Cresswell's grandfather, Joseph Grimshaw, was a successful manufacturer of veterinary medicines. He lived at Hawthorn Villa, Albert Park, Wilmslow. His son, Ernest Harry Grimshaw got married between July and September 1894 to Charlotte Elizabeth A R Williamson, at St Thomas' Church, Heaton Norris. A year later, Cresswell was born.
At the time the 1901 Census was taken, it is possible that Ernest and Charlotte were not in the country as they do not appear to be listed. Cresswell, however, then aged 5, is listed as living in Wilmslow, presumably with his grandparents.
When War was declared in 1914, Cresswell was serving an apprenticeship at Messr Henry Faulder & Co at the Company's confectionary works at Stockport. He enlisted in May 1915. The 16th Cheshires was popularly known as a "Bantam Battalion" - its original members all having been previously rejected by the army as being under the regulation height of 5' 3". The Bantams went on active service in January 1916.
By all accounts, Cresswell was a keen gardener and was reported to have even grown some flowers in the trench which he had sent to his grandparents. The conditions that men had to endure in the trenches makes this an unlikely story.
On 19 August, the Battalion was at Lempire, approximately 20 kilometres north east of the French town of Peronne. They were in support of an attack by the 15th Cheshires and "W" Company gave covering fire. After the 15th had secured it's objectives, "X" and "Z" Companies carried stores and ammunition up to the new front line. Cresswell was a signaller and his first job after an attack would be to ensure that any broken telephone wires were repaired. His officer wrote to his family telling what had happened. "Whilst trying to find a break in our wires, along with a comrade (during heavy shell fire by the enemy), both were killed by a shell dropping between them. I went to the spot personally and saw both your son and his comrade lying close together. Neither of them could have suffered any pain, death being instantaneous. May I have the honour to inform you that we have lost a very excellent young soldier and everybody in his company feels his loss greatly. He was always so cheery and willing, at any time or under any conditions. His actions speaks for itself of bravery and devotion to duty. It was only the night before, I saw him endeavouring to find a break in our wires during heavy shelling. He seemed to go about his work quite quietly as if nothing was happening at all. I was slightly wounded myself, not sufficient to take me away from my post and he came along to know if I was all right and whether he could do anything for me or not."
Cresswell's comrade was another local man, Samuel Daniels. They are now buried next to each other.