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LETTERS WRITTEN TO HARRY KERSHAW HAIGH IN 1917 AFTER HE WAS INJURED IN WORLD WAR 1 AND SENT TO A RED CROSS HOSPITAL IN GLASGOW.

 

Harry 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.

The following letters were written to him in 1917.

 

15, Bingham St.,

Swinton

Dear Mrs. Haigh

No 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 hit.

I 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/-.

The former was what Harry left behind on going into action and the latter was what you sent for him in your parcels.

I 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.

When 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.

From yours very sincerely

W. G. Greenough Sgt.

 

 

15, Bingham St.

Swinton

Manchester

9/2/17

Dear Harry

Perhaps 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.

I 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.

Anyhow 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.

I 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.

We held the positions captured and our casualties were as follows:

Killed:

Sergt. McGreaves

Pte. Bennett

Pte. Houghton

Pte. Crombleholme

2nd. Lt. Dundadale

All from No.2 Post, the last two shot by snipers.

 

Wounded:

Pte. Haigh

Pte. Horton

Pte. Roberts

Pte. Dawson

Pte. Whiston

Pte. Addy (stretcher bearer)

L/C Beaumont

Pte. Portman Offs. Servant

Sgt. Cox

Pte Hulme Lewis gunner

Pte. Appleton (still at duty)

 

Ptes. 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.

Sgt. 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.

Well Harry, I will close now wishing you the best of luck.

Your old chum

W.G. Greenough

PS. Send my kind regards to Mrs. Haigh and your little daughter when you write them.

 

 

15, Bingham St.,

Swinton

23/2/17

Dear Harry

I 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.

It 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"

I 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 going on.

I 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.

By 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.

Mollard 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".

I 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.

Well, 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.

Your old chum

Will

PS. Until you get another address from me forward your letters to 15, Bingham St., Swinton, Manchester.

 

 

3/3/17

Dear Harry

Received 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.

I 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.

Yes Chum as you say Capt Green is one of the best and we have found it out more just lately I tell you.

Harry 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.

Yes 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 you.

My 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.

Well 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 from you.

I remain your sincere chum

Will

 

 

The men listed as killed in action are remembered as follows:

 

Sgt. Harry Charles McGreaves died 11/1/1917 aged 21

Beaumont-Hamel British Cemetery

 

2nd. Lt. WH Dunderdale died 11/1/1917 aged 31

Thiepval Memorial

 

Pte. David Crombleholme died 10/1/1917 or 12/1/1917

Beaumont-Hamel British Cemetery

 

Pte. Samuel Calvert Bennett died 12/1/1917 aged 27

Arras memorial

 

Pte. John Houghton died 10/1/1917 aged 21

Arras memorial

 

 

 

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