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Henry Hargreaves Croasdale was born just a couple of miles away from Clitheroe in the village of Chatburn, Lancashire. He was baptised on the 30th November 1879 the son of William and Elizabeth Croasdale (nee Hargreaves). His parents married in Chatburn on the 25th February 1864 and Henry was the youngest of seven surviving children, the others being;

  • Alice (1864)
  • Matilda (1866)
  • William (1868)
  • Elizabeth Ruth (1870)
  • Mary (1872)
  • Beatrice Eleanor (1879)

In the 1881 Census Henry and his family lived at the Brown Cow Inn located at 79 Main Road, Chatburn where his father was the innkeeper. Sadly Henry`s father passed away on the 22nd May 1882 leaving an estate to the value of £5,325 13s 6d. Not long after his death Henry`s mother moved the family over to the Blackpool area and in 1891 their home was at a hotel on Lower Queen`s Terrace in Thornton. Henry`s mother was the hotel keeper and Henry was still attending school. The only other sibling still at home was his sister Elizabeth Ruth and she was said to be `living on her own means`. There was also four other people resident at the hotel, two granddaughters, 17 year old Mary Jane Dixon and three year old Gertrude Robinson and a domestic servant, Mary E. Parr aged 24 as well as a barman Richard Balmer, aged 23.

In 1901 Henry, now a bank clerk working for the Manchester County Bank, was living at 1 Queen`s Terrace in Fleetwood with his mother Elizabeth who was a hotel proprietress, the hotel appears to have been the `Steamer Hotel`. Henry`s married sister Mary Gaskell was also there together with Mary J. Dixon, granddaughter and there was a barmaid, Elizabeth Jones, Kathleen Redding a cook domestic and Thomas Southworth a `billiard marker`.

Henry`s mother died on the 15th January 1905 in Fleetwood leaving an estate of £27,823 9s 1d and after her death Henry moved to 38 Whitegate Drive in Blackpool which was the home of his widowed sister Matilda. He was living with his sister at the same address in 1911 and his occupation was still a bank clerk.

On the 7th September 1914, aged 34 years and 10 months, Henry enlisted into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, signing his papers at Preston where he joined “D” Company (Preston Pals) of the 7th Battalion. His name is appears below amongst some of the other recruits, the list being published in the Preston Herald a few weeks after they enlisted;

Henry`s medical inspection noted that he was 5`4” tall and he weighed 111lbs. He had blue eyes, dark brown hair and had a fresh complexion. He confirmed that he was single and had no previous military experience and for official purposes he named his sister Beatrice Eleanor Pollitt of the County Bank in Fleetwood as his next of kin.

After several months of training Henry embarked for France with the 7th Battalion on the 17th July 1915, the Battalion coming under the Command of the 56th Brigade of 19th (Western) Division.

On the 11th January 1916 the 56th Brigade received orders to move from the area of Merville where they had been for a while to take over billets at Robecq and by the following evening the Battalion had relieved the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards at Calonne. Here the Brigade engaged in training of all kinds until the middle of February 1916 when a further move was made to Neuve Chappelle, alternating between the trenches there and billets in Croix Barbee.

According to his service record, on the 18th April 1916 whilst in billets, Henry was accidentally wounded having been shot by a revolver, the bullet entering the right side of his chest. Henry was removed first of all to 32 CCS and then to 23 General Hospital.

The notes in his papers explain what happened;

“Wounded about April 19th (1916) while in billets at Roebecq. One of his comrades was showing off a revolver, asking if anyone wanted to buy it, when it went off and patient was wounded in right side. He did not lose consciousness, but vomited when he got to hospital. He lost all power and feeling in his legs immediately. Operated on in France and bullet taken out from his left side”.

It was discovered that the bullet had damaged Henry`s spinal cord. On the 29th April 1916 he was evacuated back to England via the Hospital Ship Brighton and the following day he was admitted to Northumberland War Hospital at Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne.

The Doctor at Gosforth under the date 6th July noted;

“Restless night. Patient gradually became worse. Did not take food and ran a temperature varying from 101 – 102 degrees”

Sadly, five days later at 8.20pm on Wednesday, 11th July 1916 Henry passed away in hospital. His brother William was initially stated to have received his brothers` personal effects the day after he died but this was later amended to “no effects returned”.

His death was announced later in the Preston Guardian;

After his death Henry`s body was returned to Blackpool for burial and he was laid to rest in a family grave in Layton Cemetery;


Layton Cemetery, Blackpool – Photo 16th February 2016

After the war Henry`s family would have received the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals that he was entitled to and would also have received his Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice.

Henry left a will, his estate amounting to £8,701 8s 1d, probate to Beatrice Eleanor Pollitt (wife of Stanley Warr Pollitt) and Alice Robinson (wife of Alfred Robinson).

Rank: Private
Service No: 13027
Date of Death: 11/07/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, ‘D Coy’ 7th Bn.

Author`s Note: Henry`s service papers record that he died in hospital in Northumberland and they also confirm that his body was removed to Blackpool for burial. However, for some strange reason a search for Henry in the CWGC records shows his name as being recorded on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 11A.


Janet Davis
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