The name of H Renton is inscribed on the Stockport War Memorial as a soldier serving with the Cheshire Regiment. It has not been possible to positively identify him although there are a number of local references to men with this initial which, together, make for a very likely identification.
It has also been possible to definitely exclude some information i.e. no-one of this name or initial is recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as serving with the Cheshires or has a Stockport connection. Similarly, there is no record, in the National Archives on-line medal entitlement records, of anyone serving abroad during the Great War.
However the Cheshire Year Book for 1919 notes that a man called H Renton, who served with the Cheshire Yeomanry, died on 10 February 1919 and research for this project suggests that he is very likely to be the man recorded on the Memorial. The following is the circumstantial information gathered:-
The 1901 Census lists only one family living in Stockport called Renton. The family originated from Yorkshire and had moved to the local area in about the mid 1890s. The parents were Sam (then aged 39, a foreman silk dyer) and Mary. They had five children – Mary (16), Hilda (14), Ethel (11), Elizabeth (2) and, significantly, Harry (then aged 9 and born in Bradford).
As above, there is no mention in official records of anyone called Renton serving with the Cheshire Yeomanry. However, the Yeomanry’s War Memorial at Chester Cathedral does record a Corporal H Renton.
The final piece of circumstantial evidence was from the family history website, CheshireBMD, which notes the death of a Harry Renton, aged 28, in 1919; the death being registered at Stockport. This man would be about the same age as the boy on the Census. His death certificate has been obtained and it confirms that Harry served with the Yeomanry and died at home – 82 Lloyd Street, Stockport on 10 February 1919. The causes of death were pneumonia and heart failure. The certificate notes that he had no occupation (having previously been a tailor) and it also mentions his service with the Yeomanry. However, it is unclear if he was still serving at the time or had been discharged. This is of critical importance if the War Graves Commission now considered him for inclusion in the Debt of Honour Register. If he was still serving, commemoration would be automatic, even after the passage of so many years. If he had been discharged, then the cause of his death would need to be related to his war service and they do not appear to be so.
One of the Cheshire Yeomanry battalions served in Egypt, another in Ireland and the third remained in the UK. Harry almost certainly served with one of the two latter units. Unless further information comes to light, the conclusion drawn by this project’s researcher is that Harry Renton served with the Yeomanry, but never served abroad (otherwise he would have had entitlement to medals) and that he fell ill and was discharged from the army. The cause of death appears to be natural causes unrelated to service in the UK and it will not be possible for the Commission to officially commemorate him.