The History of LittleBoy Park, Thornaby

Lt. Wilfred Littleboy, was born in Stockton 26 September 1896, he was an officer in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and sadly killed 9 October 1917, during the abortive attack on the Polderhoek Chateau, Ypres, a German HQ building. The 1st Battalion DLI was part of the Brigade which carried out the attack. Although it was initially successful, there was a high cost of life and the Château could not be held due to a combination of stiff resistance from an enemy firmly ensconced in concrete pill-boxes. Casualties rose, and the order was given to retire. By the end of the War there was little of the original chateau left, and the owners never returned.

Wilfred Littleboy, was the youngest son of Charles William Littleboy, a shipbuilder in Thornaby, and his wife Agnes Eveline. With the outbreak of the Great War, Wilfred was keen to do his bit so he gave up school and enlisted in The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, being promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. In October 1917 the Battalion received orders to attack the strongly defended Polderhoek Chateau, Wilfred went forward with his platoon. He was hit in the leg, but still pressed on with the attack, only to be shot again and killed. Wilfred’s parents donated a plot of land to the town of Thornaby-on-Tees. The park area known as Littleboy Park was opened to the public by his mother in 1930, as a memorial to their son.

Details courtesy of Bob Wilson. The War Grave image and commemorative certificate courtesy of Commonwealth War Graves Commission http://www.cwgc.org

12 thoughts on “The History of LittleBoy Park, Thornaby

  1. Wilfred Littleboy I thank you for your sacrifice and Rest in Peace brave soldier. Have fond memories of Littleboy Park I grew up there Will now always associate it with you

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  2. The Littleboy Park was the only green area in Old Thornaby back in the 1930 s and was where we children spent many happy hours of play. Never realised, until now, how this park came to be. An amazing tribute to their son.

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  3. Like many former Thornaby residents, my sister Anne Wilson and I, along with Gladys Fulton, used to have a regular Sunday morning ritual, at 10 am it was the Congregational Church for Sunday School, leaving there we walked across to the Pleasure Gardens for a good run up and down ‘the stairs’, actually the bankside paths that led down to the golf course stream below, then back up the stairs again to the War Memorial, after a few moments pause, it was up the road to the Littleboy Park, Gladys told me it was a park for little-boys only, I was totally unaware of its gift to the town by Lt Wilfred Littleboy R.I.P. parents, which prompts me to ask: “Isn’t it about time a small plaque was placed near the gates by the Council to record this brave soldiers deeds and his parents kind gesture.” Bob Wilson.

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  4. Charles William Littleboy lived at ‘Woodlands’ in Victoria Road Saltburn and commissioned famous garden designer Gertrude Jekyll to design a feature flowerbed and a later herbaceous border for the grounds. Woodlands has since been divided into two and I’m almost certain that the garden features have been lost through rebuilding. Having obtained copies of the original plans, I’m hoping that they can be recreated nearby as part of Saltburn’s Valley Gardens regeneration scheme. Unfortunately Littleboy died in 1925, not long after commissioning Jekyll but his widow carried on the work until completion. Not Stockton but garden-related at least!

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  5. As Thornaby born and bred this was on of our childhood play grounds also I remember playing football with the Arthur Head school in thick snow at the Littleboy park good days

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      • The Little boy Park was a well visited playground when I lived in Thornaby. My Nana and I used to visit my Granddad’s grave which was in the near by cemetery and then straight to the park afterwards for playtime and an ice-cream before returning home. The flower beds were always beautiful and the grass always kept neat and tidy. I have seen posting from Sandra Dover. Hi Sandra. A long time since we were in touch. Hope life has treat you well. It would be great to hear from you.

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        • Hi Angela. Hope you are Well. I am ok. Life is fine in Rotherham. Passed my grade 8 singing exam last March and am going in for my Diploma in the Autumn. All ok still supporting the Boro. Hope you are Well. Are you still in Teesside? Sandra Dover

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