Ribble Valley at war

Prisoners of War

Prisoners of War.

In a German broadcast last weekend, it was announced that amongst the prisoners of war taken in the Middle East was Edward Benjamin. He was a gunner in the Local Territorial Unit. No official communication has been received by Mrs Benjamine, who resides at King Street, Whalley.

Clitheroe Advertiser July 4th, 1941.

Mr and Mrs W. Worthington, of Lamb Row Cottage, Whalley, were informed on Wednesday that their youngest son, Gunner William Worthington, of the Royal Artillery, who had previously been reported as missing in the Middle East, is a prisoner of war in Italy. He was taken prisoner in the Western Desert on June 6th and a letter to his family from his C.O reads "The battle after which your son was missing was fought for nearly three hours against impossible odds and fought until all guns but one were put out of action by direct hits. The last gun was fought to the last round. The knowledge that those who were lost doing their duty to the utmost, gives us who remain confidence and great encouragement. Your son is a good soldier whom we shall all miss. He played his part very gallantly, and we want you to share our pride in him." He was employed at the Whalley Abbey Print Works as a pentographer, and was associated with St Luke's Mission, Barrow. At the outbreak of the war he was a playing member of Barrow Cricket Club.

Clitheroe Advertiser and Times January 16th, 1942.

Mr and Mrs J Marsden, of 15, Bridge End, Billington, have received word from their youngest son Private Ellis Marsden of the East Lancashire Regiment saying that although a prisoner of war he is quite safe and well. He had been previously reported missing. Private Marsden who is 23 years of age was called up shortly after the outbreak of war and went to France on 15th April, 1940. His parents last heard from him when he wrote from Arras on May 31st. Born at Billington, Private Marsden attended the Whalley Church of England School and was a chorister for several years. For a time he was employed at the foundry in Whalley, but later entered into farm service. A good sportsman, he entered with zest into football and cricket and was very popular with his companions.

Clitheroe Advertiser and Times Friday 24th July, and August 21st 1942.

Mrs Simpson of 17, Woodfield View, Whalley, has received word through the Red Cross that her husband, Driver George Simpson, who was posted "missing" on June 28th, is a prisoner of war in Italian hands. Driver Simpson joined the Clitheroe Anti-Aircraft Battery before the war, and was one of those evacuated from Dunkirk and Crete. He is 22 years of age.

Another prisoner of war is Corporal Wilfred Merchant, youngest son of Mr and Mrs Samuel Merchant, of Corporation Buildings, Whalley. Corporal Merchant, who is 21, volunteered for the R.A.O.C. at the outbreak of war, and was reported "missing" on June 28th. Prior to the war, he was employed at a London Hotel.

Clitheroe Advertiser 8th January 1943.

Missing Airman

Missing Airman

His friends in the village were sorry to hear, early this week that Sergeant Gordon Thomson, a wireless -operator and air gunner in the R.A.F, of Bolton By Bowland, had been reported missing after a recent operational flight. Twenty Two years if age, Sergeant, Thomson joined the R.A.F. nearly three years ago, leaving employment at the Bolton By Bowland Branch of the Slaidburn, Holden and District Co-operative Society. He returned to duty, after a spell of leave, only on Moday week. Associated with St Peter's Church, he was a member of the choir as a boy. He is a member of the Reading Room and takes an active part in village affairs. We hope that more reassuring news will be recived soon.

We are pleased to say that at this stage of our research Sergeant Gordon Thomson was not killed and must certainly have been taken prisoner.

Clitheroe Advertiser and Times dated April 7th, 1944.

Low Moor Man Wounded

The parents of Gunner Jas Hitchen, Royal Artillery of 28 Albert Street, Low Moor, have been officially notified that he received a bullet wound in the right leg while on service in the Middle East. Only a few days earlier, they had received a letter in which he said he had reached Tripoli, and that, although tired, he, together with his comrade, threw their helmets in the air in celebration of the achievement.

Clitheroe Advertiser and Times Friday March 5th, 1943.

W.V.S Whalley

Mrs C.H. Lambert of Whalley Abbey has been appointed Centre Organiser for the Whalley C.V.S in succession to Mrs R Greenwood of Clerk Hill who has resigned her position owing to ill health. The appointment has now been ratified by headquarters of the W.V.S in London. The W.V.S was started seven months before war broke out and great credit is due to Mrs Greenwood for her splendid leadership and initiative.

Clitheroe Advertiser and Times dated Friday March 5th, 1943.

Killed In Action

Tropper Frank Cunliffe, of the Royal Tank Corps, only son of Mr and Mrs Cunliffe, "Woodside", Sydney Avenue, Whalley, who, as was announced in our last issue has been killed in action in the Middle East. He was articled to the Town Clerk of Clitheroe (Mr G Hetherington) and was actively allied with the Billington Baptist Church and Sunday School.

Clitheroe Advertiser and Times Friday March 5th, 1943.

Postal Clerk's Thefts

Cigarettes and Chocolate Taken From Soldiers Parcels. Frank Admission

Acknowledging the theft of cigarettes, tobacco, biscuits and cheese from postal packages, addresses to soldiers in the district, William Edwin Nicholls (18) Vale View Cottages, Waddington Road, Clitheroe, appeared on two summonses at Clitheroe Police Court, yesterday. Nicholls was directed to pay an advocates fee of £5.5s and witnesses' expenses of £2.0s.6d. Prosecuting Mr Leonard Cotman of Preston told the magistrates that Nicholls was seventeen at the time of the offences were committed. He was a temporary sorting clerk and telegraphist at Clitheroe Post Office and had sixteen months service. Early in May, Mrs Burfoot in London sent her soldier husband stationed in Clitheroe a parcel containing three packets of 20 cigarettes, 1oz of tobacco, biscuits and cheese. The parcel was not received. About the same time Mrs Freeman, also in London, sent her soldier husband a registered parcel and on delivery it was found to contain a cake and a letter but nothing else.

On May 29th, Nicholls was interviewed at Clitheroe Post Office by Mr Evans, a member of the Post Office Investigation Branch. Nicholls confessed and had been stealing since September 1940.

No prison sentence was imposed due to the defendants age and probation procedures were put in place.

Clitheroe Advertiser and Times dated July 4th, 1941.

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