Other Research

Whilst researching Leeds Museums’ First World War collection, some men were found who were not members of the Leeds Pals. Their stories range from being a part of the early days of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), to serving in the Army Cyclist Corps. There are also stories of extraordinary bravery and even the mysterious Pte. John Smith who has proven incredibly hard to track down – for reasons you can probably imagine! This post will be updated with new research regularly, so keep an eye out!

Most recent posts are towards the bottom of the page


Charles McWhirter McMillan – a high flyer…briefly

Photo Peter Taylor

1898: On 16th September Charles was born, the elder son of Duncan Davie McMillan, a travelling tailor and draper from Ballantrae, Ayrshire, and Annie, of Brae, Ayrshire. On the census she is listed as Annie M McMillan, so perhaps the McWhirter came from her.

They had four other children, Mary McWhirter, born 1889, Ellen Jane, born 1895, Agnes Annie, born 1904, and David Duncan, born 1908. (Find My Past 2015)

1891: On the Census the family were living 14 Cliff Place, North Leeds, and by

1911: at 18 Woodbine Place, Leeds. Charles, now 12, was still at school. Duncan, his father, died towards the end of this year.

1916: In September Charles was 18, and in October he enrolled as a student at the University of Leeds, staying until May of the following year, and matriculating in Latin, English Language and French. (Western Front Association 2015)

1917: In August Charles was placed on the General List of the RFC, but it is not known whether he was conscripted or volunteered. Given his age either is possible. A month later, on 29th September, he started flying training, having been posted to No.1 Squadron of Aeronautics. He learned to fly in a Maurice Farnum Shorthorn biplane, before progressing to the Avro biplane, the Sopwith Scout and finally the Sopwith Camel.

1918: On 8th March he graduated as a Flying Officer, with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, and was posted to a number of different squadrons, before arriving at 70 Squadron on 27th April. He was now a 1st Lieutenant, having been promoted on 1st April, the day that the RFC became the RAF.

On 27th June Charles was flying the Sopwith Camel D1905 when he went missing. He was believed killed, and his death was confirmed later the same day. (Find My Past 2015)

His body was not recovered, and he is remembered on the Arras Flying Services Memorial. He is also named on the University of Leeds Memorial. (Commonwealth War Graves Commission 2015)

2014: In the Lawnswood Cemetery there is the grave of most of the McMillan family, and Charles is named on it. On the grave, after names of Duncan and Annie, the inscription is as follows:

Also Charles McWhirter McMillan, Lieut. RAF (Pilot), elder son of the above, who fell in action near Ervillers, France, on June 27th 1918, aged 19 years and 9 months.

Photo Peter Taylor

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

Reginald Butterfield

Reginald Butterfield could have been Reginald Asher Butterfield, born to William – a drapers assistant and Hannah Pickard. There were two siblings, William and Agnes Maud. On both the 1901 and 1911 Censuses, they are living at 16 Claremont Street in Armley.

In 1911, Reginald is listed  as being a clerk for a manufacturing chemist.

His military records are missing – but we can ascertain that in 1914, he would have been 20 years old. It is unknown whether he signed up, volunteered under the Derby scheme or waited until conscription. He was stated to have been a gun-carriage driver in 1918 which implies he was in the Royal Artillery, but which section we do not know.

Reginald married Bertha Sowden in March of 1922.

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

George Winter

Pte 6225 King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, Army Cyclist Corps,
L/Cpl 78036 Machine Gun Corps (Heavy), Tank Corps (Possibly)

George could possibly have been born in January 1890 in Bullerthorpe and worked as a miner before he enlisted in the army. He enlisted on 9th September 1914 and was posted to the KOYLI.

On the 8th January 1915, he transferred to the Army Cyclist Corps and by the beginning of 1916 he had transferred to the Machine Gun Corps. On 11th October of the same year, he was awarded a good conduct badge. What makes this interesting however is the information recorded on his conduct sheets.

They are the only part of his service record which still survives and in 1916 (and 1917) they seem to mainly be full of punishments!

4th January 1916: Leaving the billet without permission and making a false statement. 3 days’ confined to barracks (CB)
23rd May 1916: Willfully absenting himself from parade night operations and being found in bed. 7 days’ CB.
9th July 1916: Overstaying his pass by 2 days. 7 days’ CB and loss of 2 days’ pay.
1st July 1917: Overstaying his pass by 2 days. Reprimand and loss of 2 days’ pay.
20th July 1917: Making an improper reply to a senior NCO. Reprimand.

At the time of his offences in 1916, he was at Chisledon Camp in Wiltshire which from 1915 was a hospital for wounded soldiers, so it is possible he was wounded, though the nature of his offences don’t suggest this. In 1917, he was at Bovington Camp which was a training camp for the Machine Gun Corps (Heavy) and the same year, this branch split from the rest of the Corps and became the Tank Corps, so it is possible that Winter was a member of this Corps. (Source: Squadron, Troop, Battery and Company Conduct Sheet)

Despite the fact that his record is ambivalent and he appears to have had a complete disregard for orders, he was still able to be promoted to Lance Corporal.

Leeds holds his Victory Medal – which must also have been awarded alongside the British War Medal and perhaps the 1915 Star.

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

Enoch Myers Barber
151120 Gunner, Royal Garrison Artillery, Unit 16 York Fire Command
Enoch was born between 1887 and February 1889, the records differ.
He was the son of Henry Barber and Sarah Myers, who had married in March 1869.
Henry was born in 1846, and probably died 1913. He was a labourer at a paper warehouse.
Sarah was born in 1849 and probably died 1900. She was a boot machinist.
Enoch’s siblings were Elizabeth, Margaret, Harry, Lily, Tom and Jim.
In 1891 the family lived at 15 Cattell Street, Leeds.
In 1901 they lived at 60 Cromwell Street, Leeds.
Enoch’s occupation prior to joining up was Wood Machinist, working for T Myers, Mabgate, Leeds. (Census Records, Find my Past website)
He married Elizabeth Crosby on 23rd January 1909. (Free BMD website)
On the 1911 Census she is shown as Lizzie Crosby Barber, married for 2 years, b. 1894 in Gainsborough.
In 1911 they were living with Enoch’s mother-in-law Harriet Crosby, at 12 Wilmington Terrace, Leeds.
They appear to have had 4 children:
Lavinia b. 4th June 1909
Irene b. 29th July 1911
Margaret(?) b. 16th March 1913
Emma Crosby (adopted) b. 26th September 1906

Enoch enlisted on 5th December 1915 in Leeds, but didn’t actually join his regiment until 14th March 1917.

At his medical he was recorded as: Height 5ft 6ins, weight 10st 5lbs, physical development very good, apart from flat feet.
He served in Belgium and France for 16 months.

He was awarded a conditional pension as result of a gunshot wound to his left scapula and the effects of gas: 13/9 a week for 26 weeks, from 6th March 1919.
There was a further pension for gas poisoning: 8/3 a week for 26 weeks from 10th September 1919.
He was gassed, with mustard gas, at Arras on 22nd March 1918, and wounded on 18th September 1918.
He first went to a hospital in France, then to St John’s VAD Hospital, Seven Oaks. (Medical Records, Find My Past)

He was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal, but was not serving in a theatre of war early enough to qualify for the 1915 Star. (Medal Card)

His army records, which are in fact just the medical records, are marked as ‘Transferred to Class Z, 5th March 1919’. This put him in the reserve and liable for a return to the ranks if required, but in fact he was discharged as no longer medically fit for service.

At his discharge his address was given as 13 Gledhill Mount, Roseville Road, Leeds.

 

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

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James Barraclough

L/Corporal 6321, West Yorkshire Regiment

James was born in Glasgow c.1885. His parents were John Frederick Barraclough and Annie Maria Ellerbeck, who had married in Leeds in June 1873. (Free BMD website)
He had three older siblings, Arthur, Nellie and Jennie.

In 1891 the family was living at 23 Alfred Cross Street, Brunswick, Leeds.
By 1901 they had moved to 41 Burley Street, and by 1911 to 43 Creskell Street, Holbeck. John, appearing on this census as Fred, was now a widower, Annie having died, possibly in 1910, and daughter Jennie, being still unmarried, was now his housekeeper. James, after starting as a butcher’s assistant, was now, like his father, a tailor’s cutter. (Census Records, Find My Past)

At some point after this he married, either Helen or Ellen, possibly Ellen Cundall, who was married to a James Barraclough in Leeds in September 1912. They lived at 6 Torbay Avenue, Holbeck, Leeds. (Free BMD website)

James enlisted, in Bradford, in the 1st Battalion, The Prince of Wales Own Regiment, a regular battalion. He went to France in September 1914 and served through until his death on 29th April 1918. He was killed in action, possibly at the end of the Battle of the Lys, during the final German attacks.

He is buried in the Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery, 2km SW of Ypres. (CWGC website)

He was awarded the Military Medal, and also the 1914-15 Star, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal. (Medal Card)

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

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Alfred Thomas Brameld

Private 40986, 7th Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment

Alfred was born on 16th November 1898,  in Rawmarsh, Rotherham, the son of Joshua Brameld, blacksmith, and Mary Jane Trippett, who had married in Rotherham in March 1882.
The 1901 Census shows his siblings as Emily, Charley Henry, Lilly, Joan, John Willie, while Alfred himself is given as Alfred Hy Bramald.
The family was living at 17 Peashill Street, Rawmarsh, Rotherham.
The 1911 Census has more siblings, Hilda Trippett and Harold Joshua, but they are still living at 17 Peashill Street.
The surname is now spelled ‘Brameld’, and as the return was filled in by Joshua Brameld, this spelling is likely to be correct. (Census Records , Find My Past website)

He enlisted in Rotherham and joined the East Yorkshire Regiment, 7th Battalion.

He was killed in action on 31st March 1918 (Find My Past website, though CWGC has 1916) and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

He was awarded the Victory Medal and British War Medal.

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

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Francis Albert Horsman

Private 60847 25th (2nd Tyneside Irish) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers

Francis Albert Horsman was born in Shipley on 27th September 1882. He was the son of Thomas Horsman and (probably) Ellen Sawyer. On the 1891 Census they were living at 11 Raglan Street, Shipley, together with Francis’ siblings Mary, Sarah and Thomas (all older), Clara and Ellen, who was one year old. Thomas the father was now a widower. By 1901 they had moved to 5 Warehouse Row, Calverley, and Francis was employed as a coal carter.

On 29th April 1907 at St Wilfred’s, Calverley, Francis married Jane Ann Clarkson, neé Foster, who brought two stepdaughters to the marriage, Martha Alice and Gladys Wilson Clarkson. She and Francis had three children of their own by 1911, one of whom, possibly Annie, sadly died. The two surviving were Joseph Arthur and Harry. They may have had two more, Sarah Elizabeth and William. The family was living at 10 Warehouse Row, Calverley, and Francis was now a gas stoker, apparently moving up in the profession.

When the war started Francis was almost 32, but as his army records are missing we do not know when he joined up. He did enlist, however, in the West Yorkshire Regiment, with the number 34142. He was subsequently transferred to the 25th Battalion (2nd Tyneside Irish) Northumberland Fusiliers, and given a new number, 60847. We don’t know whether this move was by choice, but as he is listed in the Ireland Memorial Records it is possible that he was of Irish descent or had some Irish connection.

His medal card, which is all that survives of his records, does not indicate where or when he served, but he must have been sent to France. His battalion landed there in January 1916 and took part in various battles during the last three years of the war, but would appear to have suffered particularly during the final German assault in March and April 1918, since the 25th was reduced to a cadre in May of that year. Francis had by now been wounded, clearly quite severely, since on 20th April 1918 he died of his wounds in Wimereux Hospital, where he was being treated, and was buried in the cemetery there.

He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He is commemorated on the Calverley War Memorial, where his name is spelt ‘Horseman’.

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

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Frank Meston, Rifleman 10558, Royal Irish Rifles

William Meston, Private 307781, West Riding Regiment

Frank Meston was born in June 1898, probably in Leeds, but his Service Records have not survived, apart from the medical reports and his medal card. These exhibit some confusion over the spelling of his name. The medal card has ‘Francis Maston’, but the correct regiment and regimental number. At least one of the medical documents has Francis, crossed through and with Frank written above. The surname is even more problematical, with, in addition to Maston, also Marston, Measton and Meston on different documents. Again, at least two documents have the ‘a’ altered to ‘e’, and in the National Roll of the Great War his entry, sent in either by him or his family, reads ‘F Meston’, so that is the form I shall adopt. (Medical Records, Find My Past website)

Also in the National Roll is a second entry for W Meston, giving the same address for both men, 26 Cavalier Street, York Road, Leeds, an address now long gone. William Meston, who joined the West Riding Regiment as Private 307781 in 1915, was probably Frank’s brother, but despite having these names I cannot find Frank on the census at all, and William only possibly. He may have been born in 1894, but on the 1901 Census he appears only as a patient in hospital, and in 1911 a nephew staying with relatives. (Census Records, Find My Past website)

Fortunately there is a reasonable amount of background information along with the medical details.

Frank was attested on 4th July 1916, age 18 yrs 0 mths, and posted to 10th Reserve Training Battalion. His occupation was given as labourer, later amended to finisher in the leather trade, working for The Barton Leather Company, Black Dog Mills, Ellerby Lane, Leeds. His height was 5ft 3, his weight 7st 12, and his development good. He was mobilised on 16th February 1917 at York, and after training sent to France, landing at Le Havre on 13th October 1917.

On 23rd October he joined the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Irish Rifles, on 21st November he moved to 16th Battalion, on 5th January 1918 to 10th Battalion, C Company, and finally, on 2nd April to 15th Battalion, B Company. At the end of April he was wounded in action on the Somme, though he later said it was the Belgian Front and his doctor said his memory was very poor. He was hit over the left eyebrow, probably by shrapnel, though it was marked down as gun-shot wound, and it was so severe that he was unconscious for three weeks. During that time he was sent first to a CCS, then to the Australian Hospital, and finally, on 11th May, to No.7 Canadian General Hospital at Etaples, where he was listed as ‘dangerously ill’ with GSW to the head, a fractured skull and brain injury, and operated on. After this, on 29th May, he was invalided back to England, to the Colchester General Military Hospital, where he was X-rayed. This showed three pieces of metal still inside his skull and at least one of them in his brain. His wound had healed by this time, and although he was complaining of persistent headaches they did seem to be improving, and he was not operated on again. On 10th August he was recorded as having headaches, lassitude, general dulling of intellect, but no paralysis. On 14th August he was transferred to the Springfield Military Hospital, Tooting, where, on 24th September he was discharged from the army as no longer medically fit, and entitled to wear one wound stripe. He was also assessed for a disability pension and was adjudged to be 100% disabled for 3 months, and 50% for 9 months, to be reassessed after one year. On 2nd January 1919 he was awarded a pension of 27/6 a week, but on 28th January 1920 it was revised to 32/- a week, with a note that he had improved. On 5th September 1929 he was still being assessed, and at this point was considered to be 80% disabled, and his pension was reduced to 27/6 a week.

There is no further information on Frank, beyond the fact that he was awarded the Victory Medal and British War Medal. He may have married Mary E Manuel in Holbeck in 1924, and may have died in Lower Agbrigg in 1968. (Free BMD website)

William Meston was also severely wounded on the Somme, and had both legs amputated.  He was also awarded the Victory Medal and British War Medal.

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

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Thomas Clifford Nunwick,

Fitter 34 RFA & S/Sgt. 780002 RFA,

S/Sgt 725284 RFA

Thomas Clifford Nunwick was born on 18th October 1880, the second son and third child of Thomas Nunwick, plumber and glazier, and Hannah Chadwick, of Manningham Lane, Bradford. Thomas died in 1909 and Hannah in 1933. (Free BMD website)
His older siblings were James H and Maud, his younger ones John Hugh, Frederick William and Kate. (Census Records, Find My Past)
Thomas followed his father into the plumbing trade, as did Frederick.
On 11th May 1910 he married Daisy Jones (says James on his army records), at St Jude’s, Manningham, where the minister was John E Clapham, who also baptised their children Elsie, born 8th July 1911, and Leonard, born 5th May 1920.

On 1st April 1908 Thomas enlisted in the 2nd West Riding Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, (Territorial Force), for one year, renewable at yearly intervals. He was given the number 34 and classed as a fitter.
He renewed his enlistment each April until 1915, by which time the war had started, and he was in for the duration. He was posted to France and arrived on 14th April 1915, but his army records for this period are missing. At some stage he was promoted to Staff Sergeant, given a new number, 780002, and finally discharged on 22nd March 1919. (Medal Card, Find My Past website)

On 10th September 1920 he re-enlisted, for another year, age 40, with the number 725284, and the following day he was promoted again to Staff Sergeant. On his enlistment papers he was described as height 5ft 5.5ins, weight 9.5stone, fresh complexion, brown eyes, dark hair. He was finally discharged on 9th September 1921. (Service Records, Find My Past)

He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

He died in Bradford in 1969. (Free BMD website)

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

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John Smith

Private 14460, Royal Welsh Fusiliers

There is very little information for John Smith as his service records are missing, and with his name it is very difficult to pin him down.

From his medal card we can say that he arrived in France on 5th September 1915, and was discharged from the army on 3rd April 1919.

He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

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James Arthur Stancliffe

Private 16461, KOYLI

James was born in January 1895, the son of James Stancliffe, milk dealer, and Ann.
His siblings were Fanny, James, Janey, John, Ellen (Nelly), Martha, Annie (Sarah A?), Gertrude, all older than him.
His mother had died by 1891, his father by 1901, leaving Fanny as head of the family, until she married Herbert Ineson in 1901.
In 1911 James was a baker’s assistant, and living with Fanny and Herbert. (Census Records, Find My Past)

In 1914 he was 19, and may have volunteered quite early. He was in France by 1915, and qualified for the 1915 Star, together with the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. (Medal Card, Find My Past)
He joined the 9th Battalion The King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, with the rank of Private and the number 16461. There is no indication that he was in any other regiment.
He was killed on 16th September 1916, possibly during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette (15-22 September 1916) and is named on the Thiepval Memorial. (CWGC website)

On the censuses the surname is given as Stancliffe, on the army records it is Staincliffe, but James’s next of kin is given as Fanny, so I think they are the same person.

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

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Charles Frederick Stancliffe

There are no service records for Charles, and no definite link between the Census Records and his possible army career.  There is also no apparent connection between him and James above.

Charles was born on 28th May 1888, and died in Bradford, September 1975.
He was the son of William Stancliffe and Isabella Bateson, who married in Bradford, September 1875.
His siblings were Mary Eliza, Esther A, John Harold, Henry James, Gertrude I, Arthur W (older), Ethel Maud (younger), and one other who died before 1911.
Charles possibly married Hannah Thorpe on 10th September 1922 in Windhill.
He may be the same Charles Stancliffe as Private 104947, RAMC, who was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

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Thomas Christopher Vause

2nd Lieutenant, Leeds Rifles

Thomas Christopher Vause was born in Leeds in December 1882, the second son of Thomas Orlando Vause, mill owner and manufacturer of  Shoddy and Mungo, who had been born in Leeds in June 1860, and Margaret Gardam, also born in Leeds in September 1855. Their first child, Reginald Gardam Vause, born in 1880, sadly died in 1887, leaving Thomas Christopher effectively as their only child. I have not been able to find the family on the 1911 Census to confirm this. (Census Records, Find My Past)

Thomas Orlando, who became a Leeds City councillor, was brother to Frederick William Vause, father of John Gilbert, making John and Thomas Christopher cousins. Both brothers were clearly quite well off, though Thomas did not send his son to the Grammar School. Instead Thomas jnr. went to Leeds Boys’ Modern School, leaving in 1904 and going up to Cambridge University, where he obtained a master’s degree, an Historical Tripos. He subsequently obtained a law degree and took up teaching.

In December 1907 in Leeds he married Maud Rosamond Hemsley and they subsequently had two children. In the same year he became an assistant master at Harrogate Modern College, staying there until 1910 when he moved to Leeds Central High School. In 1914 he was appointed Second Master at Whitcliffe Mount Secondary School in Cleckheaton, where he proved to be both a brilliant academic and also an all-round sportsman. He was well-liked by the boys, and remembered in the name of one of the school houses, Vause-Williams House, along with another master also killed in the war. On 1st March 1914 he registered with the Teachers’ Registration Council, and gave his address as 22 Grange Crescent, Leeds. (Teaching Registration Form)

In the summer of 1915 Thomas joined the Inns of Court Regiment, which had begun in the 16th century as a Trained Band, but in the Great War was an Officer Training Corp, and a good route to a commission. He began as Private 5134 Vause, but on receiving his commission he was gazetted to the Leeds Rifles as a 2nd Lieutenant, joining them in France on 2nd August 1916. On 3 September 1916 the Battalion was involved in a large scale attack just north of Thiepval village. The objective was a machine gun post known as the Pope’s Nose. However, on leaving Thiepval Wood, many casualties were sustained from the German machine guns situated in the Pope’s Nose and also on the Schwaben Redoubt overlooking the objective. Thomas was reported missing but it was not until August 1917 that the family received the telegram stating that he was ‘now presumed dead’. Many of the casualties from that attack were not found until Spring 1917 following the German retreat to the Hindenberg Line. Unfortunately, after lying in No-Man’s-Land for nine months, many bodies could not be identified but Thomas’ was and he is buried in the Mill Road Cemetery, Thiepval, near to where he fell. When he was reported missing his wife and their two children went back to live with her parents.

Thomas was awarded the Victory Medal and British War Medal. On his Medal Index Card the next of kin is given as Mrs.Watson (widow remarried), of 27 Talbot Road, Roundhay, Leeds. It appears that in Bramley, in September 1921, Maud was remarried, to Percy Watson. At the time of Thomas’s death his parents were living at ‘Rose Lea’, King Lane, Moor Allerton, Leeds, though they had previously lived in Harehills Avenue and Leopold Terrace.

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

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Norman Victor Watson

Private 24840, Alexandra Princess of Wales Own Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards)

Norman Victor Watson was in the 13th and 9th Battalions of the Yorkshire Regiment, but had the same number in both. He survived to be discharged. (Medal Card)

The 13th (Service) Battalion of the Green Howards was formed in July 1915 as a bantam battalion, for men below the minimum height requirement of 5ft 3ins. It was sent to the Western Front in June 1916, returned to the UK in June 1918, and was sent to Murmansk in November 1918.

It recruited principally in the North Riding.

There are no surviving records for Norman other than his medal card.

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

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Charles Leonard Worrall MM

Rifleman 306703,
earlier 4655, 2nd/8th Battalion, The West Yorkshire Regiment,
The Leeds Rifles

Charles was born in Leeds in 1885, the eldest child of Lewis T Worrall and Fanny Leonard. He had five siblings, all younger, Sarah, Thomas, Annie, Fannie and William. Lewis was caretaker at St Mary’s School, Leeds, hence the later connection with the vicar, George Alexander Dunlop. (Census Records)

On 8th August 1911 Charles married Ann Richmond in Leeds, and they had two children, Edna Richmond, born 1st June 1912, and William Leonard, born 30th January 1918. There may have been others subsequently, but these two are named on his application for an army pension. They lived at 8 Charlton Road, East Park Road, Leeds. (Army Records)

On 30th October 1915 he enlisted in Leeds in the Territorials, and agreed to serve overseas. His medical declared his physical development to be satisfactory, and his height to be 5ft 3ins, the absolute minimum for enlistment, apart from bantam battalions. He was posted to the 3rd/8th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment, with the rank of private, and given the number 4655. From then until 9th November 1917 he served at home, when he was sent to France, to join the 2nd/8th Battalion at Etaples, with the new number of 306703, as the 2nd had become part of a reserve force.

On 29th August 1918 he was seriously wounded in his right thigh, the bullet fracturing his femur. He was sent ultimately to the 4th London General Hospital for treatment and recuperation, and finally discharged from there on 16th September 1919. He was assessed for a pension as being 100% disabled, and awarded 40/- a week, to be reviewed after 27 weeks, with an additional 23/6 allowance for his wife and two children. (Medical records)

Meanwhile, on 11th December 1918 he had been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in the field, presumably during the action in which he was wounded. This was announced in the London Gazette of that date, Issue 31061, on page 14657. It was presented to him on 2nd December 1919 by Rev. George Alexander Dunlop, vicar of St Mary’s Church, Quarry Hill, Leeds.

He was also awarded the Silver War Badge, the King’s Certificate, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

He probably died in Leeds in June 1946, aged 61.

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Fred Ely
Rifleman 3337, 2/7th Battalion The West Yorkshire Regiment

1894: Fred Ely, coal miner/hewer, married Martha Ann Taylor in Hunslet, June.
They had three children.
1895: Annie Ely, born in Stourton or Rothwell
1897: Fred Ely, born in Rothwell
1899: Albert Ely, born in Rothwell (Free BMD website)

1901: On the Census the family was living at 12 Rochester Grove, Hunslet

1911: On this Census the family was living at 50 Low Road, Hunslet, but Martha Ann, though still listed as married, was now the head of the household, her occupation being housekeeper. In addition they had a boarder, Mary Eleanor Johnson, age 28. Fred the son was now a spoke riveter at an iron foundry.
Fred, or Freddy, the father, was now living at 19 Beecroft Yard, Woodlesford, together with Lizzy Ward, age 41, single and also a house keeper, and her four children, William age 13, Alice Alberta age 9, Harry Douglas age 5 and Beatrice May age 1. (Census Records)

All these facts suggest quite strongly that Freddy had left Martha Ann and his family and was living with Lizzy Ward, with whom he had probably had Beatrice May, and maybe other children.

1914: When war was declared Fred was 16, too young, officially, to volunteer. His service records are missing, but at some point he nevertheless joined the West Yorkshire Regiment, 2/7th Battalion. This was a territorial unit formed in Leeds in September 1914. According to the records it was based in England, and did not reach France until January 1917. (Long,Long Trail website)

1915: On 14th July Fred died in the East Leeds War Hospital, now St James’ Hospital. There is no cause of death given, and it seems very unlikely that he was ever abroad, let alone in action. He was 17 when he died, certainly too young to have been sent abroad, and possibly too young when he volunteered, which may account for the fact that his death certificate, presumably a military one, gave his age as 19. He may have died as the result of an accident, or from disease.

He was buried in Leeds (Harehills) Cemetery, and on the CWGC website his mother is given as Martha A Shepherd. She had married George Shepherd in Hunslet, December 1921. (Free BMD website)

It is likely that Fred was never awarded any medals. The 1915 Star and the British War Medal were awarded for service overseas, and the Victory Medal was never awarded on its own, which could account for the lack of a Medal Card.

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

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Richard Spencer Howard, Private 204708, 10th West Riding Regiment, The Duke of Wellington’s

Richard Spencer Howard was born in Leeds in 1882, the first child of James William Howard, who had married Frances Amelia Jones the previous year. (Free BMD website)

By the 1891 Census Richard had four siblings, Emma, born 1884, Nellie, born 1886, Walter, born 1888, and Arthur, born 1890. They were all living with their mother at 23 Claro Place, Leeds. James, however, was lodging in Scunthorpe with Caroline Spencer. He was a glass-stainer and presumably there for his work, but the coincidence of names is interesting.

On the 1901 Census the family was almost back together again, at 3 North West Street, Leeds, with James now a glass-cutter, and Richard a stonemason. Albert was the one missing this time, being at boarding school in Lincolnshire. This may suggest a degree of affluence in the family. (Census Records)

In 1906 Richard married Martha Rayton of Headingley, and the following year their daughter Rose was born. (Free BMD website)

At some point between the 1901 and 1911 Censuses a major change to Richard’s life took place.

On the 1911 Census Richard was listed as a Music Hall musician, living at 3 Bellbrooke Place, Harehills, Leeds, which was given as both a shop and a house. With him were all four of his siblings. Walter, interestingly, was an organ builder. The parents were together at 38 Armley Terrace, while Martha and Rose were at 35 Cliff Mount, Woodhouse, with Martha’s parents, her four brothers and her sister. Whether there was any significance in this, or whether they just happened to be visiting the grandparents on that particular evening is not known. (Census Records)

As well as being a musician Richard was also an instrument maker, specifically a luthier, a maker of violins.

In 1914, when war was declared, Richard was 32, married with a child. Unlike many of his contemporaries he did not rush to volunteer. Although his service record is missing it appears that he was probably conscripted in 1916. With the number 204708 he was posted to 10th Battalion, The West Riding Regiment, The Duke of Wellington’s. (Medal Card)

He was killed in action on 7th June 1917, during the battle of Passchendaele, the Third Battle of Ypres, and is buried in Woods Cemetery, Ypres. He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. (CWGC website and Medal Card)

But the story does not end there. At his death he left at least one unfinished violin. The various parts had all been made, but not assembled, and they passed to his daughter Rose.  On her death they were auctioned, and nine decades later these parts found their way to a luthier in Oxford, who completed the work.

Sam Sweeney is a fiddle player. He plays in a number of prominent folk bands including, most notably, a band called Bellowhead.
A couple of years ago,(2008) he was looking for a new fiddle and went to a violin maker in Oxford to try several before buying. He ended up looking at a fiddle that was something of a puzzle to him as it appeared to be brand new, yet it had a sticker inside identifying its maker, place of manufacture and date respectively as Richard S Howard, Harehills, Leeds, Violin No 6, 1916. He asked the maker how this made sense and apparently, he had been given the bits of the unfinished fiddle in a bag and had completed it. Sam was the first person to play it. Richard never heard that fiddle played; he died before its completion.

Sam bought that violin and plays it regularly. (Information courtesy of Sam Sweeney)

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

 


Battery Sergeant Major John Crawshaw Raynes VC, Royal Field Artillery.

John Crawshaw was born on 28th April 1887 in Ecclesall, Sheffield. He was the son of Stephen and Hannah Raynes. According to the census data available from 1891 and 1901, they lived in Sheffield, but by 1907 John had married Mabel Dawson and moved to Leeds.

In 1904, John enlisted into the Royal Field Artillery and remained there until 1912 after which point he left and joined the Leeds City police force. In August of 1914 he was recalled for military service as a reservist.

The citation for Raynes’ VC was published in the London Gazette dated 18th November 1915 and reads as follows:

“No. 36380.  Sergeant-Major J. C. Raynes, (Royal Field Artillery).  For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty.  On 11th Oct., 1915, at Fosse 7 de Bethune, his Battery was being heavily bombarded by armour-piercing and gas shells.  On “Cease Fire” being ordered Sergeant-Major (then Acting Sergeant) Raynes, went out under an intense shell fire to assist Sergeant Ayres, who was lying wounded forty yards away.  He bandaged him and returned to his gun, when it was again ordered into action.  A few minutes later “Cease Fire” was again ordered owing to the intensity of the enemy fire, and Sergeant-Major Raynes, calling on two gunners to help him – both of whom were killed shortly afterwards – went out and carried Sergeant Ayres into a dug-out.  A gas shell burst at the mouth of the dug-out, and Sergeant-Major Raynes, once more ran across the open, fetched his own smoke helmet, put it on Sergeant Ayres, and then, himself badly gassed, staggered back to serve his gun.  On 12th Oct., 1915, at Quality Street, a house was knocked down by a heavy shell, four men being buried in the house and four in the cellar.  The first man rescued was Sergeant-Major Raynes, wounded in the head and leg, but he insisted on remaining under heavy shell fire to assist in the rescue of all the other men.  Then, after having his wounds dressed, he reported himself immediately for duty with his Battery, which was again being heavily shelled.”

There was also a reference in the Yorkshire Post to Raynes’ actions:

Raynes recovered a wounded comrade whilst under intense bombardment. He was later gassed and further wounded. (Yorkshire Post, 19th November 1915)

King George V awarded John his VC on 4th December 1915 at Buckingham Palace. He was eventually discharged from the army in 1918 due to being considered unfit for duty. On discharge from the army, Raynes returned to his work as a police officer.

However, he struggled in his duties due to gas poisoning received during the War and was forced to take a desk job. He retired from the police in 1926 and over the following years, his health deteriorated rapidly until he was left bed-ridden and paralysed.

He died on 12th November 1929, leaving behind a wife and children. His funeral took place in the presence of nineteen Victoria Cross recipients, eight of which were Yorkshire VC. holders; Captain George Sanders, Lieutenant Wilfred Edwards, Sergeant Fred McNess, Sergeant Charles Smith Hull, Sergeant Albert Mountain, Lance Corporal Frederick W Dobson, Private Arthur Poulter and Private William Boynton Butler who were acting as pallbearers.

The 71st Field Brigade Royal Artillery provided the gun carriage that carried the coffin of Mr Raynes, followed by the chairman of the Leeds “Old Contemptibles Association”, Captain W.E. Gage, carrying a purple cushion with JCR’s medals upon it. A wreath of Flanders poppies and evergreen in the shape of a Victoria Cross was carried by Lieutenant Edwards.

He was buried at Harehills Cemetery, Leeds. A firing squad was arranged and provided by the West Yorkshire Regiment and the Last Post was sounded. The cemetery gates had to be closed due to the amount of people that were there to pay their respects, an estimated 30,000.

His grave was restored and rededicated in 2008 and can still be visited today at Harehills Cemetery.

Researcher: John Sigsworth

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

 

 

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