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1916 

Soldiers Who Died

The following is not a

complete list of

1916 deaths

just those

that I have

come across

whilst

researching.

Military Services Act 1916

 For over eighteen months the Bacup Times newspaper had printed weekly lists of those men from Bacup and Stacksteads who had voluntarily enlisted into the colours. On January 27th however with the introduction of the Military Services Act  the choice of whether to enlist or not was taken away. The Military Service Act specified that men from the ages of 18 to 41 were liable to be called-up for service unless they were married or widowed with children or they worked in one of a number of reserved industrial professions. A revision of exempted occupations was issued towards the middle of March. The regulations stated that no single man under the age of 30 would be exempt, unless he could show that he had been occupied in a exempted occupation when the National Register was made on 15th August 1915. By May a second Act was passed which extended conscription to all married men. Up till the 24th June married men had the right to appeal to the local Military Tribunal Panel which in Bacup were held on Mondays at the Court House, members of the public were not allowed into the proceedings but employers were allowed to represent their employees. The first sitting of the Bacup tribunal took place on Monday 21st February when five claims for exemption were heard. In the early months the panel was made up of the Mayor J.H.Lord, J.P, Mr Henry Heys, County Councillor J McClerie, Mr Robert Green, Mr Joseph McDonald, Councillors Heap, Nuttall and the Secretary Mr Entwistle. The Military Representative was Colonel Joshua Craven Hoyle.  As time moved on the panel members changed. One man who wrote in to the editor of the Bacup Times in July 1917 complained that since Mr J.H.Lord had retired as Chairman being replaced by Mr J.H.Hoyle a man had little chance of having a courteous and judicial hearing. The same was often said about the Military Representative who in the Bacup cases in 1917 was a Mr Bugler. Surprisingly in July 1917 Mr Bugler received a pat on the back from one father, a farmer who was told he could keep his son at home until the hay making was over. The father on leaving the courthouse exclaimed gleefully to Mr Bugler “ Tha’s bin a good lad to-day”.

The Somme & Second Anniversary

As the second anniversary of the war came and went news began filtering through regarding those lost during what would be known as the  Battle of the Somme.  Launched on the 1st July 1916  it was proceeded by the detonating of  seventeen mines, and eight days of artillery bombardment with the intention of destroying the enemy barbed wire fortifications. Cut down by German  heavy machine gun fire and slaughtered like sheep. British casualties on this day alone totalled 60,000. Between 1st July and mid November 1916, 432,000 soldiers became casualties. One of the first Bacup lads to be named in the Bacup Times was Lance Corporal Charles Wright, youngest son of Mr and Mrs William Wright of 12 Hardman Street, Bacup. Charles’s death was even more poignant because he was the youngest of five sons, all serving in the force; he had enlisted on March 24th 1915, following in the footsteps of his four elder brothers three of whom were still serving at the time of his death, one having recently returned after thirteen years’ service. The report of Charles’ death also featured news of another Bacup lad injured at the Somme that of Private John Flynn,he was also one of three brothers all of who had fought in the Boer War and who all re-joined East Lancashire Regiment during the first weeks following the outbreak of war sadly both John and his brother James would both die due to wounds received. One of the most famous battalions synonymous with the Somme was The Accrington Pals and whilst the vast majority of the lads did come from Accrington we now know that two of their number killed alongside their comrades were two Stacksteads lads, John Winter and William Cook.  Towards the end of August The Art Pictures in Bacup advertised “The Battle of the Somme,” which was described as “a moving picture that was probably the greatest thing the world had ever seen” Shown to packed audiences over a period of three nights, it was reported in the Bacup Times as “a real eye-witness account because the camera man was actually there. He did not actually charge with the troops but he did everything else. When the boys lined up waiting for the word in those  tense last moments, the camera was turning within yards of them. When the word came, and they went “over the top” the camera chronicled their fighting, their heroism, and in some cases their deaths

Roll of Honour

One of the earliest roll of honours was commissioned by the firm of  Sir Henry Trickett, of Waterfoot, an employer of many Bacup and Stacksteads workers. The roll contained the names of the 105 men that had gone to war from the firm several of them being from Bacup and Stacksteads.  By August the Bacup Times newspaper had started their own Roll of Honour. The first soldier to appear in the Roll of Honour was Private Cyril Cox, who was killed on the August 3rd in France. The entry read: In dear and loving memory of Cyril, only and fondly loved son of and Emma Cox, Castle Hill, Stacksteads, who was killed in France August 3rd aged 21 years. Every day that passes is a day nearer to seeing him again. His motto was I would rather be a dead hero than a live coward, He knows Mam and Dad. Lighting Restrictions
Frank Piper  20 01 1916 James E Mitchell 01 02 1916 John Withers 03 03 1916 Samuel Clarke 04 03 1916 Jesse Livesey 09 04 1916 Richard Laycock 18 04 1916 Richard Pollard 19 04 1916 Thomas H Bridge 21 04 1916 Harry Cookson 21 04 1916 William Naylor 25 04 1916 Edgar Hall 02 06 1916 Harry Hirst  02 06 1916 Harry Nadin 08 06 1916 Sam Myerscough 26 06 1916 J F Ashworth 28 06 1916 Smith Chadwick 29 06 1916 Richard H Taylor 01 07 1916 James Goulding 01 07 1916 Fred Taylor 01 07 1916 Fred Thomas 01 07 1916 John Winter 01 07 1916 Charles Pollard 01 07 1916 Ernest Jackson 01 07 1916 William Cook 01 07 1916 Charles Wright  01 07 1916 Albert Wilkinson 01 07 1916 James H Maudsley 01 07 1916 Rbt W Woodhouse 01 07 1916 Robert Hitchen 02 07 1916 Harry Ashworth 06 07 1916 Michael Darcy 07 07 1916 Stephen Howorth 15 07 1916 John Flyn 21 07 1916 Benjamin Haworth 22 07 1916 James W Hargreaves 22 07 1916 Adolphus Stanger 23 07 1916 William H Mitcham 24 07 1916 Harry Crane 25 07 1916 John R Golding 27 07 1916 Luke Cain 27 07 1916 Albert Symes 28 07 1916 Thomas Thornhill 28 07 1916 Cyril Cox 04 08 1916 Thomas Stead 05 08 1916 Arthur Halstead 11 08 1916 Herbert Barrett 15 08 1916 William Daley 16 08 1916 Thomas Smith 19 08 1916 John R Hargreaves 22 08 1916 Ernest Hall 22 08 1916 John R  Fielden  26 08 1916 Arthur Shelton 30 08 1916 John W Haworth  01 09 1916 Samuel Hallas 04 09 1916 George Nicholls 03 09 1916 Robert Walsh 06 09 1916 John Hoyle 07 09 1916 James Tatersall 10 09 1916 Thomas H Daley  15 09 1916 John Slattery 20 09 1916 Albert Stott 20 09 1916 Arthur Stott 25 09 1916 Wilfred Smith 24 09 1916 Fred Horrocks 25 09 1916 James Ashworth 27 09 1916 Wilfred Feber  27 09 1916 Edgar Fearnley  27 09 1916 Bert Barnes  05 10 1916 William Phillips 12 10 1916 Bertie Hutchinson 16 10 1916 Percival Ashworth 21 10 1916 Albert Smith 23 10 1916 Walter Collinge 23 10 1916 Harry Snowden 28 10 1916 John Walsh 13 11 1916 Samuel Pilling 01 11 1916 Edgar Taylor 13 11 1916 Patrick Cuddy 14 11 1916 Charles S  Pickup 18 11 1916 Bart Conroy 22 11 1916 John Fred Gardiner 23 11 1916 Ernest Heys 23 11 1916

Gas Attacks

Although the Germans had launched the first poison gas attacks against British troops and her allies in the Spring of 1915, the first stories of this didn’t start to appear in the local newspapers until the  spring of 1916.  Rumours were also rife of the Germans using shells covered in poison before being fired in order to cause more fatalities to British and French troops. Indeed this was the story told to one Bacup soldier’s family who was being treated for shrapnel wounds in Manchester. Sadly the soldier John Flynn did not survive. It seems the rumours emanated from an advertisement by the Automatic Machine Company of New Jersey, USA, who in 1916 offered to supply shells made from a special form of steel guaranteed to cause suppurating wounds.  Newspapers on both sides produced stories about the German using poisoned steel. The advertisement was withdrawn after pressure was put onto the Automatic Machine Company.
Lighting restrictions in Bacup and Stacksteads began in February. Gas lamps were left unlit and the streets that were illuminated by electric lights were restricted to the tram routes with one in four lamps being left unlit and side streets being left completely in the dark. In August a new order came into effect which stated that no shop was allowed to have a bright light of any description in the window and no light must be shown on the roadway. There must be no light visible from outside. Householders were required to cover fan-lights, sky-lights and windows. No light should proceed from a dwelling in such a way as to illuminate the pavement outside or any part of the building. The orders which came under the headline “Zeppelin Restrictions” were published weekly. For the week beginning 9th September they were: Monday 9- 6pm, Tuesday 9-3pm, Wednesday 9-1pm, Thursday 8.58pm, Friday 8.56pm, and Saturday 8.53pm. The times applied to shops and houses; vehicles were one hour earlier. It would seem the authorities had good reason to be cautious, as in September a zeppelin which it was thought was one of seven lost its way and dropped four incendiary bombs on Waterfoot, only one of them igniting. The one pictured was dropped near to Heightside House, Newchurch. The zeppelin continued through Irwell Vale, and Holcombe Brook where it dropped further incendiaries. In Bolton it was thought the zeppelins were drawn to the town by the light of the furnaces. Nearly a dozen bombs were dropped in Bolton all in all resulting In 13 deaths. Despite the threat of zeppelin attacks the lighting restrictions and the darkened streets that came with them did not go down very well with some members of the public. One lady suffered a broken leg and within days of her accident two male residents suffered similar injuries. Recruiting Youths Under 19 From the recruiting office in Preston the following official regulations were published at the begining of  September.“Groups and Classes are fixed by the year of birth and not by age. Thus Group 1 and Class 1 consist of those born in 1897. These are all now called to the colours and those not serving is an absentee, and liable to be apprehended if not in possession of documentary evidence that for medial or other reasons he is exempt. Group A and class A consists  of those born in 1898. These are liable to be called up by proclamation at any time with a months notice but have not yet been called. Any lad born in 1898 who has not yet reached is 18th birthday may join Group A by attestation. If he is not already attested, he is deemed to be attested and placed in Class A on his 19th birthday.  Lads born in 1899 cannot yet attest as Group B as not yet been opened. It is hoped that the war may finish before this happens. Any man 18

Food Shortages and Sinking Ships

Throughout 1916, Bacupian and Stacksteads families had been encouraged to be frugal with food and by October the same was being encouraged with regards to coal which was a very valuable asset to the Navy, munition works and other industries producing war materials. Home owners were encouraged to restrict usage to one or two fires this in particular was aimed towards the rather more affluent members of the community. By the end of October coal was being distributed in relation to rooms per house. The early closing of shops had been a subject of argument between many shop keepers in the town. The war brought the matter to an end when towards the end of October the Home Secretary ruled that from the 30th October to the 30th April throughout the week Monday to Friday all shops must close by 8pm and on Saturdays by 9pm. The order was suspended for the Christmas shopping period from 17th to 24th December. The November 11th edition of the Bacup Times contained the details of a Government order regarding the usage of bread and its non-wastage the same edition carried the shocking news that  the Britannic the sister ship of Titanic had been sunk in the Aegean sea.  Described as a terrible catastrophe the one redeeming feature being that there was no wounded on board, and more than eleven hundreds of the crew and medical staff had been rescued. The Britannic was just one of many hospital ships that like merchant ships were targeted by the German U Boats. During October 1916 Germany claimed to have sunk 146 hospital and merchant ships, and 72 neutral ships using the excuse that they were carrying contraband to or for the enemy. Within 2 days of Britannic’s sinking another hospital ship was reportedly damaged due to striking a mine. The British Admiralty were reported at the time however of disputing the mine story saying they could not say whether the ships had struck mines or been torpedoed.

Other News

One young mum made the pages of the Bacup Times in November for reasons of a different kind when she gave birth to triplets. The news article read: Mrs Elizabeth Alice Sutcliffe aged 34 years, of 19 Abbey Street, Bacup wife of Private John Thomas Sutcliffe, of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, stationed at Aldershot, gave birth to triplets all girls at the above address.  All were born alive and one died. The others and the mother are doing well. At the time of writing, Pte Sutcliffe was formerly foreman in the warehouse at Messrs Taylor and Hargreaves Irwell Mill, and previously followed the occupation of a weaver. He has one other child a girl aged nine years. He was only called up a month ago and is at present in training at Aldershot.  Much local interest has been evoked by the event many years have elapsed since triplets were previously recorded in Bacup. It is regarded as a fitting case for the King’s Bounty. The little girl triplets were called Doris, Mary and Marion.  Sadly Mary died within the hour of her birth and Marion died two days later, their father John Thomas survived the horror of the trenches. Christmas Christmas week of 1916 began as a white one, the economical restraints meant that although the local shops had extended shopping hour’s their stocks were not as they had been pre-war.  One little boy of ten who looked at the snow-capped hills was recorded as saying “Isn’t it nice, but I wonder if it is snowing in France, and the Balkans, and what it is like at sea”. We of course know that the conditions in France at Christmas 1916 were horrendous, bitter cold freezing conditions. Trenches and shell holes full of freezing water, men up to their thighs in freezing cold mud.
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