Bygone news: 25 May 1917 – The Macclesfield Times

Roll of Honour; News from the Front; Local News; Announcements




Mrs Brown, Ryles Park, has been informed that her husband, Corporal Harold Brown, Royal Garrison Artillery, was killed in action in France on April 23rd… The Corporal was 25 years of age and the son of Mrs Frederick Brown, 23 Boden St. Born in Macclesfield, he received his education at the Mill Street Wesleyan Day School… and was connected with the Large Sunday School, Roe St. Corporal Brown served his apprenticeship as a tackler and was formerly employed at Messrs Josiah Smale and Sons, Bollin Mills. Joining the Army seventeen months ago, he was stationed for a short time in Suffolk, and after passing the examination for signalling, was promoted to the rank of Corporal. He remained in England for some time instructing recruits in signalling. On being drafted out to France he was posted to a school at the base, where he gained an instructor’s certificate in signalling. He then joined his battalion as a signaller. The deceased soldier was married twelve months ago, and his widow is the daughter of Mr T Arrowsmith, Ryles Park. A brother, Private Leonard Brown, who was formerly employed by Mr H E Smale, solicitor, is serving with the Army Service Corps as a clerk at Bedford.



Corporal Fred Hampson, Royal Engineers, son of Mr W J Hampson, Edgeley, Stockport, the grandson of the late Mr J Hampson, plumber, Macclesfield, has been killed in action. He was 28 years of age. Corporal Hampson, who was previously wounded at Loos, had been in the Army eight years and was a well-known athlete and cross-country runner. His brother, Sergt F G Hampson, died at Malta shortly after the war broke out, and there are four other sons serving.



Corporal Price Barber

Corporal Price Barber

Mr and Mrs Barber, Yew Tree Cottage, Henbury, have been officially notified that their son, Corporal Price Barber, Cheshire Regt, died in hospital at Port Said on May 4th from wounds in the neck and face sustained in the Gaza fighting… Rev Hedley W M Handford, chaplain to the forces, states: It is with the deepest sympathy that I write to tell you of the death of your son, Price Barber, of the Cheshires. I saw him frequently during the short time he was here. He was unable to talk, but always had a bright smile, and was wonderfully brave and patient. Though everything possible was done for him his wound was too serious… and he passed away peacefully about 12.45pm on 4th May. I buried him yesterday in Port Said Cemetery with military honours. He lies in consecrated ground set aside for all our brave boys who have given their lives… One of his officers, Lieut White of Macclesfield, is in the hospital having been wounded, and he came to the funeral. Sergt Tatton wrote to Mr and Mrs Barber: Your son was my pal, and we… were really like brothers. We were both in the same platoon… You can imagine how I felt when he got hit… the bullet lodged just below the eye… it had not affected the eye at all. It occurred in an attack. I have got his cards and photos, which I shall return to you, as I live in Macclesfield. I picked up with Price when we first went to Suvla Bay, and we have been together ever since. Corporal Barber was 22 years of age, single, and received his education at Henbury day School, being also connected with the Church. Prior to the war he had been employed for five years as a farm labourer by Mr Slater, Marle Heath Farm. The corporal enlisted in the local Territorials on the outbreak of war, and after training at Northampton, Aberystwyth and other places, was drafted out to Suvla Bay. He came through the Dardanelles safely, and was afterwards promoted to the rank of lance-corporal and later to full corporal. Subsequently Corporal Barber was transferred to Egypt. His brother, Private George Barber, is at present int England…


Private Charles Edward Astle

Private Charles Astle


Private Charles Edward Astle, Royal Welsh Fusiliers… was killed on April 19th while serving in the Sinai Peninsula. He was the only son of Mrs S S Astle, 20 Langley, and 37 years of age. The deceased, who was a carpenter by trade, joined the Army on March 24th 1916, and was drafted out to Egypt the following July. Prior to enlistment he was in France for three months erecting aeroplane sheds and he had also been engaged on hut building for the troops at Knowsley Park.




Lance-Corporal John Steel, Manchester Regt, has been wounded in the thigh while fighting in France, and is now a patient in the 22nd General Hospital. He is the son of Mr and Mrs Thomas Steele, 11 Higginbotham St, who have received a card from the sister of the ward where their son is now lying, together with the following letter from the Lance-Corporal: I am lying in hospital with a shrapnel wound in my thigh. I got it on the 13th inst, just as we were being relieved after making an attack on the famous Hindenberg line. There is still a shell splinter in my leg, and I am expecting to undergo an operation for it any day now. There is just a chance of my getting to Blighty – I hope so, anyway. It will be a few weeks before I am right again, as I think the bone is slightly affected. But in any case you have no need to worry… A native of Macclesfield, the Lance-Corporal is 21 years of age, and before joining the Army was employed at Mrs Leech’s dyeworks, Pearl St, Macclesfield. He received his education at St John’s and Christ Church schools and attended the Newtown Primitive Methodist Chapel and Sunday School. Enlisting in January, 1915, he trained… with the 2/7th Cheshires, and was drafted to France last August when he was transferred to the Manchesters… Formerly he was a member of the dyeworks football team. His half-brother, Private Frederick Perry, fought through the Dardanelles campaign with the local Territorials, whom he accompanied to Suvla Bay… Three cousins of Lance-Corporal Steele are also with the Cheshires in Egypt…



Mr Walter Hackney, caretaker of the Large Sunday School, Roe St, received a communication from his only son, Private J W Hackney, Cheshire Regt, on Saturday, stating that he had received a bang over my left eye and was in hospital. Since then he has been removed to England and is now lying in the Norfolk War Hospital at Thorpe, Norwich, having… suffered the loss of an eye. Private Hackney, who is 22 years of age, was educated at St George’s day School and attended the Church and Sunday School. He was formerly connected with the Church Lads’ Brigade in which he held the rank of sergeant, and in civil life was employed as a carpenter with Messrs Arighi Bianchi & Co, where he received his apprenticeship. Shortly after the war broke out he joined the second line of the 7th Cheshire Regt and went out with a draft to France about nine months ago, being subsequently transferred to another battalion of the County regiment. His father, Mr Walter Hackney, served nearly thirty years in the local Volunteers and Territorials, along with three of his brothers, and the quartette were well-known shots. For 27 years Mr Walter Hackney held NCO rank, going out to Suvla Bay in July 1915 as acting regimental Sergt-Major. He had previously been appointed Company Sergt-Major as soon as that rank was instituted… Left behind at the base with reinforcements, he unfortunately fell ill, and after being in hospital at Alexandria for some time, was invalided home… transferred to hospital in England and then became time-expired. For many years the brothers Hackney and the brother Jones had the distinction of being the best shots in the battalion. His prowess with the rifle won for ex-CSM Walter Hackney many prizes; he gained several county badges at Altcar and figured prominently in competitions at Bisley. His brother, ex-Sergt Ernest Hackney, now the keeper of the Macclesfield Town Hall, took part int he campaign in Gallipoli, being attached to the 1st sanitary Section, 53rd Welch Division, RAMC, and another brother, Colour-Sergt J T Hackney, is now a sergeant in the Macclesfield detachment of the Cheshire Volunteer Regt. All the brothers possess the Volunteer long service medal, and an uncle of theirs, the late Mr James Dale, fought in the Crimea…



Mr and Mrs Pickering, 8 Smyth St, Hurdsfield… had a postcard from their son, Private George William Pickering, Cheshire Regt, stating that he was a prisoner of war in Jerusalem. He had previously been officially reported wounded and missing after the Gaza battle on March 26th… On the card, which was dated April 2nd and arrived in Macclesfield on May 18th, Private Pickering says he is in hospital at Jerusalem, where he is being well-cared for. He has been wounded in both legs and is making favourable progress… a younger brother, Private Anson Pickering, is now training at Kimnel Park.



Private David Hall, Cheshire Regt, son of Mr. Joseph Hall, has written to his sister, Mrs Hewitt, 122 Mill St, Macclesfield, stating that he has been recommended for the Military Medal for bravery in the field at Mesopotamia. Private Hall is 37 years of age and married. He was educated at the London Road (Branch) Day School and was connected with St George’s Church. Prior to enlisting on the outbreak of war he was employed as a carter by Messrs Ashton and Holmes, and was drafted out to Gallipoli about two years ago. After being in the trenches he went into hospital with dysentery, and upon recovery was transferred to Mesopotamia… Private Hall has two brothers serving in the Army. Sergt-Major R Hall has been a prisoner of war in Germany since October, 1914, being captured at La Bassee. He is an old soldier who went through the South Africa War. Private Joseph Hall is serving in France with the Royal Engineers. Mrs Hewitt’s husband, Private Frank Hewitt, Yorks Regt, is training in England. He formerly carried on a fruiterer’s business at 112 Mill Street, and joined up last September.



Corporal F W Ashton, Cheshire Regt, elder son of Mr and Mrs F H Ashton, Waters Green and Hobson St, Macclesfield, has been gazetted Second Lieutenant and posted to the Northamptonshire Regt. Second-Lieut Ashton is 27 years of age and received his education at Mill Street Day School and the Modern School. He joined up in February 1916 as a private, being promoted to the rank of Corporal a few months after enlistment. He was then stationed at Oswestry and afterwards entered an officers cadet battalion at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He will join his regiment tomorrow at Chatham. He is connected with the Park Green United Methodist Church and Sunday School, being a member of the Chapel Choir. His brother, Sergt Reg Ashton is serving with the Yeomanry in Egypt.

Mr Walter Bernard Smith, only son of Mr and Mrs Walter Smith, of Park Lane, Macclesfield, has been gazetted to a commission in the 7th Manchester Regt. Educated at the Manchester Grammar School and in Switzerland, Second-Lieut Smith joined the Artists’ Rifles Officers Training Corps when he became of military age. For immediate duty he has been attached to the 5th Manchesters.



Private William Wright, of the Warwickshire Regt, whose home is in Hurdsfield Road, returned to the trenches on Tuesday after enjoying a ten days’ furlough – the first granted to him during seventeen months of active service. He is a native of Macclesfield, and before the war had served several years in the local Territorials. At the outbreak of hostilities he was employed as a ticket collector at the Manchester Exchange Station, and, joining up, was posted to the Lancashire Fusiliers. Subsequently he was transferred to the Warwickshires… He was slightly wounded and has also been in hospital at Boulogne through illness. Private Wright, whose mother lives at Alderley with his sister, has two brothers in the Army. One is in France, and the other, who has been wounded and gassed, is now guarding German prisoners of war at Liverpool. It is interesting to mention that Private Wright figured in the official film of the Somme, which was exhibited to crowded audiences at the Macclesfield Cinema, being with a party of the Warwickshires who were photographed while resting on the way to the trenches…



Gunner Fred Sutton, Machine Gun Corps, of 3 Cotton St, Macclesfield, who was wounded at Gaza on March 27th, has written an interesting letter to his parents describing the fighting in the Holy Land. A march of 200 miles was undertaken, before Gaza, where 20,000 Turks were waiting for them in a capital position. Gunner Sutton adds, On Friday, March 24th we received orders to move early next morning. After sleeping on the open ground we were roused at 4.30, and marched all day Saturday through the most beautiful countryside… Eventually we reached —- where we put up for the night under the sheltering trees of an orchard… preventing the Taube from observing our troops. On Sunday March 25th we marched to a small farm building not far from Gaza… From the Waddi Gazze we were ordered to the firing line: all the men and horses were wet through with the mist that had fallen during the night. We got our guns in action and very soon let the Turks know we had not chased him 200 miles for nothing. During the day most of our men had emptied their water bottles… many got killed trying to procure a drink. Towards night time our division charged the enemy, who retired back to his second line of trenches. After marching two hours, we got to a place where all the troops had concentrated… We had not been there very long when I stopped one with my nose. I ran to the dressing station, blood flowing from my nose like a tap. I was removed down the line to a casualty clearing station, where I slept three nights without a blanket. Later I was transferred to another hospital, then in a hospital train to Cairo, which was a great change after travelling 100 miles in a horse wagon. I have now left Cairo.



Mrs Stringer, 25 Lord St, Bollington, has received a letter from the sister of a French hospital stating that her son, Private Alan Stringer, Royal Army Medical Corps, who was wounded in the leg and right shoulder three weeks ago, has had his left leg amputated. He is 25 years of age and single, and was educated at Bollington Church Schools. He was an attendant at the Parish Church and a member of the Young Men’s Bible Class. He enlisted on the outbreak of war, being at that time employed as a doubler at the Clarence Mills, and after passing his examinations was drafted out to France two years ago. Private Stringer was chiefly engaged at a dressing station before he was wounded. He has three brothers serving, namely: Private Fred Stringer, Royal Welsh Fusiliers (in Ireland); Private Harry Stringer (in Egypt with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers); and Private Wright Stringer, RAMC (stationed at a hospital in Dover).



An interesting letter has been received from Private Percy Lomas, a Gawsworth soldier now a prisoner of war in Germany: We are having bad weather, snow and rain every day… I am receiving bread now, but cannot tell whether we ought to have three loaves a week or three a fortnight. It is excellent bread and we get it from the baker in six days and it is quite fresh… 

Private A H Proctor, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, who has been serving in Egypt for over eight months, has written: We have not much to grumble at… we have to content ourselves with washing in a cup, with the aid of a shaving brush… Did you receive the photographs I sent, especially the one showing Lieut. Seel and myself on the back of a camel?




At the Chester Consistory Court on Saturday the Rev C Vere Barley (Vicar) and the wardens of Christ Church, Macclesfield, were granted permission to erect a marble tablet in the church as a memorial of Second-Lieut Geo Barber, who was killed at Guedecourt on 3rd October, 1916. The cost will be defrayed by his widow.



While finding no ground for intervention in the case the other day of a farmer fined for shooting a pheasant eating his peas, a representative of the Board of Agriculture announced in parliament on Monday that an order entitling tenants to shoot pheasants on their land will be revived.



Alderman C A Bradley, J.P., presided over a meeting of the Health Committee on Thursday week… The Borough Surveyor reported that the Corporation horses were to be paraded for inspection by the local representative of the Government Remount Department, and stated… that if any further horses were taken by the Government it would be impossible to provide horses for the Health Committee’s work. It was resolved that a letter signed by the Chairman and the Medical Officer be sent to the local representative pointing out that it was imperative int he interest of public health that the refuse should not be allowed to accumulate at the rear of dwellings, as is the case at present, and so become a nuisance which might be the cause of a serious epidemic throughout the town. The Medical Officer reported the following notifications of infectious disease: two cases of scarlet fever, one of diphtheria, one of ophthalmia neonatorum, five of pulmonary tuberculosis, 87 of measles, and 16 of German measles. There were eleven cases in the Isolation Hospital. The Town Clerk reported the receipt of a loaf of bread as supplied to the inhabitants at Keighley and various recipes for baking war bread… he had handed the same to the local Food Economy Committee. He was instructed to obtain a sack of the war flour used at Keighley, and if successful to ask the local committee to arrange for the baking of the flour into loaves.




ARMITAGE – Killed in action on May 17th, Captain J B Armitage, aged 41, Cheshire Regiment, husband of Kathleen Armitage and eldest son of W Armitage.


BROWN – Killed in action: Corporal Harold Brown, of the RGA, in France, April 23rd, 1917, the eldest son of Mrs Brown, 23 Boden Street, Macclesfield, aged 25.


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