PRIVATE Squire Haworth, who has lain in an unmarked grave in Darwen Cemetery for over 100 years, has finally been recognised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

He will now have his own memorial, in Portland stone, and he will be the 100th member of the armed forces to be so recognised in the town’s old cemetery.

The honour is due to the diligence and determination of Tony Foster, chairman of the Friends of Darwen Cemetery and a well-known local historian.

He explained: “I came across the story of Private Haworth when researching the story of another Great War soldier and was intrigued, probably because of his unusual Christian name. After several month’s work, I persuaded the war graves executive that he should finally be recognised.

“I didn’t realise at first that he would be the 100th Darwen lad in the old cemetery to be granted the honour. It’s quite a landmark for us – and a fitting memorial for him.”

Squire was born in Hacking Street, Darwen on January 29, 1891, the son of Squire Haworth and Mary. The family later moved to Hutchinson Court and by the time of the 1911 census they were living at 180 Duckworth Street. Squire was a reacher-in in a local cotton mill.

In April, 1915 he joined the East Lancashire Regiment and six weeks later he was posted to France. It was towards the end of the Second Battle of Ypres, the encounter in which the Germans first used poisonous gas as a weapon of mass destruction.

It was shortly after this battle that Squire started to complain of weakness and excessive thirst and his Army record shows he was suffering from diabetes. He was returned to England in February, 1916 and discharged on medical grounds the following month.

He returned to Darwen where he died in a diabetic coma in June. He was awarded two medals but his name wasn’t included in the CWGC’s Roll of Honour.

However, his home town did not forget him and his name was put on the elegant brass war memorial in Duckworth Street Congregational Church, now the Central United Reformed Church.

Mr Foster says it will take several months for burial details to be checked and verified, but a short ceremony is planned to mark the unveiling.

Meanwhile, the search for a photo of Pte Haworth goes on. Says Tony: “We have been very successful in recent years tracing photos of our war dead, but we aren’t making any headway with Squire.”