Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence

Lest We Forget
British Legion
The Royal British Legion

BATLEY, CROSS BANK WESLEYAN CHURCH WAR MEMORIAL

World War 1 - Detailed information
Compiled & Copyright © Martin Edwards 2007
Personal biographies and images supplied by Val & Peter Mitchell

The memorial was originally located in cross Bank Methodist Church, Batley but has now been moved to the Central methodist Church, Batley. It takes the form of a nowy headed brass plaque mounted onto a wooden backboard. There are 27 names of those who died. The board was made by R Cecil Hoyle and There was also a Roll of Honour naming all of those from the church and school who served in World War 1. The memorial and the Roll of Honour were both unveiled by Major General Sir Berkeley Moynihan, K.C.M.G, C.B., at 3pm on Saturday 8th October 1921.

From the original dedication

BE THOU FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH AND WILL GIVE THEE THE CROWN OF LIFE
1914 - IN MEMORIAM - 1918

BARBER Albert [Edward]
Rifleman 17/2120, 11th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles formerly 27332, KIng's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. Died of wounds in Bally Kinley Hospital, Co. Down, 22nd January 1918. Aged 25. Born Gomersall, Yorkshire, enlisted Batley. Formerly 27332, King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry). Buried in BATLEY CEMETERY, Yorkshire. Plot/Row/Section K. Grave 263.

Family Details:

Albert Edward was born in Gomersal in 1892 the son of Joseph Ramsden Barber and his wife Ellen (nee Trevitt) who had married on Boxing Day in 1874 at St. Peter’s Birstall.

In 1901 the family was living at 8, Carlton Road, Batley Carr with siblings Mary Alice (1878), Lorenzo ( 1880), Sarah Ellen (1884), Jane (1888), Albert Edward (1892) and lastly Hilda (1894). The eldest son, Joseph (b. 1876) had by this time left the family home.

The family moved soon after this to live at Carlinghow where Albert attended Carlinghow Council School and Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel and Sunday School, being a member of the Young Men’s Class.

In 1911 the family was living in a four roomed house at 50, Shay Terrace, Carlinghow. Lorenzo and Sarah Ellen had married and left home. Joseph was working as a night firer, Albert was working at R. Dewhirst, print works and his sisters were all weavers.

After leaving school he worked for Messrs. R. Dewhirst & Co’s Print works as a colour printer before moving to J.T. & J. Taylor’s, Cheapside Mills as a night condenser minder.

His father died in January 1915 leaving Albert as the only man in the house so he did not join the forces at the beginning of the war but only after conscription came into force in 1916.

Service Details:

He joined the forces in Batley, in February 1916, as Private 27332 King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and went to France in June the same year. He was only there three months when he was gassed and returned to England. He was sent back to France in early 1917. Albert transferred to the Royal Irish Rifles as a rifleman. At this time the 11th Battalion came under the orders of 108th Brigade, 36th (Ulster) Division.

The Division, in 1917, fought at the Battles of Messines, in which they captured Wytschaete (7thJune-11thJuly), and Langemarck (3rd Battle of Ypres, 16th-18th August). These were entrenched warfare but the British and Commonwealth troops began to play the leading role and gain the upper hand.

His head and right hand were injured in August and he was sent to Scotland for treatment and was then subsequently transferred to a convalescent camp in Ballykinler in Ireland.

He sent a letter home written by him on the Monday, saying he was in good health. On the Tuesday the family received a telegram to say he was seriously ill, followed by another requesting them to go at once as he was sinking fast. They received a wire on Wednesday morning before anyone had left to say he had died. A post mortem examination revealed he had died from a blood vessel bursting on his brain.

He was brought home to Batley and was buried at Batley Cemetery on Sunday 27th January with military honours. Soldiers from the local A.O.C. depot acted as bearers and a large number of soldiers from Staincliffe Base Hospital also attended. The service was conducted by Captain, the Rev. Gordon Wright chaplain at Staincliffe Hospital assisted by Rev. P.B.Jenkinson of Cross Bank. The "Last Post " was sounded over the grave and there were many wreaths including one tied with red, white and blue ribbon from soldier friends.


Batley News 25th January 1919

Albert Edward was awarded the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal.

He is remembered with Honour at Batley War Memorial, St. John’s, Carlinghow, Cross Bank Chapel (the memorial is now in Central Methodist Church) and Ireland, Casualties of World War .

BROWN Herbert Stanley

Gunner 113857, 294th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. Died 23rd february 1920. Aged 30. Buried in BATLEY CEMETERY, Yorkshire. Plot/Row/Section F. Grave 324.

Family Details

Herbert Stanley was born in Batley around 1889 the youngest child of Joseph and Sarah Elizabeth Brown (nee Lobley).

In 1881 the couple with their children Carrie ( 1871) ,Gertrude(187 ),Walton (1874 ) ,Lizzie( 1876 ), Horace Lobley (1878 )and Maud (1881) were living at Railway Terrace, Brownhill. Bradford born Joseph was a wool sorter.

Within the next decade the family moved to live at Providence Terrace , Batley with the additions of Norman Ewart (1883) , Minnie Sarah (1885 ) and Herbert Stanley. When the 1891 census was taken Walton and Sarah Elizabeth were patients at the Ida Hospital, Cookridge, Leeds and Carrie, the eldest daughter, was in the Dewsbury Union Workhouse

In 1901 when the census was taken the family was living at 38, Victoria Street, Carlinghow but Joseph was a patient in Leeds Infirmary.

Joseph died in August 1904 at Bromley Street, Hanging Heaton, Sarah Elizabeth had moved to 21, Queen Street, Batley before her death in June 1907.

Herbert Stanley married Amy Whitehead at Batley Parish Church on 11th June 1910 giving his address as 21, Queen Street, Batley and his occupation as a commercial traveller. Amy was the daughter of a veterinary surgeon.

In 1911 the couple, with her widowed father, lived at Bankfoot House, Batley, their son George Herbert, born 18th August 1910 and a servant. Things had certainly looked up for George.

Kathleen Mary was born on 8th February 1915.

Service Details

Herbert Stanley enlisted on the 7th December 1915 into the "B " Reserves and was mobilized on the 14th August 1916 to No.4 Depot of the Royal Garrison Artillery. His records state that he was 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighed 133 pounds. He was posted to the 232nd Siege Battery on the 1st September 1916. He was sent with the British Expeditionary Force to France on the 18th January 1917 but was only there for 88 days before returning to England on 16th April 1917. This was because he was wounded in his right arm on the 9th April 1917 and was taken to the 2nd Western General Hospital, Manchester where he remained until the 16th July 1917.

He was serving in England until 13th October when he returned to France serving for only 87 days before returning to England on the 8th January 1918 being taken the Belmont Road Hospital, Liverpool because he had been gassed.

He was in hospital for several months before being discharged because he was unfit to serve on the 12th June 1918.

Herbert Stanley was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

He is remembered with Honour at Cross Bank Methodist Chapel and Batley War Memorial.

COOK Thomas [Henry]
Royal Navy Registers of Seaman’s Services or King’s Own Scottish Borderers number 8099. Died 12th April 1920. Aged 26. Buried in BATLEY CEMETERY, Yorkshire. Plot/Row/Section O. Grave 157.

Family Details.

Thomas Henry was born in Howden Clough probably on 21st December 1893 (registered 1st Qtr 1894) the only surviving son of James and Hannah Cook (nee Hobson) who both came from Holmfirth.

His parents and siblings Mary (1885), Sarah Elizabeth (1887) and Ethel aged 4 months when the 1891 census was taken were living at Leeds Road, Howden Clough.

James was a coal hewer and in 1901 the family which included Sarah Elizabeth (1887), Ethel (1890), Thomas Henry and Ida (1896) was living at 38, Blackburn Road, Birstall.

Minnie was born in 1898 but died aged 16 months in May 1899 and Arnold who was born in 1900 died in November 1900 aged 7 months. Florence Eva (born Blackburn Road, Birstall 1905).

Before 1911 the family had moved to live at 18, Hirst’s Buildings, North Street, Cross Bank, Batley and the census shows that three children had not survived infancy. Thomas Henry was working as a butcher.

His mother, Hannah, died in December 1911

At the time of his death his occupation was given as a butcher.

Service Details

There is some confusion regarding his military details because he died after the war ended and because he did not serve abroad.

We have found a Thomas Henry Cook born in Batley saying he was born 21st December 1885 (we cannot find a Thomas Henry Cook born in 1885) whose occupation was a butcher/finisher and who enlisted on the 18th August 1914 at Chatham for one year. He was described as being 5ft 7 inches tall, fair hair, blue eyes with a fresh complexion. He rejoined on the 31st July 1915 until the end of hostilities. We cannot find a Thomas Henry Cook registered as born in Batley in 1885.

He served at Pembroke 1, which was a training establishment from the 18th August 1914 until 5th December 1914 when he was transferred to the hospital ship MFA Drina until transferring again to MFA Berbice on 12th February 1916.

On the 15th April until 22nd May 1916 he moved back to Pembroke 1, transferring to Chatham on 23rd May 1916 until 31st March 1919. He was discharged at Pembroke 1 on 16th May 1919.

His character was described as very good and his ability as satisfactory. Thomas was awarded the G1 Badge (Good Conduct Badge) on 17th August 1917.

In the Batley News of 12th February 1916 there is a Roll of Honour for the men who were serving from Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel and it states Thomas Henry Cook was in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers Regiment. This could be Private 8099 that enlisted on 25th September 1914 and was discharged on 5th May 1916 under paragraph 392 XV1 KR sickness. The action taken was stated as List 371. He was awarded the Silver War Badge on the 24th May 1917. He did not serve abroad.

We cannot be sure which military details refer to Thomas Henry Cook on the Cross Bank Memorial but Thomas Henry did serve his King and Country and he is remembered with Honour on Batley War Memorial and Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel.

GARSIDE Ernest

Able Seaman J/58713, H.M.S. Victory, Royal Navy. Died 18th October 1918. Aged 31. Son of Joseph and Teresa Garside, of Batley; husband of Beatrice Mary Garside, of 13, Chapel Fold, Staincliffe, Batley, Yorks. No known grave. Commemorated on PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL, Hampshire. Panel 29.

Family Details

Ernest was born in Batley on 25th July 1887 the son of Joseph Garside and his wife Theresa (nee Rebbla). In 1891 the family was living at 25, North Street, Batley. His father was a cloth weaver and his siblings were Mary Edith (1873), Louis Rebla (1879), Harry (1881), Clara Ethel (1883) and Martha Annie (1890). A decade later the family had moved to 19, Pit Lane, Carlinghow with the additions of Beatrice (1893 ) and Mary Rose Ann (1896). Joseph had become a tuner, but died in May 1909.

Ernest attended Carlinghow Council School and Cross Bank Chapel where he sang in the choir, being a tenor vocalist and was interested in Sunday school work and the cricket team.

On 11th September 1909 Ernest married Beatrice Mary Braham who came from Chapeltown, Nr. Sheffield at Cross Bank Chapel, Batley. They went to live at 13, Chapel Fold, Staincliffe. Denis was born in 1910 followed by Louis in 1915. Before enlisting he worked at Henry Burrows, Batley Carr as a foreman warehouseman.

Service Details.

Ernest joined the Royal Navy on 16th September 1916 as an ordinary seaman and served with HMS "Victory " before moving to the "Lunka " on 30th November. He became an Able Seaman on 15th May 1918 and continued to serve on the "Lunka " until being transferred to "Victory 1 " on 26th September 1918. He had seen considerable service in British East Africa and he was on board H.M.T. "Royal George "in the Middle East on 18th October 1918 when he died from heat stroke. The trip he was undertaking should have been a rest after arduous duties. The ship was probably bringing them to England. He was buried at sea.

Ernest was the third son to die in the war, Lewis who had fought in the South African War had died on 8th July 1916 and Gunner Harry had died of wounds on 28th April 1917.

Ernest is remembered with Honour on Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Batley War Memorial, Carlinghow St. John’s, Christ Church, Staincliffe and Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel.

He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

GARSIDE Harry

Gunner 18979, 70th Battery, Royal Artillery. Died of wounds 28th April 1917. Aged 37. Born Barley, Yorkshire (sic) and enlisted Batley. Son of Mrs. T. E. Garside, of 175, North Bank Rd., Cross Bank, Batley, Yorks., and the late Mr. J. Garside. Buried in ROCLINCOURT MILITARY CEMETERY, Pas de Calais, France. Plot II. Row B. Grave 15.

Family Details

Harry was born in Batley on 11th July 1881 the son of Joseph Garside and his wife Theresa Elizabeth (nee Rebbla). He was baptised at St.John’s Carlinghow on 10th September 1895. In 1891 the family was living at 25, North Street, Batley. His father was a cloth weaver and his siblings were Mary Edith (1873), Louis Rebbla (1879), Clara Ethel (1883), Charles (1885-1888), Ernest (1887) and Martha Annie (1890).

A decade later the family had moved to 19, Pit Lane, Carlinghow with the additions of Beatrice (1893) and Mary Rose Ann (1896). Harry was working underground as a hewer at a pit. Joseph had become a tuner, but died in May 1909.

Theresa moved to live at 133, North Bank Road, Batley with her three youngest daughters after the death of Joseph. The 1911 census says there were 11 children born alive to the couple.

After fighting in India Harry worked at Horbury Colliery and was well known in Batley and was connected with Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel.

Service Details

Harry had been a soldier nearly all his manhood days. He served seven years in India and was a Reservist when war broke out and went to France on Tuesday, 4th August 1914. He was in the Royal Field Artillery 70th Battery 34th Brigade which was attached to the 2nd Division until January 1917. At first it was commanded by Major H.C.S. Clarke but in January 1917 the 34th Brigade left 2nd Division to become an army level artillery brigade.

From the 9th April to 16th May 1917, British, Canadians, South African, New Zealand, Newfoundland and Australian troops attacked German defences near the French city of Arras on the Western Front.

The British effort was an assault on a relatively broad front between Vimy in the northwest and Bullecourt to the south east.

An Officer wrote to his mother:-

"It is with very great regret that I have to inform you that your son Gunner Harry Garside was seriously wounded in the night of 27-28th April. We had him taken to hospital at once. So far I have received no news, hence my delay in writing to you. I do sincerely hope he will recover. As his section officer I have nothing but praise for him for his coolness and calm under fire. He always did his duty well and conscientiously. He was also my servant, and in that capacity I got to know him really well. I cannot speak too highly of him. His first thought was always for me, and never seemed contented until he had me made comfortable as he could. I shall miss him awfully and I do trust that he will recover his full strength and it may be my great pleasure to meet him again-if not in this country then in England. I shall never forget him whatever happens. As soon as I get any news of him I will communicate with you. May God give you courage and strength to keep a strong heart in this time of anxiety? "

In the same post she received official news of his death on Wednesday 9th May 1917 that her son Harry had died of wounds on the 28th April 1917.

Harry had been one of the original members of the British Expeditionary Force and went through all the terrible fighting in the early months of the war without receiving a scratch. He did have several miraculous escapes during his time in France without injury but had now made the great sacrifice.

Harry was awarded the 1914 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal

He is remembered with Honour at St. John’s Church, Carlinghow, Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel, Batley War Memorial and Roclincourt Military Cemetery.

GARSIDE Lewis (Louis) [Rebbla]

Corporal 2303, 1st/4th Battalion, King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry). Killed in action 8th July 1916. Aged 37. Born Batley, enlisted Wakefield. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Garside, of Batley; husband of Sarah Martha Ellis (formerly Garside), of 1, Foundry St., Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury. Buried in SERRE ROAD CEMETERY No. 2, Somme, France. Plot XXXIV. Row C. Grave 12.

"FEAR NOT I HAVE CALLED THEE BY THY NAME THOU ART MINE "

Family Details:

Louis Rebbla Garside was born at Cross Bank, Batley on 7th May 1879 the son of Joseph and Teresa Elizabeth (nee Rebbla). He was baptised on 10th September 1885 on the same day as his brothers Harry (November 1881) and Charles (August 1885-1888). Joseph's occupation was a tuner. They already had an older sister Mary Edith (1873). Joseph came from Holmfirth and married Dewsbury born Theresa at Batley Parish Church on 19th February 1872. He had previously married Martha Ann Mellor at Dewsbury in 1867 but she had died in November 1869. Isaac L was born 1874 but sadly died in April 1877 two weeks before 8 month old John W. when the family were living at Cross Bank, Batley.

In 1881 the family was living at Pit Road (North Road) next door to Betsy Rebbla and were still there a decade later with the additions of Clara (1884), Ernest (1887) and Martha Annie (1890). In 1901 the family were living at 19, Pit Lane, Carlinghow with further additions of Beatrice 1893 and Mary Rose Ann in 1896. Joseph died in 1909 and in 1911 Teresa Elizabeth was living at 133, North Bank Road with her three youngest daughters who were all weavers.

Lewis married Sarah Martha Petty at St. Saviour's Ravensthorpe on 24th December 1910. In 1911 the couple were living at John Street, Ravensthorpe with Richard and Frances Greenwood who 10 years earlier were described as her adoptive parents. Joseph was born in 1913.

Lewis was employed at Messrs. Henry Burrows, woollen rag merchants, Dewsbury.

Sarah Martha later married Thomas Ellis in 1920 and went to live at 1, Foundry Street, Ravensthorpe.

Service Details:

Lewis joined the Forces around 1896 and served in the Boer War without being injured. He was a Reservist at the outbreak of war and was called up in August 1914 the week after war broke out. He joined the 1st/4th K.O.Y.L.I.'s going first to Doncaster, then Gainsborough in November before moving to York in February 1915 and disembarked for service in France on 13th April 1915. They were part of the 3rd West Riding Brigade.

After arriving in France and resting they marched from Merville to Doulieu where they were given a very enthusiastic welcome. Captain Taylor (1/5th) who was billeted in a cottage wrote home:

"The landlady is our slave because she recognised our badge. Our 2nd Battalion drove the Huns from this village last autumn, after they made the men of the village dig their own graves at the end of the road here before they shot them into them, and eight of our brave fellows are buried in a field over the way with a little wooden cross with a bugle and K.O.Y.L.I. smudged on in tar. The Germans shot 11 civilians because they said one of their officers had been shot by a civilian. As a matter of fact he was shot by a French soldier, we were told by the parish priest here who witnessed the whole thing. "

On the 1st July the 1/4th K.O.Y.L.I. were around Thiepval and at 6 p.m. they left Aveluy Wood with the intention of crossing the Ancre by Black Horse Ridge south of Authuille. They had reached North Bluff when they were told orders had been cancelled. They were told to take the line east of Thiepval Wood around midnight but once again the orders were cancelled and they returned to Aveluy Wood.

Shortly after dawn on the 3rd July the 1/4th's position was bombarded for two hours with lachrymatory, HE and shrapnel shells. At around 1.30 p.m. on the 4th July, while a thunder storm raged, the Germans made the first of a series of bombing attacks against the forward positions of the 1/5th KOYLI which resulted in the 1/4th moving forward to counter attack. The cost of this small operation was costly to the 1/5th who had 36 men killed and the 1/4th, three men killed.

On 7th July the Germans delivered a text book bombardment .At 2 a.m. their guns turned on the 1/4th in the "A " line and 50 minutes later shells began landing in the communications and support lines as they attempted to stop more reinforcements reaching the front line. Fierce fighting took place until 6.30a.m. With lots of casualties from bombers and snipers who shot the English as they fired and threw bombs out of the trenches. The casualties were 20 killed, 180 wounded. The Germans had used the new light "egg " bomb which could easily be thrown 50 yards. At 9 pm the KOYLI battalions were relieved and moved back to Martinsart Woods where their rest period was interrupted by the firing of siege howitzers which were in operation nearby.

Lewis may not have been with the majority of the battalion because the report of his death states that he was shot through the head with an explosive bullet while working with a bombing party and death was instantaneous.

Lewis is remembered with Honour at St. John's Church, Carlinghow, Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel, Ravensthorpe Parish Church, Batley War Memorial, Dewsbury War Memorial and Serre Road Cemetery, France.

He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

HOBSON Walter
Private 58124, 5th Battalion, King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry). Killed in action 20th July 1918. Born Batley, enlisted Dewsbury. Formerly 32467, West Riding Regiment. Buried in COURMAS BRITISH CEMETERY, Marne, France. Plot I. Row H. Grave 6.

Family Details:

Walter was born in Carlinghow in 1899 the son of William Hobson of Grange Moor and his wife Harriett (nee Ackeroyd) who came from Adwalton. The couple had married at Batley Parish Church on 7th November 1883 and William was a widower. He had married Sara Wood on 4th September 1876 and they had a daughter Gertrude (5th October 1878). Sara died in 1880 and in 1881 William was lodging with John Hayes in Heckmondwike. Gertrude went to live with her grandparents.

In 1901 the family with older siblings Emma (1884), Florence (1887), Richard (1888), Leonard (1890), George (1893) and Percy (1896) was living at 10, Birch Street, Carlinghow, Batley. William was a miner and Harriett and Emma were cloth weavers leaving 14 year old Florence to look after the house whilst most of the others were at school or work.

Ten years later with the additions of Sarah (1903), Harold (1907) and an eighteen year old boarder Tom Wilson the family were living in a five roomed home at 37, Chaster Street, Carlinghow. Emma and Florence had left home.

Service Details.

Walter enlisted at Dewsbury into the West Riding Regiment being Private No.32467 changing to the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry 5th Battalion Private No. 58124 .

His military details do not have appeared to have survived but we do know he was part of the 187th Brigade in the 62nd (2nd West Riding Division).

The Division in 1918 fought at the Battle of Bapaume on the 25th March followed by the First Battle of Arras on 28th March.

On 28th June 1918 French Intelligence reported a German attack would occur between the Rivers Marne and Oisny. This was last German attack of the war which began on 15th July near Rheims and the River Marne and lasted until 6th August1918. The attack failed when an Allied counterattack, including several hundred tanks, overwhelmed the Germans on their right flank, inflicting severe casualties. The German defeat marked the start of the relentless Allied advance which culminated in the Armistice with Germany about 100 days later.

There was heavy fighting on the 20th July 1918 by the 62nd Division around Courmas and 56 soldiers, 28 being from the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry were buried at this cemetery that were killed on the 20th July 1918.

The Courmas Cemetery was created after the Armistice by bringing in the soldiers from the neighbouring battlefields where the 62nd Division had hastily buried them.

His effects were left to his mother.

Walter is remembered with Honour at Batley War Memorial, St. John’s Church Carlinghow, Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel and Courmas British Cemetery.

He was awarded British War Medal and Victory Medal

HOLMES Wilfred Ewart

Private 5/6056, 1st/5th Battalion, Durham Light Inafntry. Died of wounds 16th November 1916. Aged 18. Born and resident Batley, enlisted Pontefract. Son of Willie Brook Holmes and Amy Gertrude Holmes, of 15, Osborne Terrace, Field Hill, Batley, Yorks. Formerly 30672, King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry). Buried in ST. SEVER CEMETERY EXTENSION, ROUEN, Seine-Maritime, France. Section O. Plot II. Row C. Grave 10.

"THE PATH OF DUTY WAS THE WAY TO GLORY "

Family Details

Wilfred Ewart was born in Batley in c April 1898 the eldest son of Willie Brook and Amy Gertrude Holmes (nee Hemingway).

Arnold Percy was born in 1900 followed by Arthur (1903) and James Albert in 1905.

In 1901 the family was living at 24, Pynate Road, Carlinghow, Batley and in the census Holmfirth born Willie Brook gave his occupation as a rag and shoddy traveller. Before 1911 the family had moved to nearby 102, Chaster Street, Carlinghow, Batley in a five roomed home. Willie Brook gave his occupation as a commercial traveller for a shoddy and mungo merchant.

His brother, Willie Geoffrey was born in February 1917 and the family had moved to live at 15, Osborne Terrace, Field Hill, Batley before 1919.

Wilfred attended Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel and worked with his father at Messrs. Wildsmith and Carter’s before changing his career to learn farming and had moved to Buckden in Wharfedale before enlisting.

He was well known in Cross Bank and attended the Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel.

Service Details

Wilfred Ewart enlisted at Dewsbury in June 1916 and his records states he was 5 feet 2 ¾ inches tall and weighed 126 lbs.

He was posted to the Northumberland Fusiliers on 6th October 1916 before transferring to the Durham Light Infantry and posted to the 1/5th Battalion on 20th October 1916 joining the Field Unit two days later. The 1/5th Battalion was attached to 150th Brigade in 50th (Northumbrian) Division and in October 1916 took part in the Battle of Transloy Ridges.

Wilfred was injured on the 7th November and admitted the next day to 1/1Casualty Clearing Station with gunshot wounds to his face, hand and chest before being transferred to the 3 stationary hospitals at Rouen.

His parents received a telegram from the Territorial Office at York stating:-

"Regret Pte. W.E. Holmes dangerously ill in 3 Stationary Hospital, Rouen, gunshot wound, face, hand and chest. Regret permission to visit him is not granted "

The same day a letter was received from a Wesleyan Chaplain which read:-

"Your son, Pte. W. E. Holmes asks me to write you. He is dangerously wounded by gunshot in the side of the head. He is receiving careful attention from doctors and nurses and we hope that he will make progress. "

Wilfred died of his wounds at 11.20 am on Thursday, 16th November 1916.

Wilfred Ewart was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal

He is remembered with Honour at Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel, Batley War memorial and St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen.

INESON Herbert

Private 17/1012, 17th Battalion, Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorkshire Regiment). Killed in action 30th July 1916. Born Batley, enlisted Leeds. Buried in CATERPILLAR VALLEY CEMETERY, LONGUEVAL, Somme, France. Plot XXI. Row B. Grave 7.

Family Details

Herbert was born in 1897 in Batley the son of Emma Ineson who was born in Hanging Heaton.

In 1901 they are living at the home of widower, Joseph Brook Avison at Back Russell Street, Batley with her other children Edith Louisa 1890, Frederick 1895, Harry 1900 who died in Jan 1902 aged 20 months, as boarders.

Another child Annie Avison Ineson was born in 1893 but died in Nov 1895.

Joseph Brook Avison died in March 1905 aged 32 years.

Herbert attended Park Road School and was well known in Carlinghow.

Before 1911 Emma had moved to a two roomed home at 5 yard 6, Birch Street, Carlinghow with Edith, Frederick and Herbert. She was working as a feeder at a woollen mill and 13 year old Herbert was working as a skip gatherer.

Herbert later went to work at Howley Park Colliery as a hurrier before he enlisted aged 17 years. He had moved with his family to live at Back Birch Street, Batley.

Service Details

Herbert enlisted at Leeds when he was only seventeen years old. He joined the 17th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment which was a bantam battalion which from June 1915 came under the command of 106th Brigade in 35th Division.

The Division was largely comprised of locally raised units known as "Bantams ", manned by troops who were under the normal regulation minimum height of 5 feet 3 inches.

After early training near home, the units concentrated in June 1915 in North Yorkshire. Divisional HQ was at Masham and units were at Roomer Common, Marfield, Fearby and Masham. In August 1915 the Division moved to Salisbury Plain, HQ being set up at Marlborough. Over the next few weeks moves were made to Chiseldon and Cholderton. In late 1915 orders were received to kit for a move to Egypt but this was soon rescinded.

They landed at Le Havre on 1st February 1916 and concentrated at first around the St.Omer area.

Later that year they took part in the Battle of Bazentin Ridge (14th -17th July) followed by the fighting for Arrow Head Copse and Maltz Horn Farm and it was probably in this battle that Herbert was killed in action.

The first intimation of Herbert’s death came from Lieut. W. W. Stead Officer Commanding Herbert’s Company, who wrote:-

"It is my unfortunate duty to have to inform you that 1010 Private H. Ineson was killed in the big battle on July 30th. Our Battalion was the first of the Bantams in action, and the men covered themselves with glory, earning the unstinting praise of the General. It was a heartbreaking task when I called the roll the following morning. Two of my Officers were wounded and altogether we lost 10 officers in two days and many men. I can assure you that your boy died instantaneously. He was a good soldier and always did his duty. "

Although the above letter a wrong number is given, Private Ineson being 1012 the sad news was confirmed when "One of His Comrades in the Platoon " wrote:-

"I am forwarding you a letter which you sent to your son Herbert. I am sorry to inform you he was killed on July 30th about 5.30 in the morning. He suffered no pain, as he was killed instantly. We were all sorry to lose him as he was a nice lad and liked by everyone in the platoon. We had only just gone into action when he was knocked down by a shell. All the boys send their sympathy. "

A fortnight later she received official confirmation from the War Office that he was killed on that date, and sympathy from the King and Queen was also expressed.

At this time his brother Stoker Frederick Ineson, had been in the Navy nearly three years and had taken part in the battle for the Falkland Islands.

Herbert was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

He is remembered with Honour at Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel, Batley War Memorial and Caterpillar Valley, France.

LODGE George Edward
Private 42151, 15th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own). Died 20th January 1919. Aged 34. Son of Wesley and Elizabeth Lodge; husband of Elizabeth Moore Lodge, of Aspendale, Victoria, Australia. Born at Batley, Yorks. Buried in HARTLEY SOUTH CEMETERY, WHITLEY BAY, Northumberland. Grave Reference C. C. 1007.

Family Details.

George Edward was born in Batley on 9th February 1885 the son of Wesley and Elizabeth Lodge (nee Booth) and was baptised at Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel on the 22nd March 1895 when they lived at Field Hill, Batley.

When the 1881 census was taken the family was living in Field Hill with Wesley’s family where both he and his father were shown as managers in shoddy manufacturing.

His siblings were John Arthur (1873), Charles Henry 1875; Robert Booth was born in 1877 followed by Philip Wesley 1879, Benjamin Ewart 1881, Ann Amelia 1887 who died aged 9 months in July 1888, Annie Elizabeth 1890 and Albert in December 1891 who only lived for 12 hours.

In 1891 the family was living at Spring Grove, Upper Batley and had two domestic servants.

Wesley, an extract manufacturer, died on the 15th May 1895 at Ingle Bank, Batley leaving £3,435.7s.4d.

In 1901 Elizabeth was living at Ingle Bank which was next door to Blenheim House with her younger children, a servant and her father John Booth who was a retired grocer. Philip was working as a plumber and glacier and George Edward would still have been at Batley Grammar School.

Elizabeth was still at Batley when the 1911 census was taken living in a seven roomed home, Moorland House at Field Hill with her son Charles Henry and Annie Elizabeth.

On the 30th October 1915 it was reported in the Batley News "Charlie " Lodge the son of the late Wesley paid a visit to his friends and relatives in the district. Private Lodge was in the veterinary corps attached to the Royal Horse Artillery and in that capacity was doing congenial work well.

The report continued:-

" "Charlie " is turned forty but he is as young in spirit as ever and his cheery voice is always breathing encouragement to the boys in his battery. He looked much fagged for want of sleep when we saw him last Saturday night but after a quiet weekend with his mother and sister at Holmfirth he turned up at Batley on Tuesday in the best of health and spirits. Delighted he was to meet his old friends and in acknowledging a hearty welcome he said " We have got the shells----plenty of shells—and the guns. All we want is a few more Batley boys to come give us a lift. Yes- and we must have them. "

Before 1910 George Edward had gone to live at Newcastle upon Tyne where in 1911 he was living with his wife, Elizabeth Moore (nee Irwin) who he had married in Newcastle on the 18th December 1910, at 147, Warwick Street, Heaton giving his occupation as a woollen and cotton rags manager for a wholesale merchant.

His son John Edward Wesley was born on 24th April 1913 followed by George Edward on 8th July 1916.


Photograph with his wife and children

Service Details.

His service records have not survived but his medal rolls index cards state he enlisted in the West Yorkshire Regiment on 8th January 1917 at Newcastle and was discharged on 6th December 1918 reason given 392(XV1) . He was awarded a Silver War Badge no.B55398.

His brother Charlie, who was in the veterinary corps attached to the Royal Horse Artillery, paid a visit to Batley to see his friends and relatives during the last week of October 1915. It was reported in the Batley News that "Charlie " was turned forty but was as young in spirit as ever and his cheery voice is always breathing encouragement to the boys in his battery .The reporter states that when he say him the previous Saturday he looked very fagged for want of sleep but after a quiet weekend at Holmfirth with his mother and sister he returned to Batley the following Tuesday in the best of health and spirits. He was delighted to meet his old friends and said:--

"We have got the shells-plenty of shells—and plenty of guns. All we want is a few more Batley boys to give us a lift. Yes we must have them. "

The 15th Battalion (Leeds Pals) was serving in France from March 1916 where it came under the orders of 93rd Brigade, 31st Division.

In 1917 they took part in operations on the Ancre, Third Battle of Scarpe and the capture of Oppy Wood. On the 7th December they amalgamated with the 17th Battalion becoming 15th/17th Battalion.

In 1918 the first battle they fought was the Battle of St. Quentin which took place between 21st March and 5th April.

On the 22nd March the battalion arrived at 4 am at camp west of Villers and were immediately ordered to move forward to occupy forward positions , two companies went to the east of Brei and two companies to the west of Brei. By 3.30 pm the bridge at Brei was completely demolished.

At 8 am on the 25th they received news that the bridge at Eteragny had been crossed and the enemy had to be counter attacked. They attacked at 9.30 am and they came under heavy machine gun and rifle fire west of Eterpigny. The position was held all day against severe odds until they were ordered to start to withdraw at 8.30 pm.

On the 26th at 10 am they were ordered to withdraw immediately to Rosieres and this coincided with the arrival of the enemy. Withdrawal began immediately, each company covering its own withdrawal. By 3.30 pm they were in positions near the railway and held the positions with the 2nd Field Company of Royal Engineers on the left and 2nd Middlesex on the left. There was no action that night.

At 2pm on the 27th the machine gun officer arrived at Battalion H.Q.and reported that all the troops on the left were retiring and in fact there were troops retiring through the village. "B " Company who were in reserve

George Edward was captured by the Germans and taken prisoner.

In the 14th June 1918 issue of the Batley Reporter there is a report that read:-

"Private George Edward Lodge youngest son of the late Wesley Lodge of Batley whose wife and family reside at Whitley Bay and has been posted "missing " since March 27th is a prisoner of war. A letter to that effect dated April 2nd has been received from the soldier himself. "

In captivity he was allowed to send letters home and his wife received about eight, although he never received any from her although she sent them. All he asked for in the letters were food and boots.

He was released after the end of the war on 6th December 1918 and arrived home in time for Christmas 1918 but he weighed only five stone and seven pounds, his wife tried to feed him food but his body could not take it and he died four and a half weeks later on 20th January 1919 due to the malnutrition he had received as a prisoner of war. Officially he had died of debility, heart disease and bronchitis brought on by maltreatment he had received when he was a prisoner war.

It was reported in the Batley Grammar School Magazine

"George Lodge was reported "prisoner of war " in our last number. He was repatriated, but never recovered from the abominable ill-treatment he suffered and died at Cullercoats in January. He was one of a family of our dodgiest footballers. "

Details of his will states "Died 20th January 1919 of 9, St. Oswin’s Avenue, Cullercoats, Northumberland left £195 "

His wife and children emigrated to Aspendale, Victoria, Australia in about 1925 where their descendants still live.

George Edward was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal.

He is remembered with Honour at Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel, Batley Grammar School and Batley War Memorial.

Thanks to his granddaughter Leslee Davis for allowing reproduction of photographs and additional information and to Philip Wheeler et al for using research from Batley Lads.

MIDGLEY, MM Fred

Private 260114, "B " Company, 15th/17th Battalion, Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorkshire Regiment). Killed in action 19th July 1918. Aged 32. Born and enlisted Batley. Son of the late George and Emma Midgley, of Batley. Husband of Mary Midgley, of 7, Birch St., Carlinghow, Batley, Yorks. Son of the late George and Emma Midgley, of Batley. Husband of Mary Midgley, of 7, Birch St., Carlinghow, Batley, Yorks. Awarded the Military Medal (M.M.). Formerly 22987, King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry). Buried in LE GRAND HASARD MILITARY CEMETERY, MORBECQUE, Nord, France. Plot 1. Row B. Grave 13.

Family Details:

Fred was born in Batley in 1886 the youngest son of George Midgley and his wife Emma (nee Appleyard). George came from East Keswick and Emma from Flockton /Hunslet/or Middleton.

In 1871 they were living at Bradford Road, Batley with their children Arthur (1870); Mary aged 3 months and a lodger Charles Jackson who came from Hunslet.

A decade the family had moved to Carlinghow Lane with the additions of Ada (1873), Charlotte (1874) and Charles (1879). Tom born in 1876 had died aged 2 years 6 months in August 1878, James born 1880 died in February 1881, Jane was born in 1881. George was a farm labourer. Sadly Emma died in 1889.

In 1891 the family was living at Ineson’s Buildings, Coal Pit Lane and George was earning a living as a carrier, whilst Ada cared for him and her younger siblings. A decade later the family had moved to Wooller Houses where George was once again working as a farm labourer but his children were working in the mills. Charles was a piecener, Jane a twister and Fred a finisher.

In 1911 George was a "retired farmer "living at 8, Garden Street, Carlinghow with Ada and Fred who was working as a cloth finisher at Messrs. R. Brearley’s, Queen Street Mills. It shows that George and Emma had had nine children born alive and two had died during their 21 years of marriage.

Fred had attended Carlinghow School, was a member of Carlinghow Working Men’s Club and attended Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel.

On 11th May 1911 Fred married Mary Blakeley, who came from Beck Lane, at St .John’s Church, Carlinghow. They went to live at 7, Birch Street, Carlinghow.

His son, George, was born in 1912 and Edna in 1914. His father, George, of North Bank Fields, Carlinghow died 17th July 1918, two days before Fred.

Service Details:

He enrolled at Batley in February 1916 and disembarked in France in July 1916. The 15th Battalion (1st Leeds "Leeds Pals ") was part of 93rd Brigade, 31st Division. The Division was made up entirely of Pals Battalions. The Battalion fought at the Battle of the Somme and suffered 3,500 casualties without reaching any of their objectives.

In 1917 they took part in operations on the Ancre taking part in the Third Battle of the Scarpe and the capture of Oppy Wood. They joined with the 17th Battalion on 7th December 1917.

In 1918 they fought at the Battles of St. Quentin, Bapaume, First Battle of Arras, Battles of Estaires, Hazebrouck, defence of Nieppe Forest and the attack at La Becque which was a phase of the Battles of Lys, and the Capture of Vieux Berquin.

A Chaplain wrote to tell Mary about his death:-

"He was a splendid man and we can ill afford to lose such but it is a price war demands. He was killed during an attack on the German lines. He was struck by a shell and died immediately on July 19th. His body was brought back and buried in a military cemetery near Hazebrouck. "

Towards the end of June 1918 the division was involved in "Operation Borderland " an advance in conjunction with the 5th Division. An attack was made by 92 and 93 Brigades on La Becque Farm on the 28th June. It was preceded by the capture of Ankle Farm, to the north of La Becque, on the 27th. Assembly trenches were dug during the night by the 12th KOYLI and at 2.30 am the Leeds Pals arrived in their positions. At 6 am, the artillery and trench mortars started their bombardments and the Pals attacked. The assault was a complete success but cost the Leeds Pals 22 killed, four died later of wounds, 143 were injured and one man was missing.

An expected German counter- attack did not materialise and during July the Pals took their turn in holding the new line which on 19th July was advanced to the stream east of La Becque Farm.

This is where Fred would have been killed in action.

He was aware in early July 1918 that he had been recommended for the Military Medal but official confirmation came through after his death.

A letter from his Colonel to his wife said:-

"I am sending the ribbon of the Military Medal which was awarded to your husband by the Corps Commander for gallantry and devotion to duty on the 28th June last. I am deeply grieved that he did not live to have the honour of wearing the medal he so nobly won. I sympathise with you in your great loss but I trust it will be some consolation to you to know that he died doing his duty bravely and well ".

Fred was awarded the Military Medal, British War Medal, and the Victory Medal.

He is remembered on Batley War Memorial, St. John’s Church, Carlinghow, Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel, Batley and Le Grand Hazard Military Cemetery.

MORTIMER John William

Sapper 106898, 151st Field Company, Royal Engineers. Killed in action 19th May 1918. Aged 23. Born and enlisted Batley. Son of George and Elizabeth Mortimer, of 38, Pearl St., Carlinghow, Batley, Yorks. No known grave. Commemorated on POZIERES MEMORIAL, Somme, France. Panel 10 to 13.

Family Details.

John William was born on 16th April 1895 in Batley, the son of George Mortimer and his wife Elizabeth (nee Babcock) who he had married at St. John’s, Carlinghow on 13th December 1890. The couple already had a son Charles (1893). John William was named after his paternal grandfather. He was baptised at St.John’s, Carlinghow on 19th February 1902 when the family was living at Back Coal Pit Lane. In 1891 George was a miner whilst Elizabeth was a power loom weaver living in High Street, Batley with Elizabeth's widowed mother and Sister Ann.

In 1901 the family had moved to 2, Tolson Houses, Cross Bank Road, Batley and George had become a stone mason.

A decade later George was a mason’s apprentice with his brother Charles. The family lived at 38, Pearl Street with George (1908) and Ann Taylor Boocock his maternal aunt.

He attended Carlinghow Council School, Batley Technical College and then passed to go to Huddersfield College for stone carving. Before joining the Forces he assisted his father in the business of G. & J. Mortimer (contractors), Carlinghow. He was a member of Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel choir and a member of Batley Clarence football team.

Service Details

John William joined the Royal Engineers in August 1915 and was in France for almost two years.

The 151st Field Company was attached to the 38th Welsh Division from April 1915.

They suffered many casualties during the Battle of the Somme where it captured the heavily defended Mametz Wood. It did not see major action again for almost a year and in 1917 but it launched a successful launch at the Battle of Pilckem Ridge.

During the German Spring Offensive and the Allied Hundred Day Offensive, the division was continually sent to attack fortified German positions. The division was now considered to be one of the elite British divisions and breached German position dug-in on opposing banks of the River Ancre, smashed through the Hindenburg Line and broke through German positions on the River Selle.

In April 1918 the division was near Albert and the Germans had captured high ground near Bouzincourt and Aveluy, overlooking the British lines. The division was ordered to retake the high ground to deny the Germans the ability to observe the British positions and to gain observation positions overlooking the German positions in the Ancre valley. The division gained 250 yards on a 1,000 yard front which achieved the objective. The Germans made repeated attempts to push back the Welshmen and a big attack was repulsed on the 9th May. Over the following days, the division attempted another abortive attack on a German held ridge and conducted several raids on enemy lines.

An officer wrote to his parents:-

"Your son volunteered for a big raid on May 9th. Three sappers were missing, one of whom we know definitely to be killed and buried by our chaplain. A second was stated by an eyewitness to be killed and the third was buried with the first sapper. As the third had no documents the Chaplain could not identify him and he did not notify us until some days after the funeral. This sapper, I regret to say, we presume to be your son, and I am very much afraid it is only too true ".

At the time of his death his brother, Charles was in France with a special company of the Royal Engineers and he had been wounded three times and gassed once.

John William was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal

He is remembered with Honour on St. John’s Church, Carlinghow, Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel, Batley War Memorial and Pozieres Memorial, Somme.

OAKLAND Thomas [William]

Private 35920, 1st/5th Battalion, King''s Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry). Killed in action 9th October 1917. Aged 19. Born Batley, enlisted Dewsbury. Son of Herbert and Emma Oakland, of 4, North Bank Rd., Cross Bank, Batley, Yorks. Formerly 48496, West Yorkshire Regiment. No known grave. Commemorated on TYNE COT MEMORIAL, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Panel 108 to 111.

Family Details

Thomas William was born on 10th Dec 1897 in Batley the son of Morley born Herbert and Emma (nee Kaye) Oakland who came from Heckmondwike. He was baptised at Batley Parish Church on 16th January 1898. The family lived in Rushworth Street, Batley and Herbert worked as a quarryman.

His sister, Annie, was born in December 1899 and the family had moved to Back Richmond Street, Carlinghow before the 1901 census was taken.

Florence was born in December 1902 but sadly died in February 1904; Emma was born in February 1905 but died aged 10 months. Frank was born in 1907 followed by Alfred in 1910 and by 1911 the family were living at 3, Vero Street, Batley. Herbert was working as a stone mason and thirteen year old Thomas was working as a dyer’s apprentice.

As a child Thomas attended Carlinghow Council School and Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel and Sunday School. For a considerable time he was a member of Batley Ambulance Brigade where he gained the rank of sergeant.

Before enlisting at Dewsbury in April 1917 he worked as a tuner at Messrs. Wilson Bros. Little Orme Mills.

Service Details

Thomas enlisted at Dewsbury in April 1917 and joined the West Yorkshire Regiment later changing to the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He disembarked for France in July 1917. The 1st/5th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry was a territorial force which in 1917 was part of 148th Brigade, 49th (West Riding) Division.

In October 1917 the landscape of the Ypres battlefield had become wilderness littered with the debris of war. There were rusting hulks of disabled tanks, twisted and bent guns, destroyed wagons and unburied bodies of men and animals lying across the landscape. The rain began on the afternoon of the 4th October continued in a steady drizzle with occasional heavy showers throughout the next two days and on the 7th were squalls of cold drenching rain. The battlefield had turned into sea of deep mud because over 30 millimetres of rain had fallen. General Haigh believed that "just one more push " was all that was needed to reach the Passchendaele Ridge from where operations could begin to take the Belgium coast.

It was decided to try to take the ridge on the 9th October but journeys which should have taken less than an hour were taking three or more. General Haigh wrote to his wife on the 8th saying that the weather was bright and clear with a high wind which was drying the ground nicely but the previous rain had stopped all the guns they wanted getting forward but they had enough for the next day's attack. The 49th Division started to move into position but shortly after passing Boethoek the 1/5 KOYLI was held up while a battalion from another division that had lost its way crossed in front. Despite having guides only one platoon of the leading company reached their posts by zero hour. The battalion was very badly delayed and there were gaps in the infantry following on behind. The 49th Division was to attack with 148th on the right, 146th on the left and 147th in support at the rear. The task was to take Bellevue Spur and to occupy the Passchendaele Ridge. The operation was a disaster Capt. R.W. Moorhouse from the 1/4th KOYLI was brought in mortally wounded and when his father Lt. Col H. Moorhouse went to try to find a medical officer he was hit by a bullet and killed. It was around this time that the 1/5 KOYLI arrived having sustained very heavy casualties including all its company officers.

Capt. L.W. Batten MO 1/5th K.O.Y.L.I. Struggled forward in the hours of darkness before the attack and wrote:-

"On the morning of the 9th October 1917 I found myself completely separated from my battalion, wet, hungry and tired, geographically lost and wandering among shell holes, occasional duck board tracks and rare ferro-concrete "pill boxes " of the Passchendaele battlefield. My instructions to set up a regimental aid post at "Otto Farm " made no sense at all. "

The official report says that Thomas William was killed on the 9th October but other reports from friends say the 11th October.

His parents received a letter from his pal Signaller Fred Sykes of Gomersal who had been employed at Mr Brown’s Farm, Carlinghow:-

"I am sorry to say Tom was killed on October 11th by a shell. The same shell killed another and wounded two more in the trenches. He did not speak again and died about five minutes after. This I saw myself. He was doing his duty like the rest of us, and I am thankful to be here myself as it was a hot shop. Perhaps you will have got news from our headquarters, if not you will get to know before long. He was well liked by all of us and he and I were best of pals. The boys have asked me send you their deepest sympathy. "

He had grown up living next door to Willie Taylor.

Thomas William was awarded the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal.

He is remembered with Honour at St.John’s Carlinghow, Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel, Batley War Memorial and the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.

POLLARD Herbert

Private 25699, 121st Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry). Killed in action 8th April 1917. Born and resident Batley, enlisted Leeds. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Allen Pollard, of 13, Coal Pit Lane, Carlinghow, Batley, Yorks. No known grave. Commemorated on THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France. Pier and Face 5 C and 12 C.

Family Details:

Herbert was born in Batley in 1896, the eldest child of Allen and Georgina Pollard (nee Herbert). The couple had married at Batley Parish Church on 8th December 1894.

In 1901 Herbert was living with his parents and younger sister Eva, born 1898 at 6, Healey Street, Batley. The census showed that his father, who worked as a Corporation teamer, was born in Healey and his mum came from Little Dean Hill, Gloucestershire.

In 1911 the family had moved to a three roomed home at 13, Coal Pit Lane, Carlinghow, Batley. Allen was a Co-op teamer, grocer whilst Herbert was working as a woollen piecener.

Herbert worked for some time as a conductor on the Yorkshire (W.D.) Tramways Company and worked principally on the Hick Lane -Thorncliffe Road route where he became well known. For a short time before enlisting he worked as a middle minder at Messrs. Wrigley & Parker, Valley Mills.

He attended Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel Sunday School, being a member of the young men’s class there. He was also member of the Wesleyan Boys’ Brigade. As a playing member of Clarence Intermediate Football team he was also well known.

Service Details:

Herbert enlisted in October 1915 and went to France in May 1916. At first he was in the Yorkshire Regiment before transferring to the Machine Gun Corps.
He would have served at the Battle of Ancre in 1916 and the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line in March 1917.Very near the Hindenburg Line they captured Fifteen Ravine and Villers Plouich in April 1917.

He was killed in action on Easter Sunday 1917. A Lieutenant wrote to his parents:-

"Your son was killed in action on the night of the 8th April. He was at the time working with his gun and was killed instantly suffering no pain whatever. He has been under my command since he joined this company and has always been a reliable and efficient gunner. We all miss him very much, as much, as he was very popular amongst his comrades and always the most cheerful companion to have under all circumstances. I buried him where he fell and everything possible was done. A cross has been erected bearing his particulars. My deepest sympathy is extended to you in your sad loss. None of us could wish for a better death than to fall while serving a gun against your enemy ".

A year later in the memorials of the Batley News there appeared :-

POLLARD-In ever loving memory of Private Herbert Pollard, Machine Gun Corps, who was killed in action April 8th, 1917

-----------

Though parted by the hand of God,
In Christ united still,
We shall meet again at the golden gate,
For Jesus said we will.

From Evelyn.

His effects were left to his mother.

He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal

Herbert is Remembered with Honour on St.John’s Carlinghow, Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel, Batley War Memorial and Thiepval Memorial, Somme (where another three are commemorated who died on the same day).

PRESTON [Abraham] Arthur

Private 30246, 8th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Died in Mesopotamia 10th August 1916. Aged 22. Born and enlisted Batley. Son of Martha Preston, of 4, Loxley St., Bradford Rd. West, Batley, Yorks, and the late Frank Preston. Formerly 27160, Yorkshire Light Infantry. Buried in BASRA WAR CEMETERY, Iraq. Plot III. Row N. Grave 5.

Family Details:

Abraham Arthur was born in the 2nd Quarter 1894, the son of Frank Preston and Martha (nee Gledhill). The couple were both Batley born and they were married at Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel. On 15th June 1891 they had a daughter, Ada, who was baptised at St. John’s, Carlinghow on 28 June 1891, but unfortunately she died aged two months.

In 1901 the family lived at 8, Lobley Buildings, Bradford Road West, Batley. Frank was a fancy rug carpet weaver. Although Abraham Arthur was an only surviving child, many of his cousins lived nearby and he came from a very close family. A decade later they had moved to a three roomed home at 68, Robinson Buildings, Bradford Road, Batley. Frank was a fireman at a fabric printers and Abraham Arthur was also working at a fabric printers as a warehouse boy. This would have been Messrs. Dewhirst print works, Brookroyd where many people from the Carlinghow area worked.

He attended Park Road School and was associated with Zion Chapel and Sunday school. The Batley News report confirmed that he had worked at Messrs. Dewhirst, print works, Brookroyd, for 9 years, before enlisting.


Photograph as a boy with his parents

Service Details

Abraham Arthur enlisted in January 1916 in the K.O.Y.L.I. but later transferred to the Welsh Fusiliers.

The 8th Battalion was a service battalion and they went to Mudros in 1915 followed by Egypt and Mesopotamia where Abraham Arthur would have joined them in July 1916. It was part of 40th Brigade, 13th (Western) Division.

On 12th February 1916 the Division began to move to Mesopotamia from Port Said, to strengthen the force being assembled for the relief of the besieged garrison at Kut al Sa’ad and came under the orders of the Tigris Corps. It then took part in the attempts to relieve Kut, but after these efforts failed and Kut fell, the British force in the area was built up and reorganised.

Abraham Arthur left England in May 1916 for the long sea voyage to Mesopotamia. He wrote home on a regular basis. In his last letter dated July 12th he wrote:-

"We have landed at last after nearly --- weeks on the water. We are at the base now. I don’t know how long we shall be here. I am sticking the heat very well – better than I thought I should. It is very hot here during the day, but it comes in very cool at night. Tobacco and cigs are very cheap, and we can get a good cigar for a penny. There is a Y.M.C.A. here too, and they had moving pictures there last night. I have come across a lot of chaps round here from Batley and towns round about. We do nothing during the day, due to the heat. We go on parade for drills at 6 a.m. for about half an hour while it is cool and then we usually have rifle inspection at 6 p.m. Then after that we have a bathe. We camp near a river. "

A letter to his parents arrived on Wednesday August saying he had died at an undisclosed place on 10th August of disease.

Abraham Arthur was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

He is remembered with Honour on St. John’s Church, Carlinghow, Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel, Batley War Memorial and Basra War Cemetery.

His father died in November 1919 and his mother, Martha, married her neighbour James Colbeck in 1924. He had also lost a son, Ernest Colbeck in 1917 and his wife in 1920.

During the First World War, Basra was occupied by the 6th (Poona) Division in November 1914, from which date the town became the base of the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force. A number of cemeteries were used by the MEF in and around Basra; Makina Masul Old Cemetery was used from December 1914 to October 1916 and the Makina Masul New Extension was begun alongside the old cemetery in August 1917. These two sites, enlarged later when more than 1,000 graves were brought in from other burial grounds, now form Basra War Cemetery.

The cemetery now contains 2,551 burials of the First World War, 74 of them unidentified. The headstones marking these graves were removed in 1935 when it was discovered that salts in the soil were causing them to deteriorate. The names of those buried in the graves affected are now recorded on a screen wall.

REDFEARN Arthur

Private 41435, 9th Battalion, Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own (Yorkshire Regiment). Died of wounds 23rd July 1917. Aged 32. Born and enlisted Batley. Son of Sam and Susan Redfearn, of Batley, Yorks; husband of Ellen J. Redfearn, of Healey Cottage, Kingston, Kingsbridge, Devon. Formerly 38180, Durham Light Infantry. Buried in LIJSSENTHOEK MILITARY CEMETERY, Poperinge, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Plot XVI. Row C. Grave 22A.

RIDSDALE George

Corporal 4459, 1st/4th Battalion, King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry). Killed in action 18th AUgust 1916. Enlisted Wakefield. Buried in LONSDALE CEMETERY, AUTHUILE, Somme, France. Plot VII. Row H. Grave 3.

Family Details:

George was born in Batley on 30th March 1879, the son of George William and his wife Margaret Ridsdale (nee Hall). He was baptised at Batley Parish Church on 9thNovember 1879 when George William gave his occupation as a publican. The couple had married at Batley Parish on 13th February 1864 when he signed and Margaret made her mark. He gave his occupation as a mechanic.

In 1871 they were living in Cross Bank being the occupiers of the Albion Hotel.

Olley had been born in 1869 and they had a servant, Grace Ann Hall who it appears was Margaret’s sister. Unfortunately Olley died in October 1874 aged 5 years and 6 months.

Agnes (1872), Sarah Ann (1874), Oliver (1876) followed and in 1891 the family were living at Cross Bank Street and George William states he is a Master Beer and Porter bottler. Margaret died in December 1891 and Sarah Ann died 5 weeks later, followed by Oliver in February 1895.

George William married Charlotte Lamb, who came from Hanging Heaton, in 1897. George William was still at the same address and described as a Beer Bottler (dealer) and George was helping, being described as a beer bottler in the cellar. George William at some time was the licensee of the Albion Hotel.

George William was a local Councillor for Batley and both he and George were well known in local Conservative circles and members of Batley Conservative Club. George was also a prominent member of the Club’s Tuesday bowling team. He was interested in sports of all kinds, particularly swimming, for which he had a large number of trophies. He won the quarter mile amateur swimming championship of Yorkshire in 1898 and 1900. George was also a Cross Bank and Carlinghow property owner.

Charlotte died in February 1903 and George William, died in December 1905.

George married Ada Ann Riding at Batley Parish Church on 30th December 1901 when his occupation was described as a beer bottler and his father was a wholesale beer bottle merchant. Ada Ann was a weaver from Ward’s Hill, Batley.

Their daughter, Margaret was born in 1902 and by 1911 the family was living at 6, North Street, Batley and George had become a grocer with a live in servant Mary Ellen Riding, who was Ada Ann’s sister, but she married in 1914 and gave her occupation as a weaver although still lived at 6, North Street at the time of her marriage. George and Ada had a son George William in the summer of 1911.

Service Details:

George joined the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry 1st/4th Battalion in early 1915 and went to the Front in April 1916.The battalion was part of the 49th (West Riding) Division.

He had been fighting near Thiepval since 1st July and fought in the following battles:-

Battle of Albert 1 -13th July 1916
Battle of Bazentin Ridge 14th -17th July 1916
Battle of Pozieres Ridge 23rd July-7th August 1916

George had been made a Lance Corporal shortly after arriving in France and had received his second stripe only a few weeks before he died.

On the last day of July 1916 Lt. Chadwick of the 1/4th wrote home to his mother describing how they were plagued with mosquitoes and "Haven’t had clothes off for a two weeks and things are becoming quite lively. Will you please send me out some scent; the extraordinary mixture of odours in the trenches is becoming almost unbearable. "

The 1/4th moved back to Hedauville for training between 2nd-8th August whilst the 1/5th was in the front line digging parallels between Thiepval and the River Ancre. On the 9th August the 1/5th were replaced by the 1/4th who continued digging until the 18th when they joined the 1/5th in Forceville.

In letters to his mother and father Lt. Chadwick wrote on the 25th August:-

"I cannot express in word the extraordinary bravery and wonderful endurance of the men. There is one great consolation at these times that is, the excellent example of the fellows who have gone. "

The following day he wrote to his father:-

"How many homes in England have been darkened during the last few weeks Oh! But it is a glorious thing. Men going to certain death with a smile on their faces, the only thought being for those at home. England has something to be justly proud of. "

Lt. Cocker wrote home to his wife Mrs. Cocker, from the Somme:-

"You at home see the tragedy of events in a much different sense to us out here. We don’t see the weeping bereaved broken hearts out here. Men come and go for ever, and the only expression of grief which is exhibited by any one, is summed up in a remark which I heard the other day by a man who had just lost his best pal ,- with a look of fierce rage he broke out – "Sithee ! Th’ first blanking German ‘at ah catch ‘OD on ah’ll murder ‘im by inches, ah’ll – "then followed such a harrowing description of slow torture as would put hero or Kaiser into shade! "

The Colonel of his company wrote to his wife:-

"I regret to inform you that your husband Corporal G. Ridsdale of the company under my command was killed on the 17th inst. Please accept my deepest sympathy in this your sad bereavement. There is, however, some consolation in the fact that your husband did his duty and died as a true soldier fighting to uphold the honour and glory of the British Empire. "

His Company Sergeant Major also sent a letter:-

"It is with regret I have to inform you of the death of your husband which took place on the 18th inst. He was on a working party during that night and had just finished when a shell came and killed him instantaneously . He suffered no pain and died a soldier. I cannot say how sorry both I and all the officers and sergeants are at losing him. He was always willing and cheerful and always did his work to the best of his ability without a word of complaint. I can honestly say he was one of my best N.C.O.’s and would have got on except for this unfortunate business. He is buried in a small burial ground just behind the line and will be notified to you later. "

A further letter arrived from a sergeant to his wife who resided at 6, North Street, Cross Bank:-

"I am about to inform you of some very sad news, and I hope you and your family will take it as lightly as possible. George was killed with a shell along with another lad and God willed that he had to bear no pain, as he was killed instantaneously. I saw him only the day before, he was in the best of health. Up to the last his one thought was of you and home. It feels to me as if I had lost a brother in George, as we always remained the best of pals. I enclose three sets of rosary beads which he was going to send on to you. He is buried at a place near to where he was killed, alongside the other lad, and the service was led by Rev. Capt. Jones of the Division. You must be content that he was put away nicely. I give you my deepest sympathy."

The other lad would probably have been Clifton Spencer of Alverthorpe who was from 1/4th KOYLI and killed on the same day.

He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal

George is remembered with Honour on Batley War Memorial, St. John’s Church, Carlinghow, Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel, Lonsdale Cemetery and Batley Conservative Club.

ROBERTS Albert [James]

Private 8587, 2nd Battalion, Border Regiment. Killed in action 10th March 1915. Aged 26. Born Sculcoates, Hull, enlisted Hull, resident Batley. Husband of Clara Roberts, of 76, King St., Batley Carr, Yorks. Formerly 1596, Northumberland Fusiliers. Buried in AUBERS RIDGE BRITISH CEMETERY, AUBERS, Nord, France. Plot VI. Row F. Grave 9.

"TO MEMORY EVER DEAR "

Family Details

Albert James Roberts was born in Hull in 1889. His parents Albert James Roberts (Senior) and Hannah Mary Spurr were married at Batley Parish on the 14th May 1883. At the time of their marriage Albert was a boot and shoe maker and Hannah a mill hand. Albert's father James was also a boot maker. The couple had two daughters Rachel (1885) and Hannah Elizabeth (1887) both born in Batley. Shortly after 1887 the couple moved to Hull where Albert James was born and also Ada (1891) and Clarence (1898). The 1891 census shows the family living at 13 Rowland Terrace in the Sculcoates area of Hull. Hannah's uncle Robert Smith, a widower, is also living with the family and working as a shoe maker. By 1900 they had returned to Batley where Minnie (1900) and Joseph (1903) were born. The 1901 census shows the family living at 45 Queen Street, Batley but by the 1911 census they had moved to a 5 roomed house at 47 Dale Street, Batley Carr. Albert James (Senior) was now working in the Co-operative boot and shoe department.

Albert James Roberts (Junior) joined the Northumberland Fusiliers circa 1906 and was on the 1911 census stationed in India.

In 1913 Albert James Roberts married Clara Whittaker at Holy Trinity Church, Batley Carr. Albert had left the army and was now working as a willeyer at J.T. & J. Taylor, Blakeridge Mills. The couple moved to King Street, Batley Carr to start their married life. Their first son Eric was born later that year. In 1914 Clara lost her brother George Whittaker a soldier in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He was killed on 28th October, 1914 at the Battle of Mons.

Service Details

Albert was called up as a Reservist in August 1914 but did not go to the Front until January 1915. Two months later he lost his life on the 10th March 1915. Clara received the news two days before giving birth to their second son. She named him Albert after his father.

It is surmised, from the date, that Albert lost his life in the terrible Battle of Neuve Chapelle. Auber’s village was taken by the 9th Brigade on the 17th October, 1914, with Herlies and part of the Ridge, and on the 19th the 2nd Royal Irish took Le Pilly. These gains, however, were lost within a few days, and the Ridge, in spite of repeated attacks, was not captured by British forces for three more years.

Albert had been well regarded in his local community and Clara had many family members to support her. Clara was married again in 1921 to Leonard Robinson and they had a daughter Joan in 1924.

Albert James is remembered with Honour at Auber’s Ridge British Cemetery, Aubers, Nord, France.

His name appears on the Holy Trinity, Batley Carr, Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel, Batley and Batley War Memorial Roll of Honour.

Researched by Susan White of Batley History Group

ROTHERY William

Private 17469, 10th Battalion, King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry). Killed in action 27th September 1915. Aged 29. Born Batley, enlisted Dewsbury. Husband of Ellen Hughes (formerly Rothery), of 8, Mitchell Avenue, Halifax Rd., Dewsbury, Yorks. No known grave. Commemorated on LOOS MEMORIAL, Pas de Calais, France. Panel 97 and 98.

Family Details

William was born in Batley in 1886 the youngest son of Joseph and Maria Rothery (nee Walker).The couple had married at St. Peter’s, Birstall on 4th March 1871 when they both stated they lived in Heckmondwike and Joseph was a cloth finisher.

Emma was born in 1875 followed by James S (1877), Martha (1883) and Amoury (1885).

In 1891 the family was living at 48, Back Brearley Street, Batley

Within the next decade the family had moved to 45, Wellington Street, Batley and William was working as a woollen piecener. Joseph died in 1905.

William married Ellen Turton at Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel on 25th December 1909. The address he gave was 43A, Havercroft Terrace, Wellington Street, Batley and his occupation was a woollen mill hand.

They went to live with her parents Joseph and Eliza Ann Turton at 32, Kent Street, Batley.

Before he enlisted he was a willeyer at Messrs. J.T. & J. Taylor’s, Blakeridge Mill, Batley. They had moved to live at 6, Knowles Street, Dark Lane, Batley.

William attended Gospel Hall from childhood but later attended Hanover Street Congregational Church. Whilst serving in the army he sent a letter to Rev. Hugh Jenkins, M.A. pastor of Hanover Street:-

"It gives me the greatest pleasure to write to you as a private soldier, serving for his God, his King and country. I may say that while I remain in the Army whether it is at home or abroad. I shall always look and pray to God to protect me in my daily life, because there are so many temptations that one needs a friend and I found Him to be my best friend when I was in the sickness and now I am in health and strength. He will be mine still and forever. Just pray for me and others who are serving in the same way – I remain a God fearing private. "

Service Details

William was a reservist and enlisted in September 1914 and embarked for France on the 11th September 1915. He had at one time been connected to the old Volunteer movement.

He was at Witley Camp and left Milford Station to go to Southampton on the 11th September 1915 at 4.30 am. By 8.30 pm the battalion had embarked either on the S/S California and the rest on the S/S Empress Queen. They arrived at Le Havre at 9.30am the following morning.

On the 14th the battalion moved to Zutkerque staying there until 5.15 pm on the 20th when they marched about 16 miles to Arques arriving at midnight. In the evening of the next day, they marched another 12 miles to Pontes and the following day they went from Pontes to Ames arriving at 9.30 pm.

It was reported that the weather had been fine since their arrival in France and seven soldiers had been taken to hospital.

On the 27th the battalion arrived at Loos to find the German trenches were about ¾ mile N. W. Of Loos with the 9th KOYLI on the left and the Durham Light Infantry dug in on the left front. The trenches were under shell fire all day and at 1 pm, because others had failed, the 10th Battalion was ordered to advance to the road at the bottom of the valley facing the German redoubt and to take up a position there to support the 9th KOYLI who were assaulting the redoubt. The assault was unsuccessful and from the evening they retired under very heavy shell fire to a line of old German trenches in rear of the original line taken the night before.

At 1 am on the 27th the battalion was relieved by the Guards Division and they marched back in scattered attachments to bivouac at Philosophie three miles behind the enemy lines.

In late October when his wife had not heard from him for five weeks she received notification from the War Office giving intimation that William had been wounded in action on the 27th September but not giving the place.

After about two months his wife received a letter from Capt. J.W. Thomas, Infantry Record Office, York stating:-

"It is my painful duty to inform you that a report has this day December 20th been received from the War Office notifying the death of Pte. William Rothery 17469 10th Battalion K.O.Y.L.I. which occurred in France on the 27th September 1915 and I am to express to you the sympathy and regret of the Army Council at your loss. Pte. Rothery was killed in action. "

Mr. Jenkins received a letter from Mr. J.W. Simpson who was the head of the willeying department at J.T& J. Taylor’s:-

"I am very sorry to tell you that news arrived this morning of the death of Pte. William Rothery who was machine gunner in the 10th Battalion K.O.Y.L.I. He took part in the great push at Loos in September last and was wounded to what extent we cannot ascertain. In fact the whole business has been a mystery until this morning when news came saying he died three days after receiving the wounds. I have known Willie Rothery for years. He was a real good fellow with absolutely no show or pretence an excellent workman and was much respected by all his workmates. The news of his death in such a noble cause has had a great effect on all his old workmates and I feel it more than I care to confess. His poor wife has been in suspense for long weary weeks what affect will that have I cannot imagine. This makes the fifth from Hanover Street to lay down his life for King and country. The brave fellows are: Ernest Teale, Scots Guards: Pte Thomas Thompson, Coldstream Guards: Pte George Roberts, /4th K.O.Y.L.I. and Pte George Armitage, 10th K.O.Y.L.I. "

William is remembered with Honour at Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel, Loos Memorial and Batley War Memorial.

He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

RYAN George Henry

Private 12/1469, 12th Battalion, King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry). Killed in action 1st July 1916. Aged 40. Born Batley, enlisted Dewsbury. No known grave. Commemorated on THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Some, France. Pier and Face 11C and 12A.

Family Details

George Henry was born in Batley in c.1876 the only son of Edwin and Ann Eliza Ryan (nee Spencer). The couple had married at St. Thomas’s Church the 21st August 1875 on the same day as Thomas Spencer who was Ann’s elder brother. Their father John was described as a gentleman although Ann Eliza worked as a weaver. In 1881 they were living in Back Upton Street, Batley and Edward was a cloth dresser. Within the next decade the family had moved to live at the Albion Hotel, Cross Bank Road, Batley where Edwin was described as a beer house keeper and 15 year old George Henry was his assistant whilst his Aunt Ann E. Ryan was a general servant living with them.

George Henry married Grace Ann Braime at Batley Parish Church on 13th April 1895 when they were both 19 years old. He gave his occupation as a mason.

Lawrence was born the same year followed by Ann Eliza 1897, Edwin 1899, Harry 1900 and Georgie in 1903.

In 1901 the family was living at 29, North Street, Batley.

His father had moved from Carlinghow to Bankfoot and was described as a beer house keeper (pub) in 1901. His mother died in January 1903 and his father married Widow Eliza Ann Haigh in 1905 and they lived in Mount Street, Batley. Willie was born in September 1907 and baptised at Taylor Street Chapel (Broomhill Chapel) on 10th October 1907. He sadly died in October 1908 aged 13 months.

George Henry worked for Mr. Joe Crosland, contractor, Dewsbury and was a member of Dewsbury Socialist Club.

Hi son, Lawrence enlisted and was killed in action on 24th April 1915 and his father enlisted to avenge the death of his son enlisting immediately he received the news of his death. The family lived at 141, North Bank Road, Cross Bank, Batley.

Service Details

George Henry enlisted in June 1915 at Dewsbury after receiving the news of the death of his son. He went to Egypt on 22nd December 1915 but returned to fight in France. The 12th Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry was in 31st Division. The Divisional H.Q. was established at Port Said on Christmas Eve and the last units arrived in Egypt on 23rd January 1916. The Division took over No. 3 Sector of the Suez Canal defences and the Divisional H.Q. moved to Kantara on the 23rd January 1916. The stay in Egypt was short and the battalion left Kantara, Egypt for Marseilles on the 1st March 1916 arriving at 7 am on the 8th March. They travelled north by train arriving at Pont Remy and Hallencourt on the 11th March 1916.

On the 1st July they took part in the first day of the Battle of the Somme 1916. The War Diaries reports that approximately 197 all ranks including one officer had been killed and three wounded.

He was reported killed in action by two Batley comrades but officially he was reported as wounded.

George Henry was posted missing on the first day of the Somme offensive and it was almost a year before his wife received official news that her husband was "missing, presumed killed in action "

George Henry was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

He is remembered with Honour at Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel, Batley War Memorial and Thiepval Memorial.

RYAN Lawrence

Private 3/1492, 2nd Battalion, King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry). Killed in action 24th April 1915. Aged 19. Born Batley, enlisted Dewsbury. Son of George H. and Grace Ann Ryan, of 141, North Bank Rd., Batley, Yorks. No known grave. Commemorated on YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Panel 47.

Family Details

Lawrence was born in Batley c. 1895 the eldest son of George Henry and Grace Ann Ryan (nee Braime). The couple had married at Batley Parish Church on 13th April 1895.

Annie Eliza followed in November 1897, Edwin January 1899 and Harry in July 1900.In 1901 the family was living at 29, North Street, Batley and George Henry was employed as a stone mason.

Georgia was born in 1903.

Lawrence attended Batley Parish Day School and on the Honours Board records it shows he obtained a William Lee Scholarship to go to Batley Grammar School which he attended from Easter 1907 until July 1908.

In 1911 he was working as a piecener, his 13 years old sister was working as a "tyer on " and George Henry was a mason.

It was reported in the Batley News of 5th June 1915 that he was "As quiet and nice boy as ever did live- that is the universal opinion. "

Before he enlisted he worked for Messrs. J. Auty as a piecener.

Service Details

Lawrence enlisted at the outbreak of war and went to France on the 9th February 1915.

The 2nd Battalion of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry was in Dublin at the outbreak of the war but quickly arrived at Le Havre on 16th August 1914.They were part of the 13th Brigade in 5th Division.

The battalion had taken part in several battles in 1914 before Lawrence joined them. In 1915 they took part in the Second Battle of Ypres and the Battle of Hill 60.

The lengthy campaign was a murderous stalemate of attrition that perfectly demonstrated the horror and futility of war. A massive 1.7 million soldiers died in the attempt to capture the Belgian town and its environs over the length of a four year campaign.

The Second Battle of Ypres was fought between 22nd April and 25th May 1915 for control of the strategic Flemish town of Ypres.

It was the first mass use by Germany of poison gas on the Western Front. For the first time, a former colonial force (the 1st Canadian Division) defeated a European power (the German Empire) on European soil (in the battles of St. Julien and Kitcheners ‘Wood, engagements during the battle).

The Battle of Hill 60 (17 April – 7 May 1915) took place near Hill 60 south of Ypres. Hill 60 had been captured by the German 30th Division on 11 November 1914, during the First Battle of Ypres (19 October – 22 November 1914). Initial French preparations to raid the hill were continued by the British 28th Division, which took over the line in February 1915 and then by the 5th Division. The plan was expanded into an ambitious attempt to capture the hill, despite advice that Hill 60 could not be held unless the Caterpillar nearby was also occupied. It was found that Hill 60 was the only place in the area not waterlogged and a French 3 ft × 2 ft (0.91 m × 0.61 m) mine gallery was extended.

Experienced miners from Northumberland and Wales were recruited for the digging and the British attack began on 17 April 1915. The hill was captured quickly with only seven casualties but then it was found that the salient which had been created made occupation of the hill very costly. Both sides mistakenly accused the other of using poison gas in the April fighting; German attacks on the hill in early May included the use of gas shells and the Germans recovered the ground at the second attempt on 5 May. It remained in German hands until the Battle of Messines in 1917.

The Battle of St.Julien commenced on Saturday 24th April and lasted until 4th May.

The War Diary for the 24th April 1915 reads:-

"At 12 noon the Battalion got sudden orders to proceed at once to assist the 10th Canadian Brigade in retaking the lost line NE of Wieltje. We marched at once followed by the Queen Victoria Rifles and on approaching St.Jean we were subjected to a very heavy shell fire , which followed us until we reached our allotted positions in part of GHQ’s line of trenches, 500 yards NE of Wieltje, where we had to crowd into a trench already filled with Canadian Highlanders.

Owing to bad staffing arrangements by the Canadian Division ,this line, which should have been empty, was so crowded with troops of different regiments that our companies had to lie in the open, fully exposed, to the enemy who opened up a heavy shrapnel fire on us killing Lieutenant Hunter and many men and wounding Lieutenant Webb and many more. "

The first intimation his parents heard about Lawrence was from Batley lad Private Joe Toft who was in the same regiment and wrote to his sister Mrs. Robinson of Field Lane, Batley:-

"May 13th- I am quite well again now, my hand much better. It was a lucky shot I can tell you. The bullet came crossways and caught the handle of my trenching tool and went through my haversack and caught the back of my hand, making six little splinters. So I had the little pieces of shell taken out and it is alright now. Of course it did not stop me from keeping with my company. I still went shooting at the German "nuts ". At the same time my pal Lance Corporal Major was killed. There was another Batley lad next to me, his name was Private Ryan of Cross Bank and he were killed too."

Mr. and Mrs. Ryan had not heard from their son since 22nd April but they still hoped he was still alive.

When they found he had been killed his father joined the Forces a month later to avenge his death and was killed on the 1st July 1916.

Lawrence was awarded the 1914-15 Stars, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

He is remembered with Honour at Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel, Batley Grammar School, Batley War Memorial and on the Menin Gate Memorial.

RYMER James Clapham

[Listed as J T RYMER on memorial] Private 267921, 1st/6th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment). Killed in action 13th April 1918. Aged 26. Born and enlisted Batley, resident Dewsbury. Son of Thomas and Sophia Rymer, of 12, New St., Hanging Heaton, Batley, Yorks. No known grave. Commemorated on TYNE COT MEMORIAL, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Panel 82 to 85.

Family Details

James Clapham was born in Gomersal on 26th March 1892, the son of Thomas and Sophia Rymer (nee Clapham). He was baptised at Gomersal Wesleyan Chapel on 15th May 1892. The couple had married at St. Mary’s, Gomersal on the 5th March 1892 when Thomas gave his occupation as a quarryman.

Annie was born at Carlinghow in 1894 followed by Frances in 1898.The family lived at 26, Birch Street, Carlinghow, Batley. In 1911 James was working as a cloth finisher.

Before he enlisted he was employed as a finisher at Messrs. J.T. & J. Taylor’s, Blakeridge Mills, Batley.

Service Details

His service records have not survived but we do know he did not serve in France before 1916.He enlisted at Dewsbury. The 1/6th Battalion of the West Riding Regiment came under the orders of 147th Brigade in 49th ((West Riding) Division.

In 1916 they fought at the Battles of Albert, Bazentin Ridge, Pozieres Ridge and Flers-Courcelette. In 1917 they took part in Operations on the Flanders Coast (Hush) and the Battle of Poelcapelle. In 1918 they took part in the Battles of Estaires 9th -11th April, Messines, 10th -11th April and Bailleul in which the Division defended Neuve Eglise 13th-15th April.

On the 10th April the battalion were moved by road transport to the vicinity of Neuve Eglise where they had arrived at the Nieppe defences before 1 p.m. It was a fairly quiet night with only a little shelling but the following morning the enemy established his machine guns at the outskirts of Ponte du Nieppe and they became very active. All morning the shelling and T M fire were very intensive especially on the battalions support and back areas. The Bosche were in their trenches but were finally ejected by about 4 pm and around 20 were dead and one prisoner was taken but not without having casualties themselves. At 7 pm orders were received to withdraw platoons down the Bailleul Road.

On the 12th they were at Cross Roads when they received orders at about 12.15 pm to establish a line at Becque de la Flanche. Throughout the afternoon the line was continuously shelled and T.M’s and machine gun fire was put down on it.

Early morning of the 13th was very quiet and rations were delivered but later that morning the Boache approached to within 100-150 yards and suffered very heavy casualties from "D " Company who also lost men. Eventually the enemy worked round both flanks and forced them to withdraw. Two Officers were killed and two wounded.

"B " Company was sent up to reinforce the Troops and with heavy machine gun fire coming at them they pushed into a forward position and managed to hold the enemy who had advanced about 500 yards.

After this the line remained firm and at about 9.45 pm orders were received to withdraw. James Clapham was killed in this battle and has no known grave.

In the Batley News of 17th April 1920 the following was printed:-

James was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

He is remembered with Honour at Batley War Memorial, Tyne Cot Memorial, Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel and Hanging Heaton War Memorial (St. Paul’s).

SPEIGHT Clifford

Private 7624, 23rd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. Died 19 November 1918. Aged 23. Son of James S. and Clara Speight, of 87, Bradford Rd., Batley, York. Buried in ST. SEVER CEMETERY EXTENSION, ROUEN, Seine-Maritime, France.Section S. Plot III. Row O. Grave 11.

Family Details.

Clifford was born in Batley on May 29th 1895 the eldest son of James Smethurst and Clara Speight (nee Oldroyd). The couple had married at the Wesleyan Chapel, Earlsheaton on 27th February 1894. James gave his occupation as a manufacturer’s salesman.

In 1901 Earlsheaton born James and his family were living at 6, Field Hill, Batley and he gave his occupation as a woollen manufacturer , employer. Clara came from Hanging Heaton but all their children were born in Batley. Sydney was born in 1897 followed by twins Dennis and Harold on 28th November 1901 but Dennis sadly died in February 1902 aged 11 weeks, and John Oldroyd in November 1903.

Clifford attended Park Road School and Batley Grammar School but only was there for a short time starting in the summer term of 1909. After leaving school he went to work with his father as a clerk at Messrs. Simon Cooper, Bradford Road, Batley.

In 1911 the family was still in Field Hill and Clifford was working as a clerk but before Clifford died they had moved to 87, Wood View Terrace, Bradford Road, Carlinghow.

He attended Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel and Sunday school and was a member of Batley Liberal Club.

His younger brother, Sydney had been wounded twice during the war.

Service Details

Clifford enlisted in May 1915 and disembarked Boulogne in France on 14th November 1915. The 23rd Battalion from June 1915 came under the command of 99th Brigade, 33rd Division. On the 25th November 1915 they transferred with the Brigade to 2nd Division.

The first major battle Clifford would have encountered would have been the Battle of Delville Wood followed by the Battle of Ancre 1916 then taking part in operations on the Ancre.

In 1917 he would have taken part in the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, First and Second Battles of the Scarpe and Battles of Arleux and Cambrai.

In 1918 his battalion took part in the Battles of St.Quentin, Bapaume, First Battle of Arras 1918, Battles of Albert, Second of Bapaume, Havrincourt, Canal du Nord, Cambrai and Selle.

He had fought for three years in France but he died at Rouen Hospital on 19th November 1918 of influenza just 9 days after the Armistice.

Clifford was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

He is remembered with Honour at Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel, Batley Grammar School, Batley War Memorial and St. Sever Cemetery Extension

SYKES Joseph

Lance Corporal 41348, "C" Company, 5th Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. Died of wounds 29 March 1918. Aged 36. Born Batley, enlisted Dewsbury. Son of James and Honor Sykes, of Carlinghow; husband of Lucy Sykes, of 22, Pynate Rd., Carlinghow, Batley, Yorks. Buried in DOULLENS COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION NO.1, Somme, France. Plot V. Row C. Grave 28.

"BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART FOR THEY SHALL SEE OUR GOD "

Family Details:

Joseph was born in Morley in 1882, the son of James and Honor Sykes (nee Allatt).

The couple had married at St. Peter’s, Birstall in 1866. James, who was a coal miner, came from Batley and Honor from Gomersal and he must have travelled looking for work. Emily was born in 1870 at Howden Clough but in 1871 they were living at Featherstone. Albert was born in Featherstone in 1872 followed by William (1874) and Ada (1875) both born in Pontefract, but the family returned to Howden Clough Road, Morley before the birth of Luther (1878) and Alfred (1880). Joseph was born in Morley before the family returned to Batley and the birth of Harold in 1886.

In 1901 the family was living at 34, Bradford Road West, Carlinghow and were still there a decade later. The 1911 census shows that James and Honor had 14 children born alive but only 7 were still living.

Joseph attended Carlinghow Council School and was apprenticed to William Poulter, Station Road, Batley as a cabinet maker, but before enlisting worked for Mr Tom Senior, Top of Heckmondwike.

As a boy he attended Cross Bank Wesleyan Sunday School but later went to Norristhorpe, Church of England Mission as their organist.

Joseph married Lucy Newsome on 5th April 1913 at Batley Parish Church and a son, George, was born the following year. They went to live at 22, Pynate Road, Carlinghow, and Batley. Honor died in 1914 a year before he enlisted.

Service Details

Joseph enlisted in November 1915 in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry 2/5th Battalion "C " company. He disembarked in February 1917.

The 2/5th Battalion was formed in September 1914 as a second line unit and came under the orders of 187th Brigade, 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division. In January 1916 they were training at Larkhill, moving to Flixton Park near Bungay in June and to Wellingborough in October 1916 before leaving for France in January 1917.

The first action they would have encountered would have been the operations on the Ancre which took place between 15th February and 13th March 1917.

The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line (14th-19th March) would have followed, first attack on Bullecourt (11th April), German attack on Lagnicourt (15th April), Battle of Bullecourt (3rd-17th May), which was part of flanking operations round Arras, actions on the Hindenburg Line (20th-28th May), the Cambrai Operations (Tank attack 20th-21st November) and the capture of Bourlon Wood (27th-28th November) were all battles which he would have played a part in 1917 with the 5th Battalion K.O.Y.L.I.

Joseph returned home on leave in early 1918 and after returning to his unit sent a pretty Easter card home with a letter saying that he was "just going up the line ". He was injured and taken to 3rd Canadian Stationary Hospital where he died from his wounds on 29th March 1918.

He was buried at Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension 1. In March and April 1918 the German advance and the desperate fighting in this area threw a severe strain on the Canadian Stationary Hospital.

His brother, Harold, was also serving with the K.O.Y.L.I. in France.

Joseph was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Joseph is remembered with Honour on Batley War Memorial, St.John’s Church, Carlinghow, Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel, Birstall Temperance Hall and Doulens Communal Cemetery.

TAYLOR [George] Willie

Private 8313, 2nd Battalion, Kings’ Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry). Killed in action 26th August 1914. Born and enlisted Dewsbury. Son of George and Elizabeth Taylor; husband of Sarah Ann Ivinson (formerly Taylor), of 38, Woodbine St., Dewsbury, Yorks. No known grave. Commemorated on LA FERTE-SOUS-JOUARRE MEMORIAL. Seine-et-Marne, France.

Family Details

George William Taylor was born in Dewsbury on 8th May 1886 the son of George and Elizabeth Hannah Taylor (nee Baxter) and was baptised at St. Mark’s Church , Dewsbury on the 26th May 1986. The family was living at 30, Victoria Road, Dewsbury and George snr. was described as a woollen spinner. The couple had married at Mold Green Parish Church on 22nd December 1867.

Susannah was born in 1868 followed by Mary J in 1871. The family moved to 30, Victoria Road, Dewsbury before the birth of James Edward in 1872, followed by Lucy Ann 1875, Martha Alice 1877, Sophronia Williams 1879, Britton 1882-1908, George William England 1884 who were all baptised at St. Mark’s on 17th December 1884. George William died in 1885 and his brother was obviously named after him.

In 1891 the couple was living at 23, Elmwood Street, Dewsbury with their children Susannah (1868), James Edward (1872), Lucy Ann (1876), Martha Alice (1877) , Sophronia Williams (1879), Britton ( 1882-1908), George Willie, and John Edmund (1889). Albert Victor was born in 1892 sadly dying in 1904 and George snr. died in 1897.

In 1901 widowed Elizabeth and her four sons were living at 3, Back Victoria Street, Dewsbury and George Willie was working as a hurrier. According to the 1911 census when Elizabeth Hannah was living at 27a King Street, Batley, there had been 15 children born alive to the marriage and 7 had died before 1911.

George William married Sarah Ann Day on 3rd August 1907 at Holy Trinity Church, Batley Carr. He gave his employment as a railway lifter. She later married Harry Ivinson on 25th December 1917 at St. Mark’s Church, Dewsbury.

In 1911 the couple was living with her mother Mrs Scereata Day, James Edward Shore (his brother-in-law) and their two children James E (1908) and Mary (1910) in a three roomed house at 55, Victoria Road, Dewsbury. George was a hewer below ground.

Elsie was born in 1911 followed by Mildred in 1914 and Scereata M in 1915. The couple moved to live at 31, Back Albion Street, Dewsbury.

Before the war started he was employed at Messrs. Crawshaw and Warburton (Shaw Cross Colliery).

Service Details

Before the war started George William was a National Reservist and was immediately called up to join his regiment at Dublin on 5th August 1914. The 2nd Battalion part of 13th Brigade in 5th Division. He went to France with one of the early drafts, landing at Le Havre on the 16th August and was in the thick of the fighting in the great retreat towards Paris.

The Division had taken part in the Battle of Mons and the retreat from there. They were near Le Cateau when at about 9.30 pm on the 25th August it rained heavily. On Wednesday, 26th August at 2.25 am orders were received for a renewed retirement and the battalion was to bring up the rear guard and was to hold on with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers the position then covered by the outmost company until 11 a.m. by which time the Divisional train would be clear. The Division held overwhelming numbers of the enemy at bay with the infantry producing intensive and accurate rifle fire, while the field artillery fired air-bursting shrapnel rounds on the unprotected enemy infantry. Many field guns were fired at point blank range over open sights but the British artillery was also exposed and came in for heavy punishment. Some were withdrawn just as the enemy infantry closed in and for the second time in three days the British force engaged withdrew just in time towards the south in the afternoon. Heavy casualties had been inflicted upon the Germans and another delay had been imposed on their Schlieffen timetable.

On the 22nd August 1914 his wife received a postcard from him saying he was well but in the midst of all the trouble. This was the last communication she received from him. Sarah Ann wrote repeatedly to the War Office and to all the authorities and camps who may know anything about him.

On the 3rd October 1914 the Dewsbury Reporter stated that notification had been received that Private G. W. Taylor of 31, Back Albion Street, Dewsbury and Private Alfred Dyer of Armitage Buildings, Lidgate Lane, Batley Carr had been missing since August 30th. The two men were boon companions and had both worked at Crawshaw and Warburton‘s Ltd. Sarah Ann told the reporter that the 30th August 1914 was their 7th wedding anniversary. She had seen a photo of some English soldiers in the hands of the Germans and lived in hope that he was amongst them.

On the 8th March 1915 she received from the War Office:-

"I am directed to inform you that a reply has now been received to the inquiry form relative to Private G .W. Taylor 8313 Kings’ Own Yorkshire Light Infantry sent to Germany on your behalf . A report has come from the Central Committee of the German Society of the Red Cross and is sent from the American Embassy in Berlin. It is regretted that it is to the effect that there is no information relative to this soldier available in Berlin at the present time."

A report on the Dewsbury Reporter on 25th August 1915 says that Sarah Ann had been placed on widow’s pay because he had not been heard of for over a year and she had a six month old child to support. Her only brother James Edward Shore was serving in France with the K.O.Y.L.I.

George Willie was missing according to his effects on or after the 26th August 1914 the same as C.W.G.C. however "Soldiers who Died in the Great War " gives the date 21st October 1914 and the Dewsbury Reporter 30th August 1914.

George William was awarded the 1914 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

He is remembered with Honour at Holy Trinity Church, Batley Carr, Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel, Messrs. Crawshaw and Warburton’s (Shaw Cross Colliery) and Dewsbury War Memorial.

TAYLOR Willie

Private 202013, 1st/4th Battalion, King’s Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry). Killed in action 10 April 1917. Aged 30. Enlisted Wakefield. Son of J. and M. Taylor, of Batley; husband of Kate Annie Taylor, of 1, Quarry Lane, Brookroyd, Batley, Yorks. Buried in RUE-DU-BACQUEROT NO.1 MILITARY CEMETERY, LAVENTIE, Pas de Calais, France. Plot III. Row A. Grave 10.

"LOVING REMEMBRANCE OF DEAR DADDY AND HUSBAND"

Family Details

Willie was born in Batley in 1885 the son of Joseph and Mary Taylor (nee Schofield). His father was a card cleaner from Wooldale and in 1891 the family was living at 21, Back Richmond Street, Carlinghow, Batley. The couple had married at Batley Parish Church on 8th April 1877 and Elizabeth was born later the same year.

His siblings were :-Elizabeth (1877), John Thorp (1879), Clara (1881), Willie Joseph (1887), Jeanette (1889) and Grace ( January 1890-March 1890).

In 1901 the family was still at the same address and Willie was working as a hurrier at a coal mine although all his elder siblings were working in woollen mills.

The family had moved to 67, North Street, Cross Bank before Mary died in late December 1908.

Willie married Kate Annie Atkinson on 18th September 1908 at Brownhill Parish Church.

His son Harry was born was born on the 10th February 1909 and baptised at Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel on 24th March 1909 when the couple was living at 13, Geldard Road, Birstall.

They had moved to 1, Quarry Road, Brownhill before the birth of Reggie on 20th May 1912 who was also baptised at Cross Bank on 11th July 1912. Sadly Reggie died in 1916 and was buried at St. Peter’s Church, Birstall. Grace was born c 1915.

Willie was well known in Batley and Birstall. Prior to joining the Forces he worked at Messrs. Critchley’s, Howden Clough Colliery. He attended Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel and was greatly interested in workpeople’s football matches which were held locally. He played with several colliery teams and was the Captain of the Bruntcliffe Colliery team when it won the Workpeople’s Cup.

Service Details

Willie enlisted at Wakefield in May 1915 and went to France on 11th December 1915. The 1/4th Battalion was part of 148th Brigade, 49th West Riding Infantry Division.

It is not certain if Willie had arrived in France when the battalion took part in the defence of the first phosgene attack on the 19th December 1915.

In 1916 the battalion took part in the Battles of Albert, Bazentin Ridge, Pozieres Ridge and Flers-Courcelette which were all phases of the Battles of the Somme.

In 1917 they took part in operations on the Flanders Coast (Operation "Hush ").

On the 10th April the K.O.Y.L.I. prepared for a raid on the enemies trenches with the objectives 1) to obtain identification 2) to inflict casualties 3) to bring back machine gun and destroy emplacement. The raiding party was commanded by Capt. R.W. Moorhouse with three officers and 87 men divided into nine groups. With blackened faces the scouts moved into No Man’s Land at 8.45 pm returning at 9.15 pm to lead the various parties to their assembly points. At 10 pm 18 enemy shells passed over but the British barrage did not commence until 10.25 pm when the scouts guided the R E sappers across the enemy wire. Unfortunately some of the KOYLI had been seen and the SOS signal flare rising from the German positions was soon taken up all along the line. In less than five minutes enemy trench mortars and 4.2’s (guns) opened up in No Man’s Land while the Germans showered rifle grenades and bombs on their own front line. With explosions all around the sappers placed the torpedoes under the wire. Unfortunately the waiting troops were not informed that only one gap had been blown but without hesitating they tried to get through with some congestion and towards the enemy parapet but found it was water logged and had new barbed wire which must have been placed there recently.

The whole of the enemy trench appeared to be filled with water and wire but it was noticed there was a path on the top of the trench that led from the front line to the supervision trench which had been recently used .Later it was concluded that the Germans used this path to visit the front line at night and fire flares to give the impression their line was permanently held.

Captain Moorhouse gave the orders for the parties to return and the objectives had been achieved except for identification but he and 2 Lt Scholefield had been injured along with 11 men but six men had been killed. Valuable lessons had been learned but it had cost lives.

His captain wrote to his family "He died last evening and it will be some consolation that he suffered no pain. He was interred in a cemetery here just behind the line and his grave will be tended. Private Taylor was an excellent soldier and his loss will be very much felt by all his comrades. You have the deepest sympathy of the officers, NCO’s and men of his Company in your bereavement."

Mrs. Taylor had a brother at the Front who also wrote to tell her the sad news.

Willie was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

He is remembered with Honour at Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel, St. Saviour’s Brownhill, Howden Clough Methodist Chapel, Batley War Memorial and Rue-du-Bacquerot No.1 Military Cemetery.

WALKER John [Thomas]

Pioneer 129993, 4th Battalion, Special Brigade, Royal Engineers. Died of wounds 28th June 1916. Aged 19. Born Dewsbury, enlisted Huddersfield, resident Batley. Formerly 7725, KIng's Royal Rifle Corps. Son of the late Ephraim and Rachel Walker, of Dewsbury, Yorks. Buried in AVESNES-LE-COMTE COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, Pas de Calais, France. Plot II. Row A. Grave 18.

"LET THY SOUL REST IN PEACE "

Family Details

John Thomas was born on 25th June 1897 the son of Ephraim and Rachel Walker (nee Illingworth). He was baptised at St. John the Baptist, Daw Green on 14th July 1897 when the family was living at High Street and Ephraim was a miner.

Ephraim was born at Howden Clough, Batley and in 1901 the family which included his wife, mother in law ,Mary Illingworth, daughter Clara (c1895), John Thomas , Laura (1901) and two boarders was living at 5, Sixth Street, Crofton.

It would appear his father was not very good to his family being drunk on 26th June 1905 and he was sentenced to 3 months at H.M.P. Wakefield on 27 August 1909 for deserting his family.

His mother died in 1909?

In 1911 "Jack" was a worker living with his maternal aunt Annie Eliza and her husband Edward Leak at Red Lane, Ravensthorpe. He probably became a porter at Thornhill Railway Station.

At the time he enlisted he was still living with his aunt and uncle at 53, Sackville Street, Ravensthorpe.

His sister was a maid at the home of Mrs. Elizabeth S. Walker of De Grey House, Grosvenor Road, Batley.

Jack bid farewell to his aunt at the Lancashire and Yorkshire railway station at Thornhill in October 1915 never to return home.

Service Details

John Thomas Walker originally enlisted in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps; the regiment was extremely proud of its history and was probably second only to the Guards Regiments in terms of status. "Jack " was transferred to the Royal Engineers where he became a member of the "Special Brigade. " This unusual title was given to the arm of the Royal Engineers that was responsible for discharging poisoned gas towards the Germans by means of the "Gas Cloud ".

This type of attack was made by having the gas discharged from cylinders situated in the front line trenches; it was obviously important that the wind was blowing in the correct direction to ensure the cloud; upon it being discharged the cylinders did not linger and instead travelled across No Man’s Land towards the German trenches. The other method of using poisoned gas was via shells which were fired by the artillery. These, on exploding, discharged the gas directly at the point of impact.

The Special Brigade, Royal Engineers, was split into four battalions, Jack being in the Fourth.

In the days leading up to the battle the 4th Battalion, Special Brigade, R .E. was operating in the area of V1 Corps and had the responsibility for the part of the front line held by the 14th, 55th and 37th Divisions; this was to the north of a diversionary attack at Gommecourt, which itself was to the north of the main front to be attacked on the opening day of the battle of the Somme. Although these divisions were not directly involved in the Battle of the Somme there was a requirement to keep the Germans guessing as to where exactly the attack would be delivered and so many methods were used to try to make the Germans believe an attack was imminent elsewhere.

On 27th June the order was given that gas should be released as soon as a favourable opportunity presented itself and during that afternoon gas was released on the fronts of the 14th and 37th Divisions. The wind continued to be favourable the next day (28th) and the discharge of gas would probably have continued.

Due to the large area covered by the 4th Battalion of the Special Brigade there are no details in the battalion War Diary of any incidents during these days. There is however a brief summary of casualties this reports that on the 27th the battalion suffered five killed (including died of wounds) and 24 wounded. The following day there were nine deaths plus 44 wounded and 11 missing. The majority of these fatalities were as a direct result of gas poisoning (it is likely leakages and sudden shifts in wind would have caused these casualties). Jack Walker died of his wounds on the 28th June 1916.

S.D.G.W. states on 27th --3 Killled in Action plus 1 died of wounds , 28th – 3 Killed in Action plus 8 died of wounds –29th 2 Killed in Action plus 2 died of wounds.

John Thomas is remembered with Honour at Dewsbury Cemetery and Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel.

He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Military details are taken from "A Village Goes to War" by David Tattersfield

WILKINSON R

No further information currrently available

ROLL OF HONOUR

Names of those who Served in the War from this
Church and School

* Lost their lives

ATKINSON Ethel
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ATKINSON C
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ATKINSON F
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ARRAND R
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ATKINSON L
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ATKINSON M
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ASQUITH W
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AUDSLEY N
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AUTY A
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VALL C
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* BARBER A
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BARKER G
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BEAUMONT F
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BEEVERS H
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BICKERDIKE L
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BLAMIRES D or P
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BOND J
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BOOTH H
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BOOTHROYD F
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BOYNES H
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BOYNES J
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BOYNES L
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BREARLEY R
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BREARLEY W
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BREWIN W
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BROADLEY D
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BROADLEY S
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BROMLEY J
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BROOK F
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BROOK S
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* BROWN H S
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BRUCE A
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BRUCE C
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BRUCE N
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BRUCE W
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CAPE F
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CLEGG L
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COGGON R
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* COOK T
See above
COMINS A
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DEAN L
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ELY B
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EMSLEY J
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EXLEY A
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FARRAR W
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FENTON H
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FENTON W
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FLATHERS W H
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FOX G
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FRANCE F
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GARNER L
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* GARSIDE E
See above
* GARSIDE H
See above
* GARSIDE L
See above
GILL J
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GILL W
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GILLION A
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GILLION J
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GLEN J
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GOODALL P
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GOODER L
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GREGORY G W
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HALL H
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HARROGAN R
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HEPWORTH S
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HILL R
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HIRST F
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* HOBSON W
See above
HOLMES A P
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* HOLMES W E
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HUDSWELL James
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HUDSWELL Joe
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HUDSWELL John
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HUDSWELL T
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* INESON H
See above
INESON J
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INESON W
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INGHAM T H
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INGHAM W
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JACKSON A
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JACKSON Ellis
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JACKSON Ernest
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JACKSON W H
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JOWETT F
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KELLY G
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LAND A
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LOCKWOOD W
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LODGE C H
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* LODGE G E
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MESSENGER A
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MICKLETHWAITE H
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* MIDGLEY F
See above
MIDGLEY L
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MILLMAN A
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MOODY F
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* MORTIMER J W
See above
NORTH A
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NORTHROP J
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OAKLAND H
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* OAKLAND T
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PICKLES W
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POLLARD H
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* PRESTON A
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PRIESTLEY W
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* REDFEARN A
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* RIDSDALE G
See above
* ROBERTS A
See above
ROBERTS T
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* ROTHERY W
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RUMBOLD E
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* RYAN G H
See above
* RYAN L
See above
* RYMER J C
See above
SCARGILL N
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SCHOFIELD N
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SCOTT M
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SCOTT P
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SENIOR M
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SHEARD J F
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* SPEIGHT C
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SPEIGHT Sydney
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SPEIGHT Squire
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STOKES C
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SYKES H
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* SYKES J
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SYKES John
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* TAYLOR W
See above
TEMPLETON C
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THOMPSON H S
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THOMSPON R
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THORNES S
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TURNER A
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WALKER G
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* WALKER I or J
See above
WALKER Joe
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WALKER John
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WALKER S
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WATSON M
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WHITAKER H
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WILKINSON H
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WILKINSON L
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WILKINSON N
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* WILKINSON R
See above
WILLIAMS H A
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WILSON F
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