Norman Bardsley was an employee of the Co-operative Insurance Society (CIS), working in their accounts department, and had worked there since 1910. His family had some history with the co-operative movement as his father had been secretary of the Pendleton Co-operative Society before his death.
Bardsley joined the 1st/6th Manchester Regiment as a private at the outbreak of war. He was sent to fight against the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East, landing in Alexandria in September 1914. He had the chance to meet up with a few fellow co-operators from the Manchester branch of the CIS, posing for a picture together before being despatched to the front. His battalion was sent to fight in Gallipoli in May 1915, joining other units in an attempt to recapture the village of Krithia.
Bardsley was reported to have gone missing in action on 5 July 1915. This date was later given as the day he was thought to have been killed by enemy forces, aged 22. The date of his death suggests that he was part of the Battle of Gully Ravine, which had begun the previous week. The battle had been intended so that the Allies could gain ground along the peninsula of Gallipoli, but parts of the attacking force met heavy resistance from the Turks and the Allies were once again driven back, at a cost of 3,800 casualties to the Turks’ 14,000.
Bardsley’s name can be found on the Helles Memorial in Gallipoli, Turkey.
Co-operative News, 30 January 1915, page 123.
Co-operative News, 21 August 1915, page 1129.
WWI co-operative voices
This post is part of ‘WWI co-operative voices’ which shares the stories of co-operative workers and members during the conflict. In order to mark the centenary of the WWI, the Rochdale Pioneers Museum is staging an exhibition entitled ‘From shop floor to front line’ and the accounts of these soldiers, shop workers and conscientious objectors will run alongside it. They are tales of death, duty and of those who chose not to fight.
Through ‘WWI co-operative voices’ we will be releasing new posts about these individuals throughout the duration of the exhibition (due to open mid-May 2015 and run until May 2016). Read about the co-operative movement’s involvement in a war that shook the world by selecting a name from the column on the left. You can also follow us on social media for regular updates.
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We wish to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting the ‘From shop floor to front line’ exhibition and project.