Earlestown War Memorial
The Great War Roll of Honour
The Newton and Earlestown Guardian of August 11th 1916 records
the death of Lance-Corporal Charlie Middleham. However, it gives very little
personal information about the soldier, who was with the 7th South Lancashire
Regiment, attached to the 56th Machine Gun Company. His name is on the first
list of recruits.
He was born in Earlestown and his wife's address is given as Milton Hall, Fairclough Street, Earlestown. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, using information compiled shortly after the end of the war, states than he was "husband of Sarah Elizabeth Mullin (formerly Middleham)" of the same address. Some widows remarried, while some reverted to their maiden name.
Although he was killed during a period known as the Battle of the Somme, a letter from Lieut. F. C. W. Taylor states that Lce.-Cpl. Middleham "and two comrades were asleep in a dug-out at the village of Bazentin le Petit, when a shell burst on the dug-out, killing all three instantaneously in their sleep."
A following letter from the same officer said that all three men were buried "near where they lay at Bazentin le Petit. A cross was erected on the spot, with the names of the poor fellows below." However, the grave must have been destroyed or lost during subsequent action as Charlie Middleham's name is on the Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, which bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave.
Private Harold Yates was also killed in action at about the same date and in same area.