WRITTEN TO HARRY KERSHAW HAIGH IN 1917 AFTER HE WAS INJURED IN WORLD
WAR 1 AND SENT TO A RED CROSS HOSPITAL IN GLASGOW.
Haigh was born on 21st. September 1880 at 4 Granville Street, Rochdale,
the youngest child of James Henry Haigh, a carter, and Sarah Ann
Kershaw. He married Mary Alice Woodcock at St. James, Milnrow, on
13 May 1911. At the time of his marriage he was living with his
Aunt Lydia Kershaw at 129, Dale Street, Milnrow, and was a cotton
operative. He served in the 21st. Battalion of the Manchester Regiment,
A Company, during the First World War and was seriously injured
in action at Mailly, France. Just prior to his being wounded he
was promoted to Sergeant. He never saw active service again and
went on to be an Instructor. He
suffered gangrene in both legs as a direct result of trench warfare
and died on 13th. March 1943 at the Fairfield Hospital in Bury.
following letters were written to him in 1917.
doubt you will be wondering who is the writer of this letter so
I will introduce myself. My name is Sgt. W. G. Greenough and I am
one of Harry's pals. I cannot tell you sorry I was when I heard
he had been wounded. I didn't see him but I enquired as to his condition
from the doctor, who told me he would recover although he was badly
left France shortly after the attack in which Harry was wounded
and up to my departure we had had no news from him. I brought with
me 32 francs 40 cts and 4/-.
former was what Harry left behind on going into action and the latter
was what you sent for him in your parcels.
sincerely hope that Harry is getting better so if you have any news
please drop me a line and if you know which hospital he is in, as
if near to, I would love to call on him as we were good pals as
he was willing and brave.
you write him send my kind regards and best wishes. I am also sending
some correspondence which belongs to him. Please
give my love to your little daughter and accept my sympathy and
best wishes for yourself.
yours very sincerely
G. Greenough Sgt.
you will know by this that I am in dear old Blighty. I cannot tell
you how sorry I was when I heard early on the morning of Jany 11th
that you had been severely wounded and that poor "Mac" had been
killed. My sorrow was also shared by the officers, N.C.O.'s and
men of the company and we knew your real value and therefore we
felt your loss keenly.
tried, in fact we all did, to get to know how you were going on
but without result until I wrote to your wife on my return to England.
I was pleased to hear you were doing nicely but I cannot help but
think you are worse than you have led your wife to believe.
Harry, I wish you a speedy recovery, but a long stay in England.
I sent Mrs. Haigh the money you left with C.Q.M.S. Capper after
changing it to English. I also sent 4/- which we took from two of
your parcels. I would have called on you had you been nearer but
I think Scotland is just a little too far.
am at present having a months leave before going to the Cadet School.
Harrison and Mollard are fine, the latter being at Hut 7, D Coy.
No. 2 M.G. Cadet Batt. Pirbrigh, Surrey. Perhaps you don't know
how "A" Coy went on in the stunt.
held the positions captured and our casualties were as follows:
from No.2 Post, the last two shot by snipers.
Addy (stretcher bearer)
Portman Offs. Servant
Hulme Lewis gunner
Appleton (still at duty)
Heald, Stanway and Jacques never returned but were found in hospital
either sick or with bad feet. Poor Cox stuck at duty but fainted
twice one day in camp and the doctor sent him straight to hospital.
Bates and Cpl. Rigg couldn't get their boots on for a week. Before
I left we had moved back to Beauqueanse for a rest. It wasn't a
bad place but bitter cold as we were in a barn. Nobby Clarke and
Addy won the Military Medal and so did Terry (stretcher bearer)
all "A" Coy., whilst I was lucky enough to win the DCM. Mr. Green
was promoted Capt. and won the MC.
Harry, I will close now wishing you the best of luck.
Send my kind regards to Mrs. Haigh and your little daughter when
you write them.
cannot tell you how delighted I was to get your letter of Feb. 12th
and I must thank you for replying to me so soon. At the same time
I must apologise for not writing to you again before this.
was good news to hear your wounds were not as serious as at first
anticipated and I cannot do better than echo the message which Alf
Mollard told me to send you on his behalf viz: "To wish you a long
and painless recovery"
have had one or two letters from H. Boothman and one from Walter
and in my replies I gave them news of your progress and also your
address, as I promised to find out where you were and how you were
would have paid you a visit Harry had you not been so very far away.
It was good to hear you were having a good time at Glasgow as you
deserve one after what you have been through. It was a good job
Mr. Green put your promotion through before the attack or otherwise
you would have received no recognition of the good work you did
whilst with the batt.
the way Harry, I have had a letter from Capt. Green and he tells
me the batt. Is still resting at Beauqueanse, although he is at
the 5 th Army School.
is at a Tank School at Pirbrigh in Surrey and Harrison is still
at the depot at Ashton awaiting call to a Cadet School. I report
at Ashton on Wed. next so my leave is nearly "napoohed".
haven't much news so you must excuse this short letter, but I should
be very pleased to hear from you from time to time, so that we can
keep in touch with each other. One never knows but we may find ourselves
at Cleethorpes together in a month or two.
goodbye for the present. Send my kind regards to Mrs. Haigh and
your little daughter. Best of luck and a long stay in Blighty is
the best wish I can send you.
Until you get another address from me forward your letters to 15,
Bingham St., Swinton, Manchester.
your most welcome letter and I am pleased to say all the boys are
in the pink that are left here. Sgt. Cox and Corp. Rigg are both
in dear old Blighty from the effects of the stunt etc.
don't know whether you have got to know or not but poor Harry McGreaves
and David Crombleholme went under, also Sam Bennett. I am very pleased
to hear Harry that you weren't as badly hit as they thought at first
because we got terrible news about you in fact when we received
no word from you we were beginning to think ominous things and wasn't
we all pleased when your letter came and relieved our minds and
I shown the letter to all the boys and also to Captain Green MC
and he was delighted to see it and find out you were nearly alright
again and he told me to remember him to you and he wishes you the
best of luck and he also hopes to see you back with the Company
and you must do your best to get back.
Chum as you say Capt Green is one of the best and we have found
it out more just lately I tell you.
excuse my mentioning about Harry Mac and the others but I hadn't
noticed you mentioned it. I see you know all about it and I am very
pleased Will Greenough sent on the money to your wife and I think
it was the correct amount but Harry let me know if it wasn't because
I got it mixed with my own.
as you say I am sure you would be glad to hear about Will coming
home for his Com. And also being awarded the DCM for I think he
deserved it he has done splendid work all through; yes Taylor is
quite alright again and I am very glad to say little Walter pulled
through alright and got the Military Medal. Yes Ted was quite upset
when he got to know the news and the first he inquired about was
address Harry is as follows 103, Kirkstall St., Ardwick, Manchester
it is just near the Empire theatre and I thank you very much in
anticipation of you calling.
Harry I think this is all at present so close with best of good
wishes from all the Boys in fact the Company. Hoping to hear often
remain your sincere chum
men listed as killed in action are remembered as follows:
Harry Charles McGreaves died 11/1/1917 aged 21
Lt. WH Dunderdale died 11/1/1917 aged 31
David Crombleholme died 10/1/1917 or 12/1/1917
Samuel Calvert Bennett died 12/1/1917 aged 27
John Houghton died 10/1/1917 aged 21