This weeks post is a guest blog by the Barlow WWI Project and is an extract from their book: The Great War seen through the eyes of a rural community – Edgworth, Chapeltown and Entwistle and National Children’s Home and Orphanage, more information about the book can be found at the bottom of this post. The this story was researched by Margaret Ollerton and Linda Spencer.


War Record


Henry, known as Harry, was in the Welsh Regiment (21030).  He enlisted in Bolton 24th May 1915, joining the 15th battalion Welsh Regiment in Rhyl the following day.  On enlistment he gave his address as 7 Collins Road, Bamber Bridge, Preston and his occupation as spinner.  He was 25 years old and single.

Harry embarked at Folkestone in December 1915 and in February he was appointed acting Lance corporal “in the field”.  The appointment was unpaid!

Four months later he was killed.

Elder brother Peter is listed in Naval Records for the 1911 Census, his civil parish being listed as “Australia and South Africa” and his marital status as single.  He must have been on a vessel at that time.(1)  The Register of Seaman’s Services gives his birth date as 31st March 1883 and he joined the navy on 23rd September 1901 (298594).  His records show that he was only 5’ 2.5” tall, with brown hair and blue eyes.  His last service date was 22nd September 1923; 22 years service.   One of many ships he served on was HMS Bellona where he reached the rank of Chief Stoker.(17)

George also served and is recorded as being in training at Farnborough, but no service records exist.(16)  He could possibly have been involved with the Royal Flying Corps as they trained at Farnborough.


 The Family History(1)

The men came from a very large family.  In 1901 they were living at 352 Bolton Road, Edgworth.  They were all involved in cotton spinning and weaving, apart from the eldest daughter who was the housekeeper.   William Henry, the father, was born in Preston, Peter and Jane in Warrington, but all the rest were Bolton born and bred.  The mother was no longer living.


1901 Census


William Henry Forrest                                   age:     46                    Widower

Elizabeth E                                                                          23                    daughter and housekeeper

Peter                                                               21

Jane                                                                                       19

James                                                                                    17

William                                                                                 15

Eliza                                                                                        13

Henry                                                              11

Mary                                                                                        9

Annie                                                                                      7

George                                                             5

Lillian                                                                                    3

Bertha                                                                                    1


The 1911 census tells us that 12 children had been born and 12 survived.  However, the age of the youngest child may give us a clue as to why the mother is no longer alive. (1)


By 1911 James, Harry and Peter have left home, Harry going to Bamber Bridge where he possibly had relatives as his father was born in Preston.  Apart from anything else, 352 Bolton Road where the family was still living must have been a little crowded.(1)


Harry (christened Henry) was the 7th child of William Henry and Mary Forrest.   He was born in Bolton in 1889 and baptized at All Souls church, Astley Bridge.   He was killed on 11th July 1916 at the age of 27.  He is commemorated on the memorial at Thiepval, but has no known grave.    (Memorial reference: Pier and Face 7A and 10A)


A war gratuity was paid with £2 8s 6d going to Mrs Fanny Knowles – part legatee and £4 to his eldest sister Elizabeth.  There were no personal effects to be returned to the family, presumably as his body was not recovered.(18)


It is thought that Fanny is a misprint, which should read Annie, his sister, who later married Joe Knowles.


The army asked for details of relatives so that a scroll and memorial plaque could be “disposed of in commemoration”.


Most of the older members of the family had by now left the family home. The remainder now living at 10 Station Road, Bamber Bridge were Henry (father), Elizabeth, George, Jane, Lillian and Bertha.  In 1920 his sister Elizabeth received the 1914-1915 Star and his father received the scroll and was informed that the plaque would be forwarded as soon as it was ready.   He is recorded as being awarded the Victory Medal, the British Medal and the 1914-1915 Star.(18)


Harry is commemorated on the Memorial Pulpit in St Anne’s church Turton and also on the memorial at the Methodist Church on Bolton Road, Edgworth.


Harry’s sister – Liza (19)






Harry Forrest’s obituary in The Bolton Journal reads:


“After a fortnight’s anxiety consequent on the receipt of news from private sources, Mr. Forrest, formerly of Bolton rd and Wellington rd, Turton, has received official intimation of the death in action of his son, Lance-Corporal Harry Forrest, Welsh Regiment.  Lance-Corporal Forrest enlisted early in the war and was drafted to France in November, 1915.  He was 27 years of age and his name is on the Rolls of Honour at Edgworth Wesleyan School and the Village Institute.  He enjoyed local repute as a runner and was very fond of athletics.  In civilian life he worked at Messrs. Booth and Sons prior to going to Bamber Bridge with his father.  Another brother, Peter, is with the Navy at Hong Kong, and George in training at Farnborough.” (16)



1 census records

16        Bolton Journal and Guardian  11.08.16

17 UK, Royal Navy Register of Seaman’s Services

18 Register of UK Soldier’s Effects

19        photo from Howard Collection,        courtesy of Bolton Museum and Library Service



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The Great War seen through the eyes of a rural community – Edgworth, Chapeltown and Entwistle and National Children’s Home and Orphanage


The Barlow World War One Project (2016)

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