In 1900 England had troops in South Africa to fight the in the Boer War. Corporal F. Eastwood and Private. J.Bray volunteered in January 1900 and were members of F- Holmfirth Co. In April , J.Bray , whilst on active service, sent a letter to Cllr. John Batley . He had been posted to St.Helena and described his life – “ … we reached St.Helena on Wed. March 7 at 6am and left at 10pm. Nice place but not as much fruit as at Tenerife. We have a few soldiers from there and a black prisoner. We are a jolly lot and plenty going on such as boxing and sports and sometimes we have concerts. We have nothing to do only eat, drink, smoke and read but not much to drink. We are only allowed two bottles a day at 6d a bottle. Me and another have started taking in washing to pass the time ….”.
In September 1901, the following plaque was initially displayed in what was then the Territorial Hall and is now located in the foyer of Holmfirth Civic Hall.
F. Company 2nd. V.B.
The Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment
was erected by Public Subscription
to show the
Appreciation of the self-sacrifice & bravery
in the field of the Undermentioned
Non- commissioned officers & men
of F ( Holmfirth ) Co.
Who in response to their country’s call
volunteered and served in the
South African War 1900-1901
2189 Lance- Sgt. Fred Hirst 3554 Private John Bray
There were another ten names of Holmfirth soldiers listed and it was signed by R.R.Mellor, Captain Commanding F.Co.
In November 1902, a large crowd gathered in the National School to formally welcome ex-Pte. Charles Ricketts of the 1st. West Riding Engineers who, as a reservist, was called to rejoin the colours and served throughout the South African campaign. The vicar of All Saints presided and was supported by Ricketts, A.Green and J.Bray ( all of whom saw service in South Africa ) as well as ex-Sergeant Settle ( a Crimean veteran ). After all the speeches the meeting finished with a programme of song.
Read more about Netherthong and the wars…