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WW1 Casualty: Lance Corporal 31406 Harry Chesworth -

Lance Corporal 31406 Harry Chesworth

Prescot Reporter 02/02/1917

Unit/Regiment 2nd Bn, York and Lancaster Regiment
Date of Death 12/10/1916 Age at Death 24
& Reference
Thiepval Memorial
Pier and Face 14A & 14B
CWGC Family Details (if shown) Son of George and Emma Chesworth, of 71, Warrington Rd., Prescot, Lancs., brother of Fred Chesworth
Census Details 1901 Census -

Harry was aged 9 and lived at 19 Cyprus Street, Prescot, with his father George, a 40 year old barrel maker, mother Emma (38) and siblings Albert (16), Lucy (11), Fred (6), Arthur (4), Eva (2) and Lily (2 months)

1911 Census -
The family now lived at 71, Warrington Road, Prescot. Parents George, a 50 year old Blacksmith, and Emma, 48, had been married for 28 years. Their children are listed as Harry (19, a Teams Man on Farms), Fred (16, a Brass Finisher), Eva (12), Lily (10), Hilda (7) and Frank (5).
Birth/Marriage/Death Registrations Birth Registered Q1/1892, Prescot, 8b, 680
SDGW – Where Born Prescot, Lancs
Enlisted Prescot
How Died Killed In Action Theatre of War France & Flanders
Notes Formerly 4698, South Lancashire Regiment
Research Ref. No. P050

Service Details

Harry was the brother of Fred Chesworth

He was born on 5th February 1892 in Prescot, the son of George and Emma Chesworth

The 2nd Bn, York and Lancaster Regiment, with whom Harry Chesworth was serving when he died, was a battalion of the regular army and they landed at St Nazaire in France in September of 1914.

Records show that Harry was previously with the South Lancashire Regiment with service number 4698. I believe that this number was issued in early 1916 and so it would appear to be some time after that date when he was transferred to the York and Lancaster Regiment.

It isn't known when he landed in France, but the lack of a 1915 Star on his medal entitlement tells us that he did not go overseas before 1916.

The 2nd Yorks and Lancaster Regiment were based in the Ypres Sector until August 1916, when they were moved to the Somme. Early September saw them involved in training around NAOURS before moving up to MALZ HORN FARM on the 12th, where they provided working and carrying parties. On 15th September they attacked the German positions at QUADRILATERAL, being in the front line for four days.

After a few days rest and 'Cleaning up', they again attacked on 25th September, gaining all their objectives.

On 26th September, they again withdrew from the front, returning to LA BRIQEUTERIE, then to billets at MEULTE.

The first week in October was spent in training at MEULTE before moving to TRONES WOOD on the 8th. By 12th, they were ready to attack again, this time at LE TRANSLOY. The diary reads,

'2.25 pm. Twenty minutes after the advance of the 4th Division on the right, the 2nd Yorks and Lancaster Regt advanced to the assault from the 6th Divn front line, the 71st Bde on the left stood fast in CLOUDY TRENCH.

Immediately an intense machine gin barrage was laid by the ebemny on the 1th Infantry Brigade front line. The first wave advanced a distance of from 50 to 80 yards, suffering exceedingly heavy casualties; the remainder of the Bn not casualties found shelter in shell holes and returned to the original front line after dark. Fighting Strength previous to assult � 350.

A large number of casualties occurred actually whilst the regiment was getting out of the front line to the assault. The following officer casualties occurred:-

T/Capt G F BAILEY, commanding C Coy, wounded
2/Lt W H VINE, commanding A Coy, Killed
2/Lt D WATTS, A Coy, Killed
2/Lt A JEPSON, B Coy, Killed
2/Lt H A PRATT, C Coy, wounded
2/Lt J GREEN, D Coy, wounded
2/Lt HODGSON, B Coy, wounded

Thus of the 15 officers who went into the line on the evening of 8th October, only 5 remained including the Adjutant and Signal Officer at Headquarters.

Casualties: Other Ranks, 57 killed, 130 wounded, 33 missing.

5:00 pm. Enemy put heavy barrage of shrapnel and High Explosive on support and communication tranches.

Constant bursts of enemy machine gun and rifle fire at night up to time of relief increasing the difficulties of clearing the wounded.'

And so the 12th October came to a close. Harry Chesworth was one of 82 men of the Battalion who were killed in action that day. The fortunes of war denied him a known grave and he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, along with 59 others of his unit who fell that day.

The diary for the day records that the fighting strength of the battalion when withdrawn was reduced to approximately 140.

The Parish Magazine of 27th November reported the death as follows. 'Lance Corporal Harry Chesworth of 5th South Lancs. Was killed in October 1916 in one of the battles of the Somme. Aged 24, he is of 71, Warrington Road'.

From the Prescot Reporter of 14th September 1917

Harry Chesworth's Medal Index Card. His entitlement was to the British War Medal and Victory Medal

Harry Chesworth's inscription on the Thiepval Memorial.
This picture was taken on Monday 21st February 2011

Harry's entry in the Register of Soldiers Effects

Harry and Fred are also commemorated on the family grave in St Mary's Churchyard. Picture courtesy of Neil Harper

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