Mike Royden Books

Online publication catalogue for historian and writer Mike Royden. Details about all books and how to order. Signed copies available. Books include studies on the Home Front in both wars across Merseyside, Wirral and Chester. Plus the story of the Cheshire village of Farndon during WW1.
Cheshire Remembers

Stephen Benson's superb Cheshire County Memorial Project - compiled to honour all who fell in the Great War and World War Two across Cheshire. An immense undertaking, brilliantly presented. A fitting memorial.
The Liverpool Pals Memorial Pages

A website that is dedicated to the memory of all who served in the Liverpool Pals battalions of The King's Liverpool Regiment during the Great War and the service in Russia. Compiled by Tony Wainwright and a host of fellow researchers, an amazing memorial.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission

On this site you can find out about the history and work of this organisation and the vital role they play in remembering the war dead.
IWM's War Memorials Archive

IWM's War Memorials Archive (formerly UK National Inventory of War Memorials)
is working to compile a comprehensive record of all war memorials in the UK to promote their appreciation, use and preservation. Search the online database of UK war memorials.

Imperial War Museum - Lives of the First World War

Discover their stories - Remember their lives.
Imperial War Museums needs you to help piece together the Life Stories of more than 8 million men and women who made a contribution during the First World War.

Western Front Association

The Western Front Association was formed with the aim of furthering interest in the period 1914-1918. The object of the Association is to educate the public in the history of the Great War with particular reference to the Western Front.
The Long, Long Trail

A brilliant site for researchers of servicemen and women of the war and many other matters. The best WW1 forum on the net too.
In From the Cold

The In From The Cold Project (IFCP) was formed to research and identify all service men and women missing from the official Commonwealth War Graves Commission database, covering the First and Second World Wars, and to have such soldiers, sailors and airmen recognised on relevant memorials.
WW1 Battlefields Site

This website features touring the battlefields of the Western Front. Set up in 2004, there is information on how to visit and where to stay. There are also many photographs of the battlefields, information on useful books/guides to the battlefields, reviews of books relating to the First World War, plus many WW1 weblinks.

WW1 Battlefields Site

This site provides an overview of the First World War battlefields on the Western Front by showing you where they are and what you can see today.

BBC World War One History Pages

The causes, events and people of the conflict dubbed the 'war to end all wars'.

Carls Cam War Memorials

This site covers aspects of Cheshire Local History, plus an extensive record of local war memorials
War Memorials Online

War Memorials Online is an opportunity for the public to upload images of war memorials and log concerns for the conservation of these important community and historical sources for future generations. Through this cooperation a more complete picture is being built of the whereabouts, type and condition of all war memorials in the UK.
War Memorials Trust

War Memorials Trust works for the protection and conservation of war memorials in the UK, providing advice and information as well as running grant schemes for the repair and conservation of war memorials. Upload photos, check location, contribute condition information and add links for your local war memorial.
Flintshire War Memorials

A virtual memorial for the war memorials of Flintshire, North Wales, UK. The aim of the project is to research and record the memorials in the whole of Flintshire, of which there are over sixty. With a team of researchers and Welsh Heritage Lottery funding it is on its way to becoming a reality. A very informative and well designed site.

Ellesmere Port During the First World War

The Ellesmere Port War Memorial situated near the Civic Hall

The aim of this project is to trace the men of the Ellesmere Port War Memorial and to research a brief biography of each man. The battlefields of Belgium and France are also visited regularly to discover more about where the men fought and where they are now remembered.

There is also a focus on how the war affected Ellesmere Port highlighting the hardships and experiences of those enduring life on the home front.

Much of this has been the basis of the book 'Canal Port at War - Britain and the Home Front during the First World War' by Mike Royden (2014)

War Memorial
Storm Damage
(the original memorial site)

As a result of Storm Franklin on 20/21 February 2022, the cross on the original War Memorial was sadly demolished by a falling tree.

This was just one incident of storm damage across the region however, as the area took a battering from gales up to 60mph.

Cheshire West and Chester Council's Streetscene team were called out to numerous incidents involving fallen trees, so hopefully the site will be cleared up quickly. The reconstruction of the memorial, of course, will take a while longer.

Ellesmere Port and Neston MP Justin Madders, told The Standard on hearing of the news, "It is awful to see, hopefully it won't be long before it's reinstated."

We echo those words of course, especially as it is such an important site, and is a key reason why this website exists, in memory of those listed on its panels. [Photo by Leigh & Company Stationers].

New War Memorial Garden

After this website showed great concern as to the plight of the war memorial of the men of the Mersey Ironworks, and contacted relevant authorities to ensure its safekeeping in storage, it has now been refurbished and relocated in a fitting new memorial garden site, very close to the former site of the factory. More details here.

New War Graves Sign finally erected

After over a decade of campaigning, a war graves sign was eventually erected on the main road opposite Christchurch. Click here for further details.

WW1 Lectures

Numerous events have been organised to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War, many of which can be found on the Great War Stories Web Site. Mike Royden has been engaged to give several lectures on aspects of the war and how to go about carrying out your own research. Click here for further details.

Soldiers Records

Visit this page to see the current list of men that have been researched, plus a full listing of the men on the panels of the war memorial. There are also numerous men of Ellesmere Port that have not been recorded on the memorial and these men will also be featured once research is complete.

The Parting of the Caldicott Brothers

The Caldicott brothers, William and John, were originally from Bilston in the Black Country, and had moved to the Port with hundreds of others before the war to follow the move made by the Wolverhampton Iron Works in order to take up employment there. They had the chance to avoid signing up for military service as they were in exempted occupations, but both men wouldnt hear of it and went together to enlist for the Liverpool Pals. Their story is a heartbreaking one, both with their battlefield experiences and life at home.

Click here for a fully illustrated story, plus links to their war record.

Seven Sons Gone to War - The Hardwick Brothers

The Hardwicks came from Tipton in Staffordshire, where William Hardwick, was born into a family of iron workers in the industrial heartlands of the Black Country. Like many of his friends and neighbours he saw brighter prospects opening up at the expansion of the canal town in Ellesmere Port, especially once the Wolverhampton Iron Works had led the way, moving their operation north to the Port’s canal side. The family arrived in Ellesmere Port around 1910, moving into 8 Woodfield Road, close to the Iron Works. When the war came all seven sons signed up for military service.

Click here for a fully illustrated story of this patriotic Ellesmere Port family, plus their war records and other original documents.

The Dodd Brothers All Gone to War

The Dodd family of Ellesmere Port was another of those local families that saw practically all of their sons sign up for active service. Either eight or nine passed through the recruiting office – the precise number remains unknown as documents have not survived – but this was a phenomenal commitment to the war effort and the call for volunteers.

Click here for a fully illustrated story of this patriotic Ellesmere Port family, plus their war records and other original documents.

The Tragic Case of Private Arthur Williams

Private Arthur Williams had already been a career soldier,serving with the Royal Munster Fusilliers between 1904-7, which included two years on Gibraltar. His service also included signing for an additional 9 years in the Army Reserve. Meanwhile, his family relocated from Wolverhampton to Ellesmere Port following the move made by the Wolverhampton Iron Works. At the start of the war both Arthur and his father were working there, but as a Reservist Arthur was mobilised immediately and was in France within days, fighting in the The Battle of the Mons, the first engagement of the war,

He took part in the legendary rear guard action where just three companies of Royal Munster Fusilliers held their ground against the full might of the German Army, allowing the bulk of the British Army (the B.E.F.) to retreat safely. The battalion was decimated, but Arthur's fate was to take a tragic turn.

Click here for a fully illustrated story and to access original documents.

George Keates Added to the Memorial

Research has revealed that at the latest count there are almost thirty men who were not recorded on the war memorial. Occasionally, new items appear in the local press drawing attention to the fact that a name has been missed off, and that the local authorities are being contacted with a view to putting the anomaly right. However, this is actually nothing unusual, although of course it is perfectly understandable that descendants wish to see the name of their family member added in due course. In this case Private George Keates, who returned home seriously ill after being gassed while in action, died at home in 1920 at the age of only twenty. He was buried in Christchurch Cemetery. His name was not put forward for the War Memorial and he remained unrecorded, until January 2015 when his name was finally added following a ceremony attended by local dignitaries and family members.

Albert Lilley Added to the Memorial

When war broke out, Albert was an early volunteer, signing on in September 1914 in Ellesmere Port and being posted to the 2nd Battalion Cheshire Regiment. After several months intensive training he was in Flanders with the B.E.F. on 6 April 1915. On 25 May 1915 he was reported missing after action near Ypres, and was presumed killed in action. He was never found. His name is recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres. However, due to his itinerant life he was not recorded on the Ellesmere Port War Memorial. This was finally rectified in 2014.

Honoured and Remembered

Numerous men from the Port were awarded mililtary honours including Second Lieutenant Leonard Richmond, who had the highest honour bestowed on a local Ellesmere Port man, which was the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.) .   He was also awarded the French Croix-de-Geurre with palm (the second highest level of the ward).   

There were many more awards for bravery including a Military Cross, several Distinguished Conduct Medals and numerous Military Medals.

Click here to view those men who were honoured.

Joe Mercer - Prisoner of War

Research is not confined to the men on the war memorial. Much has been discovered about local men held as prisoner's of war behind enemy lines. Joe Mercer was Ellesmere Port's most famous son at the start of the war, having been signed by First Division club Nottingham Forest F.C. after a scout spotted him playing for the local works team, Burnell's Iron Works (a.k.a. Ellesmere Port Town F.C.). He signed on for the footballer's regiment in late 1914, was wounded and later taken prisoner. (He is the father of Joe Mercer junior who later captained Everton, Arsenal, England, and managed Manchester City to the League Championship, before having a short term as England manager).

James Gilbride

James Gilbride wasted little time in volunteering at the end of August 1914, and was assigned to the newly formed 9th Battalion Cheshire Regiment. His brother Thomas went in the Welch Regiment, while his wife's brother was with the Welsh Guards.

Originally from Chester, this family of millers were attracted to a move to Ellesmere Port after the opening the new Flour Mills on the dock estate.

Click here for a fully illustrated story and to access copies of original documents.

William Manford D.C.M.

William Manford was another recent Black Country migrant who came to the Port to work in the Wolverhampton Iron Works. When the war came he returned home to sign on for the 2nd South Staffordshire Regiment.

At the age of only seventeen he was awarded the D.C.M., a high ranking award for gallantry in the field, where he made several journeys under fire to recover machine gun equipment despite being wounded twice.

Click here for his story.

A wifes desperate fight for compensation

Harry Griffiths volunteered for active service on 15 August 1915, in Birkenhead, leaving his wife and two infant children to join the Cameron Highlanders. However, he became ill during training in the severe Scottish winter and was discharged only four months later. Then began the fight for support as home life became a desperate struggle to keep their home and stay out debt.

Click here for a fully illustrated story and to access original documents.

Campaign for War Graves direction sign

Most Commonwealth War Graves sites have a direction sign whether at home or abroad (you may have passed the war graves sign for Blacon in our locality). As you can see on our link for the War Memorial in the left menu, there are several Commonwealth War Graves from WW1 in the cemetery of Christchurch, the former parish church for Ellesmere Port. However, there is no direction sign which we feel is essential for this tucked away site. We initially raised this with the Ellesmere Port Pioneer who helped publicise the campaign. The local British Legion also gave their support, although the Commonwealth War Graves Commision do not own the land and cannot be involved.

Although a plaque was placed on the wall of the church, it seems the local council do not feel the memory of these local men is important enough to warrant a road sign similar to those found throughout the Western Front and at home. Clearly, more respect to our war dead is paid in France and Belgium than by the authorities in Ellesmere Port.

Success with installation of Memorial plaque

In December 2007 a memorial plaque was erected on the external wall of Christchuch to remember the men buried in the churchyard who died as a result of service in the First World War. Click here for the full report and photographs.

This Site in the News

This site has been featured several times in the local press. Articles include research into the local men of the war memorial, battlefield visits and the campaign for a direction sign at Christchurch, Ellesmere Port. Click here for the Media page

The Bousfield Brothers

Read about the cruel tragedy that befell the Bousfield family. A father who loses three sons to the war, two of whom were never found.

Ben Whitby

The story of Ben Whitby was greatly enhanced following contact by a relative, who kindly supplied copies of family photographs and family tree. (Also featured in the local press coverage of this site). Biographical details here.

Alan Gregson

Alan Gregson, who has spent a number of years researching World War One history, including the War Memorial in Stoak village, has supplied us with numerous photographs of some of the soldiers on the war memorial, taken from the local press articles of obituary notices during the war, plus the photograph of the Bousfield brothers. We are most grateful for his contribution and hope this collaboration will continue to be fruitful.


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