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Albert Rigby was born in the village of Wheelton near Chorley on the 15th November 1891 to James and Sarah Rigby (nee Berry). His parents married in the Parish Church of St. Barnabas in nearby Heapey in 1890 and Albert was the eldest of the five children born to the couple, the others being; Ernest (1894), Jane Alice (1898), James Berry (1901) and Elsie (1903).

In 1901 Albert was living with his family in Kenyon Lane, Wheelton where his father was working locally as a cotton weaver. The family was still at the same address when the 1911 Census was recorded and by this time Albert and his brother Ernest had both secured jobs as weavers, later information states that Albert was employed at the Victoria Mill in Wheelton. The 1911 Census also shows the family had a `boarder`, 45 year old Margaret Desoer who was a widow and also working as a cotton weaver.

Albert enlisted on the 16th January 1915 and after several months of training he embarked on the 26th September 1915 bound for the Dardanelles where he would join the 6th Battalion LNL. Unfortunately Albert`s service papers are missing which makes it difficult to determine more precise details about his service. At some point after joining the 6th Battalion it looks as though he was either wounded or perhaps suffering from sickness and as a result was evacuated back home to England to recover. Albert was then sent to France where he joined the 10th Battalion LNL.

The 10th Battalion LNL came under the Command of the 112th Brigade of the 37th Division and in April 1917 the Battalion was involved in the spring offensive around Arras where they had suffered heavy casualties. After Arras the 37th Division was given some time to reorganise and was sent to what was generally described as `quiet sectors` of the line, the Brigade spending most of its time in the Kemmel Sector where it would remain until September 1917.

Sadly, Albert was killed in action towards the end of the Battalion`s stay in the Kemmel Sector, his date of death recorded as 26th August 1917. According to the Battalion War Diary the Battalion was in the front line trenches near Oosttaverne not far from Whytchaete when Albert was killed by a sniper*.

*Information from the Chorley Memorial Books via Adam Cree.

A very brief announcement was made later in one of the local Preston papers;

After the war Albert`s family would take receipt of his 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals and would also receive his Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice.

Albert was originally buried somewhere behind the lines but in October 1919 his body was recovered and exhumed, his identity confirmed because his original burial party had recorded his details on the cross marking his grave. He was then laid to rest in the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery at Voormezeele Enclosure No. 3.

His entry in the Chorley Memorial Books, compiled after the war by Susannah Knight, now held at Astley Hall indicates he had possibly been appointed Lance Corporal whilst overseas;

His mother had the following words inscribed at the foot of his headstone;

“WITH CHRIST WHICH IS FAR BETTER”

 

Photo taken July 2011

Rank: Private
Service No: 19781
Date of Death: 26/08/1917
Age: 25
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 10th Bn.
Cemetery: VOORMEZEELE ENCLOSURE NO.3

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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