William Edward Kinder Chesworth, Private 29486, 6th South Wales Borderers
Died of wounds 5th July 1917 in Belgium, aged 19
William Chesworth was born on 25 April and baptised on 19 June 1898 at St Andrew’s Church, Oldham, the son of Jane Elizabeth and William Chesworth, a tailor, of 50 Hartley St, Oldham. In 1901, two-year-old William was living at 15 Pitt St, Stockport with his parents and siblings Frances Elizabeth Chesworth (12) and Robert Kinder Chesworth (6).
By 1911, the family had moved to 37 West Bond St, Macclesfield; but at the time the census was taken on 2nd April, William was a patient in the Macclesfield Fever and Isolation Hospital in Moss Lane; the census does not record the nature of his illness.
William was educated at Christ Church School and attended Christ Church. An enthusiastic Scout, he was a patrol leader in the Christ Church troop, and for two years in succession won the Boy Scout challenge cup for swimming. He was a keen sportsman and was also a bell-ringer at Christ Church. After leaving school, William followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming an apprentice tailor for Mr J B Walker of Mill Street.
William enlisted in January 1917 and was drafted out to France three months later. It is not known where and when William was wounded but on 4th July 1917 he was admitted to a field hospital near Poperinge, Belgium, where he died the following evening.
William’s death was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 13 July 1917:
PRIVATE W CHESWORTH – SCOUT PATROL LEADER’S DEATH
Christ Church, Macclesfield has lost many of its young men workers in the war, and the list has been further extended by the death from wounds of Private William Edward Kinder Chesworth, whose demise will be keenly felt by the parochial organisations. as a tribute to his memory the flag at the church was hoisted half-mast. Private Chesworth was the second son of Mr and Mrs William Chesworth, 37 West Bond St, Macclesfield… the news was conveyed… in a letter… from a chaplain: “… Private W Chesworth… was admitted to this hospital on July 4th and died last evening. He was buried today in the military cemetery attached to this hospital… The cemetery is at Remy, one mile west of Poperinghe…” The deceased soldier was 19 years of age and had only been in the Army since last January, when he was posted at Chester to the South Wales Borderers. He was drafted out to France in April. He was educated at Christ Church School and up to enlistment was an improver in the tailoring department of Mr J B Walker, Mill Street, where his father is the ladies’ cutter. Private Chesworth took a great interest in the work at Christ Church, to which he was much attached. An enthusiastic Scout, he was a patrol leader in the Christ Church troop, and for two years in succession won the Boy Scout challenge cup for swimming. He was also interested in bell-ringing and was identified with other phases of work in the parish. Private Chesworth was a well-known shot and a good all-round sportsman. Mr and Mrs Chesworth’s elder son, Private Robert Chesworth, went out with the Cheshires to the Dardanelles and was wounded in the landing at Suvla Bay. He was in hospital at Malta and afterwards rejoined his battalion, with whom he is now serving in Egypt. He was also, before the war, in the employ of Mr J B Walker.
The following week, the Macclesfield Times reported that a memorial service for Private Chesworth was held at Christ Church:
THE LATE PRIVATE CHESWORTH – MEMORIAL SERVICE AT CHRIST CHURCH
…Private William Edward Kinder Chesworth, South Wales Borderers… whose death… has now been officially confirmed by the War Office… A memorial service to the deceased soldier was conducted at Christ Church last night.
Private William Chesworth is buried in grave ref. XV. C. 13A. in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private William Chesworth, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, Private William Chesworth is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall, St Michael’s Church, Christ Church and Christ Church School war memorials. The centenary of William’s death was marked by the present ringers of Christ Church, Macclesfield, who dedicated a quarter peal of Yorkshire Surprise Royal to his memory. Full details can be found on the Ringing World website.
Elsewhere, he is recorded in the Central Council of Church Bell-Ringers Great War Roll of Honour.
Brother of Robert Kinder Chesworth, who served with the 7th Cheshire Regiment in Gallipoli and Egypt and survived the war.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births, Marriages, Deaths
Census (England & Wales): 1901, 1911
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website
Central Council of Church Bell-Ringers Roll of Honour website
Macclesfield Times: 13 and 20 July 1917, 23 September 1921 (photo supplement)