Lionel Pickford, Private 7607, A Coy 2nd Battalion Manchester Regiment
Killed in action 7th March 1915 near Wulverghem, Belgium, aged 33
Lionel Pickford was born in late 1881 at Leek, Staffordshire, the son of Pamela and James Pickford, a carter. In 1891 Lionel is shown in the census returns as an Inmate at the Industrial School in Brook Street, Macclesfield. In 1901, at the age of 19, Lionel was working as a machine minder and living at Bankside, High Street, New Mills, Derbyshire with his widowed mother and siblings William, May, John and Mary.
Lionel joined the 5th Manchester Regiment (Militia) at Piccadilly, Manchester, on 18th February 1902, stating that he was 17 years 4 months old (in fact he was probably aged 20 years 4 months) and employed as a Dyer, working for Mr Bancroft at Birch Vale Dye Works.
Just two months later, on 2nd April 1902, Lionel joined the regular army in Ashton under Lyne, now claiming to be eighteen years of age (when he was actually 20) and registering for 3 years service followed by 9 years in the army reserve. His service records state that he was a small man, just 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighing 113lb, with a 32 inch chest, fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair, with a scar on his right shoulder blade. The following year on 7th February 1903 he was posted to South Africa; two months later on 8th April he was sent to St Helena, returning to South Africa on 6th January 1904. He finally returned to England on 11th February 1905, and was transferred to the army reserve on 1st April of that year, having completed his 3 years service.
On 30th April 1906 Lionel married Emily Maud Yeoman at St George’s Church, New Mills. By 1911 they were living at No. 5 Court at 6, Waterside, Macclesfield with their four year old son, William; Lionel was employed as a paper stainer at a paper mill. A daughter, Pamela, was born in early 1914.
Lionel was recalled to the army and posted to the Second Ypres offensive on 27th October 1914, where he was killed in action the following year on 7th March 1915 near Wulverghem, Belgium. The age at death given in official records is incorrect due to under-stating his age by two years on enlistment.
Private Lionel Pickford is buried in grave ref. I. B. 2. in Ration Farm (La Plus Douve) Annex in Belgium. His wife requested that the following inscription should be added to his headstone:
“GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN, WIFE AND CHILDREN”
In Macclesfield, Lionel Pickford is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall and St Michael’s Church war memorials.
The floral tributes laid when the Macclesfield Park Green War Memorial was unveiled on 21st September 1921 included one with the words “In loving memory of Private Lionel Pickford.”