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Capt Arthur de Bells Adam (MC)
1885 - 1916

CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916

Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916

Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916

Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft

Pte 21940 Thomas Ackerley

  • Age: 25
  • From: Rochdale
  • Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 20th Btn
  • K.I.A Friday 28th January 1916
  • Commemorated at: Cerisy-gailly Mil Cem
    Panel Ref: II.D.28
SDGW shows this soldier’s place of birth as Rochdale; however, there are no births in the Rochdale area which match his age on enlistment. The only Thomas Ackerley (or similar spellings) of the right approximate  age born in England and Wales was born in the March quarter of 1889 in Altrincham district; however this is one year older than his age on enlistment.  The registration in Altrincham of Thomas, shows "mother unknown". It is possible that if his birth was illegitimate it was not registered, or if Thomas was brought up in institutions he may not have known his exact birthdate. He was baptised in St. John the Baptist, Knutsford, on 22/1/89, mother Jane Ackerley, no father listed.  
The 1891 census shows a Thomas Ackerley, age 2, born in Knutsford, an inmate in the Altrincham Union Workhouse, listed together with his likely brother, Frank, 4, born in Altrincham to mother Ackerley. Also Jane Ackerley, single, 32, laundress, born Timperley. There is also a Harry Ackerley, 9, in the workhouse, born in Knutsford in 1881 to mother Ackerley.  
The 1901 census finds Thomas in the Diocesan Boys Home at 43 St. Albans Street, Rochdale. age 13, place of birth ‘not known’.  If this is the same Thomas Ackerley, the reason for his move to Rochdale is not known. In the same Census appear Frank and Eva Ellen Barker, Rochdale but unfortunately their marriage record (1910) on line does not provide Eva’s maiden name and there is no record of them in 1911 at Farnworth Street. 
On enlistment, Thomas states his occupation as steward.  The following crew lists show Thomas Ackerley, born Rochdale, except for two entries -

1911 age 21, Ivernia, 112 Empress Road, Liverpool
1911  age 22, Saxonia, 112 Empress Road - name crossed out, did not join ship
1912 age 22, Carmania, 71 Victoria Road, Seacombe (born Liverpool)
1912 age 23, Ivernia, 112 Empress St, Edge Hill (born Manchester)
1912 age 23, Carmania, 37 Linacre Lane, 3rd class waiter (address of Henry Lowe, steward in 1911)
1912 age 24, Carmania, 71 Victoria Road, Seaforth crossed out, Seacombe
(Although these are Cunard Line ships, the name Ackerley does not appear on the Cunard WW1 Memorial.)
On enlistment in Liverpool on 09th November 1914, stating his age as 24 years, born in Rochdale and his occupation was steward.He is described as being 5’ 4 and a half inches tall, weighing 119 lbs with a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair.  He gives his religion as Church of England. Thomas gives his next of kin as Eva Barker, 48 Farnsworth Street, Liverpool.  There are no births for an Eva Ackerley between 1860-1900; she cannot be identified. Eva’s name was crossed out and replaced with the name of Nellie Williams, 72 Ponsonby Street.  At this address in 1911 is Ellen Jane Williams, 41, born Toxteth, and her brother Thomas 48, born Bootle.  Like Eva, her relationship to Thomas cannot be ascertained.

He went to France in November 1915 and was killed in action on 28th January 1916. 
The Battalion War Diary for 28th January 1916 records:

Maricourt. In the trenches.  During night of 27/28 the enemy had erected various small flags on and near his fire trenches. Enemy artillery very active all day.  Commenced shelling over Left Group at 5 a.m., Right Group at 7:30 a.m.  Fire, support, and communication trenches were heavily shelled in all groups at intervals during the day, a very heavy bombardment being directed on Left Group from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.  after which front line was little fired at.
MARICOURT village was shelled from 10:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.and intermittently from that hour till 11:30 p.m. the bombardment from 2 to 3:30 being the heaviest. It is estimated from the intervals between shells (when salvoes were not fired) and the number of hours the bombardment lasted [that] at least 5000 shells were fired on and over the subsector.
Casualties 2 O.R. Killed and 2 O.R. Wounded (at duty).  
Thomas was one of the Other Ranks killed. (The other O.R. killed in action was Cpl 22710 Edward Halewood.)
He was buried near to where he fell, in Maricourt Military Cemetery.  After the war when graves were concentrated, his body was identified by the cross on his grave and his khaki uniform, and he was reburied in Cerisy-Gailly Military Cemetery, Somme, where he now rests at II D 28. He was awarded all three medals..
His Victory and British War Medals were returned, evidently his sisters could not be traced.  A War Gratuity of £4-10s was ‘unissued’.  No recipient for his Army Effects of £5-9s-4d is listed, nor is a pension card found, suggesting that Thomas had no dependents. 
Thomas' name was recorded on the Memorial Tablet at the Diocesen Boy's Home as reported in the Rochdale Times 31st Oct 1923


At the second annual Old Boys' gathering at the Diocesen  Boys' Home in Castlemere Street on Saturday afternoon a memorial tablet was unveiled by Archdeacon Sale, in the presence of a goodly company to the lads who fell in the War and to the benefactors of the Home, The memorial, which has been placed in the vestibule of the Home takes the form of an oak panel on which are inscribed the words:-

"Rochdale Diocesen Boys' Home.Established in St. Alban's Street, 1891; Removed to Castlemere Street, 1913.

In proud remembrance of the lads of this Home who gave their all in the Great War 1914-19.

James W. Turner,Thomas W. Dean,Thomas Ackerley, Arthur Sunderland,Arthur Illidge, Alfred Moulson.

Legacies and donation of over £50 have been given by- 1911 Miss E. Tyler; 1918 Miss Crompton; 1922 Mr Grey; 1922 Alderman and Mrs Davidson.

In the centre of the panel there is a crest of the Homes representing the Church of Christ receiving the children in His name. In the original this crest is encircled with the motto:- "Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages." Alongside the panel was a wreath of white and bronze chrysanthemums. There are usually about 30 boys, up to the age of 16 in this Home, of which Mrs Johnson is the Matron. Archdeacon Sale is the chairman of the Local Committee. 

Grateful thanks are extended to Dave Bohl, one of the contributors to this site, who has been in touch with the Rochdale Trust and at the moment they have no record of the memorial, but are still looking. Dave is going to register it with the IWM.


We currently have no further information on Thomas Ackerley, If you have or know someone who may be able to add to the history of this soldier, please contact us.

Killed On This Day.

(108 Years this day)
Tuesday 18th July 1916.
Pte 27346 John Mawdsley
34 years old

(106 Years this day)
Thursday 18th July 1918.
Cpl 106108 William Alexander Unsworth
38 years old