Saturday, 25 April 2015

Pilkington, Matthew - Private

(No soldier photo available)
1st. (Airborne) Bn, Border Regiment
Died 19 December 1941
Age 31

The 1st. Battalion, Border Regiment, was formed into an Airborne Battalion (to be carried by gliders) in November 1941. Whilst stationed at Barton Stacey, Hampshire, volunteers were called for to take part in the first live glider take-off. This was to be at R.A.F. Ringway (now Manchester Airport). Eighteen men were chosen from 80 volunteers. The flight, in a Hotspur glider, was intended as a test for air-sickness. The glider crashed and six passengers, including Private Matthew Pilkington, were killed.

Matthew was the husband of Agnes. He was aged 31. He enlisted in the Army as a Regular in 1929, and later worked as a postman at Rawtenstall before returning to the Army in 1939. He attended St.James' Church and was a member of Unity Workingmen's Club.

Matthew was interred in Holden Hall Cemetery, Haslingden, on Wednesday 24 December 1941. Amongst many floral tributes from family and friends, were wreaths from the officers, N.C.O.s and men of the R.A.F., Ringway, his friends at the Post Office and from Unity Workingmen's Club. Holden Hall Cemetery is now owned by Rossendale Borough Council. There is a total of 32 graves from the 1914-1918 War and four from the 1939-1945 War. Matthew lies in Plot G, Grave 410.