Noel Armitage

12th July 1880 – 25th April 1918. Scottish Horse Regiment.

Noel Armitage was a former Manchester FC player, from Altrincham, who was killed in action during the First World War at the age of 37. He a born in 1880 to William Armitage, a local cotton dealer, and Margaret Petrie Armitage, from Ashton-under-Lyne. He attended Sedbergh School in Cumbria and, like so many Manchester players of the era, went on to work in cotton, joining his father in the family business, Armitage & Rigby Ltd. He married Alice Marion Cox in Wycombe in 1907, and together they moved to The Woodhouses, Lower Withington, Chelford, Cheshire, where they had a daughter named Elizabeth.

Armitage enlisted as a private in the Cheshire Yeomanry almost immediately after the war started. He was commissioned the following year, before transferring to the Scottish Horse Regiment. He fought in Italy and then France where, attached to the Gloucester Regiment, he was met with the full force of the German Spring Offensive near Nieppe. During the Battle of Hazebrook he was shot by a machine gunner. One of his regiment wrote to his widow, describing his death;

“We had been ordered to take two farmhouses 200 yards in front of the front line on the Merville side of the Nieppe Forest. Your husband and his platoon had to take the farm on the right of our line. We attacked at 22.00 hours and everything was going well, when suddenly machine gun fire was opened on us from the right. Your husband, seeing that it was causing casualties to our troops in the attack, drew his revolver and bravely rushed it. He was killed instantly with several of his men about eight yards away.”

Armitage is buried in the Morbecque British Cemetery in France, Plot 1, Row E, and is memorialised on the Altrincham and Hale Memorial.

SOURCES
World Rugby Museum
Trafford War Dead

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