Alderley -World War 1.February 1917
We will remember them, February 1917
This was an important month in the history of the war. In Russia, the February Revolution saw the overthrow of the Tsar, which led later in the year to the seizure of power by Lenin and the Bolsheviks, while in the Atlantic the Germans began a campaign of unrestricted submarine warfare which brought the USA into the war in April.
On the western front, trench warfare continued and the village lost another of its young men. Private Harold Jones, of Chorley Hall Lane, was serving in the 11th battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, which was redeployed in October 1916 from the Somme to Ploegsteert, near Ypres.
It was here that Private Jones was wounded in action: his shattered right leg had to be amputated and he did not recover after the operation. He died in hospital in Boulogne on 3rd February, leaving a widow, who seems to have returned to her native Cockermouth.
William Harold Jones was born on 30th December 1887 and baptised at St Philip’s Church on 12th February 1888. His father William, a coachman, and mother Sarah both came from the Tarporley area. Harold was the third of five children. Three of his brothers were also in the army, one of them serving in Egypt.
Harold attended the local school and in the 1911 census he is described as a bookkeeper employed by a fishmonger. The newspaper report of his death tells us that he sang tenor in St Philip’s Church choir.
This month also saw the death of the only civilian who is commemorated on the war memorial: John Ernest McElfatrick. Jack, as he was known, died at home on 1st February, aged 24.
The Advertiser records that he had served as transport officer in the British Red Cross Society, Cheshire branch, from the beginning of the war, organising transport of the wounded to the various hospitals. Devotion to this duty, it said, “contributed largely to his early death”. Presumably this explains why it was thought right to include him among the war dead remembered on the war memorial.
If you know of Alderley Edge men who served in the war and returned home afterwards, we should be glad to hear of them.