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Born: 1894, Windhill
Died: 1 July 1916, Somme
Address: 3 Fenton Street, Valley Road, Shipley
Parents: John & Ann Elizabeth, nee Hutton
Siblings: Frances (dec 1909), Caroline & three step brothers
Occupation: Box maker, soap works
Rank: Pte
Rolls of Honour: St Paul’s, Shipley; Thiepval Memorial
Regiment: Bradford Pals
Ernest Renshaw
Ernest was born in Windhill in 1894, the son of Manchester-born woolcomber John Renshaw and his wife Ann Elizabeth, nee Hutton. While his address in the cuttings of his death was given as 3 Fenton Street, Shipley in 1911 he was living at 5 Princess Street, Shipley. He was working as a box maker at the soap works and we can imagine he is getting used to a very different way of life. His mother had died in 1897 and by 1911 his father had been married to what appears to be his third wife, Mary, for just two years. As well as three step brothers, Ernest now has a one-year-old sister.
And there may have been even more upheaval in his life before he joined the Bradford Pals at the outbreak of war because his Commonwealth War Graves record show his next of kin as his step mother, suggesting his father had died. On 11 August the Shipley Times & Express carried the brief notice that “Pte E Renshaw of 3 Fenton St, Valley Road, Shipley, and of the 1st Bradford Pals is reported missing.”
In fact Ernest had died on the first day of the Somme and two weeks later, the paper reported: “A memorial service was held on Sunday morning in the Independent Church for Pte John Toal and Pte Ernest Renshaw, conducted by the Rev W J Harris (pastor) who delivered an appropriate discourse suitable for the occasion. The service was most impressive. “Mr Harris made touching references to the two young soldiers who had recently been killed while fighting for their King and Country, and expressed on
behalf of the congregation deep and sincere sympathy with the relatives of the deceased. “Both soldiers, added the preacher, were formerly identified with the Sunday School. “The musical part of the service was under the direction of Mr A Dracup (choirmaster) and Mr R Cutler (organist). Appropriate hymns were rendered by the members of the congregation while the choir sang the anthem ‘The Psalm of Life’. “Mr S B Ogden rendered very feelingly the beautiful solo ‘Absent’. At the close, the ‘Dead March’ was played by the organist.”
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