Tom Hutchinson – a lost gardener

Tom Hutchinson, Private 15/1264, 1st Leeds Pals

Tom Hutchinson was born in Aiskew in September 1890, the son of Thomas Hutchinson, a blacksmith, and his wife Elizabeth.  According to the 1911 Census they were married about 1883, but I have found no suitable record for this, and, strangely, Thomas does not feature on any of the censuses.  The 1911 Census actually leaves the space where he would have been empty, and Elizabeth, who did not fill it in, is given simply as ‘wife’.  It also states that she had been totally blind since the age of 9.  On the 1901 Census she appears as ‘head’, but again as ‘wife’ in 1891.  The 1911 Census records that there have been eight children, one of whom died.  Tom seems to have been the middle child, after Arthur, Annie and Ethel, and he was followed by Mabel, Frank and Alfred.  Tom was working as a gardener at Elmete Hall in Roundhay, and may well have started this occupation as soon as he left school.  Mabel was a dressmaker and Frank a grocer, suggesting that Tom specifically chose this career.  The number of staff seems to have gone down since its heyday in the 1870s, but it was still owned by the Kitson family, and Tom was one of three gardeners listed, along with a groom.  Another was John Robert Kirk, who also joined the Pals and was the brother of Susannah.  Three years later, when the war broke out, Tom was a gardener at Bilton Hall, near Harrogate. (Find My Past)

In 1914 Tom was 24, and his army number indicates that he was a volunteer, joining at Colsterdale, probably early in 1915.  But before then, on 12th September 1914 he got married.  In Meanwood Parish Church he married Susannah Kirk, who was living in Hustler’s Row, a row of cottages in Meanwood wood, built about 60 years earlier by John Husler.  Both fathers were present as witnesses, Henry Kirk being a clerk, and that is the only record of Thomas I have found. (Find My Past)

Having joined the Pals Tom would have followed the same regime as the rest of the battalion, training at Colsterdale, then Ripon, and finally Fovant in Wiltshire, before sailing off in December for Egypt, to guard the Suez Canal.  In March they sailed again, this time for France, to prepare for the Big Push.  After little more than a year of marriage he probably did not see his wife again.

On 1st July 1916 the Pals went over the top at the start of the Battle of the Somme.  Along with so many others Tom did not come back.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. (CWGC)  He is also named on the memorial at Holy Trinity Church, Meanwood.  He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  His brother Alfred had also been killed just over a year earlier. (Ancestry)

Based on material from ‘Meanwood Men’ by Cynthia Ruston

Researchers: Cynthia Ruston and Peter Taylor

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William Hazzard – temporary gentleman

Temporary 2Lt William Hazzard MC, 15th Battalion (PWO) West Yorkshire Regiment (1st Leeds Pals)

Lincolnshire man joins the Leeds Pals

William Hazzard was born in Heighington, Washingborough, Lincolnshire on 27th September 1887. His parents, George Hazzard and Mary Jane Hazzard née Wood, married in 1878 and lived in Heighington until 1890, when they moved to Bardney, Lincolnshire. William attended the Wesleyan Day School, Bardney from 1890 to 1902. He had four elder siblings; Mary E born in 1879, Emma 1881, Clara 1883 and Annie in 1886. In 1891 the family lived in Silver Street, Bardney where George, who was born in Laneham, Nottinghamshire, was employed as a railway labourer. By 1901 the family had moved to Ferry Road, Bardney and Annie, now 15, was employed as a Post Office clerk; George had become a Railway Plate Layer and William was 13. He served his apprenticeship with Mr Cockett, afterwards going to Messrs Bainbridge, of Lincoln and from there to Messrs Marshall and Snellgrove, London. Clara married William Day Sandy in 1910 and moved to Swallowbeck in Lincoln. William’s father remained at the family home in Bardney, after his wife Mary died in 1907 aged 49 years, and married Eliza Cook in 1910. However, Clara became her brother’s nominated next of kin when he died of his wounds in 1918 and received his effects, including his medals, memorial plaque and scroll.

Hazzard, William c

Enlisting in the 6th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders, as 1926 Private W Hazzard, on 4th September 1914, William served in France from 1st May 1915 and was soon promoted to Corporal then Sergeant. In 1916 he returned to England to train as an officer, and successfully completing his training was granted a commission on 5th January 1917 into the 15th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (1st Leeds Pals).

15th Battalion War Diary entry 5th June 1917 announced the award of the Military Cross (MC):

‘Acting as intelligence officer with the Battalion at Gavrelle on 3rd May 1917, 2nd Lieut Hazzard reconnoitred under heavy machine gun and shell fire to gain information. After the attack was held up by machine-gun fire he assisted in consolidating and strengthening a line of defence, and organised the defenders from the remnants of several units.’

On 18th July 1917 his MC citation for gallant action at Gavrelle was published in the London Gazette:

‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During an infantry attack he reconnoitred under heavy fire to gain information. After the attack was held up he assisted in consolidating and strengthening a line of defence, and organising the defenders from the remnants of several units. The securing of the defence was largely due to his coolness and courage.’

In December 1917 the battalion merged with the 17th Battalion (2nd Leeds Pals) and was retitled 15/17th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment.

The Narrative of Operations of the 31st Division 22nd March – 1st April 1918 recorded:

‘This Battalion (The 15th West Yorks Regt) (sic) had covered a front of over 2,000 yards for 36 hours and continued to sustain the weight of the enemy’s attacks until practically the whole Battalion was overwhelmed. Only 4 Officers and 40 Other Ranks of those who were forward subsequently reached our lines, but this Battalion by its gallant action relieved the pressure on our front throughout the whole day, and gave the Division ample time to establish its position near AYETTE.’ [Note: The battalion was decimated; many were killed, wounded or captured, including the commanding officer who remained a prisoner of war until December 1918].

In his report on the battalion’s defence of the line at Moyenneviller Village, near Ayette, Lieutenant Colonel C C H Twiss, the commanding officer, stated that:

‘I then sent two platoons, under 2Lt Hazard and 2Lt Pedley to get behind the Germans, and clear them out. This they did very successfully, capturing over thirty prisoners and re-establishing the position: 2Lt Hazard was however unfortunately killed.’ [Note: This action probably occurred on the 27th March].

A local newspaper announced his death:

‘Killed – The sad news reached Mr Hazzard, of Wragby Road, Bardney, that his only son, Lieut. W. Hazzard, West Yorks. Regiment, had died of wounds in the abdomen, in the 3rd Canadian Hospital, Doullens, on March 28th. It seemed only the other day since he was on leave in the village for a few hours. He served his apprenticeship with Mr. Cockett, afterwards going to Messrs. Bainbridge, of Lincoln, and from there to Messrs. Marshall and Snellgrove, London, joining the colours on Sept. 4th, the Seaforth Highlanders. He went to France soon after, and was promoted Sergeant soon after reaching there. He had seen much service. He obtained a commission in October 1916 [January 1917] being gazetted to the West Yorkshires. He was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in July, 1917. The sympathy of the whole parish goes out to Mr. Hazzard in his great loss.’

Bardney Roll of Honour [He is also commemorated on the Bardney Village War Memorial and on a plaque in the Bardney Church].

Second Lieutenant, 15th Battalion, Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire Regiment). Died of wounds 28th March 1918 at Doullens, France. Aged 30. Awarded the Military Cross (M.C.) 3rd May 1917. Buried in DOULLENS COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION No. 1, Somme, France. Plot III. Row A. Grave 15.’

Sources:
War Diary 15th Bn West Yorkshire Regiment
CO’s report on battalion action at Ayette March 1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission register
Bardney Roll of Honour, Memorial and local newspaper
Medal Index Card and Medal Roll
TNA Service Record WO 339/121183

Researcher: David J Owen

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Samuel Spurr – so near and yet…..

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Samuel Spurr, L/Corporal 24867, 15th West Yorkshire Regiment

Samuel Spurr was born in Hunslet, Leeds, in January of 1891, just in time to appear, at 3 months, on the 1891 Census.  Also appearing were his parents, George William Spurr, a drayman weaver, and Matilda Whitaker, who had married in 1887.  He had an older sister Selina, and an older brother Thomas, and living with them in Thornton Street, Hunslet, was George’s widowed mother Susannah.

By the next census in 1901 they had moved to Kaye Street, and George had become a labourer in a candle works.  Susannah was still with them, and Selina worked as a perforator in a stationer’s.  The family had increased by three, Edith, Hilda and Lily.  Ten years further on and Samuel was working as a packer in the candle factory.  Selina had progressed to book sewer, Thomas was a joiner making school desks, Edith a machinist and Hilda a cardboard box maker.  They still lived in Kaye Street, Canal Wharfe. (Find My Past)

Although he was 23 when the war began Samuel does not appear to have joined up straight away.  His service records are missing, but his army number suggests late in 1916 or early 1917.  He was posted to the Leeds Pals, joining D Company.  He had a relatively short time with them, being captured in March 1918, but during that time he was attached to 93rd Brigade Light Trench Mortar Battery, and returned to the Pals before December 1917, when the two battalions, 15th and 17th, were amalgamated. (Ancestry)  He was captured by the Germans at Courcelles-le-Comte on 27th March 1918, in the early days of their last major attack, along with many other Pals.  The date suggests he may have been part of the rearguard, and only a handful escaped.   He must have shown himself to be a good soldier as he had by then been promoted to lance corporal.  The German records show that he was unwounded when captured, but he may have been ill, as there is a suggestion that he was sent to hospital in Antwerp before being taken to a POW Camp.  By October he was at Münster POW Camp, and the war had less than a month to run.  But by then time was already running out for Samuel.

After the armistice he was released and started for home, but only got as far as Rotterdam, where he died of pneumonia on 28th December 1918.  Two notices ‘in memoriam’ appeared twelve months later in the Yorkshire Evening Post.  One was signed from his parents and sisters, the other from ‘loving brother and sister Tom and Amy’.  (There is a record of a Thomas Spurr marrying an Amy Thornton in 1912.)  The family address was by now 3 Water Hall, Leeds 5.

Samuel was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, but not the 1915 Star, which adds support to the idea of his not enlisting before 1916.  He is buried in The Hague General Cemetery, one of fifty-five Great War Graves in this cemetery.

 

Researchers: Jane Luxton and Peter Taylor

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Harry Trendall – an older Pal

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Harry Trendall, Private 34994, 15th West Yorkshire Regiment

Photo courtesy of York Army Museum

Harry Trendall was born in May 1878, in Bishopthorpe, probably the fourth child of Edward Thomas Trendall and Emma Ambler, who had married in Leeds in 1869. (Free BMD)  He had two older brothers, James Edward and WE, (all it says on the census), but possibly William, and between them a sister Nelly.  Another brother, Charlie, followed, but as I have been unable to find the family on the 1911 Census I cannot say whether he was the last.  In 1891 they were living in Fulford.  Edward was a joiner, James a bookbinder, Nelly a music teacher and WE a chemist’s assistant.  Harry, at 12, was still at school, but in 1911, the only other census I’ve found, he was a piano repairer, and married. (Find My Past)

In 1901 he married Anne Elizabeth Waudby, and by 1911 they had three children, Thomas Edward, Ellen and James Edward.  When the war started Harry was 36, a married man with a family, living in Fairfax Street in York.  He was not required at the start, and presumably did not have the urge to volunteer.  He did not join, in fact, until after September 1916, and was quite possibly conscripted.  He was probably only with the Pals for a short time before being captured.

On 3rd May 1917 he was taken prisoner at Gavrelle, on the Western Front, during the battle of Arras, along with a large number of other Pals.  He was recorded as unwounded, but nevertheless was taken to hospital, where he remained for five months.  The first part of his POW record is missing, as are any medical records, but on the POW card is a brief note, as follows:

Severe depression both physical and in morale following 5 months in hospital.

1/06/18: after medical examination he is considered as not fulfilling the conditions for exchange or internment.  Family informed.

This may suggest that his family was trying to have him repatriated on medical grounds.  If so they were not successful, and he was sent to Güstrow Camp, where he was registered on 12th February 1918.  After two months there he was sent to Friedrichsfeld Camp, where he probably stayed for the rest of the war. (grandeguerre.icrc.org)  Fortunately for him it only had another seven months to run, though of course no-one knew that at the time.  After the armistice he was released and repatriated, and in May 1919 he was placed on the Reserve List.  He was later awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. (Ancestry)

Harry next appears on the 1939 Register, living in Flaxton and a widower.  He was working as a florist and had Nancy Trendall as his housekeeper, presumably a relative, but being born in 1909 not one of his children. (Find My Past)  He probably died in Blackpool in 1944. (Free BMD)

Researcher: Peter Taylor

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James Tarran – a puzzle

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James Tarran, Private 18/918, 2nd Bradford Pals and later Leeds Pals

Photo courtesy of York Army Museum

James Patrick Tarran is something of a puzzle.  He first appears on the 1901 Census, where the family surname is written as ‘Farran’.  Ten years earlier, before James was born, it had been written Tarran.  Then in 1911 it was written, this time by James’s father William, as Farren, with a capital F, different from the capital T he used for the word Twister, so it cannot just be put down to idiosyncratic handwriting.  The changes seem to have been deliberate, but the reasons for them are unclear.  However, on all the army documents that have survived he is known as James Tarran, and I shall follow their example.  I have no reason to think they are not all the same family, as all the details match up.

James Tarran was born in Leeds in March 1896 according to the POW records, but 1897 according to the censuses and the 1939 register.  He was the first son, after three girls, born to William Tarran and Mary Henegman, who had married in Leeds in 1889.  They went on to have two more sons and two more daughters that are named on the censuses, though the 1911 says there were eleven children, four of whom had died by then.

In 1891 the family was living in Bradford and William was a wool comb minder.  Their first child, Mary Gertrude, was 11 months old.  Ten year later and they had moved to Leeds, where William was a paviour, with three more children, including James.  Another ten years and they were back in Bradford, William was a warehouse man in the wool trade, and James was a doffer, whose job was to remove full bobbins or spindles from the machine and replace them with empty ones. (All census details from Find My Past)

Three years after that the war broke out.  James was 17, and he volunteered for the Bradford Pals.  He was attested on 21st April 1915, by which time he was just over 18, and just over 5ft 3, but despite this he was posted to the 18th Battalion, which was the Bradford Bantams.  In December of that year he was sent to Egypt along with the Leeds Pals, to guard the Suez Canal.  Early in 1916 they all sailed for France, ready for the Battle of the Somme, in which James presumably took part, and like the Leeds Pals they suffered very heavy casualties.  He survived that day, and the months that followed, and in May of 1917, during the battle of Arras, he was appointed Lance Corporal, unpaid.  Four months later he appears to have lost the stripe, but the reason is unclear. (Find My Past)  In February 1918 the 18th Battalion was disbanded and amalgamated with the Leeds Pals as part of a general re-structuring of the army.  Then in March 1918 the Germans mounted their last major attack and his luck finally ran out.  He was wounded in the leg and captured, at St Léger.  He was taken first to Denain, where there was a hospital, and after three months to Limburg, where he stayed for just one month before moving to Altdamm.  After another month he was moved to Heilsberg, where he stayed until the armistice. (grandeguerre.icrc.org)  Then on 28th November he was repatriated, but decided he liked army life sufficiently to want to stay on, and on 2nd May 1919 he re-enlisted, in the RAOC.  They were heavily involved in clearing the battlefields after the war, a job that is still going on.  Perhaps he found it more interesting, or more exciting, than working in a woollen mill.  He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. (Ancestry)

By 1939 he had left the army and was now a master decorator.  In 1920 he had married Annie Wall, and they appear on the register living in Bradford with Samuel Dyson, a retired café proprietor, and May Dyson, perhaps his daughter.  Also living there were Margaret Oates, previously Tarran, born in 1925, and another person whose record is still closed. (Find My Past)  Perhaps they were James’s children.  He seems to have died in Bridlington in 1977. (Family Search)

Researcher: Peter Taylor

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Willie Sands – a Geordie Pal

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Willie Sands, Private 41607, 17th West Yorkshire Regiment

Photo courtesy of York Army Museum

Willie Sands was born in Middlesbrough in November 1895, and appears as Willie on all the surviving records I have found.  There is no suggestion he was ever William.  He was the eldest child of Isaac Sands and Sarah Elizabeth Gascoigne, who had married in Wharfedale in 1894.  He had two brothers, Arthur, born 1899, and Herbert, born 1908.  Another child had died, and the nine year gap between Arthur and Herbert suggests that is where he had been.  The family was based in or around Rawdon, near Horsforth, and that’s where they were all born except for Willie, who was born in Cleveland, the 1911 Census being more specific and giving Lingdale as the place.  It also gives Isaac as a house painter and decorator, and Willie as a farmhand. (Find My Past)

When war was declared in 1914 Willie was 18, old enough to have volunteered had he wished.  Perhaps because he worked on a farm, producing food, and not surrounded by large numbers of other workers, he did not face the same pressures and excitement that the city dwellers did.  Whatever his reasons, he did not join up until after September 1916, possibly as a conscript.  His service records are missing so we cannot know exactly what happened, but by 1917 he was in France with the battalion.  In August of that year the Pals were in reserve, but that didn’t stop men being killed and wounded.  On 30th of that month Willie was wounded, according to the first camp report by a bullet, according to the second by shrapnel, but both agree it was in his right shoulder, and it happened at Guillemont Farm, in the Somme area.  He was taken first to hospital in Münster, and then to Limburg POW Camp, where he was recorded on 23rd October.   At the end of November he was moved to Soltau, where he appears to have stayed for the remaining twelve months of the war. (grandeguerre.icrc.org)

After the armistice he was released and repatriated, arriving back promptly enough to be placed on the Reserve List in April of 1919.  He was later awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

In 1922 Willie married Mary Anne Stabler, and on the 1939 register they were living together in New York Lane, Aireborough, still in the Rawdon area, and he was working as a cowman. (Find My Past)  He may have died in December 1966, at the age of 70. (Free BMD)

Researcher: Peter Taylor

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William Pickles – building for the future

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William Pickles, Private 15/722, 1st Leeds Pals

Photo courtesy of York Army Museum

William Pickles was born in Hunslet in July 1892, the fifth of seven children born to William Pickles and Isabella Forrest, who had married in Ripon in 1883. (Free BMD)  He had four older siblings, Walter, Edwin, Annie and Florence, and two younger, Emily and James.  Florence sadly died in December 1891, age just one, so William would never have known her.  The rest of the family all survived, certainly up to the 1911 Census, when they were living at 30 Beverley Avenue, Hunslet.  William senior was at this time a plasterer’s labourer, having previously been an engine fitter and before that a blacksmith.  Walter and Edwin worked in the printing trade, while Annie and Emily worked in clothing.  William was a builder’s clerk. (Find My Past census records)

In 1914, when war was declared, William was 22, old enough to volunteer, which he did, as is shown by his low army number, and he was attested on 13th September 1914.  He passed the medical and was accepted.  He was recorded as 5ft 5ins in height, and 9st in weight, and although his physical development is not mentioned the photo, taken perhaps four years later, shows a sturdy young man. (Find My Past)

William will have gone with the battalion to Colsterdale for training, continued at Ripon and then Fovant, before finally, almost at the end of 1915, they received their marching orders and sailed, at the beginning of December for Egypt, where they were to guard the Suez Canal against possible Turkish attack.  This did not materialise, and so in March 1916 they sailed once again, for France, to prepare for the Big Push, otherwise known as the Battle of the Somme.

If William took part in this attack he was lucky, and survived, when a lot of his mates did not.  Most of his service records are missing, and other ranks were seldom mentioned in detail in the War Diary, unless they had done something particularly notable, which William didn’t.  He just survived, an achievement in itself.  He survived until the following May, when, during the battle of Arras, he was wounded in his left elbow and captured, at Oppy.  He was taken first to the hospital at Lille, where he must have recovered from his wound, as he then went to Dülmen POW Camp, where he was recorded as unwounded, and stayed one month.  The details of his wound come from the third camp, Güstrow, where he went in February 1918.  In between he was at Limburg.  By this stage his Next of Kin address was 31 Back Beverley Terrace, close by but suggesting a smaller property. (grandeguerre.icrc.org)

When the war ended William was released and repatriated fairly quickly, as he was placed on the Reserve List on 29th March 1919.  He was subsequently awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. (Ancestry)  In September 1932 he married Julia Vake, and on the 1939 Register they were recorded as living at 9 Stainburn View, Meanwood. (Find My Past)  William was now a quantity surveyor, having risen from builder’s clerk, and he may have died in Leeds in September 1959, at the age of 67. (Free BMD)

Researchers: Jane Luxton and Peter Taylor

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William Millar – another unknown Pal

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William George Millar, Private 42161, 15th and 15/17th West Yorkshire Regiment

Photo courtesy of York Army Museum

I have discovered very little about William Millar, having found neither his service record nor his POW record.  All that can be said with any certainty is that he joined sometime between September 1916 and December 1917.  He was captured at some point and sent to a POW camp in Germany.  The photo taken at this time shows an older man, standing with perhaps a Russian POW and two civilians, possibly father and son.  After the armistice he was released and repatriated, and on 3rd March 1919, after his return, was placed on the Reserve List.  He was subsequently awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. (Ancestry)

Any further information would be most welcome.

Researcher: Peter Taylor

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Joseph Marsland – an unknown Pal

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Joseph Marsland, Private 41417, 17th West Yorkshire Regiment

Photo courtesy of York Army Museum

Joseph Marsland’s service record, like many others, has not survived, but unfortunately I cannot find his POW record either.  The only evidence we have for his being in a camp is the photo, and the fact that his name appears on the Leeds Absent Voters List for 1918.  This shows him living at 52 Monkbridge Road, Leeds, but no-one else is listed for that address. (Leeds City Library)  No census so far has looked likely, but the 1939 Register has a Joseph Marsland at 5 Trelawn Street, Headingley, not far from Monkbridge Road.  He was living there with his wife Hilda, and there is a record of a marriage to Hilda Noble in September 1915, but if this is correct I would have expected her to be on the absent voters list.  His date of birth is given as 25th August 1892, and his occupation as tram conductor.  There also appears to be a daughter, Jean West, née Marsland. (Find My Past)

All of this is speculation, and unless more definite evidence comes to light Joseph will have to remain as an unknown soldier.  All we know for sure is that he was a fairly late recruit, possibly a conscript.  After the armistice he was put on the Reserve List,  and awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. (Ancestry)

Researchers: Jane Luxton and Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
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Harry Levi – a Jewish Pal

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Harry Levi, Private 29527, 15th West Yorkshire Regiment

Photo courtesy of York Army Museum

Harry Levi was born in Burmantofts, in November 1897. He was the oldest child of Barnet, or Barnard, Levi and his wife Sarah.  He had three younger brothers and a sister.  His paternal grandfather, Louis Levi, had been born in Poland, then part of Russia, as had his wife Dora.  They probably arrived in England, and Leeds, in the late 1860s, as their eldest, Barnard’s older sister Amelia, was born in Leeds in 1870.  They lived in the Crown Point area, but when Barnard married he moved north of the river, first to Macaulay Street and then to Cuttell Street, both close to Mabgate in an area demolished just before the Second World War.

Louis was a plumber, and Barnard followed in the trade.  Harry, however, did not, becoming a tailor, also a family trade.  At least four of his aunts were tailoresses of one sort or another.  The area in which they lived was full of tailors, and clearly at that time a predominantly Jewish district, as it remained until relatively recently. (all census records from Find My Past)

When the war began Harry was 17, too young officially to join up, and with no apparent wish to do so.  He didn’t join until after September 1916, and may have been conscripted.  He was posted to the Pals and put into D Company.  The next major action for the Pals was the battle of Arras, which began on 9th April, and Harry was captured almost a month later, on 4th May, at Gavrelle.  He went first to Douai and then on to Dülmen, where he was recorded on 23rd June.  His Next of Kin was given as his mother.  Five days later he was at Limburg, where he stayed until the following February, when he was moved to Güstrow for the rest of the war. (grandeguerre.icrc.org)

After the armistice he was repatriated, but on 9th June 1919 he was recorded as having deserted. (Ancestry)  His service records are missing so we do not have any further details, but desertion became a particular problem once the war had finished.  Soldiers, whether they had volunteered or been conscripted, naturally wanted to go home as soon as the fighting was over, but demobilising several million men took time and organisation, something the soldiers did not appreciate, in either sense.  A number of troop were still required anyway for various duties, including policing the occupied areas of Germany and clearing the battlefields.  We have so far found only 14 Pals listed as having deserted, which is a very small proportion, and more than half of those did so after the armistice, so it was not a major problem for the Pals.

Despite his desertion Harry was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, so we presume there were no serious repercussions. (Ancestry)  After that I have found no further records.  There is a death recorded in Leeds in 1920 for a Harry Levi at the age of 24, but whether that is he I don’t know. (Free BMD)

Researchers: Jane Luxton and Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
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