First World War Gallantry Awards, Greater Accrington

Band of 1st East Lancashire Brigade, Royal Field Artillery

Above: The band of 1st East Lancashire Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Photograph by kind courtesy of Peter Haywood.

Contemporary letters published in the Accrington Gazette and the Accrington Observer & Times make it clear that men who volunteered to enlist before the idea of raising a local battalion was even mentioned felt aggrieved at the special attention that was paid by the town's leaders to the Accrington Pals and - to a lesser extent - to the Accrington & Burnley Howitzer Brigade. Take for example this letter to John Harwood, from Captain Douglas Hewitt Hacking, dated 7th December 1915:

Dear Captain Harwood. - I notice in the local papers that under your guidance the Accrington people are again getting together funds for the "Pals" and Howitzers in order that the men may be provided with Christmas comforts to remind them of their friends at home. I would like to appeal to you in the name of "C" Company of the 2/5th Batt., East Lancashire Regiment, a company which is composed of practically all Accrington men. Without wishing to detract in the slightest from the great qualification of your purely local battalion, I would point out that most of "C" Company enlisted previous to the "Pals" and Howitzers being formed, they are exactly under the same obligations as regards service abroad, a great number having already laid down their lives in the Dardanelles for the love of their country, and the probabilities are that very soon the remainder will be called upon to carry out the terms of service on the field of battle.

Under these circumstances my men feel rather keenly the preference given to the "Pals" and Howitzers in the Accrington district, and I would be extremely grateful if, with your influence in these matters, you would try to persuade the committees concerned to send a share of the comforts, whether in cash or kind, which are collected in your district, to the company which I have the honour to command.

I hope that your health is better, and that you are enjoying the relaxation gained by giving up the reins of office. It seems rather strange not to address you as Mayor after having held that position for so long. Kindest regards - Yours very sincerely, Douglas H. Hacking (Captain)

As we approach the centenary of the First World War, it is hardly surprising that the commemorations planned to-date seem to focus almost exclusively on the Pals. Yet we should not forget that the great majority of Accrington men and women who served and lost their their lives during the war did so without joining the Pals; see also this analysis of the 1918 Absent Voters List for Accrington.

These pages honour all men and women of Accrington and District who gained gallantry awards for their actions during the Great War of 1914-1918. At present (April 2013) details are available only for those from Accrington. Details for those from Altham, Baxenden, Church, Clayton-le-Moors, Great Harwood and Huncoat will follow.

Click here for gallantry awards made to Accrington men and women

Please note while I have endeavoured to create a complete list, it will not be exhaustive; corrections and additions are always welcomed by me at:

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