A team fit for heroes

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Fleetwood Town FC is planning an exhibition for this year’s Remembrance Day to commemorate an entire playing squad who all signed up to fight in the First World War.

Information has been uncovered showing that all 14 of the Fleetwood FC playing squad signed up in August 1914.

One of the men, Private Hall Sheard Salthouse, was killed in action but the other 13 are believed to have survived.

Indeed, Private William Gibson did more than survive – he won the DCM (Distinguished Conduct Medal) for several acts of conspicuous gallantry during which he was shot five times.

The club has some details of the players involved but is appealing to local people for any further information about the men – either at the time of the war or later in life, and possibly details of their descendants.

With the centenary of the 1914-18 conflict still being commemorated in many different ways, the club decided to pay a special tribute to the men, many of whom were just teenagers when they enlisted for the campaign.

The world had never seen a conflict on such a scale before – estimates of war fatalities range from 10 million to more than 15 million.

Phil Brown, vice chairman of Fleetwood Town, said: “We know that 11 of the 14 men were born and lived in Fleetwood, two lived in Preston and the other one is not known.

“It is quite something that the whole squad all signed up to fight in the first year and we think it is worth commemorating during this centenary of the First World War.

“We are hoping local people can help us with any information.”

The team was:

n Frank Abbot Bugler, 24, a stove grate maker who lived at 210 Manchester Road, Preston.

n Corporal William Anderton – no further details known.

n Harold Barnes, 18, a stores boy, 9, Pharos St, Fleetwood. n Charles Billsborough, 19, a solicitor’s clerk, 242 St Paul’s Road, Preston.

n James Brooks, 20, a fish packer, 67 Blakiston St, Fleetwood.

n James Croft, 20, a storeman, 26 Church St, Fleetwood.

n William Gibson, 19, a dental mechanic, 52 Claremont Terrace, Fleetwood.

n Robert (Bob) Miller, 21, crane driver, 73 Victoria St, Fleetwood.

n Richard Rigby, 17, an errand boy, 67 Pharos St, Fleetwood

n Sheard Salthouse, 19, a plumber’s apprentice, 38 Milton St, Fleetwood. Killed in May 2015 at Ypres.

n Arthur Singleton, 18, an apprentice iron turner, 76 Poulton St, Fleetwood.

n Robert (Bob) Singleton, 17, an apprentice bricklayer, 75 Harris St, Fleetwood

n James Strickland, 19, a sawmill boxmaker, 4 Albert St, Fleetwood;

n James Wilson, 19, an apprentice. 27 London Street, Fleetwood.

Ten of the 14 men joined the 1st/5th King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.

Two (Brooks and Croft) joined the Royal Naval Reserve. Corporal Anderton joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and Private Strickland joined the Royal Field Artillery. Anyone who might be able to help unearth further information regarding these men should contact Phil Brown on 07976 054398 or by 
email at phil.brown@besutilities.co.uk .