Eric’s paternal grandparents were John Brown Tattersall, born in 1845 in Royton, and Mary Ann, born about 1846, also in Royton. John was baptised on 9 November 1845 at St Paul’s church, Royton. In 1871 the couple lived in Park Rd, Royton, and John was a cotton operative. In 1881 they lived at 1 Queen St, Royton, and John was a cotton yarn salesman. In 1891 and 1901 they lived at Ash Grove, Rochdale Rd, Royton, and by 1901 John was a cotton mill manager. They had 4 children, Herbert (Eric’s father), Ann, Bertha and Emma. All the children were baptised at St Paul’s church, Royton, and Emma later married there.
According to an article by Michael Higgins for the Royton Local History Society, John was one of the greatest figures in Royton’s cotton mill story. He was born into a tailoring family and had little schooling. He started work in a mill at the age of 10 and worked there for 18 years. He became a member of the executive of the Amalgamated Association of Operative Cotton Spinners. He fought employers for higher wages and shorter Saturday working hours. In 1872 he was elected to the executive committee of the Factory Acts Reform Association. In 1874 he went to London to lobby MPs, influencing the Factory Act of 1874. At the same time he began to buy shares in mills and became a director of Royton Spinning Company. By 1903 he was managing director and from 1906 until 1923 he was chairman of the board. He bought shares in many other mills. He later organised cotton spinning employers but never forgot his humble origins. He became leader of Royton’s Liberal Party. He retired in 1923. John died on 3 September 1925, at which time his address was Ash Grove, Oriel Rd, Didsbury. Probate was awarded in Manchester on 23 January 1926 to Herbert, cotton cloth merchant, and Ann, now wife of Joseph Buckley. He left £71660 19s 1d.
The maternal grandparents were Ambrose Loynd, born about 1827 in Blackburn, and Alice, born about 1828, also in Blackburn. From 1871 to 1891 they lived in Royton, initially in Brook St. Ambrose was a cotton mill manager/overlooker and Alice a cotton calico weaver. They had 5 children, John, Edward, Ambrose, Mary A and Elizabeth Ann (Eric’s mother).
Herbert Tattersall was born in Royton in 1868. He was baptised on 21 October 1868. By 1891 he was a clerk in a cotton cloth warehouse. In 1901 the family was living at 28 Barlow Moor Rd and Herbert was a manager for a cotton cloth merchant. We have been unable to find Herbert in 1901 but from information about Eric we wonder if the family had gone to Hannover in Germany. Herbert died on 1 February 1932 and his address was Roselea, 36 Barlow Moor Rd, Didsbury. Probate was awarded in Manchester on 27 June 1932 to his widow, Elizabeth, and to Robert Herbert Whitehead, retired salesman. He left £41986 2s 2d.
Elizabeth Ann Loynd was born in Pendleton and baptised on 7 October 1868 at St George’s church, Charlestown. By the age of 12 she was a cotton calico weaver. By 1901 she was married to Herbert and no longer working.
The couple had 4 children, Gladys, Eric, Hilda and Roy.
Eric was born in Didsbury on 12 January 1896. Most of our information comes from De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, 1914-1918. He was educated at Oxford House Preparatory School, St Anne’s-on-Sea, Rossall School, Fleetwood, and later in Hanover. After Germany he worked in a cotton spinning mill and then a cotton cloth manufactory.
On his 19th birthday in 1915 he enlisted in the 18th (Public Schools) Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers. From November that year he served with the British Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders. He obtained a commission in December 1916 and became a second lieutenant in the 1st Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. He joined his regiment in France and was attached to the 23rd Battalion. On 25 September 1917 he was shot by a sniper while examining wire entanglements at Guillemont Farm.
He died on 26 September 1917 at No 55 Casualty Clearing Station, Tincourt. He was 21. He was buried in the Military Cemetery, Tincourt, grave reference II. C. 8.
His commanding officer wrote, “Your son has always set a splendid example of pluck, comradeship and daring which has endeared him to all his brother officers, and it was really owing to excess of zeal in the performance of his duty that he met his death.” Major J Foulkes wrote, “I have known him ever since he joined the Manchesters and was his Company Commander for a considerable time. He was a very good officer and very well liked by all ranks. Although very reserved, I knew his sterling qualities and was very fond of the boy, and his death is a personal loss to me.”
Second Lieutenant W A Wilson wrote, “He was of a very cheerful and lovable disposition and was exceedingly popular throughout the battalion…The only consolation that you have – I know that it is not very great – is that he died as he lived, a British gentleman, and a typical example of the spirit of our public schools.” One of his men wrote, “He was my officer and I would have followed him anywhere.”