William Bracegirdle, Private 73260, The King’s (Liverpool Regiment)
Transf. to (48695) Labour Corps
Died of T.B. 30th January 1920 in Macclesfield Infirmary, aged 43
William Bracegirdle was born in 1876 and baptised on 1 May 1878 at St Michael’s Church, Macclesfield, the son of Jane (nee Billington) and William Bracegirdle, a joiner. In 1881, four-year-old William was living at 20 Eastgate, Macclesfield with his parents and siblings Sarah (11), James (9), John (7), Eliza (2) and two-month-old twins Thomas and Philip. Ten years later the family had moved to 198 Buxton Road, Macclesfield, and also included Ellen (5), Annie (4), and Mary (1); William was employed as a cotton weaver.
William married Annie Higginbotham at Christ Church on 31 December 1898; by this time he was working as a stone dresser.
In 1901 William and Annie were living at 7 Wellington Street, Hurdsfield, and had a one-year-old son, also named William. Ten years later in 1911 the family was at the same address and included another three children: Florence (8), Martha Jane (7) and Alfred (6). William (snr) was still a stone dresser and was employed by the council.
William enlisted in Macclesfield on 4 December 1915, joining the King’s Liverpool Regiment with service number 73260, but was not mobilised for service until 26 August 1916. After training, Private Bracegirdle was drafted to France on 17 March 1917 but during April 1917 when serving in Verdrell Wood (possibly meant to be Delville Wood?) he began to develop problems with his back – he complained of ‘rheumatism’ and then a painful lump appeared behind his left hip.
Private Bracegirdle was transferred to the Labour Corps with service number 48695 on 14 May 1917, but was then repatriated to England and sent to the 1st Northern General Hospital at Newcastle-on-Tyne, where he was diagnosed with an abscess on the hip and a tubercular abscess of the spine. On 18 September 1917 he was transferred to the 17th Northumberland VAD Hospital at Callaly Castle, Whittingham, Northumberland.
Private Bracegirdle was discharged from the Army on 8 May 1918 due to being no longer physically fit for war service, and was awarded silver badge number 408638. He was transferred to the Manchester Royal Infirmary on 5 July 1918; by this time his family was living at 5 Dicken St, Macclesfield. It’s not clear whether William ever returned to live with his family but on 1 November 1918 he was admitted to Macclesfield infirmary to be treated for T.B. of the hip and he does not seem to have left hospital after that date. According to his service records and the hospital records, William died in Macclesfield Infirmary on 30 January 1920.
Private William Bracegirdle is buried in grave ref. F. 4581. in Macclesfield Cemetery. His widow asked for the inscription “THY WILL BE DONE” to be added to his headstone.
In Macclesfield, Private William Bracegirdle is not known to be commemorated on any war memorials.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
Cheshire Parish Baptism Registers (Find My Past): St Michael’s Church, Macclesfield
Cheshire Parish Marriage Registers (Find My Past): Christ Church, Macclesfield
Census (England & Wales): 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911
WWI British Army Service Records 1914-1920
British Army Medal Index Cards (Ancestry)
WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls (Ancestry)
WWI Silver War Badge Records (Ancestry)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website
Macclesfield Infirmary Admission Register (Cheshire Archives, ref. LGM 4/2)