This post commemorates a young man who died in 1918, due to Tubuculosis he had contracted on the Western Front. Identified as an ommssion by Mack on the Manchesters forum, the research has produced a package of records that In From The Cold Project are using for Norman Usher to be recognised as a casualty of the Great War.
Norman attested in the Manchester Regiment under the Derby Scheme on 7th February 1916, aged 21 years and 5 months. He was mobilised on 6th March 1916 and joined 25th (Reserve) Battalion for training, probably serving with 16th Battalion intitially. Norman served overseas with the 16th Battalion disembarking in France on 27th July 1916 and joining the Battalion of 7th August. It seems Norman may have initially been posted to 17th Battalion, but this was changed to 16th. He was Apppinted Lance Corporal on 24th December 1917, having had 10 days home leaving during September 1917.
Born on 7th February 1895, Norman was the son of James Lawson and Mary Jane Usher, who had six children. His father and brother John had died in 1912 with one of his sisters, Sarah (Sissie) passing away in February 1914. The family lived at 6 William Street, Harpurhey and prior to enlistment Norman was employed as a Packer.
Norman suffered from Bronchitis and Colic during his time on the Western Front. He succumbed to Tuberculosis (TB) in France and Belgium and returned Home on 24th January 1918. His obituary indicates the TB may have related to gas poisoning on the Western Front, although official records indicate the disease was contracted due to exposure and infection with the bacteria. Norman was treated at Bell Lane Military Hospital, Didsbury from 31st January 1918. He was discharged as 100% disablement, with TB attributed to service on 17th May 1918. It was a recommended that Norman should receive treatment at a sanatorium.
Norman died with Pulmonary TB at Baguley Sanitorium, Cheshire on 24th July 1918, aged 23. He was buried in the family plot in Manchester general cemetery, Harpurhey on 31st July 1918. Norman lies alongside his father, brother and sister in Non-Conformist grave 1076 31/7/1918. A third son James was killed on 20th October 1918 serving with 1/5th East Lancashire Regiment. He is also commemorated on the Headstone.
In common with many men who died after discharge from the Army, Norman’s grave was not commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Pension Index Cards were recently published and these sometimes enable the cause of discharge to be identified with the cause of death. For an individual to be commemorated after discharge, it needs to be shown that they died from a condition attributable to, or aggravated by military service. Norman’s Pension Cards confirm the TB was attributable to service and the Dependents Card indicates TB as the cause of death.
The cause of death was confirmed by Norman’s Death Certificate and an Application is being made via IFCP, through the Ministry on Defence, for George to be categorised as a casualty of the Great War. If / when this is successful, the case will be passed to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and they will accept Norman’s burial into their care.
Pension Index Cards
Medal Index Cards
Silver War Badge Roll
Manchester Burial Records
National Roll of the Great War
British Library National Newspaper Archive. Crown Copyright
Great thanks for invaluable help from:-
In From The Cold Project Terry and Chris for patient corrections to innacurate reports.
Manchester Regiment Forum Particularly Mack for help identifying Norman’s and reviewing non-commemorations.
Apologies if I’ve missed anyone. Please let me know.