William Harold's Story.
William Harold Collier was baptised at Rainow Church on 26 September 1893 with his brother James Ernest, the twin sons of Caroline Collier, a silk winder of Rainow.
In 1901, seven-year-old William and James were living with their mother and aunts Ann and Hannah at 276 Hurdsfield Road, Hurdsfield, the home of their widowed grandmother, also named Caroline Collier. By 1911 Caroline was living with son James at 4 Timber Street, Hurdsfield, while William was living with the rest of the family at 223 Hurdsfield Road and working as a card lacer.
William's death was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 25 January 1918:
DEATH IN HOSPITAL
Miss A Collier, 223 Hurdsfield Road, Macclesfield, has received official intimation to the effect that her nephew, Pte William Harold Collier, South Lancs Regt, died in hospital at Rouen on January 15th. The cause of death is not stated. Pte Collier had previously been ill in hospital for about a month, and in his last letter he stated that he was at an employment base.
Pte Collier was twenty-four years of age and received his education at Rainow Wesleyan School... He was connected with Rainow Church. Pte Collier was formerly employed at Messrs J and T Brocklehurst (1911) Ltd, Hurdsfield, but for three years prior to enlistment he was engaged as a cotton doubler at the Clarence Mill, Bollington. He joined the Army in October, 1916, and was drafted out to France in February 1917. Mr James Ernest Collier, his twin brother, joined up yesterday. The late Pte Collier was a member of the Order of Foresters.
Rifleman William Collier is buried in Grave Ref. C. 5B. in Bois-Guillaume Communal Cemetery Extension. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Rifleman William Collier, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, Rifleman William Collier is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall and St Michael's Church war memorials and on Hurdsfield Holy Trinity Church Roll of Honour. He is also erroneously named as Wm H Collins on the Macclesfield Ancient Order of Foresters Roll of Honour.
Elsewhere, he is commemorated on the Bollington Clarence Mill Roll of Honour, and on the Rainow Holy Trinity Church and Rainow Tower Hill war memorials. He is also remembered on a family gravestone at Rainow Holy Trinity Church.
Twin brother of James Ernest Collier, who enlisted in January 1918 after William's death.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
Cheshire Parish Marriage Registers (Find My Past): Rainow Holy Trinity Church
Census (England & Wales): 1901, 1911
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website
Macclesfield Times: 25 January 1918, 23 September 1921 (photo supplement)
Research by Rosie Rowley, Macclesfeld.