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William Alfred Hardman was born in Bootle on 17th January 1897 and was the son of Alfred and Ellen Hardman (nee Heaton).

William`s father Alfred was a widower when he married Ellen Heaton in St. Cleopas Church, Toxteth, Liverpool on 6 April, 1896.

In 1901 William was with his parents at 58 Stanley Road, Bootle, his father was the Manager of a boot shop. Also living with the family was William`s Aunt Mary Jane Heaton and her eleven year old daughter Susannah.

Sadly, William`s father Alfred died on 11 March, 1903 in Liverpool. A couple of years later his mother Ellen remarried to Trevor York Goodburn at St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Walton on the Hill. Ellen and Trevor then had two sons, Harold born in Liverpool in 1906 and Leonard who was born in Leyland in 1909.

By 1911 the family had moved to Lostock Hall and William was with his mother and two stepbrothers at 121 Ward`s Terrace. William`s mother Ellen was working as a midwife while William aged 14 was working in a local mill. William`s stepfather Trevor Goodburn was not at the address at the time. William`s Aunt, Mary Jane Heaton who had previously been living with the family in Liverpool had also moved in with them and she had a five year old son with her named Robert Wilfred Heaton.

When he enlisted at Preston in September 1914, he declarled his age as 19 years 8 months, whereas he was only 17, and his height was recorded as 5’3¼”.  The recruiting officer was clearly (and perhaps wilfully) bending the rules as at the time a man had to be 18 years old and a minimum of 5’3” to be able to enlist.  William weighed just 107lb (49kg – just above the absolute minimum weight standard for a boxer).   He had a 34” chest, medium complexion, blueish-grey eyes and brown hair.  Despite his small stature and boyish looks he was enlisted to 7 Battalion – the “Preston Pals” – and assigned to “B” Company.  He gives his religion as CofE, though the newspaper article says he was a member of the United Methodist Church.  William also says that he lives with his father (technically his stepfather) William and his mother Ellen Goodburn of 6 Lupton Terrace, Lostock Hall as his next of kin..

In April 1915 when the 7th Battalion were in training at Tidworth he received a punishment of three days confined to barracks for “irregular conduct on the range – firing across his front”.

On the 17 July, 1915 the 7th Battalion went by train from Tidworth to Folkestone where they embarked for the crossing to Boulogne. The strength of the Battalion at this time was 30 Officers and 900 other ranks.

In July 1916 the 7th Battalion were involved in actions during the Battle of the Somme and along with other Battalions they too suffered heavy casualties but William managed to survive. At the end of July 1916 the 7th Battalion spent a brief spell on the Flanders front before being sent back to the Somme in October.

William was a Signaller with the 7th Battalion and this may have involved delivering messages and also maintaining and repairing telephone wires, it was a notoriously precarious job.

William was killed in action on the 26 October, 1916 and the following newspaper article does confirm that he was shot and killed while he was out repairing telephone wires.

hardman1

Signaller William Alfred Hardman was awarded the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals. His body was never recovered so his name was recorded on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme.

William’s effects – £6 8s 3d and his war gratuity of £9 were sent to his mother Ellen Goodburn.

William`s name also appears on two local war memorials, one in Lostock Hall and the other in Penwortham (pictured below).

hardman2 hardman3

Rank: Private
Service No: 13817
Date of Death: 25/10/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 7th Bn.
Memorial: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

Janet Davis

Janet Davis has been researching her family history for many years and through this she discovered many relatives who served in WW1. This interest then led Janet to do many walking the battlefield tours with her husband. In April 2013 she discovered this website and volunteered to help. Janet believes that there are lots of stories still to be told, most of them very sad but at the same time they are a fascinating insight into the men, their families, what they did and where they came from.
Janet Davis

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