First and Second World Wars

Anniversary of the Somme

100 years have elapsed since the Somme campaign, a campaign which is believed to have caused the deaths of 20,000 men on the first day alone. To commemorate the anniversary a list of men who are believed to have died at the Somme have been compiled.

For more resources on the Somme please consult the following documents at either Archives: Wigan and Leigh or Wigan Local Studies:

  • Leigh and the Somme by Cyril Ward and Evelyn Finch
  • The Finest of All: Local Men on the Somme 1 July 1916 by Fred Holcroft
  • Leigh Journal
  • Leigh Chronicle
  • Wigan Observer

Tracing your First World War ancestors

The following guide from the National Archives will give you more information and ideas on how to go about tracing your First World War ancestors using original records and online sources.

To mark the centenary of the First World War, volunteers at Wigan Local Studies indexed the Wigan and Leigh newspapers. You can view the indexes spanning the years of WW1 1914-1918 to help find your military ancestor from the Wigan Borough.

All records have been made available on the Wigan Borough Online War Memorial (where copies can also be purchased).

Other useful indexes:

On the 17th November 1914 the Leigh Athletes Volunteer Force formed at Leigh. The aim was to make a force which would be of considerable use to the country in case of invasion during the First World War. The force was made up of men who were not able to offer themselves for service at the front.

Wigan Council minutes 1914 - 1918

As part of the First World War in Greater Manchester project, one of our volunteers (Peter Walker) indexed the Minutes which revealed what was actually happening on the Home Front in Wigan during that time. The database covers a range of subjects such as women, honours and awards, as well as people.

Wigan cemeteries casualties

What started out as a World War 1 research project of the Fallen commemorated in Hindley, Ince and Wigan Cemeteries by Volunteer Sue Boon, evolved into a larger piece of work, the list below now includes World War 2 and Civilian deaths, for example victims of the Zeppelin raid on Wigan in 1918.

News of the deaths of many of the casualties was reported in the Wigan Observer or Wigan Examiner newspapers, for further information please contact Wigan Local Studies on 01942 828020.

We have 3 volumes of bound newspaper reports for Wiganers in the German War 1939 - 1945 (940.53) available to view at Wigan Local Studies.


War memorials index

All records have been made available on the Wigan Borough Online War Memorial (where copies can also be purchased).

This list includes memorials maintained by Wigan Council. If you have any information concerning a memorial in your town, village, school, church or place of work, please contact us.

Zeppelin raid on Wigan

There are two books available at Wigan Local Studies:

  • Collection of data about the Zeppelin raid on Wigan on 12th April 1918 - compiled by Peter Walker (Upper 940.942736)
  • Zeppelin raid on Wigan - by D.H.Robinson (Upper WD604 R6)

World War 2 - Civil Defence

The following lists contain the names of men and women from Leigh, Tyldesley and the surrounding areas. The names have been transcribed by volunteers from registration cards for civil defence.

These cards are housed at Archives: Wigan and Leigh.

© Wigan Council