How actor and author Dave Dutton celebrates his grandad's bravery in the First World War through his autobiography The Thirty Bob Kid

Actor and writer Dave Dutton has a lot to be proud of - and many of his achievements have been encapsulated in his autobiography: The Thirty Bob Kid.

Friday, 8th November 2019, 9:46 am
Herbert Dutton

But the Atherton resident was also keen to wax lyrical about his ‘hero’ grandfather - Herbert Dutton - who served in three different regiments in the First World War.He dedicates the best part of a chapter to Herbert, detailing his experiences, where, at the age of 34, he was enlisted at the Kings Own Lancaster Regiment on December 29 1914, moving to 3rd Suffolk (Reserve) Battalion in November 1917 and joining the Lincolnshire Regt a year later.

Herbert, who was married to sweetheart Frances, was demobilised from the Lincolnshire Regiment on January 24, 1919 and returned to his mining roots at Cleworth Colliery, Tyldesley, in February 1919.He later worked at Chanter’s Collier and Gib Colliery and died of pneumonia in 1935 aged 53.

He had eight children, but sadly two died at a young age.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Dave Dutton with his autobiography and Herbert's medals

Dave, 72, said: “I would have loved to have met Herbert as to me, he was a hero.“To do his patriotic bit, he went to war, enlisting in the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment at the grand age of 34. He went off to fight in France where he was blown up and buried by an exploding shell.

“After recuperating from that, he got a bullet through the arm and one through the leg. “When he was fit again, he subsequently fought with the Lincolnshires at the Third Battle of the Aisne in France in mid 1918.“He had already had a hard life, having worked at Prestwich Parker’s Foundry in Atherton from the age of nine, splitting half of his time at school. “I wanted to make sure that what he did for this country was not forgotten.”

Dave Dutton’s autobiography details his life growing up in Atherton, his career, including working on Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Heartbeat and Watching, and his family. To buy a copy, visit

Here, Dave shares an extract of his book, based on some of Herbert’s notes about his time in France, whilst serving with the Lincolnshire Regiment - 1st Battalion:

Herbert Dutton's war medals

24.7.18 In the firing line opposite Beaumont Hamel for 17 days. Went to (Acheux?) Came back to support trench. Went over the top on August 21 and was under continuous shell and machine gun fire for 72 hours opposite River (Arne.?) Wounded 23.8.18 and buried by a shell. Went down the line to the dressing station them to convalescent camp.

(On September 5, a form had been sent to Mrs Dutton to the effect that Pte Dutton had been admitted to Number 2 Stationary Hospital, Abbeville suffering from gunshot wounds to the hand and left leg.On September 14, 1918, Lieutenant W Scott of the Lincolnshire Regiment informed Mrs Dutton that her husband had been admitted to Number 5 Convalescent Depot at Cayeux on August 29 and that any further information as to his condition would be “at once notified to you”.)

He convalesced September 28 then went to base depot until October 5, when he left on a 24-hour train journey with no tea and no bread, arriving at Havringcourt. Stayed with Divisional wing for three days then proceeded to join unit, marched 25 kilometres to Walincourt where they were billeted and left 13 days later to the front line where he was wounded on October 24.

(From the Regimental Diary: On October 23, near the village of Ovillers and the River Harpies, the attack began. The jumping-off line for the attack was the road along the eastern bank of the Harpies. The 1st Battalion Lincolnshires were on the left flank of the 62nd Brigade.)

The two battalions assembled in the valley north-east and north of Amerval and were able to go forward to the line of the River Harpies - one of the main objectives.The advance of the 2nd Battalion was opposed by heavy shellfire and machine gun fire from Poix. There were a large number of enemy machine guns which were captured at a later stage.The 1st Lincolnshires pushed on beside their comrades of the second having first cleared the line to the River Harpies and the south-west portion of Vendegies-au-Bois.

They pushed on to the next objective - a line between Vendegies and Poix where they were held up by enemy shellfire and dug in for the night having lost 15 men and 50 wounded.At 4am on October 24, the 1st Battalion attacked under a heavy barrage. The attack was entirely successful and by 6am Poix and the road running from north-west to southeast beyond it was captured, with the Lincolnshires taking more than 100 prisoners.It was during this battle that Herbert was wounded and came down the line and arrived at Number 2 Canadian General Hospital.

Herbert was ready to return home, or in war-speak “Marked for Blighty,” on October 28, 1918.By November 7, his wife was informed by the Infantry Record Office at Lichfield that Pte Dutton had been admitted to the 2nd Canadian General Hospital at Le Treport on October 25 with a gunshot wound which had caused a fracture to the left arm.Sailing from Le Havre, he arrived in Southampton on November 3 and on reaching Liverpool, he convalesced in Belmont Auxiliary Hospital.