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butterworthHarold Butterworth was the son of Edwin and Louisa Butterworth of 387, Bury Road, Tonge, Bolton.

Harold enlisted in the Territorial Force on 6th November 1914 in Bolton. He was embodied the same day into the 5th (Reserve) Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

At his enlistment medical he was described as being 29 years 5 months old, 5ft 6in tall, with a 38in chest and of good physical development.

On 23rd January 1915 he was promoted to Corporal.

On 16th February that year he was found dead in Blackpool Central Public Library, the staff headquarters of the troops based in the town. He was noticed missing at about 05:20hrs. Later, a guard found him lying at the top of some concrete steps with a wound to his head. It was believed he had tripped whilst running up the steps.

A newspaper cutting that is placed within his service record reads;

Territorial’s fatal fall when on guard
A Bolton Territorial, named Harold Butterworth, of 387, Bury Road, Tonge, has met with an untimely end at Blackpool.

He was attached to the 2/5th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, which is stationed at the seaside resort, and on Tuesday morning he was killed. This is the first fatalitiy that has occurred in connection with the Reserve Battalion of the 5th L.N.L. Regiment, and the public sympathy goes out to the parents and relatives of Corporal Butterworth, who is exceptionally well-known in the town.

He is a young man, being 29 years of age, and eldest son of Mr Edwin Butterworth, and enlisted soon after the formation of the Reserve Battalion. Prior to then he was a selfactor minder employed at Messrs. Thomassons’ Mill Hill Mill, and he joined about the same time as his brother (Arthur), and they both earned rapid promotion, both being made Corporals, the deceased being promoted first. He was over in Bolton on a flying visit last weekend.

The deceased was particularly well-known in swimming circles, and at the time of his death was the assistant secretary to the Bolton Bridgeman Club. He has worked hard for that organisation, and has earned special praise for his labours in the matter of life-saving, being hon. instructor to the club in that department. He has been very successful in teaching life-saving, and was awarded a special honour by the Royal Life Saving Society.

Our Blackpool correspondent wired – Corporal Butterworth was killed at the Blackpool Central Public Library on Tuesday. He was on duty at the staff headquarters of the troops billeted in the town. He was missed about 05:21hrs, and on the guard going in search of him he found him lying at the top of the concrete steps with a wound in the forehead. He had evidently tripped while running up the steps.

Comments on the hours of guard duty
The fact that a soldier in training at Blackpool had been on duty for 15 hours prior to meeting his death by accident was referred to at the inquest on Wednesday night.

Butterworth was put in charge of the guard at the divisional staff headquarters, at the Central Library, Queen Street, Blackpool, on Monday night, and about 04:55hrs on Tuesday he was seen to go up two flights of steps. As he did not return in half an hour a sentry sent a bugler boy to see where he was.

The bugler, a lad called Humphreys, found Butterworth lying on the top landing unconscious and bleeding from the nose and mouth.

Doctor Barnes arrived and pronounced life extinct.

Butterworth had apparently stumbled on the top step and fell with his head on the concrete floor, fracturing his skull.

The Coroner and the jury commented upon the fact that Butterworth had been on parade on Monday and went on duty in charge of the guard at 17:30hrs Monday afternoon, and was not to go off duty until 09:00hrs on Tuesday. He had no actual work to do, apart from seeing the change made in the guard every two hours, but he had not to fall asleep.

It might seem to civilians, said the Coroner, that the time Butterworth had to remain on guard was unneccessarily long, something like 15.5 hrs, but it seemed to be a military rule, and when the men were on service they would probably have harder things to do.

Corporal Harold Butterworth is buried in St James Churchyard and is remembered on a brass plaque in the Trinity Wesleyan Chapel on Bury Road where he lived.

Brass Plaque at Trinity Wesleyan Chapel

Brass Plaque at Trinity Wesleyan Chapel – Photo by Garry Farmer

Rank: Corporal
Service No: 3268
Date of Death: 16/02/1915
Age: 29
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 2nd/5th Bn.

Paul McCormick
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2 Responses to 3268 CPL. H. BUTTERWORTH. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Garry Farmer. says:

    Bolton Journal & Guardian of 10th May 1912 page 3, carries a story of his brother Arthur Butterworth, 387 Bury Road, being involved in the attempt rescue from drowning, which ended only in a recovery, of 5yrs old Richard Seed from the River Tonge. Butterworth was brought to the notice of the Royal Humane Society for his actions that day.

  2. Garry Farmer. says:

    His younger brother Arthur Butterworth of 387 Bury Road, Tong Fold appears in the Bolton Journal & Guardian of Friday 10th May 1912, page 3. He attempted the rescue from drowning of 5 yrs old Richard Seed, in the River Tonge. This unfortunately turned into recovery of the child’s body. Arthur was brought to the notice of the Royal Humane Society for his act of bravery.

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