Thursday, February 22, 2024

Soldiers who died 80 years ago during World War Two

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Date published: 03 December 2023


Volunteers at Littleborough History Centre have been researching the service personnel from the Pennine districts of Rochdale (Littleborough, Milnrow, Newhey, Smallbridge and Wardle) who died during World War Two.

This list is of men whose 80 years’ anniversary occurs in November and December 2023.


For the past five years Bernard Pratt from Littleborough History and Archaeological Society has been sending Rochdale Online articles about soldiers and servicemen from the Pennine districts who died during World War Two.

Each month Bernard sent us a list of those who had died in the war, details of where they lived, family members, work, hobbies and in some cases a photo of the serviceman.

This is the final group of service personnel who fell during World War Two, in total, details of 222 men and one woman, have been published. This follows on from the details previously published of some 400 men from Littleborough who died during World War One.

If you want to view the details of all previously published lists of service personnel who died during World War Two, there is a full archive here: www.rochdaleonline.co.uk/news-features/news-archives

The archive of the Littleborough personnel who died during World War One is here: www.rochdaleonline.co.uk/news-features/news-archives

Our thanks to Bernard and the volunteers at Littleborough History Centre for sharing their research with us at Rochdale Online.


The final eight casualties of the 222 men and women who fell during WW2 and were residents of the Pennine Townships.

  • Littlebrough, Wardle & Smallbridge

Private Daniel Burns (Moran)

Daniel was born on 18th December 1914, the son of Elizabeth Burns and lived at 2 Cloughfield Cottages. 28-year-old Private Burns (Moran) 3861976, 13th Bn, The Kings Regiment (Liverpool), a Chindit, died in Rangoon Jail on 4 November 1943 having been captured on 5 April 1943. Daniel is buried In Rangoon War Cemetery, Myanmar, Sp. Mem. Joint grave 9 A 4 and is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph.

Officer Cadet Edward Nash Reynolds

Edward Nash was born early in 1924, the son of Edward and Mary Reynolds. He was captain of Bury Grammar School between 1940-42 and an exhibitioner of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. In 1939, his parents lived at 2 Higher Chelburn with his younger sister Joan. His father was a civil servant with the Ministry of Labour. Five other residents were recorded in the property. Prior to enlisting he was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Summit detachment of the Home Guard and a members of the choir of St James Church in Calderbrook.

19-year-old Officer Cadet Reynolds 14303024, Royal Armoured Corps was fatally injured in a road accident on 17 November 1943. He is buried in Cheadle Cemetery, Staffordshire, Grave A M 2 and is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph and Clegg’s Mills War Memorial in Shore.

Flight Sergeant George William Jubb

George William was born in Tadcaster on 6th July 1921, the son of Ernest and Madge Jubb, of Whitehead Road, Primrose Hill, Huddersfield. George married Irene Wakefield of 1 Spring Mill Walk, Smallbridge at Littleborough on 11th August 1943. Unfortunately, 22-year-old Flight Sergeant Jubb 1040913, 297 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve died on 21 December 1943 in a Parachute Training Accident. At the time of his death Irene was a member of the WAAF and her home was 1 Spring Mill Walk, Smallbridge. George is buried in Huddersfield (Almondbury) Cemetery, Sec. L. Grave 206 but is not remembered on any known local war memorial. Irene remarried in 1951 to Gerald Parker and was living on Holt Street

Frank Kershaw

Frank was born in Dearnley in late spring 1910, son of George Albert and Rachel Kershaw who lived at 4 Hursted Green in 1911, 19 Cote Lane in 1939 and at 2a Wagg Fold during September 1943. Frank married Florence Petterson in St Barnabas Church in Shore late in 1935 and they had two children, Rachel born in 1936 and Kathleen born in 1937. In 1939 Florence was living at 285 Halifax Road.

Prior to enlisting just after the war commenced he was employed by the LMS Railway Co but was soon to be declared as unfit for war service. He then worked as a vanman for Messrs Clifton Bakery for two years but his health failed and was obliged to give up work. He died on 12th March 1943. The Rochdale Observer of 20th March 1943 carried thanks from his widow, Florence and his parents to all friends and neighbours for their kind expressions of sympathy and floral tributes sent to them in their bereavement. Also the doctors and nurses at Birch Hill for their kind attention. Frank was buried in St Barnabas burial ground, in Littleborough. Frank is not recorded on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission register but is remembered on Littleborough Cenotaph.

This list completes the fallen 130 men and woman from Littleborough who died during WWII.

Cook John Brogden Proctor

John was born in Great Harwood on 29th August 1913, the son of William and Alice Proctor. He married 27-year-old Mary Gladys Thornton in Darwen Register Office in 1939. When the register was produced later that year, the couple lived at 31 James Street, Whitehaven where John worked as a confectioner – cake maker. 30-year-old rating, Cook Proctor D/MX 106400, HM LST 13, Royal Navy, died in the Southern General hospital in Glasgow on 11th November 1943 from injuries sustained in a street accident (fractured pelvis, hyperstatic pneumonia and heart failure). John is buried in Great Harwood Cemetery, Section H, Grave No 2005 and is remembered on St Annes War Memorial

Staff Sergeant William Jackson

William was born in Rochdale on 20th April 1912, the son of Arthur and Elizabeth Ann Jackson and in 1939 they were living at 42 Bingley Road, Rochdale. William was a brewery clerk. Also present was his younger sister, Barbara, a hard waste weaver. Prior to enlisting in October 1939, William was employed at the Rochdale and Manor brewery on Molesworth Street, Rochdale and attended St Peters Church in Newbold. He later married Olga Dawson in the same church on 4th November 1939.

He was captured during the fall of Singapore and his wife had last heard of him in June 1944 albeit the two postcards were some 8 months old. 31-year-old Staff Sergeant Jackson 7611320, Royal Army Ordnance Corps, died on 14th November 1943 from malnutrition whilst a POW and is buried in Chungkai War Cemetery, Thailand, Grave No 6 E 4 and is remembered on St Annes War Memorial. His poor wife only heard of his death in summer 1945 as reported in the Rochdale Observer of 28th July 1945.

Pilot Officer Navigator Edward Thompson Hargreaves

Edward was born in Rochdale on 26th April 1916, the son of Leonard and Hilda Hargreaves of 26 Park Road Poulton-le-Fylde. Prior to joining the RAF in June 1941 he was employed as a clerk by Mr Haugh, estate agent in Manchester and lived with his aunt Mrs Whitehead at 194 Huddersfield Road Newhey. He was a member of Newhey Methodist Church and Sunday School, and was Church Treasury and society steward, a member of the church choir and also Sunday School Organist. He was a member of the tennis section of the Milnrow Cricket Club, a member of Newhey Liberal Club and secretary of the Newhey Liberal Association.

27-year-old Pilot Officer Navigator Hargreaves 155583, 619 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, was killed in action on 3rd December 1943 when his Lancaster III EE 170 PG-N was hit by flak north of Magdaberg and exploded whilst heading to attack Leipzig. Edward is buried in Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Grave No 9 L 22 and is remembered on St James War Memorial. Although he was posted as missing in 1943 it wasn’t until a year later that his parents and fiancée (Miss G Coleman of 77 Shaw Road were advised of his death as reported in the Rochdale Observer 25th November 1944.

Sergeant Roy Commer Rigg

Roy was born in Rochdale on 19th December 1920, the son of Gordon and Emily Rigg. The 1939 Register shows the family living at 9 Turf Hill Road, Rochdale with Roy being a motor driver (heavy work) as was his father. Prior to joining the RAF in September 1941 he was a signalman-lampman at Royton Junction station. As a boy he had attended Lower Place Council School and played in the Sunday School Football League. His brother Geoffrey was in the Merchant Navy and his sister Veronica was in the Women’s Land Army.

Sergeant Rigg was engaged to a young lady from Aberdare serving with WAAF and they were due to be married in December. Unfortunately 22 year old Sergeant Rigg 1148459, 115 Sqdn Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve was killed in action on 4th December 1943 when his Lancaster II D9765 KO was shot down during operation Leipzig. Sergeant Rigg is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 163 and on St Annes War Memorial.

This list completes the fallen 92 men from Milnrow & Newhey who died during WWII.

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