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On the 4th February 1916 Fred Hutchinson 2nd Sherwood Foresters died of wounds the first loss of that year in Whaley Bridge.The town then enjoyed a period of five months with no Army Form B 104-82 being delivered. These dreaded telegrams pre printed start....

“It is my painful duty to inform you that a report has been received from the War Office notifying the death of ---“

Sadly on the 1st July 1916 this quiet period would come to an abrupt end and once again telegrams would arrive at houses in the town. The Battle of the Somme had begun on its first day alone the battle would see Captain Alfred Edward Corbett, Sydney Birks Hare, Oswald Holt and Gilbert Hattersley Crossfield fall.

Captain Corbett with the Lonsdale battalion whom out of an attacking force of 828 officers and men 516 were killed wounded or missing mainly within the first hour.

Birks Hare was also killed probably within the first hour of the battle with the 17th Manchester Pals.

Oswald Holt was reported missing months later to be confirmed as being killed on that day.

Gilbert Hattesley Crossfield fell with the 22 Manchester Pals he lived in Whaley Bridge however he is not remembered on the town war memorial.


Walter Murphy and Charles Depledge would die from their wounds a few day’s later

The battle of the Somme would go on until November many more Telegrams from the War Office would be delivered in the town.

The Battle of the Somme - Painting by J.P. Beadle.

Home Leave.

In 1916 shortly before the "Battle of The Somme" Charles Depledge came home for three days on short leave. His train arrived at Stockport in the middle of the night and he set off walking to Whaley Bridge. When he reached High Lane he heard some horses coming up behind him and he recognized the sound of their hooves. They were heading for Botany Bleach Works in Whaley Bridge so he shouted to the driver and got a welcome lift home.

Being the middle of the night and pitch black when he arrived at his home Charles went to the backyard located the clothes prop and tapped on the bedroom window. The tapping awoke the sleeping family and Dinah followed by her children went down to let Charles in.

Charles was very dirty he had no shirt on his back just some very dirty trousers. He had no socks just some dirty boot’s full of holes. He was lousy so the first thing he needed was the old tin bath before going to bed for some much needed sleep.

In the few days he was home he visited relations but too soon it was time for him to return to war. Before he went he gave each of his children a present.

Click here for Charles Depledge's page:

L/corporal 6496 Douglas Duncan Hadfield 16th Manchester Pals.
Killed in Action12 October 1916. Former manager of Furness Vale printworks.

Not on Furness Vale War Memorial.

"Sunken Lane" as is today - Re Lancashire Fusiliers waiting in the black and white image immediately above.

Delville Wood William Coverley killed in action 8th August 1916

Basil Derbyshire - Right >

Was granted a Commission in 1909 and was originally posted to ‘H’ (Whaley Bridge) Company.

He was promoted to Captain in May 1916 and was eventually to win the Military Cross (LG 3.6.19).

Easter 1916 New Mills St Georges Church service postcard.

Whaley Bridge men on war service with a background of trucks carrying raw cotton. Photographed by W.C. Wynn in 1916, it is a vivid portrayal of the fathers, husbands and sons working together for the benefit of all between 1914 and 1918.

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