Claude Swanwick Worthington

Fell and Rock Climbing Club war memorial, Burton Road, Didsbury. Claude Swanwick Worthington’s name is etched upon it. Photograph by the author

1877 – 14th October 1918. Manchester Regiment (6th Division)

Claude Swanwick Worthington was a former Manchester FC player who died on the 14th October 1918. He grew up in Alderley Edge, Cheshire and attended Sedbergh School in Cumbria, where he played rugby for the school. Returning home, Worthington joined Manchester FC, playing in the pack for many years. He was also a keen climber and a member of the Fell and Rock Climbing Club. In peacetime, Worthington worked for the Calico Printers’ Association.

During the First World War, Worthington was in the 6th Manchesters, and fought with them during their bloody struggle in the Dardanelles. He was wounded in the struggle, but was also awarded the Distinguished Service Order for “his conspicuous service.” He was evacuated to Malta, but quickly recovered.

The 6th Manchesters were deployed in Europe in 1917, with Worthington now a Lieutenant Colonel and in charge of the battalion. There, he was wounded again but once more he recovered quickly.

During the final stages of the war, Worthington was attached to the 5th Battalion of the Dorset Regiment, when he was fatally wounded near Cambrai on the 3rd October. He died of his wounds eleven days later, aged 41.

His younger brother, John Hubert Worthington, also played for Manchester, in 1903. He survived the war, despite being severely injured on the first day of the Somme. He became a highly successful architect, and was best friends with Wilfrith Elstob and was influential in the campaign to award Elstob a Victoria Cross.

The wooden cross originally used to mark Claude’s grave is preserved at Dean Row Unitarian Chapel, near Wilmslow, Cheshire.

Worthington was buried in Mount Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport, France

SOURCES
World Rugby Museum
Manchester Courier
Museum of the Manchester Regiment
Manchester University

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