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Peter Stanworth

Birth

Peter Stanworth was born early in 1888 in Burnley. He was the oldest of five children born to Harry and Margaret (née Hitchon). He was baptised at St. Stephen’s Church in Burnley on April 1, 1888. His brother, James, was born in 1890. By the time of the 1891 Census, the family were living at 74 Anne Street, in Burnley. Harry was employed as a Blacksmith and Margaret was a Dressmaker.

Early Life

In 1901, the family were still living at the same address, but Peter now had a sister called Susannah, who was born in 1897. His brother, Walter, was born in 1891, but died in the same year. Harry and Margaret then had a fifth child, called Alfred, born in 1901. Margaret was no longer a Dressmaker, but Harry was still a Blacksmith. By 1911, Harry was still working as a Blacksmith at a colliery. James had become a Plumber; Susannah was an apprentice Dressmaker and Alfred was at school.

Chester College

In 1911, Peter was attending Chester College, where he was training to become a Schoolmaster. In his second year, he took a full part in the sporting life of the College. By 1913, Peter was back in Burnley, employed as a Science Instructor at Coal Clough Lane School, in Burnley. On July 14, 1914, he married Eliza Annie Ormerod at St. Mary’s Church, in Nelson. Almost exactly a year later in July 1915, he was appointed as Headmaster of St. Stephen’s School, where he himself had been educated as a child. In 1916, he became a father when his daughter, Margaret, was born.

Military Service

Peter enlisted in the spring of 1917 and served initially with the 7th (Service) Battalion of the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment. He went to France in the autumn of 1917. The 7th (Service) Battalion was disbanded on February 22, 1918 in France, and it was probably at that time that Peter was transferred to the 1st/4th Battalion of the same regiment. By August of 1918, the German Army were in retreat, their Spring Offensive having failed, and the stalemate of trench warfare having been broken. The 1st/4th Battalion were in action in a series of attacks pushing the German line back out of France. Peter’s death came on August 24 in an attack at Givenchy.

Lest We Forget

The newspaper report of Peter’s death in the Burnley Express on September 4, 1918 records that he was with a group of men sent forward to find a German trench mortar position, and that he was killed by an exploding shell. A close reading of the Battalion War Diary account of the action would seem to suggest that his death was the result of what we would now call ‘friendly fire.’

Post Mortem

Peter is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, in France. His body had been buried where he fell and does not appear to have been recovered for later reburial in a war cemetery. Peter was entitled to the British War and Victory Medals, which would have been sent to his widow.