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The Great War 1914 -1918

The New Year of 1918, saw a continuation and a

worsening of the food queues which had begun to

cause so much trouble at the end of 1917, in some

cases to the extent that the local police officers had to

observe the queues.  Ques for butter and margarine

were accompanied by meat, tea and other goods such

as jam and sugar. A form of rationing was in place

whereby a ticket had to be obtained from the food

control office  in St James Street, one ticket allowed

1lb of margarine. One of the main suppliers in Bacup

was the Maypole Dairy on Market Street. On one

occasion towards the end of January, the que for Margarine and Butter tickets stretched from

the Food Control Office which was situated on St James Street to outside the Liberal Club, on

Burnley Road, on another occasion the Police had to stand guard at the Co-operative stores.

In order to try to reduce the vast ques, tickets were distributed to the workers while in work at

the mills, over 3,200 margarine tickets were distributed on one day. The high price of meat

meant  there was a shortage of animals for slaughter which had a knock on effect on what was

available in the butchers shop. By the begining of April when rationing came into full force the

supply of meat in Bacup and Stacksteads was 50% less than it had been in 1917.

For several weeks prior to rationing over 50,000 handbills had been distributed to households

and schools informing residents of the need to register their household in order to obtain goods

such as margarine, butter and tea. Sugar registration had been in operation for quite some time

and a sugar card was needed in order to register and be supplied with the  required ration card,

which was buff coloured for butter or margarine and white for tea. Customers had to register

their cards at the shop of their choice but could then only purchase the goods from that shop.

Soldiers Who Died

The following is not a complete

list of 1918 deaths just those

that I have come across whilst



Edgar Horsfall 10 01 1918 John W Webster 11 01 1918 Bert Tattersall 11 01 1918 James H Lord 12 01 1918 William Smith 24 01 1918 John Hamer 30 01 1918 Walter Taylor 21 02 1918 Walter McWicker 24 02 1918 Fred Ashworth  25 02 1918 Thomas Holgate 03 03 1918 William R Pickup 03 03 1918 Ernest Hollowood  10 03 1918 Martin Burke 12 03 1918 Christopher Fuller 20 03 1918 Harry W Coupe 21 03 1918 John J Mills  21 03 1918 Albert N Heyworth 21 03 1918 Georg A Mills 21 03 1918 Victor Hindle 21 03 1918 William J Martin 21 03 1918 Francis Stead 21 03 1918 Ralph S Fletcher 21 03 1918 Craven Wood 21 03 1918 Benjamin Nicholls 21 03 1918 John Hull 22 03 1918 Arthur Lovick 22 03 1918 Martin Shaungnessy 22 03 1918 Samuel Stewart 22 03 1918 James  Moorhouse 22 03 1918 Percy Disley 23 03 1918 Wllm Ramsbotton 23 03 1918 Hubert Clegg 26 03 1918 Sam Crabtree 27 03 1918 Jordan Butterworth 27 03 1918 Charles M Green 28 03 1918 John E Lovick 27 03 1918 Henry Chestney 28 03 1918 William H Hamer 07 04 1918 James F Taylor 08 04 1918 Richard Duerden 10 04 1918 Tom Ormerod 10 04 1918 Harry Carter 12 04 1918 Samuel B Turner 14 04 1918 Vincent Farrow  20 04 1918 Harold Riley 21 04 1918 Harry Webb 23 04 1918 Michael Heys 22 04 1918 Fred Porter 24 04 1918 Fred Ashworth 24 04 1918 William H Clegg 25 04 1918 John Jackson 01 05 1918 Ernest Crabtree 14 05 1918 William Buckely  15 05 1918 Leonard Haworth 16 05 1918 Rueben Bent 20 05 1918 Sam Nicholls 21 05 1918 Thomas Burns 27 05 1918 Harry Curson 27 05 1918 Herbert Grime 28 05 1918 George Schofield 29 05 1918 Sidney Ashworth 30 05 1918 Benjamin Nicholls 31 05 1918 John R Lord 06 06 1918 Albert Hutchinson 02 06 1918 Mitchell F W  07 06 1918 George Ashworth  08 06 1918 Harry Crapper 17 06 1918 William Noon 21 06 1918 Patrick ONeil 28 06 1918 Thomas Charnley 28 06 1918 James Moorhouse 28 06 1918 Sydney W Trickett 21 07 1918 John E Walsh 24 07 1918 Arthur Howorth 30 07 1918 Richard Young 18 08 1918 Michael McNulty 19 08 1918 John W Bentley  23 08 1918 William Cudworth 23 08 1918 John L Jackson 24 08 1918 James H Crane 24 08 1918 James Weir 24 08 1918 John Scott 24 08 1918 Daniel Abbott 27 08 1918 Wilfred Popple 25 08 1918 James Caxton 30 08 1918 Ernest L Taylor 26 08 1918 Robert Crowther 31 08 1918 Harold Kay 31 08 1918 George E Harrison  01 09 1918 Willie Rogers 02 09 1918 Ernest Mallabone 08 09 1918 Harry Hall 05 09 1918 Edgar Pickles 08 09 1918 William Heap 12 09 1918 Ross Tickett 20 09 1918 William Jones 18 09 1918 William T Crane 25 09 1918 Harry Ashworth 27 09 1918 Anthony Cookson 28 09 1918 Arthur Carncross 28 09 1918 James Corless 29 09 1918 John W Cook 01 10 1918 George Bennett 03 10 1918 David Banham 05 10 1918 Joseph O Connor 10 10 1918 John Pilling 11 10 1918 Blackburn Robinson 20 10 1918 Harry Snowden 28 10 1918 John W Cropper 06 11 1918 John Grindrod 07 11 1918 Herbert Ashworth 08 11 1918 Alexander Pounder 08 11 1918 Thomas Goddard 09 11 1918 William H Buckley 10 11 1918 Richard Almond 19 11 1918 John Rhodes 22 11 1918 Herbert Cubbin 01 12 1918 Harold Bacon 05 12 1918 Richard Tattersall 08 12 1918 Thomas P Connolly 11 12 1918 Edwin Taylor 21 12 1918 David Hargreaves 24 12 1918 YMCA Hut Week  Throughout the war the YMCA  played a crucial part in providing huts for the men at the  front and at home. A place where they could get hot food and drinks, a bath and have their clothes fumigated, writing paper to write home to loved ones. They also had 20 cinema huts and several mobile cinemas, the proceeds of which went to  helping to run a farm colony they had in Dorset where wounded men were taught poultry and market gardening, farming.  The YMCA arranged for the relatives of men wounded to be accompanied to the various hospitals, and whilst  needing to be by their loved ones side were housed in the many YMCA hostels. All this cost money and so  in the villages and towns all over England they held Hut Weeks. In Bacup the hut week ran from the 18th to the 24th February and raised 5,000.    War Bonds Week  War was expensive and the costs had to be met somehow so in 1916 the Goverment started selling war bonds as a way to raise funds, other methods such as war loans and national savings were also  used to raise funds.  In 1918 all over the country the week  of  March the 4th to the 9th was designated War  Bonds week. Advertised by flamboyant colourful posters each town /district was encouraged to raise a set amount in Bacup it was £55.000. The bonds were available to purchase from the three banks in Bacup the Town Hall and  the Post Office.  The Town Hall was furnished with an indicator to show the amount raised daily. The daily amounts raised were Monday, 3,000, Tuesday 6,000, Wednesday 2,000, Thursday 10,000. Various organisations, clubs and firms made donations to the fund one of the first at this time was Bacup Bowling and Recreation  Club who donated 1,350.00. and the firm of Joshua Hoyle and Sons donated £20,000.  In order to encourage the purchase the  War Savings Committee had made arrangements to have a a aeroplane visit Bacup as part of an exhibition, it wasn’t possible for the plane to land but instead it was agreed it would fly over Bacup and for the public to have a more hands on view or as some would say a proper “ Bacup Look”  the remains of a German plane that had been shot down would be provided. By the end of the week the total raised in Bacup was £68,477 and as a consequence an aeroplane bearing the name of Bacup was sent to the front.  War Wonders  As the war dragged on people understandably grasped at every light that shone out of a long tunnel. Stories regarding miracles on the battlefield such as the Angel of Mons back in 1914,  were followed by others that became known as War Wonders. One of these was told in April, and was the tale of a young girl who was sat on bus in London, when a old shabbily dressed lady sat down next to her. The young woman moved away at which point the old lady spoke to her and told her not to be so proud after all she only had eighteen pence in her purse. A fellow sitting opposite asked the girl if this was true to which she replied it was. “ Can you tell me how much I have in my pocket, “ asked the man to the old lady to which she gave an accurate reply. “Perhaps since you know so much, you can tell us when the war will end”.  The old lady answered him., “ It will end in April in a great battle in a snowstorm”. The man took the old woman’s address telling her if her prophecy should come true he would send to her all the money he had in his wallet that  day which amounted to, Seventeen pounds, twelve shillings and eight pence, and five pounds ten shillings in postal notes. Needless to say there were many in Bacup and Stacksteads looking our for a very snowy April.  Flanders Fever Spannish Flu, Russian Influenza, were  all names given to an outbreak of influenza that first hit Rossendale in June, affecting both adults and children alike. In Bacup, the week ending 22nd June saw many mills and factories suffering staff shortages due to their workforce being struck down. The locomotive shed of the L & Y  railway along with tram conductresses, shop assistants and others were all affected. St Josephs school in Stacksteads was the first to close followed by St Mary’s, Mount, Central and St Saviours. They all remained for a fortnight, whilst the health authorities tried to cope with what was termed a “ puzzling epidemic”.  Dr Brown who was the medical officer for Bacup at the time advised against the gathering together of crowds and advocated lots of fresh air and sunlight.  Mills were fumigated and disinfected and it was advertised that the epidemic could be stamped out in a short period if people observed the various precautions that had been put in place.   Symptoms were at first described as listlessness, with a fever accompanied by shivering and vomiting with severe pains in the head and stomache and a slight cough. With an incubation period of 24 - 30 hours the infection was very virulent in its nature with recovery was described as taking three to four days and the sufferer returning to good health within a short time. Today of course we know this was not the case. By the second week the residents of Rossendale also knew this was not to be the case with several fatalities occuring the influenza was now described as a “ scourge of a serious and fatal nature”.  One young man aged 16 called Arthur Covell of Olive Street, Bacup,  a worker at Hardmans, Union Works, left his work due to being poorly  on Tuesday and was dead by the Thursday morning. Other reports appeared a week later such as little Fred Moss aged 7, of Hargreaves Street, Bacup who died within a few hours of becoming ill, and Second Air Mechanic Alan Pepperday of Plantation Street, Bacup who buried his wife and father within a matter of days both of them having died of the flu.  The Nights Draw In As the summer came to an end and autumn began there was a rush for candles and oil in Bacup. The Coal Controller called this “unpatriotic”. In the park, the Irwell Springs Band played one of its last Sunday concerts of the summer season, the programme include their Belle Vue Test piece. The evening concert taking place in the theatre due to the drawing in of the nights a contribution of a shilling, requested to enjoy the bands performance.   By October the 5th the Coal Controller had changed his opinion and announced that because there had been a patriotic response to the appeal to save fuel and as a result of this the date fixed for the commencement of light and fuel rationing would be changed. Applications for fuel and lighting would be received from September 30th to October 31st. A scheme for rationing candles was under consideration and home owners were encouraged to burn anthracite rather than coal, which although more expensive than coal burned for a longer period.   Heartbreak of a Mother  As a mother of two sons I just can’t imagine the absolute heartbreak of receiving the news that a son or sons had paid the ultimate sacrifice. For some mothers the anguish of not knowing the fate of their son went on for months.  For one Bacup mother the news of her son’s death came from a unusual source.    The October 26th issue of the Bacup Times told the story of the mother of Private 40321 Myles Wallace Tattersall 16th Cheshire Regiment. Mrs Tattersall his mother lived with his quarryman father Myles at 126 Newline Bacup. Having been notified that her son was missing she had tried to find to no avail some information about his whereabouts. Then whilst reading the Daily Sketch, she came across the following story:-  A Dead Soldier: - A motherly woman, who is repairing clothes taken from dead soldiers, writes to tell me that in one uniform she found three small Catholic medals and one cloth one. One was sewn inside the left sleeve, one inside the lining over the heart and the other two each side of the pockets. The man’s number was 4032 or 40321 regiment not known. She would like to return the medals to mother who put them there.   Private Tattersall had been reported missing on October 22nd 1917. After contacting the Daily Sketch and the woman mender, Myles’s mother received the following letter:   18/09/1918 Canonbury Road Highbury London W.  Dear Mrs Tattersall Please excuse the pencil as I am writing in bed. I was taken bad suddenly on Thursday as I should have written before. I went to the branch of the War Office in my dinner-hour, and the secretary said I had cleared up what the Red Cross people had been trying everywhere to find out, namely tidings of your son. They thought he may be a prisoner of war, but I told them we only repaired clothes taken from the dead soldiers. I cannot tell you the particular place where his jacket came from, only that it came to us with hundreds of others off the field. The secretary advised that you should write to the enclosed address in another month’s time as they don’t settle anything under the twelve months. I should like you to write and tell me how old your son was and if you have any others as they are all so interested in it, and I might tell you that you had the sympathy and tears of 200 women here, mothers and wives of soldiers. I am so thankful I kept the medals, but I always thought I should not hear about them. If there is anything I can do for you here I would willingly do it if you will write again, and please accept my sympathy as I know what you must be feeling.  Yours Respectfully Emily Mason.  As promised Emily forwarded the medals to Myles’s mother who said she had not been the one to sew the medals in place but felt that he had probably been given then whilst in training at Curragh Camp, Ireland and that he had himself stitched them into his tunic for good luck. Within days she received communication from the Military Authorities confirming his death which they said took place on the 22nd October 1917.  Peace At Last At 5am on the 11th November the armistice with Germany was signed at with hostilities ceasing at 11 am. In Rossendale the news spread rapidly with people rushing into the streets, to share the glad tidings.  Official notification came with the blasting of the towns hooter and a notice regarding the signing of the armistice posted in the Post Office window. The young people sang and danced, waving flags, whilst the elders and business people decorated the town with bunting.  Services on the Bacup -Rochdale tramway and the Rossendale Valley tramway ceased at lunchtime and the streets of Bacup became full, as people were released from thier employment by the many mill owners. Those who worked for the many slipper and shoe factories and came under the umbrella of the Rossendale Boot and Shoe Employers Federation were given £1 for those employees 21 and over and 15s for those aged 18 to 21, and soldiers were given £1 from the works they joined up from with widows of any dead soldiers being paid 10s. The many cotton workers were also given a monetary gift valued at 20 shillings for those of 18 years and over and ten shillings for those under 18. With many of the mills, factories and munitions works  all signed off from work until the middle to end of the week and the schools closed until Monday of the following week there was no need for an early to bed and early rise.  At 7pm the Irwell Springs Band led by Walter Nuttall marched from the Park Hotel, playing the “Glorious Empire”. Making their way to the Market ground  where the whole town appeared to gather to hear speeches from the Mayor Mr Samuel Mc Clerie, and other town dignitaries.  Throughout the week various church thanksgiving services were held, At Christ Church the choir climbed into the bell tower where they sang several hymns, and the bells at St Saviours were rung for a short time.   Throughout the week there were gatherings and celebrations, an effigy of the Kaiser was drawn through the streets on the back of a lorry amid cheers and shouts, the effigy being later burned. In Stacksteads every window was decorated with flags and streamers. At Wagonner Tunstead a huge bonfire was built and another Kaiser  dummy burnt. On Thursday the 14th November a grand torchlight procession made-up of 350 torches and a carnival  to Stacksteads Recreation ground was organised where witnessed by 10,000 people a huge bonfire was lit in order to burn a effigy of Little Willie. Election Time History In The Making December 1918 witnessed another form of history being made when for the first time ever women were allowed to vote in a Parliamentary Election. With so many Bacup and Stacksteads men still away serving in the colours or waiting to be demobed this election would be called by some as the Women’s Election, because it would ultimately be the women who decided what manner of parliament the next would be. Form A Que Back to Bacuptimes 1918