Harold Goldthorpe, Private 2687, 1/7th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Died of wounds 25th August 1915 at Lemnos near Gallipoli, Turkey, aged 28
Harold Goldthorpe, also known as Harold Armstrong, was born in Macclesfield late 1886, the son of Mary Ellen Armstrong. Mary married John Goldthorpe, a silk finisher, at Christ Church, Macclesfield on 3 May 1890.
On 5th April 1891 Harry’s parents were living at 1 Court 2, Wellington Street, Macclesfield with a 10 month old baby named Harry, who died a few months later, while Harold was at 3 Chatham Street with John’s parents David and Ellen Goldthorpe on census night. Ten years later, fourteen year old Harold was living at 115 Vincent Street with his parents and younger sisters Ellen (8), Elsie (6) and Edith (2), and employed as a piecer at a silk spinning mill. In 1911, the family was at the same address and also included 9 year old Mabel; Harold was a silk stripper, and later worked as a silk finisher for Messrs. Whiston and Taylor, Langley.
In June 1915, during Macclesfield’s Barnaby holiday week, Harold married Annie Oliver at St Michael’s Church, Macclesfield, under his birth surname of Armstrong.
Harold attested at Macclesfield in November 1914, joining the 7th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment, and following a period of training in various locations in the south of England, the 7th Cheshires, as part of 159th Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division, received orders to equip for service in an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean. In July 1915 they sailed from Devonport to Alexandria in Egypt, then on to the island of Lemnos on the 4th August.
On the evening of 8th August, the Battalion arrived off the coast of Gallipoli and the following day landed at “C” Beach, Suvla Bay. Having landed, they came under shell fire at about 8.30am and so moved north along the edge of the bay; they then received orders to attack in the direction of a dip in the hills behind Anafarta Saghir.
At 8am on 10th August the Battalion was ordered to attack Hill 70. This was unsuccessful and the Battalion suffered severe losses. A second unsuccesssful attack took place at 5pm.
The following day at 2.30pm the Brigade moved north, but the 7th Cheshires and 4th Welsh Regiments on the left were under attack so had to pull back. The 7th Cheshires remained in this position in trenches for several days. Harold was shot and badly wounded on 22nd August, evacuated by Hospital Ship to Lemnos and died in hospital there on 25th August, aged 28 years.
Harold’s death was reported in the Macclesfield Courier on 6th November 1915:
PRIVATE H. GOLDTHORPE – Information has been received by Mrs. Goldthorpe, of 197, Crompton Road, that her husband, Private Harold Goldthorpe, has died of wounds received whilst in action in the Dardanelles. Private Goldthorpe was 28 years of age, and was wounded on the 22nd of August and died in hospital in the Mediterranean on the 25th. He enlisted in the 1/7th Cheshires in November, 1914 …. Prior to enlisting he worked for Messrs. Whiston and Taylor, Langley, where he was employed as a silk finisher. He was only married at Barnaby this year.
Captain G. N. Heath, writing to Mrs Goldthorpe on October 19th, says: Dear Mrs Goldthorpe, I was very sorry to see from the returns just to hand that your husband had died of his wounds, and I sympathise with you in your great bereavement. I was with your husband trying to spot a Turkish sniper when he was hit. I rendered first aid to him until the medical officer arrived. He was most brave, and it will be gratifying to you to know that he was a splendid soldier and very highly thought of by officers and men.
Private Harold Goldthorpe is buried in grave Ref. II. H. 134 in East Mudros Military Cemetery, Lemnos, Greece. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Harold Goldthorpe, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
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 Harold Goldthorpe, from Mrs. E. Oliver.”