The Cenotaph is located at the front of Queens Park on the Chorley New Rd side.

It was built around 1920 to commemorate the soldiers and officers from the 5th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. To this day the monument still plays an integral part in Remembrance Day services and in 1999 the Cenotaph was classified as a listed building.

Unveiling of Cenotaph at Queens Park

Who were the 1/5th Batallion?


First World War

The 1/5th Batallion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment were based in Bolton as part of the North Lancashire Brigade when war broke out in 1914. They were then mobilised and moved to the south of England for training before setting sail for France. The 1/5th battalion saw extensive action throughout the war and took part at the Battle of Ypres. They also suffered very heavy losses during the Cambrai offensive.

Tragedy surrounds every conflict and the First World War was no different. One example can be found within the 1/5 Battalion itself when two brothers from the regiment died on the same day. Here is an extract from the Bolton Journal dated 18th August 1916.

The overwhelming news reached Mr. Fred Blackburn, of Greenmount, Heaton, on Monday, that the names of his two sons, Lieut. Ernest Blackburn and 2nd-Lieut. Edward Blackburn appear in the casualty list. The official intimation states that the latter was missing, but Mr. Blackburn has received news from brother officers to the effect that both his sons have been killed. Both are old boys of the Bolton Grammar School. Lieut. Ernest Blackburn had been previously wounded in September 1915. He was engaged as a yarn agent by the firm of Messrs. J. W. Blackburn and Son, County Bank Chambers and attended the Manchester Royal Exchange. Lieut. Edward Blackburn had been employed at Messrs. Dobson and Barlow’s. Both gentlemen were members of the Ferns Tennis Club.

Writing to Mr. And Mrs. Blackburn, Capt. N. Dickinson says, ‘Ernest gave his life to save others, and it is entirely due to his excellent leadership that A Company suffered so slightly – only four casualties. He was hit in the leg, the bullet cutting the main artery, beneath the groin. All the men are agreed that due to his coolness their lives were saved, and they have asked me to place on record their appreciation of his services. Edward fell leading his men in the attack, and while crawling to cover was hit again by an enemy sniper, the second time in the head. He was always game and never shirked a dangerous task.’



Second World War

The 1/5 Battalion also saw action during World War Two. They were assigned to the Far East but upon approaching Singapore the Japanese began to bombard the city. The transport ships carrying the battalion were bombed by the Japanese and nearly all of their weapons were lost when the ship carrying their supplies, the Empress of Asia, was sunk.

The men fought bravely once on shore but under the circumstances victory was impossible. They were forced to surrender a few days later and spent the rest of the war as Prisoners of War.