Harold Wardle, Private 13625, 4th Bn. Worcestershire Regiment
Killed in action 3rd August 1918 in France, aged 24
Harold Wardle was born in Macclesfield in 1895 and baptised on 14 November 1895 at St John’s Church, Statham Street, Macclesfield, the son and youngest child of Sarah Jane and John Wardle, a labourer of 8 Samuel St, Macclesfield.
By 1901 Harold’s father had died, and six-year-old Harold was living at 22 Watercotes (also known as Waterside), Macclesfield, with his widowed mother and siblings George (20), Arthur (18), Benjamin (17), Mary (14), Elizabeth Ann (12), and Annie (7). The family was at the same address in 1911, but only George, Annie and Harold were at home with their mother.
In 1911, Harold was employed as a printworks tierer – someone, usually a child or youth, who assisted the printer by brushing the liquid dye onto a drum. As Harold is recorded on the Langley war memorial, it is most likely that, prior to enlistment, he was employed in Langley, probably at William Whiston’s Langley Print Works, which by 1918 had become the largest silk printing, dyeing and finishing company in the country.
Harold’s mother died in 1915 at the age of 64.
Harold enlisted soon after war broke out, joining the 1st Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment; he was later transferred to “D” Company in the 2nd Battalion.
It is not known when Harold was drafted overseas. On 17 December 1916 he was admitted to No 34 Casualty Clearing Station, at Grovetown, near Albert, suffering from trench foot. On the same day he was taken by No 1 Ambulance Train to a hospital further back behind the lines for treatment. The admission register records that he had then served for 2 years and 3 months.
After recovery Harold returned to the front, and on an unknown date was transferred to the 4th Battalion of the Worcestershire Regt. Harold was killed in action on 3 August 1918 near Hazebrouck, France, which lies about twenty miles west of Ypres in Belgium.
Private Harold Wardle is buried at Borre British Cemetery, France, in grave ref. II. G. 4. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Harold Wardle, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission record’s Harold’s age as 19 when he died; the reason for this error is not known.
Cheshire Parish Baptism Registers (FindMyPast): St John’s Church, Macclesfield
Census (England & Wales): 1901, 1911
MH106: WWI Representative Selection of Military Hospitals Admissions and Discharge Registers (Forces War Records): MH106/719 Medical Records of Servicemen from No. 34 Casualty Clearing Station
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects (Ancestry)
Soldiers Died in the Great War (Find My Past)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website