Rochdale News | News Headlines | Soldiers who died 80 years ago in World War II

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Date published: October 24, 2022


Littleborough History Center volunteers have researched service personnel from the Pennine districts of Rochdale (Littleborough, Milnrow, Newhey, Smallbridge and Wardle) who died during the Second World War.

This list is of men whose 80th birthday occurs in September and October 2022.


Sergeant John Raymond Stott

John Raymond was born on October 17, 1921, the son of Arnold and Seba Ann Stott (née Fielden) who married in 1919 in Rochdale. John was educated at Bury Grammar School. While living in Bamford, in 1939 the family was at The Hollies, East Street, Wardle. John R was a shipping clerk. Also present were his mother and father, a manufacturer of surgical dressings, his brother Edward Arnold was an apprentice in an electrical equipment company, and his younger siblings, Walter and Jessie, were in school. Prior to enlisting, John worked in the export department of Messrs. Rylands Ltd, Manchester.

Sergeant Stott 1439951, 20, of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, was killed on 21 September 1942 at the controls of Whitley 29472 of 10 OTU while on anti-submarine patrol low on fuel, due to the deteriorating weather conditions and crashed into the sea. It was flying from St Eval, Cornwall. John is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, panel 94 as well as the Wardle War Memorial. The Rochdale Observer of October 3, 1942 reporting his death noted that his father was a justice of the peace and his brother Edward A was back in action in the Middle East.

Lance-bomber John William Howarth

John William was born in Littleborough in early 1907, the son of Frederick Ughtred and Selina Howarth, of Shore, Littleborough, Lancashire. In 1911 he was recorded as living with his grandfather at 10 Charles Street. In 1939 his mother was living in Woods Passage with Alex Cottrell (possibly John’s younger brother). John’s father, Frederick, was killed in the Battle of Loos in World War I.

John was educated at the Duke of York’s Military School in Brentwood and at 18 he enlisted in the East Lancashire Regiment serving in India and Shanghai for nine years. Returning to civilian life, he was employed by the GPO as a cableman in Halifax, but lived in Dearnley.

John joined the Army in 1938, serving in the Heavy Anti-Aircraft Section of the Royal Artillery and sailing to Hong Kong in September 1938. With the surrender of Hong Kong, John became a prisoner of war under the Japanese.

Lance Bombardier Howarth 3382511, 35, 12 Coast Regiment, Royal Artillery drowned 1-2 October 1942 while in No 3 hold of the Lisbon Maru which was torpedoed by the American submarine Grouper. 1,816 POWs were on board and nearly all of them were lost when the hatches were battened down. The vessel was en route from Hong Kong to Shanghai. John is remembered on the Sai Wan Memorial, Column 3, the Littleborough Cenotaph as well as the Wardle War Memorial.

Sick berth attendant Donald Webb

Donald was born May 18, 1920, the son of William H. and Annie M. Webb (née Jones) who married at Rochdale in the fall of 1902, of Smallbridge, Lancashire. In 1939 his parents were recorded as living at 4 Waterside, Wardle, but Donald was not present.

22-year-old Sick Berth Attendant Webb D/MX 57578 Royal Navy 02/10/1942 HMS Tamar drowned 1/2 October 1942 while traveling on the Lisbon Maru which was torpedoed by the sub- American sailor Grouper. 1,816 POWs were on board and nearly all of them were lost when the hatches were battened down. The vessel was en route from Hong Kong to Shanghai. Donald is remembered on Panel 71 of the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Column 2, but not on any known local war memorial.

Both John William Howarth and Donal Webb are commemorated on Lisbon’s Maru Memorial which was unveiled on October 3, 2021 at the National Memorial Arboretum.

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