William WORSFOLD
Rank: Corporal
Number: RMA/13209
Unit: HMS Laurentic ROYAL MARINE ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 25 January 1917
Age: 21
Cemetery: St Peterís Churchyard, Chorley, Lancashire

William’s commemoration on the Stockport War Memorial was almost certainly as a result of his sister, Elizabeth Louisa, submitting his name. He is not thought to have ever lived in the area.

Francis Henry Worsfold and Emily Louisa Naylor had married in the Sheffield area in 1877. Elizabeth was born in the West Yorkshire area of Wharfedale in 1881 and William is thought to have been born in 1895 in the Widnes area. In 1906, Elizabeth moved to Stockport when she married Alfred Jackson.

It’s not known where the rest of the family were living in these years but, by the time of the Great War, they were at 18 Garfield Terrace in Chorley where William would later be buried.

William may have joined the Marines before the year or, if not, had enlisted fairly soon after War was declared in 1914. In 1917, he was a gunner aboard HMS Laurentic. The ship had been built in 1909 as a passenger liner for the White Star line and was requisitioned by the Admiralty in 1914 and converted to use as an armed merchant cruiser. It was already famous as the ship on which the infamous Dr Crippen fled Britain after murdering his wife.

On 25 January, she was heading for Nova Scotia carrying a large cargo of gold bullion intended as payment to Canadian and American companies for war supplies. She had sailed from Liverpool but had to stop at Lough Swill, on the northern coast of County Donegal, to disembark four sailors who taken ill. 45 minutes after leaving port, she hit a mine, laid by the German submarine U-80, and sank with the loss of 350 lives. There was time to launch the lifeboats and most members of the crew managed to escape the ship but died of exposure in the cold waters or on the boats. William’s body was recovered and was returned to Chorley for burial.

The gold bullion was recovered over the years immediately following the War.

   
           
   
     
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