Claude Atherton was born on 17th January 1887 in Wilmslow and baptised on 17th July of that year. He was the son of John Atherton (born Runcorn) and his wife Ellen (nee Grimes) who was born in Thornton Hough on Wirral. At the time of his birth, Claude’s father was a police inspector.
The census of 1891 recorded the family as living at 28, Pickford Lane in Dukinfield, Stalybridge. An older sister called Elizabeth had already left home to work as a domestic servant in Ashton-under –Lyne. The remaining eight children were Charles E. (14), Amy Beatrice (12), Gertrude (10), Lilian (8), Ethel (7), Evelyn (4), Claude (2) and Algernon (5 months).
At some time in the next decade they moved to the Runcorn area as the father had retired from the police force and by 1901 he had taken over as the innkeeper at the Talbot Arms in Dutton. Charles had left home and had become a policeman in Liscard on Wirral. The other seven children were still at home, Gertrude working as an assistant mistress in a council school.
Sadly, in 1903 Claude’s sister Evelyn died aged 19 years and four years later Gertrude also died at the age of 25 years. Claude’s mother Ellen died in 1906 at the age of 54 years.
Amy had left home to be married in 1904 and Algernon had also left by 1911. When the Census of 1911 was taken, John Atherton was still working as the innkeeper at the Talbot Arms, but no occupations were given for the three remaining children, Lillian, Ethel and Claude.
Sadly, Claude’s father died in 1915 at the age of 68 years.
Claude enlisted as a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery and served in D Battery of 106 Brigade. He had the service number 159670. It is not apparent when he enlisted or where he served prior to his death eight days after the Armistice. He died on 19th November 1918 at the age of 30 years, but the reason is unknown. He was buried in Solesmes British Cemetery, Nord, France. This cemetery was begun by the 4th and 34th Casualty Stations in November 1918 and used for burials until 1919. He is also commemorated on the War Memorial at Aston-by-Sutton and on the plaque in St Michael’s at Little Leigh. He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his service in the Great War.