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Percy Haddock was born in Bolton during the forth quarter of 1896. He was the youngest son of Thomas and Mary Elizabeth Haddock (nee Aspinall) and had four siblings;

  • Richard Harold (b. 1888)
  • Maria Elsie (b. 1890)
  • Eleanor Maud (b. 1894)
  • Harry (b. 1895)
  • Percy (b. 1896)

In 1901 the family were living at 80 Kay Street in Bolton; and his father owned a grocer’s shop.

By 1911 they had moved to 39 Ullswater Street in Bolton and Percy, 14 years old, was working as a pawnbroker’s assistant. His father was now the proprietor of a launderette and his two older brothers were employed in an Iron Works.

Unfortunately his service papers no longer exist but we do know that Percy enlisted into the Army at Bolton and joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the number 23238. He was posted into the 1st Battalion of the Regiment and sailed to France to join them in the field sometime between January and August 1916.

On 18th August 1916 Private Percy Haddock was killed in action during the attack at High Wood on the Somme.

War Diary: 1st Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 2nd Brigade. 1st Division 1.

OPERATION ORDERS No 10. 18/8/16

(This is an extract – for full document click here)

An attack on a big front will take place today. The 33rd Divn on our Right will capture German Trench running through centre of HIGH WOOD and will establish a strong point at N.W. Corner of the WOOD. 2nd Brigade will join up with Left Brigade 33rd Divn at this point. 1st Brigade will attack on our left. The Battalion will attack and capture the German Trench in S.3.D up trench running along N.W. edge of HIGH WOOD from S.3.D.95.75 to S.3.B.75.15.

Prior to the intense bombardment Northampton Regiment will evacuate the eastern portion of the German Trench captured last night and will afterwards co-operate by bombing inwards. The assaulting coys will move forward as follows:- D and C Coys in 2 lines at 50 paces interval, D. Coy on Right, C Coy on Left, each line at 5 paces extension.

D Coys front line will consist of 3 platoons of D Coy, of which the right platoon will be responsible for seizing the German Trench along the N.W. Edge of HIGH WOOD; their 2nd line will consist of 1 platoon of D Coy and 1 platoon of B Coy; the latter platoon will move into position in new front line on D Coys left – & will be in position by 1.30pm. …… D Coy on obtaining its objective, will establish a strong post which will consist at first of a barricade, bombers and 1 Lewis Gun in German trench near point S.3.B.72 just clear of N.W. Corner of HIGH WOOD.

After capturing German Trenches running West Edge of HIGH WOOD, Battn must hold it against possible attack from E and N.E until such time as troops of 98th Brigade come up and take over. Strong-post to be established by D Coy will protect our right flank. 2. Nr High Wood 18.8.16 In conjunction with troops on our flanks, the Bde attacked the German trenches just west of HIGH WOOD.

REPORT ON OPERATIONS AUGUST 18th, 1916

In conjunction with attacks by the French and ourselves from THIEPVAL to the SOMME, the Battalion attacked the German Line from the right of 1st Northamptons about point S.3.B.0.8 to N.W Corner of HIGH WOOD S.3.B.72 and also trench running along Western edge from S.3.B.72 to S.3.D.95.75.

Zero Time 2.45pm. At that hour the right platoon, which was detailed to attack, trench S.3.B.72 to S.3.B.95.75 and to form strong point at N.W corner of WOOD at S.3.B.72, left their trenches and was seen to advance into our intense bombardment, which was not timed to lift until 0.03. Remainder of right appears to have followed on too quickly and suffered a similar fate, though up to the present, no survivors have been found capable of giving a reliable account. The left delayed their assault until about 0.02 and, advancing close under our barrage entered the German Trench without difficulty assisted by Northampton attack on the right. By the time the 3rd Line got in, only 1 officer had not become a casualty. He, realizing that, on the right the trench was unoccupied, extended his men down the trench to within 200 yards of HIGH WOOD and commenced the consolidation of the position.

Casualties during this attack had been heavy. Captain M.A. Cross and Captain D.O.H Tripp D.S.O. had been killed. Lieutenants Nicholl, Ware, Stephenson, Harrison, Heaton and Bulling had been wounded. There were 30 Other Ranks killed including Private Percy Haddock, another 110 wounded 110 and approximately 50 men missing.

His body was not recovered from the battlefield and as such Percy is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing. He was just 19 years old.

Percy’s next of kin would later receive his British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal. They would also receive a memorial plaque and scroll, bearing Percy’s name, in recognition of his sacrifice.

Rank: Private
Service No: 23238
Date of Death: 18/08/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.
Memorial: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

Paul McCormick
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Paul McCormick

Paul McCormick is the creator and administrator for the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment website. Since 2010 he has been researching the soldiers that served during the First World War and sharing their stories on his website. You can contact Paul through the website 'Contact Me' page or on Twitter and Facebook.
Paul McCormick
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