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Thomas and William Longworth were brothers, born in Prestolee near Bolton.  Thomas was born in the final quarter of 1894 and William was born on 5 August 1897.  Their parents were Wright Longworth (b. 1861 in Prestolee), a coal hewer, and Harriet Brierley (b. 1875 in Ringley).  Harriet was Wright’s second wife; he was previously married to Sarah Phythian (b. 1862 in Ringley) with whom he had had a son, William (1881-84).  Sarah died in 1891 and Wright married Harriet in 1894.  Together they had at least 7 children: Thomas and William, then Wright (b. 1900), Margaret (b. 1902), Elizabeth (b. 1904), Joseph (b. 1907), and Mary (b. 1910).  The newspaper article says they had 9 children so 2 more must have been born after the 1911 Census.  In 1911, the family was living at 2 New Brick Row, Prestolee.  Thomas and William were both piecers in a cotton spinning mill, though the newspaper article clarifies that later they would both work as colliers at Outwood Colliery.

6867 PTE. T. LONGWORTH L.N.LAN.R

Tom’s service records have survived.  He enlisted at Farnworth on 15 September 1915.  He was 5’ 4” tall and had a 34” chest.  After training at Ashford, Blackpool and Oswestry he was sent to France.  He was initially posted to 1/5Bn.  He landed at Étaples on 16 July 1916 and he was transferred to 8Bn whom he joined in the field on 28 July.  He was one of some 350 men who arrived to reinforce the Battalion after it had suffered severe losses in the opening days of the Battle of the Somme.  He was in the trenches from 1-6 August, then he was in divisional reserve at Bertrancourt where training of the new drafts continued.  They returned to the trenches at Aveluy Wood on 23 August.  According to the Bn War Diary, on 24 August “at 2pm A and B Coys were sent into the Leipzig Salient to act as a support  to the Wiltshire Regt while C Coy was attached to the 3rd Worcestershire Regt .  These two Bns were to take the Hindenberg Trench at 4pm, which they successfully did.  The enemy turned on a very heavy artillery barrage and A and B Coys suffered many casualties.”  Tom was wounded by a bullet in the head and taken first to a Field Ambulance before being transferred to No 13 General Hospital at Boulogne, where he died on 8 September.  He was 21 years old.

Rank:  Private
Service No:  6867
Date of Death:  08/09/1916
Regiment/Service:  The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/5th Bn.
Grave Reference:  VIII. C. 132.
Cemetery:  BOULOGNE EASTERN CEMETERY

17838 PTE. W. LONGWORTH. L.N.LAN.R.

It’s not clear when William enlisted but it was probably in early 1915 and after training at Felixstowe, Chichester and Seaforth, he embarked for the Dardanelles, where he landed with 6Bn Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on 24 October 1915.  The Gallipoli peninsula was evacuated at the end of the year and 6Bn went first to Egypt then to Mesopotamia.  They arrived in Kuwait Bay on 27 February 1916 and slowly proceeded up the River Tigris, arriving at Sheik Saad on 11 March, where they pitched camp in the rain and then ‘Battalion training was put in hand with the special object of hardening the men for long marches’.  Their purpose was to attempt to relieve the siege of Kut-al-Amara (the relief failed and the British garrison surrendered on 28 April).  The newspaper articles say that William was wounded in Mesopotamia on 9 April 1916.

He must have recovered and was then posted to 1/4Bn whom he joined in France.  1/4Bn came under the orders of 164th Brigade in 55th (West Lancashire) Division.  It’s not clear at what point William joined the Battalion, but in 1917 the Division was engaged in various phases of the Third Battle of Ypres, specifically Pilckem Ridge (31 July – 2 August) and Menin Road Ridge (20 – 23 September).  In November, the Division was engaged in the Battle of Cambrai.  In the confusion of battle, William was first reported wounded, then missing.  His body was never found.

CWGC website for the Cambrai Memorial explains what happened during the battle:

The CAMBRAI MEMORIAL commemorates more than 7,000 servicemen of the United Kingdom and South Africa who died in the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917 and whose graves are not known.

Sir Douglas Haig described the object of the Cambrai operations as the gaining of a ‘local success by a sudden attack at a point where the enemy did not expect it’ and to some extent they succeeded. The proposed method of assault was new, with no preliminary artillery bombardment. Instead, tanks would be used to break through the German wire, with the infantry following under the cover of smoke barrages.

The attack began early in the morning of 20 November 1917 and initial advances were remarkable. However, by 22 November, a halt was called for rest and reorganisation, allowing the Germans to reinforce. From 23 to 28 November, the fighting was concentrated almost entirely around Bourlon Wood and by 29 November, it was clear that the Germans were ready for a major counter attack. During the fierce fighting of the next five days, much of the ground gained in the initial days of the attack was lost.

For the Allies, the results of the battle were ultimately disappointing but valuable lessons were learnt about new strategies and tactical approaches to fighting. The Germans had also discovered that their fixed lines of defence, no matter how well prepared, were vulnerable.

William Longworth was killed in action on 30 November 1917.  He had fought at Gallipoli, Kut-al-Amara and Cambrai.  He was still only 20 years old.

Rank:  Private
Service No:  17838
Date of Death:  30/11/1917
Age:  20
Regiment/Service:  The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.
Panel Reference:  Panel 8.
Memorial:  CAMBRAI MEMORIAL, LOUVERVAL

Harriet Longworth lost her first son on 8 September 1916.  Her husband Wright Longworth died in December that year.  Her brother William Brierley (203532 PTE. W. BRIERLEY. L.N.LAN.R.) was killed at Ypres on 6 August 1917 and her second son William was killed in November.

129 officers and men from 1/4 and 1/5 Bns were killed at Cambrai.

240271 SGT JOHN AINSCOUGH 1st/5th Bn.
37097 PTE THOMAS ALLEN 1st/5th Bn.
240015 CSM FRANK ALLSOP M.C. 1st/5th Bn.
13711 PTE GEORGE ASHCROFT M.M. 1st/5th Bn.
201744 PTE W ATHERTON 1st/4th Bn.
203031 PTE HAROLD BAILEY 1st/5th Bn.
243376 PTE ROBERT WILLIE BARLOW 1st/5th Bn.
241196 PTE FRED BARTON 1st/5th Bn.
34907 PTE C E BAXTER 1st/4th Bn.
203512 PTE JAMES BIRKETT 1st/5th Bn.
203865 PTE JOHN BLEASDALE 1st/4th Bn.
37599 PTE JOHN BOND 1st/4th Bn.
201241 PTE EDWARD BRADLEY 1st/4th Bn.
28215 PTE CHARLES WILLIAM BROOK 1st/4th Bn.
15103 LCPL RICHARD BROOME 1st/4th Bn.
240089 SGT JAMES BROWN 1st/5th Bn.
241053 PTE ALBERT BUCKLEY M.M. 1st/5th Bn.
Captain RALPH NEVILL LENDON BUCKMASTER MiD 1st/4th Bn.
241155 PTE FRANK BULLOUGH 1st/5th Bn.
243377 PTE FRED BURGESS 1st/5th Bn.
24536 PTE FREDERICK JOSEPH BUTLER 1st/4th Bn.
28246 Drummer EDWARD ROBERT JAMES CARNEY 1st/4th Bn.
9244 CPL M CATTERALL 1st/4th Bn.
2nd LT ERIC DUNSTAN CHAMBERLAIN 1st/5th Bn.
36951 PTE PERCY CHARLTON 1st/5th Bn.
241235 PTE CHARLES CLARKE 1st/5th Bn.
13935 PTE JOHN CLARKSON 1st/5th Bn.
36075 PTE FRANK THOMAS CLEGG 1st/5th Bn.
201078 CPL JOHN COLLIER 1st/4th Bn.
33263 PTE THEODORE WILLIAM CROHN 1st/5th Bn.
243119 PTE RICHARD CROOK 1st/5th Bn.
201014 PTE P CROOK 1st/4th Bn.
241600 SGT WILLIAM CUPITT M.M. 1st/5th Bn.
241781 PTE CHARLES WILLIAM DAVIES 1st/5th Bn.
260105 PTE E DAVISON 1st/5th Bn.
235009 PTE GEORGE DENCH 1st/4th Bn.
240362 LCPL ALBERT DEWHURST 1st/5th Bn.
240021 CSM JAMES EATOCK M.M. 1st/5th Bn.
200172 PTE ROBERT ARTHUR ECKTON 1st/4th Bn.
241089 PTE F EDGE 1st/5th Bn.
241726 PTE HUGH ELLIS 1st/5th Bn.
202333 PTE H B ETHERINGTON 1st/4th Bn.
13195 PTE JAMES FAZACKERLEY 1st/5th Bn.
241503 PTE HENRY FITTON 1st/5th Bn.
241193 SGT JOHN FLETCHER 1st/5th Bn.
240273 LCPL THOMAS FOSTER 1st/5th Bn.
2nd LT ALEXANDER FRASER 1st/5th Bn.
8912 PTE CHARLES JOHN GARLINGE 1st/4th Bn.
240020 PTE JOSEPH GARSIDE 1st/5th Bn.
260109 PTE JOHN EDWARD GIBBON 1st/5th Bn.
16860 PTE HERBERT GREENHALGH 1st/5th Bn.
241017 CPL W GREENWOOD 1st/5th Bn.
241129 LCPL WILLIAM GREGORY 1st/5th Bn.
241423 LCPL JOSEPH GRIERSON 1st/5th Bn.
2nd LT EDWARD LAWRENCE HALL 1st/5th Bn.
16258 PTE WALTER HARROP 1st/4th Bn.
28062 PTE JAMES FRANCIS HARTLEY 1st/4th Bn.
240307 PTE HARRY HARVEY 1st/5th Bn.
240358 PTE JAMES HEAPS 1st/5th Bn.
200567 CPL ROBERT HEAPS 1st/4th Bn.
200057 SGT J HEAPS M.M. 1st/4th Bn.
32997 PTE WALTER HENRETTY 1st/5th Bn.
243257 PTE HENRY HEYWORTH 1st/5th Bn.
241300 CPL WILLIAM HOLLAND M.M. 1st/5th Bn.
241054 PTE THOMAS HOLMES 1st/5th Bn.
240718 PTE CHARLES HORNBY 1st/5th Bn.
241008 PTE ALBERT HORROCKS 1st/5th Bn.
240308 SGT HERBERT HOUGHTON M.M. 1st/5th Bn.
240646 LCPL HERBERT HOWARTH 1st/5th Bn.
36077 PTE WILLIAM HOWARTH 1st/4th Bn.
26873 PTE EDWARD SAMPSON JARVIS 1st/5th Bn.
23253 PTE JAMES JOHNSON 1st/4th Bn.
260114 PTE JOHN JOICEY 1st/5th Bn.
29698 PTE JOHN JOSEPH KENNEDY 1st/5th Bn.
243036 PTE LEE KERFOOT 1st/5th Bn.
201213 LCPL WALTER LAWRENSON M.M. 1st/4th Bn.
27232 PTE FRANK LAWSON 1st/4th Bn.
27967 PTE HENRY JAMES LEACH 1st/4th Bn.
2nd LT WILLIAM BOOTH LEIGH 1st/5th Bn.
240945 CPL ROBERT LEVER M.M. 1st/5th Bn.
2nd LT JOSEPH HAROLD LIVESEY 1st/4th Bn.
17838 PTE WILLIAM LONGWORTH 1st/4th Bn.
25094 PTE BENJAMIN LOWE 1st/5th Bn.
260042 PTE ALBERT ERNEST LUCAS 1st/5th Bn.
4725 PTE THOMAS MONROE 1st/5th Bn.
241120 PTE JOHN HENRY MOORES 1st/5th Bn.
202790 PTE EDWARD McHALE 1st/4th Bn.
243861 PTE C McNICHOLAS 1st/5th Bn.
240478 PTE DANIEL OREARDON 1st/5th Bn.
28091 PTE JOSEPH PACEY 1st/4th Bn.
243578 PTE ALFRED PEASE 1st/5th Bn.
37016 PTE JOSEPH PENNINGTON 1st/5th Bn.
200686 PTE H POOLE 1st/4th Bn.
3032 CPL WILLIAM GEORGE PORTER M.M. 1st/5th Bn.
34790 PTE WILLIAM PRESCOTT 1st/5th Bn.
25464 LCPL WILLOUGHBY RAMELL 1st/5th Bn.
2nd LT JAMES RANKIN 1st/5th Bn.
13066 LCPL SAVEL RATCLIFFE 1st/5th Bn.
241788 PTE L RIPLEY 1st/5th Bn.
10684 PTE THOMAS VINCENT ROSS 1st/5th Bn.
240078 PTE EDWARD RYLANDS M.M. 1st/5th Bn.
2nd LT WILLIAM ROBERTSON SCROGGIE
2nd LT FRANK SHIPPOBOTTOM 1st/4th Bn.
241473 LCPL EDWARD SINGLETON 1st/5th Bn.
240030 CQMS WILLIAM SKELLERN 1st/5th Bn.
243803 PTE HENRY SMALLEY 1st/5th Bn.
240979 PTE HARRY SMITH 1st/5th Bn.
240593 PTE JAMES SMITH 1st/5th Bn.
2nd LT JAMES SALSBURY SMITH 1st/5th Bn.
36916 PTE JOHN SPEIGHT 1st/5th Bn.
25775 PTE HERBERT STAMFORD 1st/4th Bn.
244640 PTE JOSEPH SUMNER 1st/5th Bn.
36932 PTE CHARLES TEARLE 1st/5th Bn.
240768 PTE HARRY THORNTON 1st/5th Bn.
202648 PTE THOMAS TURNBULL 1st/4th Bn.
26603 PTE WILLIAM UNDERWOOD 1st/5th Bn.
240293 PTE J UNSWORTH 1st/5th Bn.
36860 PTE CHARLES VICKERS 1st/5th Bn.
203138 PTE THOMAS WALMSLEY 1st/5th Bn.
Captain ERNEST HAWKSWORTH WARD 1st/5th Bn.
203778 PTE MARTIN WARREN 1st/5th Bn.
2835 RSM ALBERT WATTS M.C., D.C.M. 1st/5th Bn.
33644 PTE PERCY WILLIAM WEST 1st/5th Bn.
36839 PTE GEORGE WHITTLE 1st/5th Bn.
36870 PTE JOSEPH WILKINSON 1st/5th Bn.
200362 PTE EDGAR WILLACY 1st/4th Bn.
240052 CPL WILLIAM WILLIAMS 1st/5th Bn.
240409 PTE JAMES WINTERBOTTOM M.M. 1st/5th Bn.
12796 PTE THOMAS WOODS 1st/5th Bn.

Bill Brierley

Bill Brierley

Before taking early retirement in 2007 and returning to his native Lancashire in 2009, Bill Brierley was head of the School of Languages and Area Studies at the University of Portsmouth.Bill has researched his own family history and has developed a further interest in World War 1 especially as it impacted on the villages of Lostock Hall and Bamber Bridge, where his family originates from.Bill has also displayed his work at Lostock Hall library and contributed to other displays at Leyland Library and South Ribble Museum.
Bill Brierley

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