Organisations/clubs: Eccleshill Congregational Church, St John’s Amublance
Rolls of Honour: Eccleshill Park & St Luke’s
Regiment: Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Wilfred Howcroft was born in 1884 the second of four children of of Alfred and Annie Elizabeth, nee Dixon.The moved from Wortley to Eccleshill sometime before 1896 when their fourth child, Sarah, was born.In 1901 they were living at 33 Holdsworth Square. Alfred was working as a cloth finisher and 16-year-old Wilfred was working in a wool warehouse.In 1911 Wilfred married Elizabeth Horne who had been born in Bradford in 1882 and they went to live at 14 Mount Road, Eccleshill. Their only child, Mary, was born in 1914.
Wilfred was a prominent worker connected with Eccleshill Congregational Church and School, being the secretary of the Sunday School and a member of the Chapel choir. He was a medallist of the St John’s Ambulance Brigade and a former secretary of the gymnasium.For eight years he was the assistant librarian at the Eccleshill public library and up to enlisting was the manager of the mending department at Tunwell Mills.On 10 November 1916 the Shipley Times & Express published a story of Wilfred’s send off to war.On Saturday morning Mr Wilfred Howcroft, manager of the mending department at Tunwell Mills, was
presented with an air pillow, cooking pan and safety razor, which had been subscribed for by the workers associated with him.Mrs Schofield, pastor, handed over the gifts and expressed the good wishes of the department for the best of luck and a safe and speedy return. Mr Howcroft commences military duties on Saturday. Wilfred enlisted as Private 31968 in the South Staffordshire Regiment but at some point transferred to the 9th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers as Private 56103. This Battalion was involved in all the major battles in 1917 and 1918 and Wilfred saw a great deal of action.
The Battalion took part in the Final Advance in Flanders 28th September to the 11th of November 1918. Wilfred was badly wounded on the 20th of October and had his right leg amputated above the knee and he died from sepsis on the 5th of November 1918 in the 3rd General Hospital in France. He was 34 years of age.He is buried at the Mont Huon Military Cemetery used by the three General Hospitals in the town of Le Treport.He left his effects to his widow Elizabeth who received £17.7.11d which included his War Gratuity of £11.0.0d on the 5th June 1919.
. Researched and written by Jean Britteon, to whom many thanks