Cassidy - Scupltor

This site celebrates the life and work of sculptor John Cassidy (1860 - 1939).

At the start of 2014 a small group  who attended the Family History Class at Clayton-le-Moors library decided to research the lives of the 245 men from Clayton-le-Moors who died in WW1 and who are listed on the Mercer Park Memorial, compiling at least one page for each of the names.

Hilary Fearn, a member of the group, has been in regular contact with us, assisting with improvements to the accuracy of our record. We suggested that we might publish a small section of their results.

Hilary writes:

'The three examples here, included with the approval of the families concerned, are  chosen three soldiers because to me they tell the whole story of the bravery of the men Clayton, the comradeship of the soldiers all from different religions. The bravery and hardships of the women left behind, and the neighbours who pulled together to help each other.

'John James Coady, a Roman Catholic, was born before his mother married Oliver Iddon. Oliver Iddon was related to William Thomas Iddon, Church of England, so the two families were linked and when the soldiers died they left nine children without fathers. Arthur Dean Cookson,  a member of the Baptist Church, was a close friend of John James Coady all his life; they had been at the same school together, worked at the brickyard together, enlisted together and died together.'

Clayton-le-Moors War Memorial, Lancashire

Three Soldiers

Supplement to the Clayton-le-Moors memorial main page


Private 7984, 2nd Battalion Borders Regiment
(Formerly 9527 Manchester Regiment)

William Thomas Iddon was born in the Lake District town of Ulverston in the September quarter of 1887. He was the son of John and Hannah Iddon (née Crabtree).

The family came to the Clayton-le-Moors area between 1891 and 1894. On the 1911 Census they were living in Church, a village not far from Clayton-le-Moors,  at 247, Dill Hall Lane.  John R. Iddon was 66 years old, his wife Hannah was 58 years old, and their daughters Beatrice (19) and Rhoda (17) were living with them.  Also present was William Thomas (24), who had married Amanda Pearson (24) in 1908 (with a Hyndburn Registrar attending) and their son John James, aged 10 months.

By 1914 William and Amanda were living at 11, Mill Street, Clayton-le-Moors, and they had four children:  John James born 1910, Richard born 1911, Florence born 1913 and Ellen born in 1914. William worked as a labourer at the local brickyard.

William was called up as a Reservist and went to France in August 1914. He had been in France for 7 weeks when he was badly wounded in the heavy fighting around Ypres. He died of his wounds on 31st October 1914 and was the first married man from Clayton-le-Moors to die in the war.

He was survived by his wife Amanda and four small children. His widow  received a parcel from the War Office containing his private papers and photographs and also a German watch chain, a Belgian cross, and a row of black Egyptian beads.


Sergeant 23273 1st Batallion, East Lancashire Regiment

John James Coady was born in Brindle, Lancashire about 1889, the son of Ellen Coady, father unknown. His mother Ellen Coady married Oliver Iddon on 30 June 1894 at Holy Trinity Church, Habergham Eaves, Burnley, and their son William Thomas Iddon was born in 1895, but sadly died soon after his birth. On the 1901 Census John James Coady is listed as John James Iddon, living with his father and mother at 78, Burton Street, Rishton. When he got married he would have had to show his birth certificate and he reverted back to Coady on his marriage. He married  Mary Whittaker at Church Kirk in 1907.

James and Mary had five children: John Coady born 1908, Robert Coady born in 1909, Edith Mary born in 1910, Ellen Ann born in 1912 and Frederick aged 2 years born 1915.

On the 1911 Census the family are living at 28, Well Street, Clayton-le-Moors and John James aged 22 years is a slater at the Enfield Brick and Tile Works. Mary is 22 years old, a cardroom hand in a cotton mill, born in Accrington. They have been married for 3 years, and have 3 children. Also living with them is Mary Coady’s brother Robert Whittaker aged 19 years, a coal miner born in Accrington.

John James Coady enlisted in 1915 along with his school friend and workmate Arthur Dean Cookson.  He was 28 years old when he was wounded and had served in the Army previous to the  war. On the call for men soon after hostilities commenced he pluckily volunteered for service and his experience was utilised for training recruits on Salisbury Plain.

Two Clayton-le-Moors friends, Sergeant John James Coady and Private Arthur Dean Cookson (see below) who worked together and fought together in the East Lancashire Regiment, had been in France over twelve months when they were both killed by the same shell. Private Cookson was killed instantly, but Sergeant Coady, notwithstanding very severe wounds, lived for 4 days, receiving the very best of attention in hospital.

From the Observer and Times 21 April  1917:-

During the last weekend Mrs Coady received the following letter from No. 7 Stationary Hospital, France.

Dear Madam,
Your husband Sergeant Coady 23273 East Lancashires has asked me to write a few lines to you from him. He wishes to tell you that he was severely wounded on the 9th April 1917 in both arms and back and has lost his right leg. He is receiving every care and attention from the kind doctors and nursing sisters, and he is as well as can be expected, and is bearing his pain and loss bravely. I am to say he hopes you will try and not worry, or be more anxious than you can help – he hopes to pull through. He will be sent to England as soon as he is fit to travel – his address here is No.13 General Hospital. He sends his love to yourself and the children, and hopes you are all well. Please give them a kiss from daddy.

He is sorry to say Private Cookson was killed at the same time. Your husband will be glad if you try and break the news nicely to his mother – poor thing.

Yours sincerely, H. Morbrey A.S.R.”
He died four days later.


Private 26578, 1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment

Arthur Dean Cookson was the second son of William and Margaret Cookson. William Cookson married Margaret Dean at St. James Church, Accrington on the 19th March 1882. Margaret was 25 years old and William was 23.

Margaret and William had two children both born in Clayton-le-Moors:  James Albert Cookson born in 1882 and Arthur Dean Cookson born in 1889. By the Census of 1901 William and Margaret had separated, and William was a boarder at 11, Marsden Street, Accrington.

On the Census of 1911 Margaret is 54 years old, has been married for 29 years and is living at 14, William Street, Clayton-le-Moors with her two sons. James Albert Cookson is 28 years old, single and a labourer at the Enfield Brick works, and Arthur Dean Cookson is 21 years old, single and also a labourer at Enfield Brick Works.

Soon after the war commenced James enlisted in the Army Ordinance Corps as Private 016596 and Arthur enlisted in the 1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment, along with his friend John James Coady whom he worked with at the brickworks. Arthur and John James Coady were in the same Battalion and on the 9th April 1917 in France Arthur was killed instantly by an exploding shell and John James was seriously wounded and he died four days later. Whilst he was in hospital he got a nurse to write to his wife and in that letter told her of Arthur’s death and asked her to go to Mrs Cookson and comfort her.

From the Observer and Times  21 April 1917:
Margaret Cookson, the mother of Arthur Dean Cookson who is over 60 years old and lives by herself at 14, William Street, Clayton-le-Moors, received the news of her son Arthur’s death from Mrs Coady. Her two sons both joined the Army soon after the war. Arthur was a quiet young fellow and had many friends in the district. He worked at the Enfield Brick Works and was connected with Whalley Road Working Men’s Club and Clayton Baptist Church. He enlisted in March 1916 and was drafted to France on July 8th 1916. Much sympathy has been extended to the bereaved families in the loss they have sustained.
Private Arthur Dean Cookson 26578 of the 1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment was killed in action on 9 April 1917, in France, in his 28th year. He is remembered on the Arras Memorial, the Baptist Church, Clayton-le-Moors Memorial, All Saints Church Memorial and the Mercer Park Memorial. He received the Victory Medal and the British Medal.

His effects of £3.16s.2d and £3.10s.0d were given to his mother Mrs Margaret Cookson the sole legatee. Arthur's brother James Albert Cookson survived the war and in 1922 was living with his mother at 14 William Street.  She died there in  1936.
On the 1939 Register, Wiliam's brother James is still at 14 William Street, working as a bricklayer. His next-door neighbour, Mary Alice Whiteside, a widow (née Salt) is a paid housekeeper.  In the December quarter of 1939 he married her with a Darwen Registrar attending. James Albert Cookson  died on 1 June 1943 at the Pulmonary Hospital, Withnell, Lancashire and administration of his effects was granted to Mary Alice Cookson his widow. He left effects of  £1000.11s.7d.

Edited by Charlie Hulme, May 2019.