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Driver Frank Collinge – 31st Div. Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery and Royal Horse Artillery

Driver Collinge was born in Ramsbottom in late 1899. He and his family moved to Littleborough in 1910, being recorded in the 1911 Census as living at 199 Whitelees Road.

Prior to enlisting in Rochdale on 10 March 1915, he was employed at the Brookfield Mills, Canal Street. Driver Collinge underwent training at St Annes, Fleetwood and Bedale, and was first drafted to Egypt and then later to France.

The Rochdale Observer reported on 20 September 1916 that he had been wounded in the right elbow and was undergoing treatment in France. Three days later, the paper advised that he had been brought to England and was in hospital in Leicester.

On Friday 10 November 1916, 18-year-old Driver 9859 Frank Collinge died of wounds received in France on that date, (Rochdale Observer reported on 9 December 1916 that “he was overcome by fumes from an exploding gas shell”.

The following information was contained in a letter sent by his commanding officer: “Gunner Collinge was overcome by the fumes from an enemy gas shell on 10 November. He was taken to a hospital, but passed away immediately as he arrived there and was buried next day in the British Cemetery nearby.”

His body was interred in Grave Number III C 17 Couin British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. An impressive ceremony was held in his memory at the Zion United Methodist Chapel, where he was formerly a scholar of the Zion Sunday school.

His name is commemorated on Littleborough Cenotaph, St Andrew’s War Memorial and Memorial Card, and on Littleborough Central School Memorial (now in the History Centre).

At the time of his death he had a brother, Private Harry Collinge, aged 22, serving in Egypt with the Lancashire Fusiliers. His parents, Mr Samuel and Mrs Jane Collinge, later lived at 5 Stubley Terrace, Littleborough.

Private Harold England – 2nd RM Bn RN Div Royal Marine Light Infantry

Private England was born in Barrowford early 1891, and having lived at St Anne’s on Sea, moved to 18 Birch Road by 1911.

Prior to enlisting in the first few months of the war, he worked at Hurstead Mill, and, in March 1915, embarked for service abroad. In May 1915, he was wounded whilst taking part in the landings in the Dardanelles Peninsula.

After recuperating from his wounds, he returned to England on furlough, and, being passed fit for duties in September 1915, Private England returned to the Dardanelles.

At the end of the campaign, he returned home and married Miss Ada Jackson at St Andrew’s Church in September 1916. After his furlough, he was posted to France, where, three months later, 25-year-old Private Harold England PLY/569(S) was killed in action during an attack towards Station Road (Beaucourt station) which suffered from heavy machine-gun fire (13 November 1916).

The Chaplain of Private England’s regiment forwarded a letter from the Major of the regiment. In the letter, he said: “After advancing some distance behind the German’s third line, we had to retire, and about six yards from the German’s third line, Private England was shot by a sniper. The bullet went through his wrist and heart. He died instantly.” He has no known grave; his name is inscribed on Pier and Face 1A Thiepval Memorial.

The Rochdale Times WW1 Casualty List and Rochdale Observer noted that Ada was living on Hare Hill Road at the time of England’s death. The December 1916 edition of the St Andrew’s newsletter included the following: “With very great sorrow, we learn, just as this Magazine goes to be printed, that Harold England was killed in France on 13 November. His loss came home to us very much indeed. Harold was married by the vicar on September 18th, 1916. He was a regular correspondent.”

On 10 December 1916, a memorial service was held in St Andrew’s Church in memory of former choir boys, Harold England and Archie Brown. His name is on St Andrew’s Memorial Card and War Memorial, the Littleborough Cenotaph, and the Wardle War Memorial, where there is a ‘H. England’ inscribed.

Private Walter Wright

Walter Wright was born in Todmorden in 1893, and, having lived there for a few years, had moved to 56 Hare Hill Road, Littleborough by 1911.

Wright was a Weaver. Prior to enlisting in Rochdale, he worked at Uber Mill and resided at 65 Laneside.

Private 5344 Walter Wright, 3/5th (T) Lancashire Fusiliers, became ill whilst in training in Colchester, England and was sent home on sick leave, where he died on 17 November 1916.

He is buried in the cemetery adjoining St Andrew’s Churchyard, Grave Number J47. A War Graves Commission Headstone marks his grave. His name is inscribed on Littleborough Cenotaph and sentiments were inserted in the Rochdale Observer of 25 November 1916 by his family.

Private Harry Dearden – 8 Bn Prince Albert’s (Somerset Light Infantry)

Private Dearden was born in about 1887 in Rochdale. In 1911, he lived at 5 Spring Gardens, together with his wife of one year, Margaret, and daughter, Nora.

He was, at this point, a roving machine tenter in the flannelette trade. Prior to enlisting in October 1914, he was employed at Gale Print Works.

29-year-old Private 15079 Harry Dearden was killed in action at Grandcourt on Sunday 19 November 1916. He has no known grave; his name is inscribed on Pier and Face 2A Thiepval Memorial.

The Rochdale Observer of 23 December 1916, reported that Dearden was associated with St. James’s Church, Wardleworth. His mother later resided at 5 Inghams Lane, Hollingworth Road, and his widow and three children at 125 Hollingworth Road (later of 2 Inghams Lane). His name is also included on Littleborough Cenotaph and the Holy Trinity Church War Memorial.

Gunner Joseph Platt

Gunner Platt was born in Wardle in 1894, but by 1911 was living at Long Lees Farm, Littleborough, as his father was a farmer, and he helped him on the farm.

22-year-old Gunner Platt 129263, of Royal Field Artillery (enlisted Halifax), died in the UK on 22 November 1916. He was the husband of Jane M. Clean Freebairn Platt, of 960, Fair View, Rochdale Road, Walsden.

His name is commemorated on the Todmorden War Memorial, and there is a ‘J. Platt’ inscribed on the War Memorial of St James Church, Calderbrook. He is buried in grave No 184 at Walsden (St Peter) churchyard.

Private John Shand – 16th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers 

Private Shand was born in Chorlton in late 1874. Having lived at 4 Handle Hall, Calderbrook, the family later lived at 5 Hudson’s Passage, and subsequently at 1 Townsend Terrace.

By 1911, 35-year-old Shand, a velvet finisher, was living with his wife Agnes, a stocking finisher (who survived until 1948), as well as his brother and sister, at 175 Todmorden Road, Littleborough. Prior to enlisting in Rochdale, he was employed at the Calderbrook Dyeing Company.

Private 28746 John Shand was killed in action during an attack on Frankfort Trench on Thursday 18 November 1916.

His body was interred in Grave Number D 28 at Waggon Road Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel, Somme, France. His name is inscribed on the Cenotaph in Littleborough, Victoria Street Congregational Chapel War Memorial, and on Littleborough Central School War Memorial (now relocated in Littleborough’s History Centre).

His brother Private Tom Shand, was also killed on the Somme on 1 October 1916.

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