Thursday, 30 April 2015

Whittaker, Richard - Private (34082)

(No soldier photo available)
2nd/5th Battalion,
The Lancashire Fusiliers,
Died on 20th June 1918,
Age 32

Loos Memorial.

Richard Whittaker was born in Haslingden in 1885. He was the son of Richard and Elizabeth Whittaker. In 1891 Richard, then aged four, was living at 6, Queen St. Acre, Haslingden with his parents, sisters Martha and Selina, step brother Edmund Taylor and grandmother, Alice Pickles. By 1901 the family had moved to 186, Hud Rake, Haslingden, and Richard was living with his parents, sisters Martha and Selina and step-brother Edmond Taylor. At this time he was working as a cotton weaver. On 21 December 1907 he married Mary Jane Nuttall at St. John’s Church, Stonefold. Richard and Mary Jane lived at 5, Carr Street, Hud Hey Road, Haslingden.
Richard enlisted in Haslingden soon after war broke out. He joined  “C” Coy of the 2/5th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, no 9 platoon and was killed in action on 20 June 1918 near Givenchy, France. He was 32 years of age. Richard Whittaker is commemorated on the Loos Memorial to the Missing in Dud Corner Cemetery, Loos, France.

"During June 1918 both the Battalion and the Germans opposite them carried out frequent raids on each others trenches to capture prisoners and generally create alarm.
Shortly before midnight on 19 June a more elaborate operation was carried out by the Battalion. A force of 100 men consisting of fifteen sections divided into five parties, lined up behind a barrage of artillery, machine guns and mortars and advanced on an area which proved to contain five or more, probably seven, German machine guns. Progress was considerably hindered by a large amount of loose wire lying about in the high grass as well as by machine gun fire from the flanks and some bombs from a trench mortar. Nevertheless, four of the five parties forced an entrance into the German positions, much fighting taking place with the occupants.
Lt. Forster's party in particular had a hard struggle. A machine gun was brought into action in the strong-point which was its objective and he had to rush it with revolver and rifle fire, the team of six Germans being killed. At another post Cpl. Crossley led his section against a machine gun, killing three of the gun team himself and seizing and carrying back the gun. Other Germans were taken prisoner and all the machine guns were put out of action.
The Battalion casualties were one man killed, 2 officers and 37 other ranks wounded and 17 men missing, believed killed.
The Divisional Commander, Major General H. S. Jeudwine, in a note of congratulation to the Battalion Commander, Lt. Colonel G. S. Brighton, wrote " Your fellows showed a fine spirit last night and must have fought like demons ".
Pte. Whittaker was one of the 17 men who were reported missing. Their bodies were never found and they are commemorated on the Loos Memorial".
 From – Bill Turner’s Book. 

On 14 February 1919, the following appeared in the Haslingden Guardian 
Any information of Pte Richard Whittaker 34082 C Coy, 2/5th Lancashire Fusiliers, no. 9 Platoon, missing since June 20th 1918, would be thankfully received by his wife, residing at 5, Carr Street, Hud Hey Road, Haslingden.