'Recognise the bravery of my great uncle who was shot dead in World War One'

Albert McCann

Albert McCann

First published in News This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by

LESLEY Cooke wants the bravery of her great uncle Albert McCann to be recognised — a Bolton soldier who died instantly from a bullet wound on March 7, 1917.

She discovered his sacrifice while tracing her family tree and has two photographs of him — one in which he sits proudly in his uniform and the other of him with his regiment.

His comrade, Private J Topham visited Albert’s mother, Elizabeth to give her the sad news that her only son had lost his life.

In an article in the Bolton Journal and Guardian, dated Friday March 30, 1917, Private Topham paid “warm testimony to the regard the men had for their lost comrade”.

Albert, who was 25-years-old, was a member of a Lewis gun team of the First Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

Prior to enlisting Albert was a warehouseman at Messrs Wolfenden and Sons, Columbia Mills.

He had joined the Army on February 8, 1916, and sailed for the front on September 1.

“I think his bravery should be recognised. It is very sad that he lost his life,” said 67-year-old Lesley who lives in Great Lever.

Albert was the son of Albert and Elizabeth and had two sisters, Margaret and Mary.

He is remembered with honour in the Assevillers New British Cemetery.

A death notice in the Bolton Journal and Guardian reads: “In loving remembrance of Private McCann who was killed in action on March 7, 1917.

“The blow was hard, the shock severe, “We little thought the end so near.

“God took him home, it was his will, “But in our hearts he liveth still — from his mother and sisters.”

There is also a message from “his sweetheart Nellie” which says: “Dear is the grave where my sweetheart is laid, “Sweet is the memory that never shall fade, “Rose may wither, leaves fade and die, “If others forget him, never shall I.”

There is also a message from his Aunts and Uncle George in Canada which says: “In sweet remembrance of Private McCann. May his reward be as great as his sacrifice.”

Albert was the uncle of Lesley’s mother, Hilda Cooke.

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