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Forton and Shireshead

Forton War Memorial, School Lane, Forton. PR3 0AS

The War Memorial was originally situated at the junction of School Lane with the A6.  It was unveiled in February 1921, and the ceremony was attended by General Archibald Hunter MP.

It was later moved to a new site at the junction of School Lane and Wallace Lane, where it stands today.

There are 15 fallen from WW1 commemorated on the memorial, and 4 from WW2.

From WW1:

Richard Alston

Private 3044.  1/5th Battalion King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment 

Richard was born in 1894 in Glasson Dock.  He was the son of George Alston a steam roller driver and his Wife Sarah Parkinson. Richard had 2 brothers, William and George who also served in the war. His Mother died in 1898, and his father later remarried, and the family lived at Hollins Hill, Forton.

Richard was killed in action on 4th May 1915 in France. He was 21.

He is one of the many who have no known grave.  He is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres.

Richard Newton

Private 12639.  2nd Company 2nd Battalion Irish Guards.  Formerly Private 2906 of the Household Battalion.

Richard was born in 1898 in Galgate. He was the son of Herbert Newton, a drapery hawker and his wife Mary Jane Lowther. He was one of 7 children, and was a butchers assistant at the time of enlisting.

He died, aged 20, of wounds received on 13th April 1918 and is buried at Aire Communal Cemetery in France.

At the time of his death his parents lived at Jackson Hill in Forton.

Henry Rimmer

Lance Corporal 27506.  2nd/5th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Territorial Force.  Formerly Private 5867. North Staffordshire Regiment

Henry was born in 1890 in Hightown, Cheshire the son of Robert Rimmer, a gamekeeper, and his wife Jane Anne Jones.  He was one of 6 Children.

Henry was also a Gamekeeper and moved from Keele in Staffordshire to Hollins Lane, Forton in 1915.

He was killed in action, aged 28, on 25th May 1918, and is buried at Sailly-Au-Bois Military Cemetery in France.

John Bowman

Private 3046.  1/5th Battalion King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment.   

John was born in 1894 in Forton, the son of Joshua Bowman, a grocer, and his wife Emma Woods. He was one of 5 children. His mother was left to bring John and his siblings up alone after his Father died in 1895. John was a domestic gardener, and the family lived at Hollins Hill, Forton.

John died of  wounds, aged 22, on 27th July 1916 in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Netley, Southampton.

He was buried in St Paul’s Churchyard, Shireshead on July 30th 1916.

Tom Wright

Private 241378.  B Company. 2nd/5th Battalion Kings Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment.

Tom was born in 1893 in Forton.  He was the son of Thomas Wright a plate layer and his wife Eleanor Bell, and he was one of 8 Children. He worked as a farm labourer, and the family lived at 6, Hollins Hill at Forton.

Tom died of  wounds, age 24, on 27th July 1918 in France,  and was buried on 31st July with a full military funeral in St Paul’s Churchyard at Shireshead.

Henry Whitaker Hoole

Private 3876.  1/4th Battalion Kings Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment 

Henry was born in 1877 in Winmarleigh.  He was the son of Robert Hoole, a farm labourer, and his wife Alice Whitaker. He was one of 9 children and worked on a farm.   The family lived at Primrose Villas, Hollins Lane, Forton.

Henry was killed in action, on 2nd February 1915, aged 39, in France.  He is one of many men with no known grave, and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

Julian Henry Hughes

Sergeant 33699.  Royal Defence Corps. 

Julian was born in 1881 in Worcestershire, the son of Ivan Henry Hughes, an author & journalist, and Annis Charity Ebborn Bennett. He was one of 8 children and worked as an athletic sports outfitter, and a clerk in the county offices.

He married Edith Annie Mitchell at Cockerham in 1914,  and they lived at Crosshills, Forton.

Julian died on 7th May 1918, in The Nurses Home in Wennington, Lancashire, from the effects of gas poisoning he suffered while serving in the trenches. He was 29.

He was buried on 10th May 1918, with a full military funeral, at St Paul’s Churchyard at Shireshead.

Eric Oswald Spooner

Private 22210.  South African Signals Regiment.

Eric was born in South Africa and served with the South African Signal Service.

He died on 28th October 1918 in the 1st Eastern General Hospital in Cambridge after contracting influenza during the moving of his regiment from South Africa to the Western Front, via England. He was 19.

Eric was buried on 2nd November with a full Military Funeral at St Paul’s Churchyard, Shireshead.

His uncle, Charles Sherrard Brockett Spooner, was the Vicar of Shireshead at the time, and Eric’s body was entrusted to his care, hence his burial at St Paul’s.

*Note:  Eric’s gravestone shows his name as E.P. Spooner, which is incorrect.

James Armer

Private 41593.  21st Battalion Cheshire Regiment/transferred to 37201 63rd Company Labour Corps.  Formerly Private 24418 Border Regiment.

James was born in 1890 in Thurnham.  He was the son of Henry Armer, a fisherman, and his wife Ellen Arkwright, and was one of four children.

James’s father died in 1897, and the family was split, living with different relatives.  James worked on a local farm, and his mother lived at Glasson Dock.

James was injured at Cambrai, and died of his wounds in hospital at Rouen on 3rd December 1917. He was 27.

He is buried at St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France.

John Wilcock

Private 241885.  2/5th Battalion Kings Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment

John was born in 1879 in Euxton, Lancashire.  He was the son of Michael, a farmer, and his wife Alice Tyrer, and was one of 4 children.  He worked as a Farm Labourer. The family home was Bloomfield House, Bayhorse, Forton.

John was discharged from the army as permanently unfit for duty on 16th August 1917, and sent to the Luneside Sanatorium in Lancaster where he died on 31st May 1918 from general tuberculosis. He was 39.

He is buried at SS Mary and Michael churchyard in Garstang..

Robert Brockbank

Private 63526.  Machine Gun Corps. Infantry 198th Company

Robert was born in 1888 in Ellel, and he was the son of Henry Moore Brockbank, a canal agent, and  his wife Mary Jollys. One of 8 children, he worked on a small holding.

He married Elizabeth Ann Webster in 1911 and they had 3 children. They lived at The White House, Marton Moss, Blackpool, and Robert’s widowed mother lived at Bankrigg Cottage, Bayhorse. Robert died on 26th September 1917, and is one of the many men who have no known grave. 

He was 29. 

He is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium.

William James Kay

Private 18697.  6th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

William was born in 1888 in Cabus.  He was the son of John Kay, a general labourer, and Mary Eleanor Glave.  He was one of 6 children. His mother Mary died in 1894, and his father John re-married.

William married Sarah Armstrong in 1909 and they had 3 children.  He worked as a cowman at Sowerby.

He was killed in action on 9th April 1916 age 27 in Mesopotamia (present day Iraq) and is remembered at the Basra Memorial.

Peter Hulland

Private 30876.  2nd/5th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment.  Formerly 4th Battalion King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment

Peter was born in 1895 in Forton. He was the son of John Hulland, a road worker, and his wife Isabella Barnes. He was one of 10 children. The family lived on Hollins Hill in Forton.

Peter married Maggie Christy and they went to live in Clitheroe.  They had two children.

Peter was killed in action, aged 23, on 27th November 1917 in Belgium.  He is buried at the Tyne Cot Cemetery.

He is also remembered on the War Memorial at Clitheroe, Lancashire.

Stephen Donnelly

Driver 215569. A Battery 16th Brigade Royal Horse Artillery

Stephen was born in 1886 in Lancaster.  He was the son of Patrick Donnelly and his wife Sarah Kelly.  He was one of 12 children, and worked as a plasterer.

He married Mary Hall in 1914, and they lived at Tansy Cottage, Forton.

Stephen was killed in action, aged 32, on 31st March 1918 in France.

He is one of the many men with no known grave, and is remembered on the Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France.

John Crane

Acting Corporal 808375. 50th Battalion Alta Regiment, Canadian Infantry

Photograph by kind permission of Christopher L. Crane

John was born in 1890 in Nateby, the son of Robert Crane an agricultural labourer & Mary Sumner.  At the time John was killed they lived at Clifton House Farm in Forton.

John was killed in action in France on 2nd September 1918. He was 28.

He is buried at Dury Crucifix Cemetery, near Calais, France.

From WW2

Kenneth Pearson Berry

Stoker 1st Class D/JX157619. Royal Navy. HMS Repulse

Kenneth was born on 17th October 1922 in Whitely Northumberland, the son of Thomas Walter and Emily Berry.

He was killed on 10th December 1941, aged 19.  He was on board HMS Repulse, heading for Singapore when the ship was hit by Japanese bomber planes, and then by torpedoes.  47 officers and 486 crew were lost.

Kenneth has no known grave but the sea, and is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

Donald Forbes Goodacre

Major 234792. Royal Army Ordnance Corps.

Courtesy of P. Bassett

Donald was born on 27th August 1909 at Glossop in Derbyshire, the son of Fred and Jeannie Goodacre.

He married Helen Margaret Mansfield in Richmond, North Yorkshire in 1931, and the couple had 2 sons.

The family later moved to ‘Laurella’ at Forton.

Donald died on 2nd January 1945, aged 35.

He is buried at St. Sever Cemetery Extension, near Rouen, France.

An inscription on his headstone reads:


Lancashire Evening Post 1st February 1945


Mrs H. M. GOODACRE, of Laurella, Forton, near Garstang, has been officially notified of the death of her husband, Major Donald Forbes Goodacre, R.A.O.C.

Early in January, Major Goodacre and other officers were travelling by road from Rouen to Caen, it is stated. The road was icy, and when the staff car was passing a convoy, it skidded into one of the lorries, and was turned over on top of the occupants. Major Goodacre was killed instantaneously. 

Major Goodacre was educated at The Bishop Wordsworth College, Salisbury, and Joined the Service in 1927. In 1935 went to Mersa Matruh, then to Palestine, and later to Khartoum, the Western Desert and Malta, returning to England in September1943. He went to Western Europe last December. Besides a widow, he leaves two sons. 

James Cross

Sergeant 1514265. 36 Squadron Royal Air Force Reserve

Courtesy of Lancashire Constabulary

James was born in 1910 in Cockerham, the Son of John Cross a steam roller driver and his wife Mary Currie. He was one of 5 children.

He married May Hewgill in 1938 and they lived on Cop Lane in Preston. James was a motor patrol officer with the Lancashire Constabulary prior to joining up.

At the time of his death his parents lived at Pear Tree House, Richmond Hill, Forton.

In September 1944, 36 Squadron RAF were stationed at Rehghia in Algiers where they flew Vickers Wellington XIV aircraft on anti-submarine patrols.

James died on 5th September 1944. He was 34.

He is buried at the Dely Ibrahim War Cemetery, near Algiers in Algeria.

Richard Jarvis

Able Seaman D/JX346802. Royal Navy. HMS President III/SS Empire Heritage

Richard was born in 1922 in Darwen Lancashire, the son of Richard Jarvis and his wife Anne Whitaker Knowles. He had 8 siblings and in 1939 they were living at Centre Farm, Bay Horse.

Richard was serving aboard the steamship Empire Heritage, en route with Convoy HX-305 from Halifax Nova Scotia to the UK on the 8th September 1944. Around 0630 hrs the ship was hit by 2 torpedoes fired from German U Boat U-482 and sunk, off Tory Island, County Donegal.

Richard was one of 5 crew members who were killed as a result. He was 21.

He has no known grave but the sea, and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

Richard Winstanley

Private 14550920. 2nd Battalion South Wales Borderers, Monmouthshire Regiment.

Richard was born in 1924 in Great Eccleston the son of Richard Winstanley & Jane Dagger. He was one of 9 Children. The family lived at Whinney Brow Farm at Forton.

He was killed in action on 14th April 1945 in Germany. He was 20.

Richard is buried in the Becklingen War Cemetery Germany.

He is also remembered on the memorial at St. Anne’s church, Copp.

Richard’s grave at Becklingen

St. Paul’s Church, Stoney Lane, Shireshead.  PR3 1DE

The church is a Grade 2 listed building, constructed of sandstone rubble with slate roof.

It was built in 1805, but a building for worship had been in existence there since at least 1520. It was used as a chapel of ease for the parish of Cockerham.  A chapel of ease is a supplementary chapel built to accommodate people living at a distance from their parish church, usually in an outlying district or suburb.

There are 4 Commonwealth War Graves in the churchyard.  All four men are remembered on the Forton War Memorial.

Eric Oswald Spooner

John Bowman

Tom Wright

Julian Henry Hughes

Eric Oswald Spooner grave

John Bowman grave

Tom Wright grave

Julian Henry Hughes grave

Forton United Reformed Church

United Reformed (formerly Congregational) church, was built in 1760 on the site of church of 1706-7, and was altered in 1870 and during the 1920s.

It is a single storey building, constructed of sandstone rubble with a slate roof.  The interior has an 18th century pulpit, said to have come from St.Michael’s on Wyre.

Inside the church is a plaque which remembers Private James Armer