People

Elizabeth Harrison, 1908. ‘Characters’ abounded in the town and Elizabeth was frequently seen in the Manchester Road area. Often given nicknames as a form of affection rather than derision hers was Lady. Postcards on sale in the shop window include Towneley and Extwistle Halls. Jimmy Gannow Top ‘Silly Jimmy’ or ‘Jimmy Gannow Top’ real name James Pilkington was captured on a carte de viste photograph but he also appeared on postcard image of Gannow. Sage of Roggerham The ‘Sage of Read more>>

Prisoners of War

Over 400 Burnley men were POW’s, 70% of whom were captured in 1918. Research published on www.burnleyinthegreatwar.info suggests that about 50 spent most of the war in captivity having been captured in 1914. At least 57 died during or just after the war : at least one man Charles Smith 6742 1st East Lancs was murdered by the camp guards after 4 years of captivity. One PoW escaped from captivity: Alfred Birley MM became an officer.

George R Whittaker (1898-1962)

George worked at a local colliery before joining the East Lancashire Regiment. He survived the war, sending this postcard to his sister, Amy, before he came back.  

Pals in Burnley

Formed at the start of the war, the 11th (Service) Battalion (Accrington) East Lancashire Regiment, better known as the Accrington Pals, was the product of the rush to arms when friends and colleagues joined in the ‘great adventure.’ The picture shows when the battalion stopped in Burnley en route to camp at Ripon. At the same time, still suffering from wounds, Harry Watson (c1892-1970) was presented with his Distinguished Conduct Medal to a thrilled crowd.

Benedictine: the Tommies’ Tipple

Burnley Miners’ Club is reputed to be the largest consumer in the world of the famous Benedictine liqueur. The club was established in 1918 coinciding with local soldiers returning to the town. How the liqueur came to Burnley is a matter of some debate. One theory is that wounded soldiers of the East Lancashire Regiment attended a Christmas party at the distillery in 1917. Another theory is that the liqueur, with hot water, was given as a medicine in the Read more>>

Frederick Haworth (1896-1916)

Fred was born in Oswaldtwistle and the family moved to Burnley in 1902. He saw action in Gallipoli, then Mesopotamia. His family received his last letter from there 16th May, 1916. Fred accidentally drowned in the River Tigris a month later. The news of his death, in common with virtually all those from Burnley, was reported in the local press. As the deaths increased, in number the obituaries got shorter.

The Pals (1915)

Formed at the start of the war, the 11th (Service) Battalion (Accrington) East Lancashire Regiment, better known as the Accrington Pals, was the product of the rush to arms when friends and colleagues joined in the “great adventure.” Burnley contributed about a quarter of its strength. Taken at Penkridge Bank camp in 1915, the group photograph includes (front row, starting second left) Sid Edwards, Harry Platt, Harry Proctor and Fred Ashworth. John Davies is standing far right. All saw action Read more>>

Alfred Victor Smith (1891-1915)

Victor came to live in Burnley with his family when his father was appointed Chief Constable. Victor also served as police Inspector in the Blackpool police force. He was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in 1/5th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment and landed at Gallipoli. Victor was killed in action and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest military award, in December 1915. His citation reads “For most conspicuous bravery. He was in the act of throwing a grenade when it Read more>>

2/5th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment, Southport (1915)

The battalion was formed in September 1914 but did not serve overseas until 1917. During 1917-1918, the battalion suffered nearly 300 casualties killed, almost one in five of whom were from Burnley. The number of men killed from Burnley jumped dramatically over the course the war. More than 100 died in 1914, rising to over 1,000 in 1918.

Officers 1/5th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment, Cairo (1915)

The men were soon fighting in Gallipoli. Within a few weeks six were dead. One was to die in France in 1917. Alan Rodgers (back right) lived on Scott Park Road with his mother and father Robert (front, third from right). Robert wrote to his wife from Gallipoli, “Alan still missing. No news. Fear the worst. Am well.” Alan’s body was never found, and he is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli.