A comrade, writing to the “News” from France, gives particulars of how Corporal Harry Heathcote, of “D” Company, 9th Cheshire Regiment, died. Prior to answering his country’s call Heathcote was employed in the gardens of Mrs. Stephen Williamson, “Copley,” Thornton Hough, where he was a general favourite. His comrade writes:
The 9th Cheshire Regiment was one of the many which took an active part in the great advance which commenced on the 25th of September. Their losses were rather heavy after the first charge, but the greater part of their casualties occurred while bringing in the wounded after dark.
Corporal Heathcote crept out to the aid of the wounded in broad daylight, and after completing his acts of mercy, he started to creep back through the wild crops between our lines and the Germans.
Unluckily, just as he was about to enter the sap leading to our trench a bullet from a sniper struck him full in the right shoulder. Under cover of our machine gun fire he was being carried in when he was hit again by an explosive bullet in the side, this time fatally, as he died within a few minutes. His duty had been done, and done well too.
His death will be keenly felt by his numerous friends in Thornton Hough. His home was in Staffordshire, and official news of his death has been received by his parents. Two of his fellow workers are still with the same regiment, and will certainly avenge his death.”
Our informant concludes:
In addition to this, I should like to mention that your paper is sent out to me every week, and quite a number of this battalion are lads from Birkenhead and district. Wishing you and your staff every success.
Henry Heathcote was born in 1891, the son of Charles and Hannah Heathcote, of Victoria Street, Yoxall, Burton-on-Trent. He is recorded as having been baptised on 25th October, 1891.
Henry enlisted for service in the First World War with the Cheshire Regiment at the age of 23 in 1914, and until his death he served as part of the 9th Battalion, initially as a Private, being later promoted to Lance-Corporal.
He was killed in action during the Battle of Loos in France, on the 25th September, 1915, at the age of 24.
Henry died on the same day as another soldier from my great grandfather’s diary who I have written about previously; Sergeant Charles Richardson, who also served as a member of the 9th Battalion.
On 25th September, 1915, the 9th Battalion fought in the Action of Pietre, a diversionary action which aimed to draw German forces away from the main British attack at the Battle of Loos.
Lance-Corporal Henry Heathcote is commemorated at the Loos Memorial in France.