At the early stages of the First World War a decision was made by the committee of Leigh Infirmary to admit wounded soldiers should need arise. A newspaper article on 30 October 1914 details how, upon hearing that they would be soon receiving wounded soldiers, the hospital prepared for its first ‘guests’. It appears their arrival was quite an event!

‘During the weekend intelligence was received that a dozen disabled soldiers would leave Whitworth St Hospital at two o’clock on Monday afternoon for Leigh. The staff at The Avenue at once commenced preparations for the reception of the guests, and those cases which could with safety be treated at home left the institution on Saturday.

The female ward in which there are 12 beds was prepared for the housing of the Tommies, and prior to their arrival the ward was decorated with flags, etc., and had quite a cosy appearance.

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Image from Wigan & Leigh Archives showing the ward in Leigh Hospital – no date

On each man’s locker was a bundle containing, amongst other things, a pipe, slippers, jersey, and stockings, some of the articles having been supplied by the members of the Women’s Guild.

Although it had been known for some time that soldiers might be expected at Leigh Infirmary for treatment, the actual time of their arrival was only known to a few, but the waiting crowd swelled as time went on, and by the time the motors containing the visitors appeared in sight a large number had assembled outside the main entrance. As the cars came to a standstill the onlookers raised a cheer for the khaki-clad occupants, which was taken up by a number of men who were working on the extensions to the Infirmary, and the greeting was none the less cheery from the Infirmary staff. The motor-cars in which the men arrived were kindly supplied by Mr. G. Shaw, J.P., Mr. J. H. Holden, J.P., Ald. W. J. Smith, J.P., Mr. Jas. W. Clegg, Mrs. Farnworth, Mr. Walter Eckerlsey, and Mr. Miles F. Burrows, J.P.

All the men were able to enter the building unaided with the exception of one young man, who had to be carried on a stretcher and put to bed at once. His was the most serious case, and although his ultimate recovery is believed to be only a matter of time, it was seemed expedient that he should rest for a few days. The soldiers whose bronzed appearance was at once noticeable are a set of fine looking men, and they received a most cordial welcome at the hands of Ald. W.J. Smith, J.P., Mr. J.H.H. Smith, J.P., Ald. T. Boydell, J.P., Mr. J. Ward, J.P., B.A. Mr A. H. Hayward (clerk), and Drs. Jos. Jones and Hall.


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Leigh Infirmary c1912 – Courtesy of Wigan & Leigh Archives


Their names are :-

Arthur Thos. Shepherd, 33 (918), 62, Villa Road, Radford, Coventry, Northumberland Fusiliers, D Co., shrapnel wound in the shoulder.

Patrick Jordan (7501), 32, Newtown Amerton, Co. Armagh, 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers, B. Co., flesh wound elbow joint.

Abednego Green (30), 29 Staniford Place, hill, 1st Lincoln Regiment, D Co., shrapnel wound right leg.

Wiliam Bettison (19), 1, Goodwin Terrace, Goodwin St, Hull, 1st East Yorks, D Co., bullet wound first finger right hand.

Edward Bradborn (29), 12, Bradshaw Lane, Grappenhall, Warrington, 2nd South Lancashire A Co., bullet wound left little finger.

Herbert Walker (24), 77, Greaves St., Walkley, Sheffield, 2nd York and Lancaster Regiment, A Co., bullet wound, right shoulder.

Edward Wainwright (28), Barnes Cottages, Stenhills, Runcorn, 1st Batt. Cheshire Regiment, A Co., bullet wound left middle finger.

Jos. White (28), 156 Grosvenor Buildings, Poplar, London, bullet wound index finger right hand.

Wm. Walker (28), 10, Ashurst St, Well St, Hackney, London, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry D. Co. finger wound.

Geo. Rankin (20) 20 Naylor St, Warrington, Royal North Lancashire, A Co., shrapnel wound left side.

Thos. Parr (35), 1 Court, Liverpool Rd., St. Helens, 2nd Manchesters, A Co., bullet wound left shoulder.

Geo. Winstanley (33) 36 Calverly St, Preston, Lancashire Fusiliers, A Co., shrapnel wound, first finger right hand.’


Ref: Leigh Journal – 30 October 1914

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