCOLNSHIRE.
MARGARET FERGUSON GALBRAITH W/121432 CORPORAL, AUXILIARY TERRITORIAL SERVICE. DIED 11TH MAY 1943. AGED 23. DAUGHTER OF JAMES AND MARGARET GALBRAITH OF MEADOW NOOK, BIRCH VALE. MARGARET WORKED IN THE OFFICE OF NEW MILLS CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY. ATTENDED THORNSETT INDEPENDENT CHAPEL. MARGARET WAS A KEEN TENNIS PLAYER AND A MEMBER OF FURNESS VALE TENNIS CLUB. WHILST SERVING IN GREAT YARMOUTH MARGARET AND TWENTY FOUR OTHER A.T.S GIRLS WERE KILLED BY A BOMB DROPPED FROM AN ENEMY AIRCRAFT ON AN HIT AND RUN RAID. BURIED GREAT YARMOUTH (CAISTER) CEMETERY, NORFOLK.
FRED GEE, TROOPER, ROYAL TANK CORP. KILLED 19TH JULY 1943. AGE 32. ONLY SON OF MR AND MRS FRED GEE OF BIRCH VALE; HUSBAND OF HILDA GEE. EMPLOYED AT BIRCH VALE PRINTWORKS WHERE HE WAS AN ASSISTANT COLOURIST. FRED ATTENDED EVENING CLASSES AT NEW MILLS TECHNICAL INSTITUTE AND MANCHESTER COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY. HE WAS HOLDER OF THE NATIONAL CERTIFICATE IN CHEMISTRY. FRED'S GREAT LOVE WAS MUSIC. HE WAS DEPUTY CONDUCTOR OF BIRCH VALE MALE VOICE CHOIR AND THE ACCOMPANIST. HIS WORK AS AN ACCOMPANIST EARNED HIM GREAT APPRECIATION FROM SINGERS AND IT WAS NOT UNUSUAL FOR THEM IN THE PRESENCE OF THE AUDIENCE TO SHAKE HIM BY THE HAND. CRICKETERS THROUGHOUT THE HIGH PEAK KNEW FRED AS AN ENTHUSIASTIC MEMBER OF THE BIRCH VALE TEAM. FRED WAS AN OCCASIONAL ORGANIST AT ST. JOHN'S METHODIST CHURCH, HAYFIELD. FRED HAD A LONG ASSOCIATION WITH THE ZION METHODIST SUNDAY SCHOOL WHERE HE WAS SUPERINTENDENT. HE PRODUCED MANY MUSICAL SHOWS, FOR WHICH THE ZION WAS WELL KNOWN. WHILST IN THE MIDDLE EAST FRED AND HIS FRIEND WILLIE DOUGHTY WERE LUCKY ENOUGH TO VISIT JERUSALEM AND MANY OF THE PLACES WHICH THEY HAD SO OFTEN HEARD REFERRED TO IN THE BIBLE. ENLISTED IN 1941 AND JOINED THE EIGHTH ARMY IN THE MIDDLE EAST. FRED TOOK PART IN THE FINAL BATTLES IN TUNISIA, AND ON THE 10TH OF JULY 1943 THE INVASION OF SICILY. HE DIED IN THE FIGHTING IN SICILY.
HAROLD C. GRUNDY WARRANT OFFICER, ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE. SON OF MR AND MRS C. E. GRUNDY. THE MARRIED WARRANT OFFICER GRUNDY HAD MADE HIS HOME IN WALDERSLADE NEAR MAIDSTONE, KENT. GRANDSON OF THE WELL KNOWN WESLEYAN PREACHER ABEL GRUNDY. HAROLD WON THE DISTINGUISHED FLYING MEDAL WHILST SERVING IN AFRICA.
JOAN HANDFORD CIVILIAN, KILLED 3RD JULY 1942. AGED 10. VICTIM OF THE AIR RAID ON THE 3RD OF JULY 1942.
WILLIAM JOS HARTLE 4399820 LANCE CORPORAL, 6TH BATTALION GREEN HOWARD'S (YORKSHIRE REGIMENT). KILLED 11TH JUNE 1944.AGED 21. SON OF JOSEPH AND RUTH HARTLE OF MEAL STREET. EMPLOYED AS AN ENGINEER AT BRUNSWICK CONFECTIONERY WORKS (SWIZZLES MATLOWS). WILLIAM WAS VERY FOND OF MUSIC AND PLAYED THE EUPHONIUM IN NEW MILLS OLD PRIZE BAND. HE WAS A MEMBER OF THE BAND WHEN AS A BODY IT ENLISTED IN THE HOME GUARD. A MOVE MIRRORING THE ENLISTING OF THE BAND IN 1914. JOINED THE ARMY IN APRIL 1942. WILLIAM SERVED IN SICILY FOR A TIME BEFORE RETURNING TO BRITAIN DURING THE BUILD UP TO THE INVASION OF EUROPE. ON D-DAY HE WAS AMONGST THE FIRST TROOPS ASHORE. WILLIAM WAS FATALLY WOUNDED IN NORMANDY. BURIED BAYEUX WAR CEMETERY, CALVADOS.
SAMUEL HEWITT, TROOPER, 18TH (5TH BATTALION. THE LOYAL REGIMENT.) REGIMENT; RECONNAISSANCE CORPS. DIED MONDAY, 3RD JANUARY 1944. AGE 28. SON OF MR AND MRS PERCY HEWITT, OF CHURCH ROAD; HUSBAND OF MRS V. HEWITT. EMPLOYED AS A BUTCHER WITH NEW MILLS CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY. ENLISTED IN 1939 AND POSTED TO INDIA IN OCTOBER 1941. TRANSFERRED TO MALAYA. SAMUEL WAS POSTED MISSING ON THE 15TH FEBUARY 1942, THE FALL OF SINGAPORE. IT APPEARS THAT HE WAS WOUNDED AND TAKEN PRISONER BY THE JAPANESE. SAMUEL'S FAMILY LEARNED NOTHING OF HIM FOR SOME TIME THEN CAME NEWS THAT HE WAS A PRISONER OF WAR. SAMUEL IS COMMEMORATED AT THANBYUZAYAT WAR CEMETERY, MYANMAR (BURMA). THE FACT THAT SAMUEL IS BURIED HERE ALMOST CERTAINLY MEANS THAT HE WAS ONE OF THE THOUSANDS OF ALLIED PRISONERS FORCED BY THE JAPANESE TO WORK ON THE INFAMOUS BURMA RAILWAY. THE NUMBER OF BURIALS AT THANBYUZAYAT ALONE TOTALS 3,771.
CYRIL HEYWOOD 137313 PILOT OFFICER,(NAVIGATOR), ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE, 29 SQUADRON. KILLED 21ST JANUARY 1943. AGED 26. SON OF MR AND MRS J. HEYWOOD, OF CHAPEL STREET, NEWTOWN. EMPLOYED AT WATERSIDE PAPER MILL, BEFORE MOVING TO WORK IN THE AIRCRAFT INDUSTRY IN STOCKPORT. CYRIL'S MAIN HOBBY WAS SWIMMING. AFTER ENLISTING IN THE RAF CYRIL'S PROGRESS WAS RAPID. HIS COMMANDING OFFICER WROTE " HE WAS VERY POPULAR AND WE ADMIRED HIM FOR HIS FINE QUALITIES OF FEARLESSNESS, UNSELFISHNESS AND SELF SACRIFICE." IT APPEARS THAT CYRIL LOST HIS LIFE FOLLOWING AN AIR BATTLE OVER THE SEA. HE IS COMMEMORATED AT RUNNYMEDE WHERE THE NAMES OF AIRMEN WHO HAVE NO KNOWN GRAVE ARE RECORDED.
JACK INGRAM ROYAL NAVY, H.M.S. HOOD. KILLED 24TH MAY 1941. A BACHELOR OF DALE ROAD, JACK WAS EMPLOYED AS A POSTMAN. .JACK WAS A MEMBER OF THE NAVAL RESERVE BEFORE THE WAR. HE WAS CALLED UP AT THE TIME OF THE MUNICH NEGOTIATIONS, BUT WAS SENT HOME AGAIN. ON THE DECLARATION OF WAR JACK WAS CALLED FOR SERVICE AGAIN AND HAD BEEN IN THE NAVY EVER SINCE. HE WAS ABOARD A TORPEDOED WARSHIP BEFORE BEING TRANSFERRED TO H.M.S. HOOD. THE FATE OF H.M.S. HOOD IS WELL KNOWN. ON THE MORNING OF 24TH MAY 1941 AS THE HOOD WAS PREPARING TO FIRE ON THE GERMAN FLAGSHIP BISMARCK SHE TOOK A SALVO FROM THE GERMANS 15 INCH GUNS AND BLEW UP. OF HER CREW OF 95 OFFICERS AND 1,324 MEN ONLY THREE SURVIVED.
HAROLD LOMAS, 151 BATTERY, 51 LIGHT AA REGIMENT; ROYAL ARTILLERY. KILLED IN ACTION 22ND APRIL 1943. AGED 34. SON OF THE LATE MR AND MRS LOMAS OF 20, CHAPEL STREET, NEW MILLS; HUSBAND OF DOROTHY LOMAS OF RHYL. EMPLOYED FOR TWENTY YEARS BY NEW MILLS CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY, STARTING AS A BOY AND BEING AN ASSISTANT IN THE GROCERY BRANCH ON BUXTON ROAD WHEN HE JOINED UP IN 1940. HAROLD WAS A CLEVER ARTIST AND HAD TAKEN PART IN A NUMBER OF COMPETITIONS IN WHICH HE HAD WON PRIZES. COMMEMORATED MEDJEZ-EL-BAB WAR CEMETERY, TUNISIA.
HERBERT LOMAS, LANCE CORPORAL, MANCHESTER REGIMENT. DIED WHILST A PRISONER OF WAR IN GERMANY 6TH SEPTEMBER 1943. AGED 29. SON OF MR AND MRS PERCY LOMAS OF 10, ROCK STREET. HERBERT PLAYED FOOTBALL FOR THE HIGH LEA TEAM. HE MARRIED MISS WHARMBY BEFORE GOING OVER SEAS WITH THE BRITISH EXPEDITIONARY FORCE. HERBERT WAS TAKEN PRISONER DURING THE EVACUATION FROM DUNKIRK. A MEMORIAL SERVICE WAS HELD FOR HERBERT AT ST. GEORGE'S ROAD METHODIST CHURCH FOLLOWING THE NEWS OF HIS DEATH.
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WAR SAVINGS WEEKS
Thoughout the Second World War the public were asked to save and donate money towards the war effort. There were many and various methods employed by the authorities to encourage the public in this. Chief amongst them were the Wings for Victory week, Salute the Soldier week and Warship Week. New Mills and Hayfield both took part in these savings drives. Hayfields achievements were very impressive, in 1941the village attempted to fund three spitfires and raised enough to fund seven. In 1942 the village adopted H.M. Motor Launch 131. In 1943 the target was a Beaufighter, the village provided two. In 1944 it was the turn of the soldier, Hayfield raised enough to equip and support an infantry platoon. Over £200,000 in five years. Each of these achievements was mirrored in New Mills. Warship week resulted in the adoption of H.M.S. Spaniard, following the collecting of £58,000. The target for Wings week was £40,000 the cost of a Lancaster, the sum raised was £74,000. Amongst the many events organized during the week, 15-22 May 1943 was a parade to the Secondary School playing field by upward of a thousand people. Whilst the parade was on the field a Lancaster Bomber made several flights overhead and dipped a salute to the crowd. On the market ground at the top of Union Road, bombs of various sizes up to 4000 lbs. were displayed to the awe of the public. Salute the Soldier week resulted in the total raised in New Mills rising to over half a million pounds.
The reward for each of these successful campaigns was a plaques to commemorate the achievement. Photographs of the Salute the Soldier, Wings for Victory and Warship Week plaques are contained within this book These were found wrapped in newspaper dated 1949. Those presented to Hayfield would have been identical, except for the inscription on the Admiralty plaque, which also differs in that it is cast of Iron. The New Mills plaque which was displayed in Messrs Sayers window on Market Street, in 1942 reads:- "PRESENTED BY THE LORDS COMMISSIONERS OF THE ADMIRALTY TO NEW MILLS URBAN DISTRICT COUNCIL TO COMMEMORATE THE ADOPTION OF H.M.S. SPANIARD DURING WARSHIP WEEK FEBUARY 1942"
There was an added bonus to the Warship Week, the chance to adopt a ship. As mentioned above following a successful campaign New Mills adopted H.M.S. Spaniard an anti-submarine trawler, purchased by the Royal Navy in August 1939. She saw service off Freetown, Sierra Leone, carrying out escort duties. Unfortunately for the people of New Mills before the exchange of Plaques was completed H.M.S. SPANIARD was sunk following an explosion at Apapa, Lagos on the 5th December 1942. The Admiralty War Diary stated:-"At about 0915z today a disastrous explosion at Apapa, probably in the magazines of trawlers refitting alongside and caused by petrol in the harbour from civil sources becoming ignited. H.M. Trawlers BENGALI, CANNA and SPANIARD were sunk and KELT was wrecked. The dockyard was badly damaged and is out of action." On the 8th of December more details appeared in the War Diary "unlikely BENGALI, SPANIARD, CANNA can be salved but wrecks must be moved to clear the wharf and channel. Great difficulty anticipated in doing this with local appliances." The casualties were estimated as 1 officer, 17 men and 3 kroomen ( a term generally used to describe native West African Naval ratings and dockyard workers). A plaque had been prepared ready to send out to the crew of SPANIARD, but of course this exchange never occurred. Though it was hoped that the Admiralty might give the name to another vessel.
Hayfield adopted H.M. Motor Launch 131 following their own Warship Week in March 1942. In May 1943 the Admiralty plaque arrived in Hayfield. The Parish Council were to be its custodians. Hayfield enjoyed an excellent relationship with Captain Fullerton and the crew of ML 131. A plaque was designed and sent to the ship where it was received with great enthusiasm. Hayfield also sent the crew of ML 131 a wireless set for their entertainment and a photograph of the village which the crew hung in their mess. Strong bonds developed between the two and the people of Hayfield sent the crew many comforts. In appreciation of this friendship the crew of ML131 sent to the people of Hayfield a model of their ship this was described as "a beautiful piece of work, a perfect model of the ship and all parts in proportion. Everything on the ship's deck can be seen, the number of the ship, the depth charges she carries, the smoke floats, the lifeboat, with oars complete, and the davits for swinging it into the sea in case of need. There are the winches, the anchor, the guns, the hatches, the white ensign, even the guard rails and the sea wash in the wake of the ship." The model and Hayfields Wings for Victory plaque were displayed in the window of Mrs Hallams shop on Market Street.
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EDWARD MILLER, PRIVATE, 7517870. ROYAL ARMY MEDICAL CORP. KILLED IN ACTION 26TH JUNE 1944. NORTH WEST FRANCE ON THE 5TH JULY 1944. AGED 24. LIVED WITH HIS SISTER AT 17, DERBY ROAD, HIGH HILL. EDWARD WAS EMPLOYED AT GROVE PAPER MILL PRIOR TO JOINING UP. ASSOCIATED WITH ST. LUKES CHURCH. ENLISTED IN 1942. COMMEMORATED LA DELIVRANDE WAR CEMETERY, DOUVRES, CALVADOS, FRANCE.
LEONARD FRED MITCHELL, RADIO OFFICER, BRITISH OVERSEAS AIRWAYS CORPORATION. DIED AT SEA 23RD MARCH 1943. AGED 26. HUSBAND OF WINNIE MITCHELL, (NEE TAYLOR) OF HIGH LEA. LEONARD SPENT HIS EARLY DAYS LIVING WITH HIS AUNT MISS PAGH, HEADMISTRESS OF NEW MILLS INFANT SCHOOL. HE ATTENDED THE COUNTY SECONDARY SCHOOL. LEONARD HAD ALWAYS HAD AN INTEREST IN RADIO AND ON LEAVING SCHOOL DECIDED TO MAKE IT HIS CAREER. LEONARD WAS AN EXPERIENCED AIRMAN WHO HAD THE GREAT DISTINCTION OF HAVING BEEN THE RADIO OFFICER ON ONE OF PRIME MINISTER CHURCHILL'S HISTORIC FLIGHTS TO MEET WITH PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT. LEONARD WAS BURIED WITH MILITARY HONOURS IN NEW MILLS PARISH CHURCHYARD ON THE 12TH APRIL.
ERIC MOHN 4458979 PRIVATE, 9TH BATTALION, DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY. 27TH JUNE 1942.AGED 22. ELDEST SON OF HAROLD AND LILLIAN MOHN OF HAYFIELD ROAD. ERIC, WHO WORKED IN THE FINISHING DEPARTMENT OF BIRCH VALE PRINTWORKS, JOINED THE ARMY IN 1940 AND HAD BEEN IN THE MIDDLE EAST FOR ABOUT TWELVE MONTHS. HE WAS A MEMBER OF BIRCH VALE CRICKET CLUB AND A PROMISING BATSMAN. CONNECTED WITH ST LUKE'S CHURCH. ERIC'S HOBBY WAS FRETWORK AND HE IS REPORTED TO HAVE DONE SOME VERY ARTISTIC WORK. FOLLOWING NEWS OF ERIC'S DEATH CRICKETERS FROM DOVE HOLES JOINED WITH THOSE OF BIRCH VALE IN A TOUCHING TRIBUTE, STANDING ON THE PITCH FOR TWO MINUTES SILENCE BEFORE THEIR MATCH. BURIED EL ALAMEIN WAR CEMETERY, EGYPT.
SAMUEL MOORCROFT GUNNER, 68 MEDIUM REGIMENT. ROYAL ARTILLERY. LOST AT SEA IN THE S.S. SCILLINON ON THE 14TH NOVEMBER 1942. AGE 25. SON OF WILLIAM AND NELLIE MOORCROFT OF JODRELL STREET; HUSBAND OF EDITH MOORCROFT OF CHERRY TREE COTTAGES, MEAL STREET. PRIOR TO JOINING UP SAMUEL WAS EMPLOYED AT WATFORD BRIDGE PRINTWORKS. HE WAS TAKEN PRISONER IN NORTH AFRICA BY THE ITALIANS IN 1942 AND WHILST BEING TRANSPORTED ABOARD THE SS SCILLINON WAS LOST AT SEA. THE WAR DEPARTMENT WROTE TO MRS MOORCROFT "HAVING IN MIND THE FACT THAT NOTHING HAS BEEN HEARD OF YOUR HUSBAND SINCE HE LEFT AFRICA, THE DEPARTMENT HAS, WITH DEEP REGRET, REACHED THE CONCLUSION THAT THERE CAN NO LONGER HOPE THAT HE HAS SURVIVED. IT IS CONSEQUENTLY BEING RECORDED THAT GUNNER MOORCROFT IS PRESUMED TO HAVE BEEN KILLED AT SEA WHILE A PRISONER OF WAR". SAMUEL BATES DIED IN THE SAME ITALIAN TRANSPORT. COMMEMORATED ON THE ALAMEIN MEMORIAL. EGYPT.
DANIEL MCKELLAR, CIVILIAN. DIED 4TH JULY 1942. AGE 79. LIVED AT 2 HIGHFIELD TERRACE, LOW LEIGHTON. DIED AS THE RESULT OF THE AIR RAID ON THE 3RD JULY 1942.
ERIC WARD OAKES, LANCE SERJEANT, 3605133. 9TH BATTALION; BORDER REGIMENT KILLED IN ACTION ON THE INDIA- BURMA BORDER ON SUNDAY,14TH MAY 1944. AGED 25. SON OF ROY AND MARY OAKES OF BIRCH VALE TERRACE, THORNSETT. EMPLOYED AT THE GARRISON BLEACH AND DYE WORKS. ERIC HAD A GREAT LOVE OF SINGING AND WAS A MEMBER OF THE CHOIR OF THORNSETT METHODIST CHURCH AND OF THE CO-OPERATIVE MALE VOICE CHOIR. HE WAS ALSO AN ENTHUSIASTIC SWIMMER. ENLISTED IN 1940. ERIC WAS NAMED AFTER HIS UNCLE WHO HAD FALLEN IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR. COMMEMORATED IMPHAL WAR CEMETERY, INDIA .
ERIC LISTER PENNINGTON FLIGHT SERGEANT, ROYAL AIR FORCE. MISSING PRESUMED DEAD 24TH AUGUST 1943. AGED 30. SON OF MR AND MRS E.M. PENNINGTON OF PENNINE ROAD, WOODLEY. ATTENDED STOCKPORT SECONDARY SCHOOL. ERIC WAS VERY FOND OF SPORT AND HAD PLAYED FOOTBALL FOR ROMILEY AND ALSO FOR THE SQUADRON TEAM WHILST IN THE RAF. EMPLOYED BY THE PRUDENTIAL ASSURANCE CO. AT STOCKPORT. AFTER MARRYING MISS BLANCHE GUEST ERIC MADE HIS HOME IN NEW MILLS. HE WAS A MEMBER OF THE LOCAL AMATEUR OPERATIC AND DRAMATIC SOCIETY. HIS SQUADRON LEADER WROTE TO ERIC'S WIDOW "YOUR HUSBAND ALWAYS SHOWED GREAT KEENNESS AND ENTHUSIASM FOR HIS WORK, WHICH COUPLED WITH HIS HIGH STANDARD OF EFFICIENCY, WENT TO MAKE HIM ONE OF THE MOST PROMISING MEMBERS OF THE SQUADRON."
WILLIAM PLANT 2127049 SAPPER,16 BOMB DISPOSAL COMPANY. ROYAL ENGINEERS. KILLED 28TH APRIL 1942. AGED 32.
SON OF WILLIAM AND SARAH A. PLANT OF CHERRY TREE COTTAGES; HUSBAND OF MAVIS PLANT. BEFORE ENLISTING WILLIAM WAS EMPLOYED ON THE L.M.S. RAILWAY AND PRIOR TO THAT WORKED AT GROVE PAPER MILL. HE HAD BEEN IN THE ARMY FOR TWO YEARS. IT APPEARS THAT THE DEATH OF WILLIAM PLANT WAS THE RESULT OF A TERRIBLE ACCIDENT. WHILST UNDERGOING BOMB DISPOSAL INSTRUCTION FROM CAPTAIN GEOFFREY GARRET, WHO WAS AN AUTHOR IN CIVILIAN LIFE, THERE WAS AN EXPLOSION. DURING THE INQUEST INTO THE ACCIDENT WHICH CLAIMED THE LIFE OF WILLIAM PLANT AND EIGHTEEN OTHERS LIEUTENANT HALLEY STATED THAT HE WAS CALLED TO THE TELEPHONE WHILST THE INSTRUCTION WAS BEEN GIVEN. WHILST AT THE TELEPHONE HE HEARD TWO LOUD EXPLOSIONS. ON RETURNING HE FOUND THAT THE PLACE HAD BEEN DEMOLISHED. THOSE WHO DIED WERE DRAWN FROM SCOTTISH REGIMENTS, THE ROYAL ENGINEERS AND PIONEERS. BURIED WITH FULL MILITARY HONOURS AT PEMBROKE DOCK MILITARY CEMETERY, PEMBROKESHIRE.
FRED PLATT 3393148 GUNNER, MARITIME REGIMENT. ROYAL ARTILLERY. MISSING PRESUMED LOST AT SEA 7TH FEBUARY 1943. AGED 32. SON OF JOHN AND MARY ANN PLATT OF HIGH LEA; HUSBAND OF EVA PLATT OF HIGH HILL ROAD. EMPLOYED AT STRINES PRINTWORKS. FRED WAS CONNECTED WITH ST GEORGE'S METHODIST CHURCH. ENLISTED IN NOVEMBER 1940. COMMEMORATED PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL- HAMPSHIRE.
JOSEPH PRITCHARD 1809068 GUNNER, 49 BATTERY; 49 LT. A. A. REGIMENT. ROYALARTILLERY. DIED 14TH JULY 1945. AGED 24. SON OF GEORGE EDEN AND ELSIE PRITCHARD OF BANKSIDE, NEW MILLS. APPRENTICED TO A FIRM OF BUILDER IN HYDE. JOSEPH PLAYED FOOTBALL WITH HIGH LEA IN THE OLD NEW MILLS JUNIOR LEAGUE. JOINED UP IN 1940 AND WENT TO THE FAR EAST IN 1941. HE WAS TAKEN PRISONER AT JAVA WHEN THE JAPANESE CAPTURED THE ISLAND. HIS WIDOWED MOTHER HAD RECEIVED LETTERS FROM JOSEPH AND WAS EXPECTING HIS SAFE RETURN, WHEN IN DECEMBER 1945 SHE RECEIVED A COMMUNICATION FROM HIS SERGEANT- MAJOR INFORMING HER THAT JOSEPH HAD PASSED AWAY ON THE 14TH OF JULY 1945, OF MALNUTRITION. BURIED LABUAN WAR CEMETERY, MALAYSIA.
FRANK RATCLIFFE, SIGNALMAN, ROYAL CORPS OF SIGNALS. DIED 31ST JULY 1942. AGED 27. LIVED AT 52 BRIDGE STREET. COMMEMORATED KRANJI WAR CEMETERY, SINGAPORE. FORMER MEMBER OF NEW MILLS OLD PRIZE BAND.
LEONARD RATCLIFFE 1006943 AIRCRAFTSMAN 1ST CLASS, ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE. 84 SQUADRON. DIED 29TH NOVEMBER 1943. AGED 29. SON OF BONUS AND EMILY MARY RATCLIFFE, BUTCHER OF LOW LEIGHTON ROAD. HUSBAND OF MARY RATCLIFFE. EMPLOYED IN THE FAMILY BUSINESS. LEONARD HAD BEEN A MEMBER OF THE CHOIR AT THE PARISH CHURCH SINCE BOYHOOD. HE ALSO SANG IN THE BIRCH VALE MALE VOICE CHOIR AND FOR MANY YEARS WAS A MEMBER OF NEW MILLS AMATEUR DRAMATIC SOCIETY. JOINED THE RAF IN 1940 AND TOOK PART IN FIGHTING IN EGYPT, LIBYA AND GREECE BEFORE GOING TO THE FAR EAST. LEONARD WAS CAPTURED BY THE JAPANESE AT SINGAPORE. AFTER HEARING NOTHING FROM HER SON FOR TWO YEARS LEONARD'S MOTHER RECEIVED A LETTER ON THE 31ST OF DECEMBER 1943, IN WHICH LEONARD STATED THAT HE WAS WELL AND THAT SHE SHOULD NOT WORRY. ONLY THREE WEEKS LATER SHE RECEIVED A TELEGRAM FROM THE AIR MINISTRY STATING THAT ACCORDING TO INFORMATION RECEIVED THROUGH THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS LEONARD HAD DIED WHILST A PRISONER OF WAR. COMMEMORATED SINGAPORE MEMORIAL.
FREDERICK ARTHUR RAYMOND 3653926 LANCE CORPORAL. 1ST BATTALION SOUTH LANCASHIRE REGIMENT. KILLED 23RD JUNE I944. AGED 25. SON OF WILLIAM JOHN AND CATHERINE RAYMOND OF HIGH HILL. EMPLOYED AT FERODO WORKS, CHAPEL. FREDERICK ATTENDED SPRING MOUNT METHODIST CHURCH. HE TOOK AN ACTIVE INTEREST IN THE BOYS BRIGADE MOVEMENT. BURIED BANNEVILLE-LA-CAMPAGNE WAR CEMETERY-CALVADOS.
HARRY ROBERTS C/JX250360 ORDINARY SEAMAN HARRY ROBERTS (REAL NAME ROBERT ROBERTS), LOST AT SEA WHEN THE SLOOP, H.M.S. IBIS, WAS BOMBED BY TWO JU 88s AND ONE HEINKEL 111 AND CAPSIZED 10 MILES NORTH OF ALGIERS AT 1910 HOURS ON 10TH NOVEMBER 1942. SIX OFFICERS AND NINETY SIX RATINGS WERE PICKED UP BY H.M.S. SCYLLA FOLLOWING THE INCIDENT. O/S ROBERTS APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN AMONG THE UNFORTUNATES WHO WERE KILLED DURING THE ATTACK, OR LOST WHEN THE IBIS CAPSIZED. H.M.S. IBIS WAS THOUGHT TO HAVE BROUGHT DOWN AT LEAST ONE OF THE AIRCRAFT PRIOR TO HER SINKING. AT THE TIME OF HER SINKING H.M.S. IBIS WAS CARRYING OUT DUTIES AS PART OF OPERATION TORCH (THE INVASION OF NORTH AFRICA).
JOHN E. ROBERTS CIVILIAN, FORMERLY A COLLIER, JOHN HAD LIVED IN NEW MILLS FOR MANY YEARS AND WAS EMPLOYED BY MESSRS JOHN. W. SWINDELLS LTD, BUILDERS. WELL KNOWN LOCALLY AS A CONCERTINA PLAYER. JOHN WAS THE FATHER OF ROBERT (HARRY) ROBERTS. JOHN WAS KILLED IN 1944 WHILST WORKING AS A SLATER AND PLASTERER ON BOMBED OUT HOUSES IN THE SOUTH OF ENGLAND. IT APPEARS THAT THE HOUSE IN WHICH JOHN WAS LODGING WAS HIT BY A BOMB AND DEMOLISHED, HE AND SEVERAL OTHERS WERE KILLED. IT IS UNCLEAR WHETHER THE BOMB WAS DROPPED BY A RAIDING AIRCRAFT OR AS SEEMS MORE LIKELY WAS A V1 ROCKET.
JAMES JOSEPH RYAN 614624 SERGEANT (FLIGHT ENGINEER) JAMES JOSEPH RYAN, RAF, 149 SQUADRON, AGED 22, OF BIRCH VALE. KILLED ON THE 14TH MAY 1943. SON OF MR L RYAN OF HIGHER NOON SUN, BIRCH VALE. JAMES WAS EMPLOYED BRIEFLY AT BIRCH VALE PRINTWORKS BEFORE JOINING THE RAF AT THE AGE OF 17. HE WAS CONNECTED WITH ST MARY'S ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH. JAMES'S FATHER WAS AN AIRMAN DURING THE 1914-18 WAR. STIRLING BK726 WAS SHOT DOWN BY A NIGHT FIGHTER DURING OPERATIONS TO BOCHUM (ONE OF 29 AIRCRAFT LOST ON THAT NIGHTS OPERATION). CRASHED AT IMMERATH GERMANY. THE CREW WAS BURIED AT STADTFRIEDHOF ON THE 18TH OF MAY. BUT ON THE CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES THE CREW WERE EXHUMED AND REMOVED TO THE RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY.
RONALD SCOTT ASSISTANT STEWARD, SS CERAMIC (SOUTHAMPTON). MERCHANT NAVY. DIED 7TH DECEMBER 1942. AGED 20 SON OF ALEXANDER WOOD SCOTT AND HILDA MARY SCOTT OF WHITLE BANK. RONALD WENT TO SEA AT 16. HE WAS IN THE SS LANCASTRIA WHEN WAR BROKE OUT AND CAME HOME IN THE FRANCONIA. RONALD PLAYED HIS PART IN THE EVACUATIONS OF ST NAZAIRE, FRANCE AND NARVIK, NORWAY. HE WAS ABOARD THE GEORGIC WHEN SHE WAS BOMBED OUT AND BURNT IN THE MIDDLE EAST. TRANSFERRED TO THE MAURITANIA. RONALD WAS AT HOME FOR A PERIOD OF SICK LEAVE JUST BEFORE NOVEMBER 1942. HE THEN JOINED THE SS CERAMIC THE SHIP IN WHICH HE AND HIS COMRADES WENT DOWN. COMMEMORATED TOWER HILL MEMORIAL- LONDON.
ARTHUR SYMONDS 1491619 SERGEANT (WIRELESS OPERATOR/ AIR GUNNER), ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE, 550 SQUADRON. KILLED ON THE 22ND MAY 1944. AGED 21. SON OF HAROLD AND HANNAH SYMONDS PARK-KEEPERS OF HIGH LEA PARK. ARTHUR WAS EDUCATED AT STOCKPORT SECONDARY SCHOOL. HE HAD BEEN IN THE AIR FORCE FOR TWO AND A HALF YEARS. PRIOR TO ENLISTING HE HAD BEEN EMPLOYED AT GROVE PAPER MILL, WHILST ALSO SERVING IN THE LOCAL HOME GUARD. POSTED MISSING FOR ELEVEN WEEKS UNTIL THE GERMAN AUTHORITIES PASSED THE NAMES OF THE DEAD CREW MEMBERS TO THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS, THROUGH THEM NEWS CAME TO ARTHUR'S PARENTS. LANCASTER LM319, BQ-A. ON OPERATIONS TO DUISBURG WAS SHOT DOWN BY A NIGHT FIGHTER AND CRASHED NEAR DULKEN. THE CREW OF SEVEN WERE BURIED AT DULKEN ON THE 24TH MAY. NOW REINTERRED IN THE REICHSWALD FOREST WAR CEMETERY. AFTER THE END OF THE WAR IN 1945, THOUSANDS OF GRAVES OF SOLDIERS AND AIRMEN WERE BROUGHT FROM BURIAL PLACES IN WESTERN GERMANY TO LIE IN THE REICHSWALD. MANY OF THE SOLDIERS WHO REST THERE PERISHED IN THE GRIM BATTLE OF THE RHINELAND. SOME FOUGHT AND DIED IN THE ADVANCE THROUGH THE FOREST IN FEBUARY 1945. MANY OTHERS DIED IN THE CROSSING OF THE RHINE. NEARLY 4,000 AIRMEN ARE BURIED IN THE CEMETERY. SOME LOST THEIR LIVES IN SUPPORTING THE ADVANCE INTO GERMANY, BUT MOST DIED IN EARLIER YEARS OF THE WAR, IN THE INTENSIVE AIR ATTACKS ON GERMAN TARGETS, AND WERE BROUGHT TO THE REICHSWALD FROM CEMETERIES AND ISOLATED BURIAL PLACES IN THE NEIGHBOURING AREA.
GEORGE WILLIAM TAGUE PRIVATE, 2ND BATTALION SHERWOOD FORESTERS (NOTTS & DERBY) REGIMENT. KILLED IN FIGHTING IN NORTH AFRICA ON THE 24TH APRIL 1943. AGE 35. SON OF MR L TAGUE OF NEW MILLS. GEORGE RESIDED IN CANAL ROW, FURNESS VALE. HE WAS WARDEN OF THE VILLAGE POST OFFICE. EMPLOYED AT FURNESS BRICK WORKS. GEORGE WAS NOTED AS AN ENTHUSIASTIC GARDENER. HE LEFT A WIDOW AND FOUR CHILDREN COMMEMORATED MASSICAULT WAR CEMETERY 25 KILOMETERS SOUTH- WEST OF TUNIS, TUNISIA.
GEORGE WILLIAM WALTON 2618526 GUARDSMAN, GRENADIER GUARDS AND No 2 COMMANDO. KILLED 28TH MARCH 1942. AGED 20. ONLY SON OF GEORGE WILLIAM AND DORIS OLIVE WALTON OF MIDLAND TERRACE. ATTENDED THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND DAY SCHOOL WHERE HE WON A GODWARD SCHOLARSHIP TO THE COUNTY SECONDARY SCHOOL. ON LEAVING HE WENT TO WORK FOR MESSRS PAULDEN OF MANCHESTER. GEORGE ENLISTED IN THE GRENADIER GUARDS AS SOON AS HE REACHED THE AGE OF 18. HE WAS IN LONDON DURING THE BLITZ, BUT ESCAPED INJURY. HE VOLUNTEERED FOR THE COMMANDOS AND AFTER INTENSIVE TRAINING, TOOK PART IN THE FAMOUS COMMANDO RAID ON THE GERMAN U-BOAT BASE AT ST NAZAIRE. GEORGE WAS REPORTED MISSING PRESUMED KILLED FOLLOWING THE RAID. GEORGE'S FATHER SERVED IN THE FIRST WAR. HE WAS THE FIRST NEW MILLS MAN TO BE DECORATED IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR, WHEN HE WON THE MILITARY MEDAL. BURIED ESCOUBLAC-LA BAULE WAR CEMETERY, LOIRE-ATLANTIQUE.
PETER J. TROY, DRIVER, RAC. DIED OF WOUNDS SEPTEMBER 1944. AGED 36. PETER ORIGINALLY CAME FROM MANCHESTER, BUT HAD BEEN RESIDING AT BANKSIDE, HIGH STREET SINCE 1940. EMPLOYED AT THE FERODO FACTORY IN CHAPEL. JOINED THE ARMY IN 1942 AND WENT OVERSEAS SOON AFTER D-DAY. IT WAS IN NORMANDY THAT HE WAS FATALLY WOUNDED. LEFT A WIFE AND THREE CHILDREN.
RONALD WATERHOUSE, 1079709 SERGEANT(W. OP/Air Gnr). 101 SQUADRON. ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE. KILLED 29TH MARCH 1943. AGED 22. SON OF MR AND MRS RONALD WATERHOUSE OF JODRELL STREET, NEWTOWN. A FORMER PUPIL OF NEW MILLS COUNTY SECONDARY SCHOOL. RONALD WAS EMPLOYED AS A CLERK IN THE WAREHOUSE OF S AND J. WATTS, OF PORTLAND STREET, MANCHESTER. HE HAD BEEN ATTENDING EVENING CLASSES IN MANCHESTER SINCE LEAVING SCHOOL IN ORDER TO ADVANCE HIS PROSPECTS. RONALD WAS VERY FOND OF SPORTS. HE WAS AN EXCELLENT SWIMMER AND HAD PLAYED CRICKET FOR BOTH NEW MILLS AND BIRCH VALE CLUBS. RONALD ATTENDED THE PARISH CHURCH SUNDAY SCHOOL. SERGEANT WATERHOUSE HAD BEEN IN THE RAF FOR NEARLY THREE YEARS. HE HAD TAKEN PART IN MANY OPERATIONAL FLIGHTS. THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED WHEN LANCASTER ED552 NAMED "GREMLIN QUEEN" LEFT HOLME -ON-SPALDING MOOR AT 03-31 ON A NIGHT TRAINING EXERCISE. THE AIRCRAFT FAILED TO GAIN HEIGHT AND STRUCK TREES FOUR MILES FROM THE AIRFIELD, CRASHING AT SOUTH CLIFFE, YORKSHIRE. A LARGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE ATTENDED THE MILITARY FUNERAL AT NEW MILLS (ST. GEORGE) CHURCHYARD.
RICHARD WATERHOUSE, GUARDSMAN, 2721799. IRISH GUARDS. PRESUMED KILLED IN ACTION THURSDAY 21ST SEPTEMBER 1944. AGE 32. SON OF RICHARD AND ADA LOUISA WATERHOUSE, OF NEWTOWN. RICHARD HAD BEEN IN THE ARMY SINCE 1940. HE WENT TO FRANCE IN JULY 1944. RICHARD WAS EMPLOYED AT STRINES PRINTWORKS PRIOR TO ENLISTING. AN EXCELLENT DANCER, RICHARD WAS WELL KNOWN AS HE ATTENDED DANCES THROUGHOUT THE DISTRICT COMMEMORATED GROESBEEK MEMORIAL, NETHERLANDS.
JAMES WOOD, FUSILIER, 2ND BATTALION; ROYAL WELCH FUSILIERS. DIED WEDNESDAY, 18TH OCTOBER 1944. AGE 21.
ONLY SON OF JAMES WOOD OF LANESIDE, NEW MILLS. COMMEMORATED TAUKKYAN WAR CEMETERY, MYANMAR
HARRY WYATT, ABLE SEAMAN, D/JX 420798. H.M.M.T.B 707, ROYAL NAVY. LOST AT SEA WHILST ON MANEUVERS TUESDAY, 18TH APRIL 1944. AGED 18. SON OF SYDNEY AND ETHEL WYATT, OF BROOKLYN, BIRCH VALE. EMPLOYED AT THE LOW LEIGHTON BRANCH OF THE CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY. HARRY HAD BEEN IN THE NAVY FOR FOURTEEN MONTHS. HE WAS A SCHOLAR OF THORNSETT INDEPENDENT SUNDAY SCHOOL. VERY KEEN ON FOOTBALL HARRY PLAYED FOR THE NAVY TEAM. COMMEMORATED PLYMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL, DEVON. THE MEMORIAL IS SITUATED CENTRALLY ON THE HOE WHICH OVERLOOKS DIRECTLY TOWARDS PLYMOUTH SOUND.
ALSO KILLED BUT NOT ON THE MEMORIAL
JOHN CHARLES BOARDMAN, SERGEANT, SHERWOOD FORESTERS. DEATH PRESUMED 28THFEBUARY 1941. AGED 32. SON OF MR AND MRS H. BOARDMAN OF ALBERT TERRACE, NEWTOWN. JOHN WHO WAS MARRIED LIVED ON OAK AVENUE. EMPLOYED AS A MOTOR DRIVER FOR MESSRS SMITH OF NEWTOWN. JOHN WHO HAD BEEN IN THE RESERVE FOR SEVERAL YEARS WAS ON ACTIVE SERVICE WHEN WAR BROKE OUT. HE WAS AMONGST THE FIRST MEN TO CROSS THE CHANNEL WITH THE EXPEDITIONARY FORCE. JOHN WAS POSTED MISSING FOLLOWING THE WITHDRAWAL FROM DUNKIRK. HIS BODY WAS WASHED ASHORE ON THE FRENCH COAST IN MAY 1941.
JOHN D. HILL, AIRCRAFTSMAN SECOND CLASS, ROYAL AIR FORCE. DIED 23RDDECEMBER 1945 OF NATURAL CAUSES. AGED 33. SON OF MRS HILL OF ALBION ROAD. AFTER ONE YEARS SERVICE WITH THE RAF JOHN WAS DISCHARGED ON MEDICAL GROUNDS. JOHN WHO WAS A WIDOWER RETURNED HOME AND WORKED AT THE POST OFFICE IN ORDER TO SUPPORT HIS MOTHER AND YOUNG DAUGHTER. PRIOR TO THE WAR JOHN HAD BEEN EMPLOYED AT TORR VALE MILL. FOND OF FOOTBALL AND CRICKET. COMMEMORATED IN ST GEORGE'S CHURCHYARD.
WILLIAM TAYLOR, 1821155 GUNNER, ROYAL ARTILLERY. DIED 2ND SEPTEMBER 1941. AGED 30. SON OF JOHN AND FRANCES TAYLOR OF BRIDGE COTTAGES, HAWK GREEN; HUSBAND OF MATILDA TAYLOR, OF CHERRY TREE COTTAGE, NEW MILLS, DERBYSHIRE. WILLIAM WAS EMPLOYED AS AN UNDER CARDER AT GOYT MILLS. WILLIAM PLAYED THE BUGLE FOR WHICH HE HAD WON MANY PRIZES. PLAYED CRICKET FOR HAWK GREEN. IT APPEARS THAT WILLIAM WHO HAD ONLY BEEN IN THE ARMY FOR ELEVEN WEEKS DIED FOLLOWING AN ILLNESS. BURIED WITH FULL MILITARY HONOURS AT NEW MILLS (ST GEORGE'S ROAD) METHODIST CHURCHYARD.
EDWIN ALEXANDER HIGGINBOTTOM, 6145277 LANCE CORPORAL, EAST SURREY REGIMENT. KILLED 28TH FEBUARY 1945. AGED 26. SON OF HENRY B. AND ISOBEL HIGGINBOTTOM, OF NEW MILLS, DERBYSHIRE. BURIED PADUA WAR CEMETERY.
ERIC BELLAERS, 4128370 RIFLEMAN, 1ST BATTALION. THE LONDON IRISH RIFLES. ROYAL ULSTER RIFLES. KILLED 19TH SEPTEMBER 1944. AGED 25. SON OF REGINALD WALKER BELLAERS AND ADA BELLAERS, OF NEW MILLS, DERBYSHIRE. CORIANO RIDGE WAR CEMETERY.
CYRIL STANLEY WELLMAN, 3710937 PRIVATE, KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT (LANCASTER). KILLED 21ST NOVEMBER 1941. AGED 21. SON OF JOHN WILLIAM AND LILLIAN WELLMAN; STEPSON OF LOUISA WELLMAN, OF NEW MILLS, DERBYSHIRE BURIED KNIGHTSBRIDGE WAR CEMETERY.
FELIX DE BASTARRECHEA, MASTER, SS EMPIRE MERSEY (LIVERPOOL). MERCHANT NAVY. KILLED 14TH OCTOBER 1942. AGED 55. HUSBAND OF EUGENIA DE BASTARRECHEA, OF NEW MILLS, DERBYSHIRE. COMMEMORATED TOWER HILL MEMORIAL.
JOHN LAW, DONKEYMAN, SS JANETA (GLASGOW). MERCHANT NAVY. KILLED 1ST MAY 1944. AGE 30. HUSBAND OF DORIS LAW, OF NEW MILLS, DERBYSHIRE.
HARRY SELMAN, FLIGHT LIEUTENANT, ROYAL AIR FORCE. KILLED ON AN INSTRUCTIONAL FLIGHT ON THE 11TH APRIL 1950. AGED 27. YOUNGEST SON OF THE LATE HARRY SELMAN. FORMERLY OF SOUTH VIEW , BUT AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH HARRY WAS LIVING AT No 6, ALBION ROAD. HARRY WORKED IN FERRANTI'S MOSTON OFFICE BEFORE JOINING THE RAF AT EIGHTEEN. HARRY MADE MORE THAN THIRTY OPERATIONAL TRAINING FLIGHTS WITH 158 SQUADRON AND ON THE NIGHT OF THE 23RD-24TH AUGUST 1943 WAS SHOT DOWN BY A NIGHT-FIGHTER OVER BERLIN IN HANLEY PAGE HALIFAX HR725. MOST OF THE CREW OF EIGHT MANAGED TO ABANDONED THE AIRCRAFT (TWO KILLED) AND WERE TAKEN PRISONER. HARRY SPENT THE REST OF THE WAR IN STALAG LUFT HEYDEKRUG. FOLLOWING THE WAR HARRY TOOK UP GROUND DUTIES AND VOLUNTEERED FOR OVERSEAS SERVICE. HE WAS POSTED TO SINGAPORE WHERE HE STAYED FOR TWO YEARS BEFORE APPLYING FOR AIRCREW DUTIES. HARRY THEN RETURNED TO ENGLAND FOR A REFRESHER COURSE. IT WAS WHILST ENGAGED ON A NIGHT TRAINING FLIGHT THAT HARRY LOST HIS LIFE. THE AIRCRAFT DEVELOPED A FAULT AND DIVED IN TO THE GROUND NEAR WEST MALLING, SUSSEX. KILLING THE FOUR AIRMEN ABOARD.
HAYFIELD WORLD WAR TWO LOSSES
If I should die, think only this,
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England.
ARNOLD BAXTER, PRIVATE,3533260. 1ST BATTALION; MANCHESTER REGIMENT. DIED FRIDAY, 2ND JULY 1943. AGED 25. SON OF JOHN AND ETHEL BAXTER, OF BIRCH VALE. COMMEMORATED THANBYUZAYAT WAR CEMETERY, MYANMAR.
ROBERT STEVENS BARNES, PRIVATE, 4984545. 14TH BATTALION SHERWOOD FORESTERS (NOTTS AND DERBY REGT). KILLED 25TH OCTOBER 1942. AGE 26. SON OF SAMUEL AND FLORENCE BARNES, OF HAYFIELD. EMPLOYED AS A QUARRYMAN IN THE LOCAL QUARRIES. ROBERT WAS A SCHOLAR OF THE BETHEL METHODIST SUNDAY SCHOOL. SON, GRANDSON AND NEPHEW OF KINDER GAMEKEEPERS, IT WAS NOT SUPRISING THAT ROBERT'S FAVOURITE RECREATION WAS TO GO OUT WITH HIS GUN. HE KNEW A GOOD DEAL ABOUT GUNS BEFORE HE JOINED THE ARMY AND MUST HAVE PROVED TO BE A MOST USEFUL SOLDIER AS HE WAS ALSO PROFICIENT IN THE DRIVING OF MOTOR TRANSPORT AND MOTOR CYCLES. JOINED UP IN 1941 AND WENT TO THE MIDDLE EAST IN APRIL 1942. COMMEMORATED EL ALAMEIN WAR CEMETERY.
ARTHUR EDWARD ELLIS, BOMBADIER, 959548. 61 FIELD REGIMENT. ROYAL ARTILLERY. KILLED IN ACTION IN NORMANDY 16TH JULY 1944. AGE 24. ONLY SON OF COUNCILOR JOHN ARTHUR GLYN ELLIS AND RUTH ELLIS, OF OAKDENE, CHAPEL ROAD, HAYFIELD. ATTENDED HAYFIELD COUNCIL SCHOOL AND NEW MILLS COUNTY SECONDARY SCHOOL BEFORE ENTERING THE SERVICE OF MOTOR UNION INSURANCE CO., MANCHESTER. ASSOCIATED WITH THE PARISH CHURCH. ARTHUR'S PRINCIPLE INTEREST WAS IN AMATEUR DRAMATICS. HE WAS AN ACTIVE MEMBER OF THE VILLAGE SOCIETY AND TOOK PART IN SEVERAL PLAYS. ARTHUR WAS MUCH VALUED FOR HIS ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS. ARTHUR WAS REGARDED AS SOMETHING OF AN ATHLETE. HE WAS PICKED TO REPRESENT NEW MILLS SECONDARY SCHOOL AT CRICKET AND HELD THE SCHOOL RECORD FOR THE 300 YARDS RACE. HE ALSO PLAYED TABLE TENNIS FOR THE HAYFIELD CLUB. ENLISTED ON THE 5TH JUNE 1940. COMMEMORATED FONTENAY-LE-PESNEL WAR CEMETERY, TESSEL-CALVADOS, FRANCE.
WILLIAM FARMER, LANCE CORPORAL, 3862461. 1ST BATTALION. THE LOYAL REGIMENT (NORTH LANCASHIRE). DIED OF WOUNDS 26TH JANUARY 1944. AGED 30. SON OF WALTER AND SARAH FARMER, OF KINDER ROAD, HAYFIELD. WILLIAM WAS IN HIS YOUTH A SCHOLAR OF THE BETHEL METHODIST SUNDAY SCHOOL. BEFORE ENLISTING WILLIAM WAS EMPLOYED AT BIRCH VALE PRINTWORKS. HIS GREAT INTEREST WAS IN CRICKET AND HE HAD FOLLOWED THE FORTUNES OF THE HAYFIELD CLUB SINCE HE WAS A BOY. WILLIAM HAD EVENTUALLY BECOME A PLAYER AND WAS A PARTICULARLY FINE OPENING BATSMAN WHO MADE SOME FINE SCORES FOR HAYFIELD. IN THE ANNUAL WORKS COMPETITION "BILLY" PLAYED FOR THE BIRCH VALE PRINTWORKS TEAM. HIS CONTRIBUTION WAS SUCH THAT THE CUP BECAME KNOWN AS THE "FARMER CUP". HE PLAYED DURING HIS LEAVES HOME AND CONTINUED TO ENJOY GREAT SUCCESS. FOOTBALL WAS WILLIAM'S WINTER SPORT AND HE WAS A POPULAR AND ENTHUSIASTIC MEMBER OF THE HAYFIELD ALBION TEAM. JOINED UP IN 1940, AND HAD SPENT TWELVE MONTHS IN THE MIDDLE EAST, WHERE HE HAD BEEN WOUNDED. HE RECOVERED AND RETURNED TO ACTION IN ITALY, WHERE HE FELL. COMMEMORATED ANZIO WAR CEMETERY, ITALY.
JAMES RONALD HILL, SIGNALMAN, 14201160. ROYAL CORPS OF SIGNALS, KILLED 6THMARCH 1943. AGED 20. SON OF CONSTABLE GEORGE AND EDITH HILL, OF HAYFIELD. JAMES WAS BORN AT HEANOR WHEN HIS FATHER WAS STATIONED THERE. JAMES WAS A MEMBER OF THE HAYFIELD YOUTH MOVEMENT FOR WHO HE PLAYED FOOTBALL. JAMES WAS AN EXCELLENT PERFORMER ON THE PIANO ACCORDION AND GAVE HIS SERVICES TO VARIOUS GOOD CAUSES. JAMES WAS EMPLOYED AS AN APPRENTICE JOINER IN MANCHESTER AT THE TIME HE ENLISTED IN FEBUARY 1942 AND AFTER TRAINING WENT TO THE MIDDLE EAST IN OCTOBER. ON FEBUARY 20TH 1943 JAMES MET WITH HIS BROTHER (SGT STANLEY HILL) WHO HAD BEEN IN THE MIDDLE EAST FOR TWO AND A HALF YEARS. JAMES'S FATHER WAS A NATIVE OF THORNSETT WHO HAD SERVED IN THE GREAT WAR. COMMEMORATED TRIPOLI WAR CEMETERY, LIBYA.
HUGH GARTSIDE LLEWELLYN, ABLE SEAMAN, D/JX 303259. H.M.S. ITCHEN. ROYAL NAVY. KILLED 23RD SEPTEMBER 1943. AGED 20. SON OF STANLEY AND NELLIE LLEWELLYN, OF HAYFIELD. HUGH ATTENDED HAYFIELD COUNCIL SCHOOL, WHERE HE WON A DERBYSHIRE SCHOLARSHIP ALLOWING HIM TO MOVE ON TO NEW MILLS SECONDARY SCHOOL. HUGH WON THE HEADMASTERS PRIZE FOR SCORING A CENTURY DURING AN INTER- SCHOOL MATCH. THE FIRST BOY TO ATTAIN THAT SCORE IN SCHOOL CRICKET. AFTER LEAVING SECONDARY SCHOOL HUGH ATTENDED MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY. WHERE HE HAD COMPLETED ONE YEAR IN AN HONOURS COURSE OF ENGINEERING. HUGH PLAYED CRICKET WITH HAYFIELD AND WAS A MEMBER OF THE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL TEAM. ALTHOUGH HE WAS EXCEMPT FROM MILITARY SERVICE BY VIRTUE OF BEING A STUDENT, HUGH VOLUNTEERED FOR THE ROYAL NAVY IN NOVEMBER 1941. HE SERVED ABOARD BRITISH, AUSTRALIAN, CANADIAN AND POLISH SHIPS AND TOOK PART IN RAIDS ON BRUNEVAL AND DIEPPE. HUGH HAD BEEN WOUNDED WHEN HIS SHIP WAS DIVE BOMBED, BUT MADE A GOOD RECOVERY. ON NOVEMBER 5TH 1942, HUGH WITHOUT ANY THOUGHT FOR HIS OWN SAFETY HAD LEAPT INTO THE SEA TO SAVE ANOTHER SAILOR WHO HAD FALLEN OVERBOARD. FOR HIS BRAVERY HE WAS AWARDED THE CERTIFICATE OF THE ROYAL HUMANE SOCIETY. H.M.S. ITCHEN WAS SUNK BY A U-BOAT HUGH AND MANY OTHERS WERE LOST AT SEA. HARRY CARTHY OF NEW MILLS WAS ALSO LOST IN THE ITCHEN. COMMEMORATED PLYMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL.
FREDERICK ROBERT MATHER, PRIVATE, 3460558. 2ND BATTALION. EAST LANCASHIRE REGIMENT. 6TH MAY 1942. AGED 29. SON OF MR AND MRS THOMAS ALFRED MATHER, STEPSON OF FLORENCE ALICE MATHER, OF HAYFIELD. COMMEMORATED ANTSIRANANA WAR CEMETERY, MADAGASCAR.
ERNEST PAUL MESSENGER, MAJOR, KILLED IN BURMA MAY 1944. AGE 23. ELDEST SON OF MR AND MRS MESSENGER OF THE OAKLANDS, HAYFIELD. EDUCATED AT SEDBERGH SCHOOL AND HAD BEEN ARTICLED INTO HIS FATHERS FIRM, MESSENGER, POWELL AND CO, CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS OF MANCHESTER. AT THE TIME HE ENLISTED ERNEST WAS LIVING AT "WESTWOOD", ARKWRIGHT ROAD, MARPLE. ERNEST PLAYED RUGBY FOOTBALL WITH THE MANCHESTER TEAM AND WAS A MEMBER OF STOCKPORT GOLF CLUB.
JAMES THOMAS WHARMBY. ORDINARY SEAMAN, D/JX 565643. H.M.S. SEARCHER, ROYAL NAVY. DIED OF INJURIES RECEIVED AS THE RESULT OF AN ACCIDENT ON SUNDAY THE 23RD JULY 1944. AGED 18. SON OF MR AND MRS J. T. WHARMBY OF BIRCH VALE. JAMES HAD BEEN EMPLOYED AT STRINES PRINTWORKS BEFORE JOINING THE NAVY IN MAY 1943. HE WAS SERVING ON AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER WHEN THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED....."HE WAS HOLDING THE CHOCKS BY THE WHEELS OF AN AIRCRAFT, WHEN ANOTHER AIRCRAFT ATTEMPTING A LANDING CRASHED INTO THE SEA. WITHOUT THINKING WHAT HE WAS DOING JAMES TRIED TO RUSH TO THE SIDE TO SEE WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO THE PILOT. WHILST DOING SO HE RAN THROUGH THE PROPELLERS OF HIS OWN AIRCRAFT. HE SUSTAINED VERY SEVERE INJURIES. DESPITE THE BEST EFFORTS OF THE DOCTOR, JAMES PASSED AWAY WITHOUT REGAINING CONSCIOUSNESS ABOUT AN HOUR LATER. BURIED AT SEA. COMMEMORATED ON THE PLYMOUTH MEMORIAL, DEVON.
ALSO KILLED BUT NOT ON MEMORIAL
ERIC CROUGHTON, GUNNER, 14321262. ROYAL ARTILLERY. KILLED 19TH SEPTEMBER 1944. AGED 29. SON OF EDWARD AND ALICE CROUGHTON OF MANCHESTER; HUSBAND OF EVELYN CROUGHTON, OF HAYFIELD.
HAROLD BRADLEY, CORPORAL,4199134. 7TH BATTALION. ROYAL WELCH FUSILIERS. 11THAUGUST 1944. AGE 27. SON OF WILLIAM EDWARD AND MARY ALICE BRADLEY; HUSBAND OF MARY ELIZABETH BRADLEY, OF HAYFIELD. COMMEMORATED BROUAY WAR CEMETERY, FRANCE.
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The details of the Air Raid of the 3rd of July 1942 are well known:- At 8-00 p.m. two German JU 88s swept low up the valley from the direction of Manchester. No Air Raid warning was given, and amongst those who noticed the low approaching aircraft there was confusion as to the identity of the planes. Within seconds the craft had split one launching an ineffective attack on the railway viaduct. The other attacking the Gasholder, in Mousley Bottom without success. Though Lowe's Mill, the railway station and signal box all had their windows blown out. This aircraft flew on to Low Leighton at roof top height, spraying machine gun bullets into the streets, and amongst a boys cricket match on the Church Road field as it passed. At Low Leighton another bomb was dropped. This demolished two houses and the Methodist Chapel, which stood where the modern Fire Station stands today. There were two fatal casualties, Joan Handford a ten year old and Daniel McKellar, a man of 79, who was wounded in the blast and died the following day.
The two aircraft flew on up the Sett valley where the people of Hayfield were also unaware of their approach. The paper of the time carried a witness account of the bombing of Hayfield and its aftermath "The raid came with amazing suddenness. I was in the house when I heard an explosion in the distance which sounded very much like thunder. But it was followed by the crackle of machine gun fire. Others, I found afterwards, had heard the same noises and did not know for the moment what to make of them. Some were in their gardens, others were taking a walk, some were playing whist at a drive held for the RAF Benevolent fund.
I looked to where the machine was, but I heard it flying over the roof of the house with terrific noise. Before I could get to the door it had gone. Then I heard another explosion and saw a cloud of smoke rising such as I had seen at A.R.P. exercises.... Everybody knew that a bomb had dropped. There was no need to call out the civil defence services. Members of the services heard the bomb, and they rushed to the scene and were soon busy. Before it was really known what had happened the rescue squad were at work and the fire pumps were busy, although there was little fire evident at the time. Incendiary bombs had been dropped near by where children were playing on the recreation ground. The boys got a new sport collecting the spent incendiaries.
The three cottages which had been hit were an appalling sight. They had gone down like abox of cards under the powerful explosion......what struck one most was the entire absence of panic or hysteria. It was the first experience of bombing and gun firing from the air that many present had known. But they knew what to do and they did it. The Home Guard and the special police were there, as well as the civil defence services. The first person I had seen after the second explosion was the village constable rushing to the scene on his bicycle. Many of the men on the job had rushed there without donning their uniform, and had only their helmets for protection. They worked with amazing strength and speed, and yet with extreme care, in case any under that huge heap of debris should still be alive. Happily some were and they were rescued."
The names of the two casualties in New Mills and the six in Hayfield are recorded amongst the war dead on the respective memorials.
The two German raiders were eventually intercepted and shot down in Lincolnshire, where the crew of one aircraft perished.
There had been several bombs and flares dropped in the area prior to the raid of July 1942. Mostly these had fallen on high ground and farmland and though the noise and flashes of the explosion had sometimes caused concern they had caused no injury or damage to property. Except that is for the Rowarth "raid" of the 31st of August, 1940. This was almost certainly an indiscriminate and untargeted dropping of the bomb load of one or more German aircraft. It is most probable that the aircraft involved had over flown their intended target at Manchester and decided to drop their bomb load before reaching the high ground of the Peak District.
At around 10-45 p.m. that night a Mr Jos Devlin, Rowarth Postmaster was making his way home down Hollinsmoor Road, "...there was an indescribable noise, as if the whole earth was just one fearful whizz. Instictively I threw myself prone on the ground face downward. Then came a terrible explosion which lifted me inches from the ground, although I was perfectly prone, and it nearly took the breath out of my body. It was a high explosive bomb, and I learned later that the glass had been smashed in some houses a considerable distance from where I was , but that nobody had been hurt. When I lifted my face from the ground a grander sight than any I could have imagined met my view. Incendiary bombs were being dropped not far away. I knew every inch of the ground and everything was silhouetted in marvellous outline with the sky black overhead. It looked as if the whole place was on fire over one long track which the plane had travelled. There seemed to be millions of candles, and the whole scene was most ghostly. I have never seen anything like it, and I dont want to see anything like it again."
The bombs and incendiaries dropped, fell to the right hand side of Hollinsmoor Road as the aircraft roughly followed the line of the road toward the Little Mill Inn. One bomb fell near the roadside, probably the one described by Jos Devlin, it demolished 6 yards of wall. Other damage caused amounted to a window broken at Anderton House, better known as The Children's Inn, and a broken window at Brookside Cottage. Two cottages to the north of the Little Mill Inn suffered broken windows, loose slates and loose window frames. At the Little Mill itself a stock of spirits was shaken from shelves in the cellar and smashed. Nearby Laneside Farm lost 15 windows and many slates. In all it was a lucky escape for the people of Rowarth and for the district in general. Had the bombs and incendiaries dropped in a more populated area the result would have been very different.
THE FOLLOWING HAYFIELD CIVILIANS WERE KILLED BY ENEMY ACTION ON THE 3RDJULY, 1942
ALBERT GIBSON, AGE 61. OF SETT VIEW, SPRING VALE ROAD, HAYFIELD; HUSBAND OF EDITH GIBSON. A VETERAN OF THE GREAT WAR.
EDITH GIBSON. AGE 49. OF SETT VIEW, SPRING VALE ROAD.
GLADYS MAY GIBSON. AGE 19. OF SETT VIEW, SPRING VALE ROAD. DAUGHTER OF THE ABOVE COUPLE.
MARGARET JANE GIBSON. AGE 21. OF SETT VIEW, SPRING VALE ROAD. DAUGHTER OF THE ABOVE COUPLE.
HANNAH ROBINSON. AGE 47. DAUGHTER OF MR AND MRS CHARLES COOPER, OF LITTLE HAYFIELD. WIFE OF LIONEL HALL ROBINSON, OF NEWHAVEN, LEA ROAD, HAYFIELD. KILLED AT SETT VIEW, SPRING VALE ROAD.
FREDA THORPE. AGE 10. DAUGHTER OF MR AND MRS THORPE OF 78 MOUNT ROAD, BELLE VUE. AN EVACUEE KILLED AT SPRING VALE ROAD, HAYFIELD.