Bygone news: 15 Sep 1916 – The Macclesfield Times

News from the Macclesfield Times and East Cheshire Observer of Friday 15th September 1916.

Mr J C Close-Brooks; Roll of Honour; Other News



Yesterday, we deeply regret to state, Mrs Close-Brooks, West Bank, Macclesfield, received information from a reliable source that her husband, Lieut John Charles Close-Brooks, of the 1st Life Guards, was blown up by a shell in the battle of Zandvorde on October 30th, 1914, and killed instantaneously…

Lieutenant Close-Brooks was the eldest son of the late Mr John Brooks Close-Brooks, J.P., of Birtles Hall, Chelford. Born in 1876, he was educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge. In January 1900 he enlisted in the 22nd (Cheshire) Company Imperial Yeomanry for service in the South African War, and in 1901 he received a commission in the 5th Dragoon Guards, and served with this regiment until August, 1904. On his return from South Africa he was the recipient of an address of welcome and congratulation from the people of Birtles. At the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914 Mr Close-Brooks volunteered for active service immediately and was given a commission in the 1st Life Guards. He was keenly interested in politics, and was Chairman of the Conservative Party in Macclesfield from January, 1910; he was also a County Councillor for Cheshire and a Justice of the Peace. He married in 1904 Marie, the daughter of Major-General Beresford-Lovett, C.B. C.S.J., and leaves a widow, two sons and a daughter.



The casualties reported this week include the names of two Macclesfield men who have been killed – Gunner C H Barratt, RFA, son of Mr D W Barratt, a master at the Byron Street Council School, and Private A Tatton, who formerly lived in Chester Rd. Gunner Barratt was previously a clerk in the Master’s Office at the Macclesfield Workhouse, and a pathetic coincidence is that his successor in the office, Lance-Corporal J F Pickford, of Kerridge, lost his life a year ago while fighting in the Dardanelles.


Mr D W Barratt, 37 Beech Lane, Macclesfield, second master at the Byron Street Council School, received official news on Saturday that his youngest son, Gunner Cyril Harold Barratt, Royal Field Artillery, died on the 4th inst from wounds sustained in France. He had previously been reported wounded on August 21st, but a letter received from him some days later stated that the injuries were only slight and did not necessitate him going into hospital… it is presumed that he succumbed to a second wound.

Gunner Barratt was 22 years of age and came to Macclesfield from Staffordshire 13 years ago, when his father was appointed on the staff of the Lord Street School. Mr Barratt was transferred to Byron Street when that school was opened. The deceased received his education at Lord Street School, and on leaving became clerk to the Master of the Macclesfield Workhouse. Four years ago he secured a similar appointment at the Withington Workhouse, Didsbury, and held the position of first clerk at the time of enlistment… Deceased was a scholar at the Beech Lane Sunday School and was formerly connected with the Boy Scouts. He was a member of the Parish Church Men’s Bible Class…



Official notification of the death in action of Sergeant Henry Whitney, Australian Expeditionary Force, was received on Sunday morning by his wife, who resides at 1 Brunswick Square… Sergeant Whitney was killed through the bursting of a large shell in the trench… Sergeant Whitney had two brothers serving… Sergeant-Major James Whitney, who is now stationed at Shrewsbury, has seen 19 years’ service with the colours. He joined the band of the 4th Cheshire Militia as a boy of 14, and subsequently transferred to the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, with whom he served in the Boer War, receiving two medals and six clasps… Mr Arthur Whitney, the other brother, came home from Egypt last March as a time-expired man, and is now employed in the goods department of the London and North-Western Railway at Manchester. He resides at 22 George St West, Macclesfield. Mr Whitney took part in the landing at Suvla Bay with the 1/7th Cheshires, and was wounded about  month later, being shot int he left hand by a sniper… He had been in the Volunteers and Territorials for 14 years and has the medal for twelve years’ service. Prior to the war he was employed as a weaver at the Lower Heyes Mill. A brother-in-law of the late Sergeant, Mr T Joliffe, served in Gallipoli with the 1/7th Cheshires, as also did his cousin, Corporal J F Moseley, who acted as a stretcher bearer. He was personally complimented for gallantry by the late Colonel Backhouse, and recommended for an award, being also promoted on the field to the rank of Corporal. Before the war he was a cornet player in the band and had been connected with the Territorials for twelve years. Mr Joliffe is now employed at the Macclesfield Co-operative Society and Mr Moseley is in the railway service.


Mrs Tatton, 46 Chester Rd, Macclesfield, has been officially informed that her son, Private Albert Tatton, South Lancashire Regt, died in hospital in France on September 7th from wounds received in action… The deceased was 34 years of age and was educated at the Newtown and Lord Street Day-schools. He was a tailor by trade and carried on business at his home. Private Tatton was called up in March under Lord Derby’s scheme, and after spending a brief furlough at Barnaby, was drafted out to France. The deceased was formerly secretary of the I.L.P. Club, Bridge Street.


Mrs Smith, 64 Elizabeth St, Macclesfield, whose son, Private Alfred Smith, Cheshire Regt, was killed in action in France on July 30th, has this week received a letter from a comrade, Private H C Pemberton. Private Smith had only been in France a few weeks when he met his death. Private Pemberton writes: “[your son] came to me early in the evening and passed the remark, ‘Pemberton, I don’t think I shall come back.’ Of course, I said, ‘Don’t be silly.’ Next morning I heard that your son and some of his comrades had been killed…”


…Miss Goodwin, 14 Dicken St, Macclesfield, [has heard] that her fiance, Private Harold Connolly, of the Cheshire Regiment, has been wounded, having been shot in the face, and is now in the hospital at Rouen. Private Connolly went out in the early days of the war and was with his regiment at Mons, Arras, and other places. He has spent two birthdays in the trenches and was ‘gassed’ previous to the engagement on the Somme. He is 20 years of age and resides with his parents in Knight St. He spent a week at home last January.



…Mrs Thompson, Moss Brow, Bollington Cross, has been officially informed that her son, Driver Percy Thompson, Army Service Corps, died in hospital in Bombay on September 2nd from enteric fever. The late Driver Thompson was 28 years of age and received his education at the Bollington Cross Day School, under the late Mr Sutton. He was connected with St Oswald’s Church… he had held office as a sidesman ever since the Church was erected. The deceased soldier was also a Sunday School teacher and a communicant. Driver Thompson enlisted last October and shortly afterwards was drafted out to Mesopotamia. Prior to enlistment he was employed as a motor-driver in Manchester by Mr Hughes, who was in partnership with Mr Audley, of Pott Hall, Bollington. On receipt of the sad news… the flags at St Oswald’s Church and the Parish Church were flown half-mast. Deceased was a well-known cricketer and had been a playing member of the Prestbury Club. His father, the late Wm Thompson… died three years ago… In his last letter home, dated August 25th, Driver Thompson… stated that he was recovering nicely… he added that he did not want to come back to England this winter to be frozen to death after almost being burned to death…



Mrs S E Dixon, Chester Rd, Macclesfield, has received letters from the 1/7th Cheshires acknowledging with thanks the receipt of parcels of comforts sent out to them. It appears that the battalion has now been transferred to another station, and one of the soldiers states that it is the hottest place he has ever been in.

Private A Lea writes: “I have the honour of being the first private of the 1/7th Battalion to have a Macclesfield Times of August 4th. [The issue contained a special illustrated notice of the first anniversary of the Battalion’s landing at Suvla Bay.] I received it on August 16th. It was… in great demand… and the last I saw of it was the photograph of the officers and the picture of Lala Baba posted up on the company notice board. We are in one of the nicest parts of Egypt, although one of the hottest. From nine am to five pm we can do nothing but lie down in the shade of our tent or mess hut… it is too hot to sleep or write… All our fellows are talking about the Paterson people and think it very good of them to remember us…”

“It is just over twelve months” writes Private George Kennedy, “since the 1/7th landed at Suvla, and there are a lot of old faces missing. We have now gone to a camp not far from the banks of [censored]…”

Private J Royston writes that it cheers the soldiers up wonderfully to know that someone at home is thinking about them.

Corporal A Capper, in a letter from Malta, states that he is now convalescent. He is the N.C.O. in charge of the Post Office, and describes this as a far pleasanter occupation than bomb throwing.

Sergeant A E Moseley, son of Mr Moseley, 61 Derby St, who was wounded in the big advance and is now in a convalescent camp near London, sends a description of how the troops in the trenches are relieved…



Dear Sir, In a recent number of your paper you kindly refer to the work undertaken by the YMCA on behalf of the relatives of wounded soldiers at Le Treport. In your report you state that the country house… had been handed over to our association… even to the French cook…

I am afraid that some of your readers may get the impression that we pay nothing at all for the house and cook… please allow me to say that the rental of the place is 6,000 frs (about £220) a year, and we pay our cook a good wage too. This branch of our work is very costly and… I thought it proper to make this correction.

Within four months we have looked after nearly 300 relatives who have come to visit the hospitals to see their wounded friends…

Yours, etc, W H Tame


On Wednesday afternoon the rooms at Somerford Park, the Auxiliary Military Hospital of the St John Ambulance Brigade, were thrown open for the inspection of the public. Colonel Sir Walter Shakerley is the Commandant of the hospital and Lady Shakerley the Quartermaster, and the institution contains 60 beds for wounded soldiers.



The Wesleyan Chapel, which has been closed for some time for repairs, was re-opened on Sunday week. It is juts a century since the Prestbury Chapel was erected during the Superintendency of the Rev Jonathan Barker. The building has recently been renovated and re-decorated throughout, the old roof being taken off and a new one put on…



Mr John Morelli, who some months ago joined the 137th Canadians, is now spending a short leave with his relatives, who reside at High Lane, Gawsworth. Mr Morelli is a native of Gawsworth, and was educated under Mr F W Proctor. Twelve years ago he emigrated to Canada, where he has met with varied experiences and no small amount of success. He formerly lived at Calgary, Alberta.

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