William Griffin

WILLIAM GRIFFIN (1872 - 1915)

William was born on Friday 12th January and Baptised at St Alban's nine days later. He was the son of Galway couple, Bridget and John Griffin/Griffith, who lived on Buke Street in Macclesfield.

William was admitted to the Macclesfield Workhouse the day following his eight birthday. We have no information around the circumstances of him moving to the workhouse or whether other members of his family accompanied him. However, a year later he was living at 'St George's Industrial School for Roman Catholic Boys' on West Derby Road, Liverpool. We don't know the circumstances that led to this move but the Industrial Schools Act (1857) gave magistrates the power to send children under the age of fourteen found:
• begging or receiving charity
• wandering, homeless, without means of support, or in the company of reputed thieves
• to have committed an offence punishable by imprisonment
• to be beyond the control of their parents.

At eighteen, labourer William, joined the 4th Cheshire Regiment (Militia/Territorial Force). It is not known if William served overseas in the 2nd Boer War but at the end of the war he was discharged from the Army.

The 1911 Census tells us that by the age of nineteen, William was back in Macclesfield and living at 51, Waterside, Macclesfield, with his mother, Bridget, three brothers and one sister. Like his mother, William was, at the time, working as a silk piecer. Interestingly, in filling out the census form for his mother, William gave his age as thirty six instead of thirty nine.

William re-enlisted after the outbreak of the First World War, joining the 2nd Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment. His 'Medal Rolls Index Card' records that William landed in France, on 6 March 1915, with the 2nd Battalion, Cheshire Regiment. Almost seven months later, on 3 October, William was 'Killed in Action' during The Battle of Loos. The date of William's death coincides with the day William's Regiment put up a strong resistance to a German attack. The website www.stockport1914-1918.co.uk describes the events of that day:

On 3 October, the Germans attacked all along the 84th brigade front line, but were generally repulsed. The Cheshires put up a determined resistance. At one point, the commanding officer, Major Roddy, led a bayonet charge but this was met with a hail of bullets and they had to fall back to the relative safety of the trench. The Official History ...reports "Brigade HQ ordered fresh attacks, but this was quite out of the question, having in view the exhaustion of the individuals and the congestion in the trenches. It was quite clear to anyone who visited the front line that further attacks were not feasible, even by fresh troops, until the congestion of wounded and dead had been overcome. Nevertheless, another attack was ordered....."

Later in the morning, the Germans attacked on the Brigade left, driving through the neighbouring battalion and into the Cheshires. The War Diary reports "The enemy broke through part of the trench occupied by the Welch on our left flank and advanced with great rapidity, throwing hundreds of bombs, their bombers being supported by machine guns and rifle men." The Cheshires were pushed back along the trench until the attack finally faltered."

By the end of 3 October, nearly one hundred and fifty Cheshire Regiment servicemen were dead.

William has no known resting place and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.


If you would like to share any information you have about someone named on our memorial, please email Ann, ann.dalzell@yahoo.com

This website honours the WWI casualities of St Alban's Catholic Church, Chester Road, Macclesfield

StAlban's WWII war dead