Harry Worrall, Private 290849, 1/7th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Killed in action 26th October 1918 in Belgium, aged 22
Harry Worrall was born on 20 November and baptised on 13 December 1896 at St Alban’s Church, Macclesfield, the son of Jane and Charles Worrall, a silk mill piecer. Harry was educated at Lord Street School and attended Park Street Chapel.
In 1901, at the age of four, Harry was living at 1 Waller Street, Macclesfield, next door to the Gilday family, with his parents, older brother Arthur (6) and younger sister Harriet (2). Harry’s mother worked at home as a silk hemmer.
In 1911 the family had expanded to include Charles (19), Arthur (16), Harry (14), Harriet (11), Nellie (9), John (7) and Frank (3), all still living with their parents at 1 Waller Street, a four-room property. Harry had left school and working as an embroiderer’s minder. Five members of the family were employed and all were working in the silk industry.
Harry enlisted in Macclesfield on 23rd November 1914 and after training was drafted with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force to Egypt; here he was engaged in the battle of Gaza, and also saw action in Palestine. The battalion stayed here until they were transferred to the Western Front in June 1918.
The battalion progressed to the Ypres Salient and in October 1918 were involved in action with the 4th Battalion Cheshire Regiment who on the 24th October were in attack in the area south of Courtrai, just east of the Courtrai-Bossuyt Canal. The 4th Battalion cleared the whole front of the Canal from Knocke southwards and gained the final objectives on the Sheldt by dusk the same evening. During the night previous to this attack, the 7th Battalion cleared the park of Bossuyt Chateau, and made two very gallant but unsuccessful attempts to cross the Canal at locks 3 and 4. They eventually succeeded in doing so in the afternoon of the 25th October, joining hands with the companies of the 4th battalion which had moved to the S.E. face of Moen village.
Harry was killed in action on the following day, 26 October 1918, aged 22 years. His death was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 8 November 1918:
PTE HARRY WORRALL, Cheshire Regt, killed in action on October 26th, was the son of Mr and Mrs Worrall, 32 Pool Street, Macclesfield. He was 22 years of age and enlisted on November 23rd, 1914. Drafted to Egypt he fought in the battles of Gaza. He was transferred to France about five months ago and was home on leave a few weeks back. Sympathetic letters have been received from the officer and quartermaster of the battalion. Pte Worrall was educated at Lord Street School and attended Park Street Chapel. A brother is serving. The letter from the Quartermaster states: “He was killed along with a comrade, who was also from Macclesfield. He was buried in the grounds of a chateau near a little village, and a cross marks the spot. All the boys and myself are deeply grieved at the loss…”
Private Harry Worrall is buried at grave ref. VD7 in Tournai Communal Cemetery Allied Extension, Hainaut, Belgium. Harry’s parents asked for the inscription “TOO GOOD IN LIFE TO BE FORGOTTEN IN DEATH R.I.P.” to be added to his headstone. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Harry Worrall, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
Brother of Arthur Worrall, who served as Private 466023 with the 550th Labour Corps.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
Family History Society of Cheshire (FHSC): Catholics in Macclesfield CD – Baptism transcriptions
Census (England & Wales): 1901, 1911
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website
WWI Absent Voters Lists (FindMyPast): Macclesfield Parliamentary Division
Macclesfield Times: 8 November 1918