Another Week - 26th July, 2018
News of the death of another of Congleton’s soldiers had arrived, that of Pte Henry Jones. He was not serving overseas but in Middlesbrough, and contracted pneumonia. In spite of the doctors’ medical skill he died on 14th July.
He was buried in Middlesbrough Cemetery, but his wife lived at 17, Brook Side, Congleton; she received a message of sympathy from the king and queen and another from the army council. Pte Jones had fought in the Boer War. He left one child and was attached to the York and Lancaster Regiment.
Official news had been received by Mr and Mrs Charles Holland, of Wagg Street, Congleton of the death of their only son, Gunner CW Holland, of the Royal Horse Artillery. Gunner Holland, (22), joined up in May 1917, prior to which he worked at Messrs Stott and Smith’s mill, and then moved to Vickers at Barrow, from where he enlisted. He was formerly a member of the St Peter’s Football Club.
Again, it was a virus that got him. Only the day before his death, his parents received a telegram warning that he was dangerously ill with pneumonia.
There was general lamenting at the death of Lt-Col Wilfrith Elstob, DSO MC, Manchester Regiment, the third son of the Rev Canon Elstob, Capesthorne Vicarage, Chelford. He had been reported missing on 21st March 1918 and was now officially reported killed on that day while in command of his gallant battalion of “Pals”, “the heroes of Manchester Hill”. He was 29 and generally regarded as an outstanding chap.
One who knew Col Elstob well wrote: “I had hoped all along that Elstob might turn up in Germany, but I could not help feeling that if he had any say in the matter he would not allow himself to be taken alive.
“He was one of the finest men in the division. He was a man of unusually strong personality. Everyone who came in touch with him felt the force of it, from divisional commander to private. His own officers and men worshipped him.”
Capt and Adjutant Norman Sharpies, Manchester Regiment, who fought by the side of Col Elstob at Manchester Hill, was reported missing, believed killed. He was the son of Mr and Mrs W Sharpies, of Withington.
The flu epidemic had already claimed lives and was but a mild version of the lethal variety heading the way of a populace rendered weak by war. We reported that the epidemic had now peaked, especially with regard to the number of schoolchildren affected. We said: “Among these, the cases were so numerous that it was deemed necessary to close several of the schools.”
In Biddulph, the school authorities had had the same difficulty to contend with, as the flu had “severely infected” the area.
The medical officer of health in Congleton, Dr J Craig, had closed schools until the end of August.
Elsewhere, normal life continued.
At Congleton County Court, Fanny Chaddock, of Moor Cottage, Biddulph, sued William Booth, licensee of the Talbot Hotel, Biddulph, claiming damages to £1 3s. She said she was cycling home when the defendant’s vicious little dog ran out and set on her. She fell off her bike, which was damaged. Recovering from the shock, she picked her parcels up from the road and walked home. She asked Booth what he was going to do about the repairs to the bicycle, and he replied “nothing”.
She said this was the fourth time this dog had fetched her off her machine.
Llewellyn Brown, Moor Cottage, Biddulph Park, father of the plaintiff, said Booth’s dog had also had a go at him.
The judge said Booth knew what the dog was like, and gave judgment to Mrs Chaddock for the amount claimed.
Thomas Kennedy, fustian cutter, of Milk Street, Congleton, was summoned at Congleton Borough Police Court for obstructing the footpath. He had been wheeling a barrow near Dane Bridge and blocking the path. When a police officer spoke to him, Kennedy said he had as much right on the footpath as anyone. He said he was not aware he was doing wrong.
He also claimed he was desperate to join the army, the medical board having deferred him for three months —– perhaps he was worried that wheeling a barrow about town indicated a better state of health than he had claimed.
The case was dismissed on payment of costs.
One suspects the medical board soon heard of his unexpected level of fitness.
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