GM 1914

The First World War in Greater Manchester

Leave a comment

Teenage Soldier who served at the Somme

Mobile phones and computers fill the lives of many Bolton teenagers today, but how different it was 100 years ago for Bolton lad Fred May – at the age of 18, he was taking part in the Battle of the Somme.

Born on 31 October 1897, Fred attended Sunning Hill Council School, the same school as the subject of another Bolton blog, 2nd Lieut. Alexander Clegg.

Fred enlisted in Kitchener’s 1st Army in 1914 at the age of just 16 years and 11 months and the rest of his teenage years were spent in Belgium and France, fighting in every major battle up to the third Battle of Ypres in 1917.

He first joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, where he remained for two months before volunteering for the Royal Field Artillery.

Like many soldiers, Fred kept mementoes of his time on the battlefield – an identification bracelet made by a fellow soldier, a signet ring made from an artillery shell by a French soldier and of great significance to him, pieces of shrapnel from a German 8 inch shell which burst near him but only tore his tunic.

However, Gunner Fred May’s war was to end on 26 April 1918, when he was discharged having suffered gas poisoning. To show that he had served, he was given the Silver War Badge (no. 404754) to wear on the lapel of his jacket. He received the Mons Star and the Victory and British War Medals after the war.

Fred married Marjorie Caldwell in 1921 at St Augustine’s Church, Tonge Moor, Bolton. The couple had a son and a daughter and the 1939 Register finds the family living at 31 Fairmount Avenue, Breightmet, Bolton, with Fred working as a cotton salesman.

In 1967, Fred donated his WWI mementoes to Bolton Museum, together with some photographs, including one of him in his R.A.M.C. uniform. Currently, they form part of a display in the Main Library.

Fred May died on 24 February 1982 in Bolton.




Personal items held by Bolton Museum and Archives.


Photo of Fred May in his R. A. M. C. uniform, late in 1914, prior to him volunteering for the R. F. A.


BY.184.1967 The brass wristlet identification plate was made by one of his comrades and worn on his wrist daily-in case of death etc. It was made from the cartridge-case of a British 18lb shell. The red identification circular plate was one issued by the army to be worn daily for identification purposes in case of wounds or death.


BY.183.1967 The Signet Ring purchased from a French infantryman (a poilu) in the French front line of the Somme and it was made by the latter from a French 75mm shell; made entirely by hand, it is really unique.


BY.185.1967 a & b pieces of steel from shells which although they hit Sgt May they did not wound him but tore a hole in his tunic. Incidentally, the metal was red-hot when they struck him.


The Somme in Leigh

This blog post was written by Hannah Turner, and was originally published in Past Forward – Wigan’s local history magazine.

“I still go cold when anyone says The Somme. It became a nightmare. Everyday you heard of somebody being killed or injured.”
Taken from Leigh and the Somme by Cyril Ward and Evelyn Finch.
The Somme, known at the time as the Big Push, aimed to end the stalemate on the Western Front. Following the Battle of Marne in September 1914, when the German Schlieffen Plan to invade France and capture Paris in six weeks failed, a stalemate took place between the opposing armies. A line of trenches stretching from the Belgian coast, through France and up to the Swiss border became embedded. Attempts to break the stalemate took place along the western front but they did little to contribute to breaking the deadlock. Endeavours to win the war on other fronts resulted in campaigns such as the chaotic Gallipoli operation.
General Haig produced an idea of an offensive to break through the impasse. The operation would begin with bombarding the German troops with artillery and thereby destroying their defences. The bombardment began on the 21 June 1916. British Intelligence has underestimated the strength of the German defences and in some cases they were deep below ground. In fact, Private Joseph Wharf from Peel Lane, Tyldesley, inspected one of these trenches after it had been captured. Describing them ‘as fine works of engineering’ he goes on to say how some of them were nearly 40ft below ground and so the bombardment failed to completely destroy the German defences and when the whistles blew along the British line on the 1 July 1916 at 7.30am signalling to British soldiers to go over the top and advance towards the German trenches, German gunners were able to position themselves and shoot at the lines of soldiers walking towards them in no-man’s land.
20,000 men are believed to have been killed on the first day of the Somme. Local historian Fred Holcroft’s research led him to conclude that over 100 men from the borough died on that day. Despite the massive loss of life General Haig remained optimistic and wrote in his diary ‘the total casualties are estimated at over 40,000 to date. This cannot be considered severe in view of the numbers engaged, and the length of the front attacked’. Haig’s optimism kept the offensive continuing until November. By the end of the Battle of the Somme it is believed that there were around 650,000 British casualties and 400,000 German casualties. Some parts of land had been captured by the allied armies but no were near the amount they had originally planned on.
News of the Somme began to trickle home. Haig’s optimism was reiterated by the local press. The Leigh Journal declared ‘the opening days of July are destined to stand out boldly in the chronology of the war, marking as they have done, the end of an historic period of enforced waiting and the beginning of a great offensive by the Allies’. A wounded British officer interviewed in London described witnessing some of the Manchester Regiments taking part in the battle, he said it was ‘inspiring to see them leap over their own parapets and tail off into the mist of the morning singing’.
Not everyone described the opening scene of the battle in quite the same alleged way as the officer did. Private Nolan who had served in the Gallipoli campaign said ‘there were more shells in five minutes than were fired at Gallipoli in three months’. Writing to his mother in Tyldesley, Private Alfred Jackson of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers told of the ‘terrible handling’ they received. Wounded and sent home, Alfred died of his wounds a few weeks later and was interred at Tyldesley Cemetery.
Private Thomas Edwin Walker wrote to his mother in Blackmoor from a hospital in Manchester. During the attack Private Walker had been in no-man’s land for 19 hours before being ‘brought down’ and ‘in that time I saw some awful sights’. All of the officers in Walker’s regiment were killed including his colonel.
During the offensive Private Joseph Wharf of the South Lancashire Regiment, was hit by a shell and covered by dirt and sandbags. It took his ‘pals’ an hour to dig him out. Private Wharf’s battalion was one which captured a German trench. He marvelled at the engineering of the trenches as well as the drink and food the Germans had left behind. Similarly, the Leigh Journal reported that Private Stephen Barnish of the 2nd Manchesters had also captured a trench with his battalion but Private Barnish implies a different image, a stark reminder of the brutality of the war:
We have captured part of the enemy’s lines, and a heavy struggle is proceeding.
We are progressing slowly but surely…The Germans are good fighters until you
get into their trench, and then they throw up their hands, and cry for mercy. If he
is a sniper or machine gunner he is a dead man for cert. The sniper is worst of all,
for he is the one who accounts for many of our boys when they are crawling along…
Back in England, local people were given the opportunity to observe the Somme for their selves with the documentary ‘The Battle of the Somme’ arriving in cinemas. The documentary is regarded by some as propaganda and was believed to be staged in parts. However, curiosity drove people to the local picture houses. In Leigh ‘The Battle of the Somme’ arrived at the Palace Theatre in September 1916. Despite drawing ‘record houses to the Palace’ not everyone was pleased to see the film, one local recalls ‘I remember my father coming home on leave and as a treat taking us to the pictures…so you can imagine our disappointment when we got there and father found that it was a picture about the Somme battle. He said, “I’ve seen enough Somme, I’m not paying to see it again.” So we all came home’.
The Somme ended in November 1916 but the recollections of the battle still stayed with the survivors. Interviewed in the 1980s a Somme veteran from the Leigh district still ‘wept openly at the memories’ and then requested that his painful rememberances die with him.
Leigh and the Somme by Cyril Ward and Evelyn Finch.
Leigh Journal
Wigan Observer
Pals on the Somme

11 days in a shell hole Sgt Huddart

Leave a comment

Eleven days in a shell-hole: an Openshaw Sergeant’s experience a the Somme.

Born in 1888, by July 1916 at the Battle of the Somme, Sergeant Huddart of Openshaw was a fresh-faced twenty-eight year old member of the Manchester Regiment. During the battle he would suffer serious, though not fatal injuries due to enemy machine gun fire, enduring for eleven days in a shell-hole before finally being rescued. The following is an article from the Daily Dispatch, which recorded his extraordinary story after interviewing him in Seymour Park Military Hospital, Manchester:

“Thrilling experiences of a sergeant in the Manchester Regiment who, after being severely wounded, lay in a shell-hole for nearly eleven days without food and help, have just come to light. He is Sergeant Huddart, aged 28, of Elysian Street, Openshaw, Manchester, who, prior to the war, was employed at Messrs. Armstrong, Whitworth and Cos works in Manchester.

Huddart, who is in the Seymour Park Military Hospital, Manchester, suffering from severe wounds in the left hand, thigh, and left leg, received these injuries during a lively encounter with the enemy at the Somme. He was in the most cheery mood when a Daily Dispatch representative, to whom he related his terrible experiences, saw him yesterday.

“At the time the enemy hit me”, he said, “We were going into a charge amidst a heavy rain of shells. It was between six and seven o’clock in the morning. We were playing havoc with the Huns, when suddenly I was brought down with a shot from a machine gun. I crawled for some distance until I managed to get in to a shell-hole.” I lay there for four or five days without help, when four of the R.A.M.C [Royal Army Medical Corps] stretcher bearers passed me. They told me they would send stretcher men to remove me, but they did not arrive.”

11 days in a shell hole top

Figure 1: Sgt. Huddart’s article in the Daily Dispatch. (1 of 2)

“Quite a Fusillade”

“It is probably they were not able to reach our line, for at the time they passed me the Germans were turning quite a fusillade in my direction. I had nothing to eat, as I had left my emergency rations, and I subsisted solely on the water I had with me. I was conscious all the time, but it was impossible to sleep owing to the heavy cannonading. Debris was flying in all directions, and each time I lifted my head, I saw that my feet were buried in mud and earth.”

“Any minute I expected a stray shell hitting me and sending me to kingdom come. After eleven days I was finally relieved from my terrible predicament. I saw a British officer passing along and I called out for help. He saw me, and soon afterwards stretcher bearers came and I was taken to a dressing station. This was done under enemy fire, and one of the stretcher men was hit.”

“I was glad to get to a place of safety, and much relieved when a doctor there told me my leg was not fractured. I was subsequently taken to the hospital at Rouen, and then conveyed to a Lancashire hospital. I shall never forget my experiences in France.”

It is a miracle how Huddart held out so long without food and attention to his severe wounds, but he attributes this to his strong constitution. He is getting his strength back again and recovering very nicely.

Huddart, who for some years served in India, praised the work of the Lancashire men in France, and said no one could speak too highly of the ‘pals’ battalions. He saw thousands of German prisoners brought in, and the general feeling amongst the Huns was that they were “heartily sick of the war”.

11 days in a shell hole bottom

Figure 2: Sgt. Huddart’s article in the Daily Dispatch. (2 of 2)

This blog post was researched and written by Isaac Boothroyd, a volunteer at the Manchester Central Library’s Archives+ scheme.

References & Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the staff of the Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre for their help with accessing the resources used in this post, as well as draw attention to the following sources used within it:

  • MR/4/B/13 – Newscutting, “11 days in a shell-hole”



Leave a comment

Oldhamers on Film

This blog was researched by Roger Ivens from Oldham Local Studies and Archives

At the Battle of the Somme the Oldham Pals formed the Pioneer Battalion for the 7th Division which occupied trenches opposite the German held fortified village of Mametz. During the lead up to the attack the Pals was involved in the construction of defensive and preparatory work, including gun pits, first aid posts, machine gun emplacements, etc, in the area around Fricourt, Mametz, and Carnoy. The battalion was also involved in the construction of Fort Oldham, a strong redoubt in the British support line.

On the evening of the attack the Royal Engineers of the 7th Division along with the Oldham Pals held an open-air concert in the wood. Meanwhile in another part of the wood a Church of England service was being held, conducted by a former minister of St. Mary’s Parish Church, Oldham. This particular scene was filmed by John McDowell, one of two official cinematographers commissioned to compile footage for what became the documentary film ‘The Battle of the Somme’. McDowell also filmed the dressing station at Minden Post on the opening day of the battle which also featured shots of men from the Oldham Pals waiting to go up into the line.

As a postscript, on 25 July 1916 the Oldham Chronicle published a letter from a Royton soldier serving with the Royal Fusiliers:

We went straight to the support trenches the same night, and next morning I experienced my first charge, in which we took four lines of trenches. This was on Friday morning, July 7th. You ought to have seen the Germans getting up out of the trenches to give themselves up. They got up in big batches with their hands uplifted, shouting ‘Mercy Kamerad.’ I helped to march a batch down, and a fellow was taking moving pictures, and an R.A.M.C. man and I got amongst a bunch and so got on the film…

The film ‘The Battle of the Somme’ was shown at the King’s Picture Hall in Oldham in September 1916. Unfortunately there is no record as to whether anyone in the audience was able to recognise any of the men from the Oldham Pals or the Royal Fusilier from Royton in the film.

A still taken from the 1916 documentary film The Battle of the Somme

A still taken from the 1916 documentary film The Battle of the Somme

Leave a comment

Henry (Harry) (1889 -1916), Peter and George Forrest

This weeks post is a guest blog by the Barlow WWI Project and is an extract from their book: The Great War seen through the eyes of a rural community – Edgworth, Chapeltown and Entwistle and National Children’s Home and Orphanage, more information about the book can be found at the bottom of this post. The this story was researched by Margaret Ollerton and Linda Spencer.


War Record


Henry, known as Harry, was in the Welsh Regiment (21030).  He enlisted in Bolton 24th May 1915, joining the 15th battalion Welsh Regiment in Rhyl the following day.  On enlistment he gave his address as 7 Collins Road, Bamber Bridge, Preston and his occupation as spinner.  He was 25 years old and single.

Harry embarked at Folkestone in December 1915 and in February he was appointed acting Lance corporal “in the field”.  The appointment was unpaid!

Four months later he was killed.

Elder brother Peter is listed in Naval Records for the 1911 Census, his civil parish being listed as “Australia and South Africa” and his marital status as single.  He must have been on a vessel at that time.(1)  The Register of Seaman’s Services gives his birth date as 31st March 1883 and he joined the navy on 23rd September 1901 (298594).  His records show that he was only 5’ 2.5” tall, with brown hair and blue eyes.  His last service date was 22nd September 1923; 22 years service.   One of many ships he served on was HMS Bellona where he reached the rank of Chief Stoker.(17)

George also served and is recorded as being in training at Farnborough, but no service records exist.(16)  He could possibly have been involved with the Royal Flying Corps as they trained at Farnborough.


 The Family History(1)

The men came from a very large family.  In 1901 they were living at 352 Bolton Road, Edgworth.  They were all involved in cotton spinning and weaving, apart from the eldest daughter who was the housekeeper.   William Henry, the father, was born in Preston, Peter and Jane in Warrington, but all the rest were Bolton born and bred.  The mother was no longer living.


1901 Census


William Henry Forrest                                   age:     46                    Widower

Elizabeth E                                                                          23                    daughter and housekeeper

Peter                                                               21

Jane                                                                                       19

James                                                                                    17

William                                                                                 15

Eliza                                                                                        13

Henry                                                              11

Mary                                                                                        9

Annie                                                                                      7

George                                                             5

Lillian                                                                                    3

Bertha                                                                                    1


The 1911 census tells us that 12 children had been born and 12 survived.  However, the age of the youngest child may give us a clue as to why the mother is no longer alive. (1)


By 1911 James, Harry and Peter have left home, Harry going to Bamber Bridge where he possibly had relatives as his father was born in Preston.  Apart from anything else, 352 Bolton Road where the family was still living must have been a little crowded.(1)


Harry (christened Henry) was the 7th child of William Henry and Mary Forrest.   He was born in Bolton in 1889 and baptized at All Souls church, Astley Bridge.   He was killed on 11th July 1916 at the age of 27.  He is commemorated on the memorial at Thiepval, but has no known grave.    (Memorial reference: Pier and Face 7A and 10A)


A war gratuity was paid with £2 8s 6d going to Mrs Fanny Knowles – part legatee and £4 to his eldest sister Elizabeth.  There were no personal effects to be returned to the family, presumably as his body was not recovered.(18)


It is thought that Fanny is a misprint, which should read Annie, his sister, who later married Joe Knowles.


The army asked for details of relatives so that a scroll and memorial plaque could be “disposed of in commemoration”.


Most of the older members of the family had by now left the family home. The remainder now living at 10 Station Road, Bamber Bridge were Henry (father), Elizabeth, George, Jane, Lillian and Bertha.  In 1920 his sister Elizabeth received the 1914-1915 Star and his father received the scroll and was informed that the plaque would be forwarded as soon as it was ready.   He is recorded as being awarded the Victory Medal, the British Medal and the 1914-1915 Star.(18)


Harry is commemorated on the Memorial Pulpit in St Anne’s church Turton and also on the memorial at the Methodist Church on Bolton Road, Edgworth.



Harry’s sister – Liza (19)






Harry Forrest’s obituary in The Bolton Journal reads:


“After a fortnight’s anxiety consequent on the receipt of news from private sources, Mr. Forrest, formerly of Bolton rd and Wellington rd, Turton, has received official intimation of the death in action of his son, Lance-Corporal Harry Forrest, Welsh Regiment.  Lance-Corporal Forrest enlisted early in the war and was drafted to France in November, 1915.  He was 27 years of age and his name is on the Rolls of Honour at Edgworth Wesleyan School and the Village Institute.  He enjoyed local repute as a runner and was very fond of athletics.  In civilian life he worked at Messrs. Booth and Sons prior to going to Bamber Bridge with his father.  Another brother, Peter, is with the Navy at Hong Kong, and George in training at Farnborough.” (16)



1 census records

16        Bolton Journal and Guardian  11.08.16

17 UK, Royal Navy Register of Seaman’s Services

18 Register of UK Soldier’s Effects

19        photo from Howard Collection,        courtesy of Bolton Museum and Library Service



© The Barlow World War One Project, 216 Bolton Road, Turton, Bolton, BL7 0AP,   This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Licence. This licence covers the text created by The Barlow World War One Project and photographs marked reference (30).  Appropriate permissions should be sought separately for other images.

All rights reserved.  Apart from any fair dealing for private study, educational and non-commercial purposes, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act, 1988, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, electrical, chemical, mechanical, optical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.  Enquiries should be made to The Barlow at the above address.


The Great War seen through the eyes of a rural community – Edgworth, Chapeltown and Entwistle and National Children’s Home and Orphanage


The Barlow World War One Project (2016)

Every attempt has been made by The Barlow to secure the appropriate permissions for material reproduced in this book.  If there has been any oversight we will be happy to rectify the situation and written submission should be made to The Barlow at the above address.

To view these materials online in fully searchable format please go to


The Barlow Memorial Institute, Edgworth

(Soon after completion in 1909)


Walter Carr

Within the collection of Bolton Archives there is a copy of a large certificate known as the “Golden Roll of Honour.”  It shows an image of the Thiepval Memorial, which was unveiled on 1st August 1932 by the Prince of Wales. Images of the memorials of the South African Memorial; Ulster Memorial; Australian Memorial and Highland Memorial also appear. The certificate was produced to commemorate the death of Sergeant Walter Carr who died at the Somme and his name appears on the memorial.


Margaret Koppens carried out research at Bolton History centre to find out more about the certificate and about the man it commemorates.


WALTER CARR killed at the Somme


Walter Carr was born on the 5th October 1894 in Halliwell to George William and Emma Jane Carr (nee Orrell) who had married at Bolton Registry Office in September 1892. Walter was baptised at Bridge Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Bolton (now the Genting Casino).


He was the eldest of four boys born to George, a clogger and Emma and before joining the Army he worked as a little piecer in a cotton mill. His brothers were Thomas Rowland, born 27th August 1896 (possibly died in infancy), George William, 23rd August 1898 and Ambrose Orrell, 24th August 1900. By 1901 the family were living at 30 Wilmot Street, Halliwell.


Bolton had many cotton mills where children, some as young as 12 were employed and Walter, was one of them. Some were known as ‘half-timers’, which is to say they went to school in the morning and to work in the afternoon. The following week it would be the opposite way around. This of course resulted in many of them being very tired, for the hours were long and they would fall asleep at their desks or when they should be working. Their job was to crawl under the machines spinning the cotton and sweep up all the dust and fluff that gathered there; this was done whilst the machine was running and many children lost their lives or were badly maimed from becoming trapped in the machinery. Later they were shown how to repair breaks in the yarn being spun, this was known as ‘piecing’, hence the title, ‘Little Piecer’. Although they were employed at the mill they were paid their wage, which was probably only a couple of shillings (10p) for a week’s work, by the Spinner who was the man in charge of the spinning mules.


Walter enlisted (No.18803) during the First World War and attained the rank of Sergeant in the 10th Battalion, the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was sent to fight at the Somme and lost his life three days before the battle of the Somme, which had been raging since July, ended. His body was never found and he was presumed dead on 15th November 1916.  He is remembered along with thousands of others who have no known grave on the Thiepval Memorial.


Walter is also remembered on the War Memorial in Victoria Square, Bolton and in the Bolton County Borough Roll of Honour 1914-1918 Book, on page 078.  He received the Victory Medal and the British Medal for his service.


The Golden Rolls of Honour were produced by Captain Malcolm Cockerell as a private fund raising enterprise after the First World War and sold for two shillings and sixpence each (12½ pence). The certificates were sent, with a letter, to the relatives of the fallen men asking if they would like to purchase the copy. Certificates for other war memorials in France were also produced. The certificate would include the entry from the Imperial War Graves Commission Register with the service information for the soldier in question.


Bolton Archive Ref No ZZ/675/1. Walter Carr, World War 1 Memorial Certificate 1916.

Further information regarding the Golden Rolls of Honour is available through the following link.



Leave a comment

Lieutenant Edgar Hampson 1895-1916

This blog written by Helen Lowe, Neighbourhood Engagement & Delivery Officer, at Manchester Archives+.

I have been researching my father’s family for a number of years, his mother’s maiden name being Hampson.

The Hampson family lived for many years in Radcliffe. Towards the end of the 19th century, and into the 20th century, many of them moved to, and lived in Pendlebury and Swinton.

My dad, a retired journalist for a well known local newspaper, knew that there was a newspaper connection somewhere in the Hampson family, but wasn’t sure who, which newspaper it was, or when.

I quickly found that the person in question was Peter Hampson (1852-1919). Peter was the 9th of 15 children, and the younger brother of my great great grandfather Richard James Hampson (1842-1922).
It turns out that Peter was the founder and 1st proprietor of the newspaper, the “Pendleton Reporter”, later to become the Salford City Reporter, in April 1879.

Peter Hampson married Edith Hirst in 1892, and went on the have two sons, Stuart Hirst Hampson (1894-1956), and Edgar Hampson in 1895.

Manchester Central Library has an agreement with the British Newspaper Archive (BNA) website, which gives library users full access to the collection when they are in the library.

I noticed that the Manchester Evening News (MEN) has recently been added to the website, but only for the war years 1914-1918 and 1939-1945.

Making a casual search of this new resource, I looked for Edgar Hampson, and was surprised to find him mentioned a number of times, including a photo of him, and the fact that he had died on the 1st July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Up to this point, I hadn’t known the exact details of his death, only the date and whereabouts.

Edgar is first mentioned in the MEN on Tuesday 11 July 1916, under the heading “Battlefield Heroes” which lists “Today’s Local Casualties”, firstly those killed, then the wounded, and then the missing. Edgar is listed under the “Missing” section.


Clearly, it wasn’t known if Lieut. Edgar Hampson had been killed, or if he was only missing. This must have been a very difficult time for his parents, not knowing if their son was alive or not, especially as their older son was also serving with the Lancashire Fusiliers as a Captain.

Edgar is then mentioned twice, in the MEN on Wednesday 22 November 1916, on pages 2 and 3.

Page 2 lists the “Latest Casualties”


This makes very grim reading, but must have been an all too common fate for those killed during this, and other, terrible battles throughout the war.

On page 3 of the same newspaper, Edgar is mentioned again under the heading “Salford’s Loss”


This short piece makes it clear that Edgar’s father, Peter Hampson, was involved in public service as a councillor, amongst other things, as well as being the proprietor of the newspaper he had founded.
Is this something that Edgar would have become involved with after the war had ended? Public service and working in his father’s business?

In the MEN on Thursday 23rd November 1916, Edgar is listed in the Births, Marriages and Deaths column, under “Roll of Honour”


Although Edgar Hampson died on 1st July 1916, his family only found out about his death for certain in mid November 1916, making for 4 ½ months of uncertainty.

Edgar is next mentioned in the MEN for Tuesday 13th February 1917, in an article called “A Link with Cricket – Mournful Records.”



Edgar must have been a skilled cricketer, to have been mentioned in the Wisden’s Cricketers’ Almanac at such a young age.

More unfulfilled potential.

He wouldn’t have been the only Hampson with sporting prowess. His own brother, Stuart, played rugby for the Broughton Rangers Rugby League Club, and was later their Chairman. Also his cousin (my great grandfather) Vernon Radcliffe Hampson (1877 – 1959) was a professional Rugby League player for a few years in the 1st decade of the 20th century, playing for the Swinton Lions. Vernon was in the team that won the 1900 Challenge Cup, captained by Jim Valentine. Vernon is listed in the book “The Lions of Swinton” by Stephen M Wild, in the statistics section, as scoring the most tries (19) in the season 1900-01.

I have also mentioned Vernon, because, after he retired from playing rugby, due to injury, he went on to work in his father’s printing works in Pendlebury.

Printing, newspapers, and journalism, are well embedded trades in the Hampson family, it seems.

Finally, Edgar Hampson is mentioned in the MEN on Thursday 10th January 1918, under the heading “Manchester Officers Honoured”.

This article is in-fact about Edgar’s older brother, Captain Stuart Hirst Hampson. Edgar is mentioned at the end, as a footnote.


Clearly, Edgar’s brother was doing very well for himself. Surely Edgar would have been as similarly successful in his own career, had he survived the war.

After grammar school, Edgar attended the Salford Royal Technical Institute. Maybe this is an indication of where his future lay?

His grandfather, Robert Hampson (1805-1877), had been a blacksmith, and had worked on the building of some of the railway tunnels, such as the Woodhead Tunnel in the 1840’s, and the Standedge Tunnel, where many of his 15 children were born.

Edgar Hampson was part of a very small branch of this huge Hampson family, which, I feel, has a rather sad end, for all the potential shown early on.

Edgar’s father, Peter Hampson died in 1919, having passed on the newspaper business to his son Stuart H Hampson. Stuart married Dorothea Winifred Haynes in 1917, a year after his brother died. They had 2 children, Edgar Charles Stuart Hampson (1918-1948), and Margaret Dorothea Edith Hampson (1931-?). As well as running the newspaper with his mother, Stuart was also the chief Air Raid Warden for Salford during WW2; and the National Chairman of the Royal British Legion (RBL). It was while travelling to one of their monthly meetings in London, in January 1956, that he collapsed in a carriage of the overnight sleeper train to London, where he was found the following morning. He died shortly afterwards in hospital. He had been told, but it hadn’t been announced officially, that he was to be awarded an O.B.E. for his services to the RBL. Stuart’s son, also called Edgar, was to have taken over the newspaper business, but he sadly died shortly after the end of WW2, in June 1948, so Stuart sold the newspaper soon afterwards. It is not known if Stuart’s son Edgar, who was married, had any children. I also haven’t been able to find out what happened to Stuart’s daughter Margaret.

I could have simply written a short biography of Edgar Hampson, but that has already been written by Wendy, on the SWARM Salford War memorials website:
I decided that my approach to this blog needed to be more personal, and to show Edgar’s place within the wider Hampson family instead.
I hope I have succeeded.
– website
– British Newspaper Archives – website
– Manchester Evening News on the BNA – website
– Manchester Guardian & Observer Digital Archives – website
– The Times Digital Archive – website
– SWARM Salford War Memorials – website
– Salford Advertiser & Salford City Reporter, 23 July 2009, special 130 year anniversary edition – newspaper
– The Lions of Swinton, a Complete History, by Stephen M Wild, published by Stephen M Wild, co. 1999 – book
– History and Traditions of Radcliffe, by Rev. W Nicholls, published by John Heywood Ltd, co. 1910 – book