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Henry Heyworth was born on 1st February 1894 and was the youngest son of Samuel and Ann Heyworth of 16 Derby Street, Chorley. He was baptised at St. James’ Church in Chorley on 25th February 1894 and had six older siblings;

  • James Heyworth (b. 1880)
  • John Heyworth (b. 1883)
  • Bertha Heyworth (b. 1885)
  • Samuel Heyworth (b. 1887)
  • William Heyworth (b. 1888)
  • Fred Heyworth (b. 1890)
  • Henry Heyworth (b. 1894)

More commonly called Harry, he is found in 1901 aged 7 and living at 9 Townley Street, Chorley. His father was working as an engine tenter in a cotton mill along with siblings John, Bertha, Samuel and William who were also working in the same industry. By 1911 his father had died and Harry, now 17, had followed the rest of the family into the cotton industry and they were living at 78 Brook St Chorley.

Just prior to enlisting Harry was working as a cutlooker at Laurence’s Mill, inspecting the weaver’s cut or piece of cloth as it comes from the loom. He enlisted into the Territorial Force at Chorley in December 1915 and was mobilised a month later, joining the 4/5th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the number 7802. His number became 243257 when the TF were renumbered in 1917.

At the time of his enlistment he was 21 years 10 months old, single and had no previous military experience although he was a Sergeant in the Boys’ Brigade. He was still living at 78 Brook Street Chorley and gave his mother’s name, same address, as his legal next of kin. The medical officer noted that Henry was 5ft 3.5in tall, weighed 105lbs with a 33in chest.

Harry sailed from Folkestone to Boulogne on 12th February 1917 with the initial deployment of the 4/5th Battalion and had a fairly busy time on rotation through the trenches at Fleurbaix until they were marched from there to Armentieres on 2nd August 1917. Later that month reported sick to a casualty clearing station and spent over a week in hospital for varicocele problems. Harry was then transferred across to the 1/5th Battalion in September and was reported to be missing after the fighting at Cambrai on 30th November 1917. On the opening day of the Battle of Cambrai battle ten days earlier, 20th November 1917, only the 164th Brigade was engaged, but during the fighting on the 30th November, the remaining units, and especially the 1/5th Battalion took their fair share of casualties.

Cambrai, 30th November 1917 – 8:30hrs
That morning a heavy fog hung in the air over the 55th Divisional front line, a line that had been heavily bombarded for the past 90 minutes.

The enemy penetrated the 1/5th sector at Holts Bank, having advanced at a staggering rate, with overwhelming numbers into Pigeon Quarry, they had succeeded in seriously outflanking our men.

Massively outnumbered, and with the help of the Liverpool Scottish, the Loyals gallantly stood firm and inflicted serious damage on the German soldiers, succeeding in holding Adelphi and Gloucester Roads until such time as they became so few in number they were forced to withdraw.

Prior to the withdrawal, an element of Loyal North Lancs had already been cut off from the rest of the Battalion and were completely surrounded at Limerick Post. Somehow they succeeded in defending their encircled position, managing to reach their own line by 5:00hrs the next morning.
In this action the Battalion paid a heavy price, 2 men had been killed, 3 Officers and 27 other ranks wounded, 2 Officers were wounded and missing, while 16 Officers and 384 non-commissioned Officers and men were missing.

Private Henry Heyworth was one of the men reported to be missing, later for official purposes to be presumed to have died on or since this date. Henry’s body was not recovered from the battlefield and as such he is remembered on the Cambrai memorial. No effects were returned to his family.

His mother would later receive her late son’s British War Medal and Allied Victory medal, along with a memorial plaque and scroll bearing his name and in recognition of his sacrifice.

In the Chorley Memorial Book (CMB) compiled by Susannah Knight and held at Astley Hall, Henry Heyworth’s details are recorded under the reference CMB/II/122b. As was sometimes the case, some of the information recorded in the book is slightly incorrect but having his photo is priceless. The Susannah Knight CMB project is being managed by Adam Cree and we are very grateful to him for sharing the following photo and extract from the book. Heyworth 1 Heyworth 2

Rank: Private
Service No: 243257
Date of Death: 30/11/1917
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/5th Bn.

Paul McCormick
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One Response to 243257 PTE. H. HEYWORTH. L.N.LAN.R.

  1. Pat Gettings says:

    Thank you for this article . Henry Heyworth was my great uncle and I can recall my mother talking about him. I have been been lucky enough to meet another relative who had all the letters etc his mother received after his death . The details on here fill in some of the details I was unaware of. Thanks again

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