KERSHAW, William Pte. 15858

William Kershaw

William Kershaw

William Kershaw was born in Chorley on the 16th October 1875. He married his first wife, Ann (nee Campbell) at St. James’ in Chorley on the Valentine’s Day 1896; they had four children. He lived at Primrose Street in Chorley and attended St. George’s Church, working as a Cotton Spinner.

William Kershaw served in the Pals until being gassed in September 1917 (probably on the 4th at Vimy Station); thereafter he was transferred to the Labour Corps as Private 478035. His first wife, Anne, died in 1928 aged 55; he re-married in 1929, marrying Henrietta Langton at St. Peter’s Church at Chorley, who outlived him.

William took his own life on the 10th October 1943, by drowning himself in the Leeds-Liverpool Canal; he had testicular cancer and his mates told him that as he had been gassed in the war, he may not survive the anaesthetic during an impending operation. The report on the inquest into his death in the Chorley Guardian dated 15th October stated that William lived at 10 Westwell Road and suffered from Bronchitis, the result of being gassed in the First World War. He worked as a Spinner for 40 years and had been at Widdow’s Canal Mill in Chorley until it closed down in 1941. At 3.00 a.m. on the morning of the 10th October he got up to go to the lavatory but did not return; William’s body was found in the canal between Froom Street and Crosse Hall by a Canal Boatman at 7.45 a.m.

Note: We elected put the information in about William’s suicide. Clearly being gassed whilst service in the Pals meant he suffered from Bronchitis for the rest of his life – it no doubt played on his mind prior to the pending operation.