I decided to research my great Uncle George of 3 Salfords this recent Nov. 11 when I recalled my Gran had referred to the loss of her brother about 40 years ago. Imagine my astonishment when I learned about the Salfords and the first day of the Somme. Then by amazing coincidence I found a last letter home posted by the descendent of one his mates - the recipient of that letter. So now I need to find out more about the Somme, about the Salfords and about George.
The letter referred to was written 7 days before my uncle died of wounds. He was from Rochdale. The letter is written to his mate Alf Plater and the letter describes the first day on the Somme on July 1. The text is as follows:
July 8, 1916
Excuse me being so long in writing to you. I am in the pink and best of spirits. Charlie told me you had been inquiring about me so I thought I should write when I had the chance. Things have been pretty hot here lately. We went over the top last week and I shall never forget it. I lost a good many of my chums and it was heartbreaking to see some of the wounded men. There were many German helmets to be got but they would be in the way. We have quite suffficent to carry. The German bayonets are awful things one edge is like a razor and the other like a double saw. The sight of them makes you ratty. Well Alf I hope you don't have to come up. How many more have listed at Thortons. I have nothing more to write about so I will close wishing you the best of luck.
Name: INGHAM Initials: G L Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Private Regiment/Service: Lancashire Fusiliers Unit Text: 19th Bn. Age: 19 Date of Death: 15/07/1916 Service No: 25262 Additional information: Son of George and Emma Ingham, of 58, Grouse St., Rochdale, Lancs. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: III. E. 24. Cemetery: WARLOY-BAILLON COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION
The burial site is about 15 kms behind the lines and as George died of wounds, I expect he was evacuated to a casualty clearing station. Hopefully he didn't suffer much.
19th (Service) Battalion (3rd Salford) (Pioneers) Formed in Salford, 15 January 1915, by Mr Montague Barlow MP and the Salford Brigade Committee. Moved in March 1915 to Conway and on 21 June 1915 to Catterick. 21 June 1915 : attached to 96th Brigade, 32nd Division. Landed at Le Havre 22 November 1915. 5 January 1916 : transferred to 14th Brigade in same Division. 29 July 1916 : transferred to GHQ and converted to Pioneer Battalion. 7 August 1916 : transferred to 49th (West Riding) Division.
Divisional Troops 1/3rd Bn, the Monmouthshire Regiment joined as Divisional Pioneer Bn April 1915, left August 1916 19th Bn, the Lancashire Fusiliers joined as Divisional Pioneer Bn August 7th 1916 199th Machine Gun Company joined 19 December 1916, left 29 October 1917 254th Machine Gun Company joined 26 Nov 1917, moved to 49th Bn MGC 1 March 1918 49th Battalion MGC formed 1 March 1918
I have attached a picture of a page from the Lancashire Fusiliers WW1 roll of honour which shows George's.
I looked at the Lancashire Fusiliers, Salford Brigade book of honour which contains photographs of each platoon and a list of names. Unfortunately George is not on any of the pictures which may suggest that he moved from one of the other Lancashire battalions into the 19th.
Thanks for the help so far....very generous. Can anyone suggest a likely avenue to find a photo of George, perhaps in a period Rochdale newspaper. Did area papers often show photos of casualties?
Yes, the local Rochdale paper of the time would be the place to look for a photo. Do you still live near Rochdale? If not do a Google and find where the microfilms of the Rochdale Observer are kept and telephone with George's date of death, they may do a look up for you and send a copy by post, email or fax.
Thanks Shred - very useful...except for the part where I visit given I am here in Canada . I will try to hunt down a microfilm of the Rochdale observer at long range and if I find something will post it here. I have emailed the site you provided as well as the Rochdale library service.