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ROTHWELL, Henry (1886-1949) – East Lancashire Regiment

Henry Rothwell enlisted, as a Private (No 2568), in the East Lancashire Regt in Preston on 5th October 1914.  He served in the 1/5th and 2/5th Battalions and was promoted to Lance Corporal on 14th January 1915, but reverted to Private at his own request on 30th June that year.  He was re-appointed Lance Corporal on 1st October 1917 and finally to the rank of Sergeant on 31st December 1918.  He qualified as a 1st Class Gunner for Lewis machine guns in July 1917 and in July 1918 became an Instructor.  At some stage when transferring Battalions his number became 240654.

Rothwell served in the Dardanelles, leaving there on 18th January 1916 for Alexandria, Egypt.  He was hospitalised, on 21st October 1916, because of a centipede bite to his thigh, but otherwise seems to have been uninjured in his military service.  He went on to serve with the B.E.F. in Western Europe, from 12th March 1917 until 16th February 1919.  He was demobilised in Preston on 19th March 1919 and awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War and Victory Medals in 1921.  When he left the Army his home address was given as 1 Aspolen Buildings, Clayton-le-Moors, Accrington. 

‘Harry’ Rothwell, as he was known for the rest of his life, was a widower by 1939 and moved to Wickhamford in 1940, together with his daughter. A report in the Nelson Leader in November 1940, stated that he would be missed from his village of Higham as he was a very popular figure.  He was actively involved in local sports organisations and has an allotment.

In Wickhamford he became involved with the football club and, according to his obituary, he helped restart the village football club after the War.  He served on the Committee and spent many hours of his spare time working to level out the pitch.  He was employed by Messrs Wheeler and Mansell, of Evesham.  He died in April 1949, aged 63, leaving a son and a daughter, and was buried in Lancashire.

(There is an earlier Army record of a ‘Harry’ Rothwell, in the Royal Regiment of Artillery (No 65613) on 10th June 1911, aged 19, and that he was working as a stoker at that time.  This age does not agree with the Wickhamford resident's, so this is likely to be a different man.  His enlistment form also records that he had already served in the 4th East Lancashire Territorial Battalion.  He was discharged from the Royal Regiment of Artillery after only one month due to medical reasons, as “not likely etc”.  His medical record states that he had had the middle finger of his right hand amputated.  Other details at that time state that his parents, of 9 May Street, Blackburn, were Thomas and Agnes Rothwell and that he had siblings, John and Mary Alice.)