In 2018, which was the centenary of the end of World War 1, I carried out detailed research into those men and boys from the village who gave their lives for their country, and I included photographs and as much information as I could find in my chapter titled Netherthong and its WW1 heroes . Benjamin was obviously included. However, in February 2019, I was given some excellent additional information, photographs and ephemera about Benjamin, which had been collated by Pamela Watson. This was an opportunity to give him his own chapter, as the Roebuck name features throughout many of the chapters in the history of the village, and his story is typical of what life must have been for other lads in the village, who would have known Benjamin and who also fought and, in many cases, gave their lives. I have used virtually all the information that Pamela sent and included her own comments in italics.
Benjamin Roebuck fought with honour in World War 1 and died a hero in France. He is remembered and commemorated on the War Memorial in Netherthong Town Square and on Plaque 5 on the War Memorial at the Holme Valley Hospital. He was also listed on the Working Men’s Club memorial ( which has been lost ), as well as being named on the chart on the right hand wall inside All Saints’ Parish Church. His name features on the Villers- Bretonneux Memorial to the Missing and he is also commemorated on a family headstone in the churchyard of the Parish Church.
Ben was born on the 18th.November 1878 at Wood Nook,Honley and was the son of Rachel and Joseph Hirst Roebuck,a farmer. He was baptised on the 5th. January 1879 at St.Mary’s Church, Wilshaw ( see copy of certificate ). ( His elder sister,Emma,was my Grandmother and his younger sister, Mary Ann, was better known to me as my beloved Aunty Polly). He was educated at St.Mary’s Church of England School , attended Netherthong Parish Church and was a member of Netherthong Working Men’s Club. At that time his father,Joseph, had died and his mother, Rachel, had sold the farm at Wood Nook and moved into the Queen’s Head Public House in the village until she had a stone house built,in about 1905, at Cliffe View, 90 Thong Lane. Ben worked for Batley’s Joiners as a teamer, driving a horse drawn wagon for Mr.Joseph Batley, and was described as a quiet , unobtrusive man with a loveable nature.
In 1910, Ben left ” Cliffe View” ( the house where I was actually born ) and emigrated to Australia on the ship ORMUZ, sailing to Freemantle ( see passenger list ). He worked as a farmhand, moving about and living in a tent ( see photo dated 1912), it upset his mother to know that he was living that way – but he found a permanent position, where he lived in the farmhouse. (Pamela could find no record that he owned his own farm and orchard). He enlisted in the 16th. Battalion , Australian Imperial Force and became Private, no. 5178 and volunteered at Blackhay Hill, near Harvey, on 19 January 1916, listing his mother, Rachel, as his next of kin. He sailed from Freemantle with reinforcements for the 16th. Battalion on 31st.March 1916, on board HMAT A9 SHROPSHIRE, stopping at Egypt on the way to the Western Front
He was killed in action at Moquet Farm during the battle of the Somme on Saturday, 12th. August, 1916 aged 37 years. He had no known grave and is commemorated on the Villers- Bretonneux Memorial to the missing ( I have laid wreaths near to his name and had The Last Post played for him by Bugler Pete.) Ben was either one of the 39 men known to have been killed , or one of the 19 reported missing believed killed in action with the 16th. Battalion on that day, serving under L.General John Mannash.
A letter, written by Ben shortly before his death, arrived in the village saying he was glad to get away from Egypt, which was a miserable place to live, and that he hoped to visit them at Netherthong before he returned to Australia. His mother received the news of his death on 2nd. September 1916, and his death was reported in the Holmfirth Express the following week. A memorial service was held in the Parish Church conducted by the Rev.H.H.Hind.
The photographs and ephemera are listed below, some of them are photocopies of the originals, many have been notated by Pamela.
Joseph Hirst Roebuck, Benjamin’s father ( 1844-1891) in the front carriage.
Immigration Restriction Acts- Passenger List
Ben in his tent in Australia – circa 1912.
Village War memorial with B.Roebuck
Plaque 5 memorial with Benjamin Roebuck
War Graves Memorial – Villers-Bretonneux – long view
War Graves Memorial – Villers- Bretonneux – detail with B.Roebuck
Photographs of Ben , which are also in my chapter of WW1 heroes
In October 2019 I was contacted by Keith Bugdenwho is a war medal collector, specifically for soldiers who died on the Somme. He had obtained from a collector in Manchester, the Victory Medal * for Benjamin Roebuck and had carried out research into his name which led him to my history of Netherthong and this chapter. Keith also sent me the certificate below which shows that Benjamin was awarded three medals. The 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal with details and dates. I put Keith in contact with Pamela and he very kindly sent her the medal so that one could say it found its proper resting place. He also sent her additional information which will be incorporated in this chapter,
* The Victory Medal, known as the UK British Empire 1st. World War campaign medal was awarded for Campaign Service – the total issued was circa 5,725,000
This episode of the medal has had a major impact on three people – Pamela has closure and will be taking the medal this summer to Ben’s grave on the Somme so she can place it on the grave and say a few words. Keith commented that reuniting the medal with Pamela was the highlight of 2019 for him. The role of my website and this chapter in acting as the catalyst has also been a highlight for me.
I asked Keith about his collecting hobby and he said that he was a relatively new collector and had medals for some 16 men who died on the Somme. He recently acquired the medals, memorial plaque and photo of a man who died on the first day – 1st July. Tragically he was wounded and lay in no man’s land from 8am until dark when he was brought back, but died of wounds. His friend stayed with him the whole time. Very moving. The research is very satisfying but he is rarely able to trace living relatives.
There are eight War Memorials and Rolls of Honour ( ROH ) commemorating the young men of the district , who fought in World War 1. Six of them list the names of those who gave their lives, and two include the names of those who fought and survived. Details are given below. ( For details of the individual soldiers, please see the appropriate chapters on World War 1 ).
The Netherthong War Memorial, R.O.H. , which has the names of 41 heroes from Netherthong and Thongsbridge, is located in the centre of the village opposite the Parish Church.
2. Thirty names, including two not on the village ROH, are on Plaque 5 on the large Memorial in the grounds of Holmfirth Hospital.
3. Seventeen names were on a plaque in the Working Men’s clubhouse, which was located in St. Annes Square at the top of Outlane. Unfortunately the whereabouts of this plaque is currently unknown.( January 2019)
4. Six names appeared on the plaque in St.Andrew’s Church in Thongsbridge and, when the church was closed, the plaque was saved and found a new home in Holmfirth Parish Church.
5. Five names appear on a ROH on a metal plate on the wall of what was the premises of R.L.Brook in Thongsbridge.
6. Six names appear on the ROH in Huddersfield Drill Hall. They were soldiers who served in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment.
7. There are 27 names on the United Methodist Church ROH, which has been located on the left hand wall in the Parish Church since the Chapel closed in 1984-85 and became a private residence. This ROH contains the names of seven soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice with the remainder being soldiers who fought and survived.
Huddersfield Drill Hall
George H. Booth
Cecil P. Floyd
Hubert ( Herbert ) Hobson
C.( Charlie ) Woodhead
J.( Joseph ) Worsley
Thomas Roger Booth
8. There are 114 names on a framed ROH in the Parish Church and it gives the rank, regiment and date joined for each of the soldiers. 23 of these names are on the main War Memorial, the remainder being soldiers who fought and survived. Unfortunately it was both difficult to photograph as well as being too large to get into one picture.
Wilshaw is a small hamlet located mid-way between Meltham and Netherthong/Holmfirth with its postcode being HD9. In the first Ordnance Survey map, issued in 1854, both Upper and Lower Greave were in the Parish of Netherthong and Wilshaw was a moor-fringed sweep of pasture but, by the time the next map came out in 1888, Joseph Hirst had put Wilshaw firmly on the map and built the Church of St.Mary the Virgin in 1863. The History of Wilshaw , issued 1961, was written by Alfred Taylor as a prelude to the commemoration of the centenary of the Parish Church, 1863-1963.
This year, 2018, is the centenary of the end of World War 1 and a National Project, called Lives of the First World War, has been set up by the Imperial War Museum to record the life histories of those servicemen and women who served in that war. It works by setting up Communities which are formed by collating servicemen into groups defined by a common connection – eg. regiment, workplace, location etc. A community has been set up locally, on behalf of the Project , to cover all the Holme Valley Servicemen. My contribution, via my History of Netherthong website, has been to supply information relating to Netherthong and District of its soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice as well as those who fought and survived. Wilshaw does not fall under the Holme Valley area but, because it always had close connections to Netherthong, I have decided to give it a chapter of its own and add it to my website so that its heroes can be more fully recognised and remembered.
There are two plaques, ROH ( Roll of Honour ) inside the Church. The first one , on timber/board, lists 15 names of soldiers , associated with Wilshaw, who fought and survived. They are : Edward Phipps ; Harold Beaumont ; Fisher Spencer ; Charles Helliwell ; George Sharples ; Lawrence Taylor ; John W. Dowell ; Herbert Lockwood ; Harry Stead : Harry Taylor ; Alfred Senior ; Vincent F.Kaye ; Harold Pearson : John Crampton : John Addy. However the Holmfirth Express edition on 23 October 1915 listed the following names from Wilshaw who had enlisted – they were Arthur Elliot, H.Turton, T. Thorpe, N.Thorpe and Edward Phipps. Of those names only Phipps appears on the list of survivors on the plaque. I have recently been informed that this ROH was only ” discovered ” 10-15 years ago when it was found up in the church tower. Very intriguing and it is unlikely that we will ever find out when, how and why it was put there.
The second one made of stone/marble has five names and is inscribed : ” In Honoured Memory of the Boys of the Parish who made the Supreme Sacrifice in the Great War, 1914-1918. Edwin Spencer ; Edgar H.Beaumont ; Rufus Crompton ; Leonard Manchester : Harold Schofield . Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. “
J.Margaret Stansfield was the inspiration behind the book ” Huddersfield Roll of Honour 1914-1922 ” but unfortunately died before she could publish it. It was edited by the Rev. Paul Wilcock BEM and published by the Unniversity of Huddersfield Press in 2014 – ISBN 978-1-86218-126-7. Her book meticulously detailed the details of 3,439 soldiers from the Huddersfield area who had fought and died in the Great War. The five Wilshaw heroes on the plaque are listed in the book and I give their details below.
Edwin Spencer.Private 13445, Y Co., 8th. Battalion, Duke of Wellington Regiment. Born in Leeds, son of Thomas Fisher Spencer and Sarah Agnes of Wilshaw. Employed at Meltham Mills. Enlisted at the end of August 1914 and went to the Dardenelles as part of 32nd. Brigade, 11th. Division, Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. He died of wounds at sea, sustained in the Dardenelles fighting, on August 23, 1915 aged 22 years. There was no known grave and he was Commemorated at the Helles Memorial to the Missing. ROH ; Wilshaw Church ; St. Bartholemews, Meltham.
The following report was taken from a newspaper cutting around 1915. ” On Monday, Mrs. Thomas Fisher Spenser, of Wilshaw,received the sad news that her youngest son, Private Edwin Spencer, aged 22, had died on August 23rd. from wounds sustained in the Dardanelles fighting. Prior to the war, Edwin had worked at the bobbin mill at Messrs. Jonas Brook and Bros., Meltham Mills. At the latter end of August, he enlisted in the 8th. Battalion, West Riding Regiment and was in Y Company, the regiment being in the 32nd. Brigade of the 11th. Division in the Mediterranean Force. Edwin was the youngest of three sons in the army. His eldest brother is Private John Spencer of the 1/5th. who is in a London hospital, suffering from wounds sustained in Belgium. Private Thos. Fisher Spencer, the second son, is in France with the 2/5th. Edwin was unmarried and lived in St.Mary’s Court, Wilshaw, and was his mother’s only means of support. Her daughter is the wife of driver Spencer Allen Ward of the R.F.A. in France.
Rufus Crampton . Private 38589, 8th. Battalion, Yorkshire Lancaster Regiment. Born in Meltham and lived at 28 Mitre Street, Marsh. Killed in action on June 7, 1917. There was no known grave . Commemorated at the Menin Gate, Memorial to the Missing, ROH : Wilshaw Church : Marsh War Memorial : St. Bartholemews, Meltham.
Leonard Manchester. Private 32158, 2/5 Battalion, Duke of Wellington Regiment. Born in Meltham, son of James and Hannah and husband of Hilda. Employed for five years at Wallace’s grocery store in Slaithwaite. Enlisted 1917 and embarked to France early 1918. Killed in action on 23 March 1918, aged 28 years. No known grave and he was Commemorated at the Arras Memorial to the Missing. ROH ; Wilshaw Church ; St. Bartholemews, Meltham. Huddersfield Drill Hall.
Harold Schofield. Private301954. 2nd. Battalion, Royal Scots ( Lothian Regiment ). Born in Meltham, son of Firth and Martha Scholfield. He was killed in action at Polygon Wood on September 26,1917 aged 20 years.There was no known grave and he was Commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing. ROH : Wilshaw Church ; St.Bartholemews Church, Meltham.
Edgar H.Beaumont. An Edgar Hamby Beaumont is listed as Private 235241 of the 2nd. battalion of the Duke of Wellington regiment. He was the son of Mr. & Mrs. Joe Beaumont of Wilshaw and was employed by Messrs. Josiah France Ltd. of Honley. He enlisted on October 1915 and was killed in action on March 28 1918 aged 22 years. There was no known grave and he was commemorated on the Arras Memorial to the Missing. ROH ;Wilshaw Church : St.Bartholemews Church, Meltham.
Harry Beaumont’s name appears on the timber plaque as a survivor. In the January 16th. 1915 edition of the Holmfirth Express, there is a report of the Annual tea and entertainment given by the church choir and the organist, Mr.H.Pearson. The Rev.T. Lawthwaite congratulated the young men of the village who had joined up and, out of a population of under 150, five were under training. The Vicar proposed a vote of thanks which was seconded by Private H.Beaumont. However there is a Harry Beaumont in the Huddersfield ROH . He was Private 21726 in the 2/5 Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment and was born in Meltham and enlisted in Huddersfield. He was killed in action on July 20 1918 near Rheims. There was no known grave and he was commemorated on Soissons Memorial to the Missing. ROH. St Bartholemews Church. Same person ??
I have recently received a copy of a superb photograph of schoolchildren,along with two teachers, posing in their very best outside their school in Wilshaw. The date surely must be early 1900s and I wonder if any of the boys in the picture are on one of the ROHs in the Church.
One of the benefits of having put my version of the History of Netherthong on the web is that it is never static with new information coming from various sources. In August 2019, I was contacted by Paul Sims from the Ordinary Men Regimental Heritage Project which is focussed on the men of the local Territorials, the 5th.Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment in the Great War.
Paul has been able to add information and also correct anomalies in the details of some of the soldiers listed in my history. He has added that numerous listings in the ROH published by the Holmfirth Express were misinterpreted – I have included both sets of information.
One of the major chapters in this history is titled ‘Netherthong and its WW1 heroes’ and it gives details of those soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice. There were also many villagers who enlisted and served valiantly in the war and survived its horrors. In this centenary year (2018) of the end of that war, I am attempting to compile a list of their names and find out details about their lives before the war and their army service. ( Some of the information is also included in other chapters about WW1.)
The main source for compiling the initial list is the Holmfirth Express. In their issue of January 9th. 1915, they printed a R.O.H. ( Roll of Honour ) for the people from all the villages in the area serving in the Army , Territorials and Navy and there were 42 on that list from Netherthong, Deanhouse, Thongsbridge ( see note later on ) and Wilshaw. The information in these lists was supplied by local residents and the paper was always requesting their readers to write in to update the names. They printed another list in October 23rd. 1915 , which included some names not on the earlier list. They printed the list again the following week with some names omitted and a few new ones added. They also started on October 23 rd. to publish another column titled ‘This Weeks Additions ‘ and that week it had two names from Thongsbridge, John Booth and Joseph A. Barden plus three from Netherthong – E.Taylor, J.Webster and Arnold Wimpenny. ( Taylor and Webster did not survive the war and are on the ROH on the village memorial). The ‘Additions’ for November 6th. were H.Dufton, S.A.Wood and W.H.Eastwood ( S.A. ) all from the village. The Express also reported that there were 562 volunteers to date for the whole of the Holme Valley. There were two more ‘Additions’ lists for November and they included Richard Bottomley from the village, Arnold T.Lee and E.Smith, 19870, both from Thongsbridge and E.H.Beaumont from Wilshaw. They stopped publishing any more ‘Additions ‘ lists in 1916.
There are inconsistencies in exactly how many of the village lads enlisted, as reports differ in their numbers. At the meeting of the Patriotic Committee in January 1915, it was reported that 30 of the men, at present and formerly associated with the village, were serving their country and had received gifts of a camp knife and three khaki pocket handkerchiefs. But … the 3rd. annual report of the Netherthong Patriotic Society in 1917 said that, based on Netherthong and Oldfield, 140 villagers had enlisted, 19 were discharged, three were listed as POWs, 17 were killed leaving 101 still on active duty. But….. at the unveiling of the Working Men’s Club Memorial, Captain Floyd said that about 130 men had enlisted, 21 were killed, at least seven had been wounded and a further four had been wounded and taken prisoner. The variations in the numbers of villagers who enlisted was apparently a fairly common problem. The next exercise was to find their personal details such as date and place of birth, where they lived, went to school and worked etc. The third and by far the biggest difficulty has been to find details of their service record, as I have found out from the Forces War Records web site that 70% of the service records of soldiers from WW1 were destroyed from a direct hit on the Arnside ( London ) repository on the second day of the Blitz in WW2, and the damage was compounded during the extinguishing of the raging fires. The book of the Huddersfield ROH gives details of the 3,439 soldiers who died, 1,304 (38%) of whom served in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment. The figure I have for Netherthong for the same Regiment is 36%, so it’s a reasonable assumption that the same percentage would apply to those from the village who enlisted and survived. But .. the archives for the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment in Halifax do not have records of the soldiers who served in the Regiment.
Thongsbridge was included in the Parish of Netherthong and the names of their lads who made the supreme sacrifice are listed on the War Memorial in the Village and Plaque 5 at Holmfirth Hospital, which is titled Netherthong and Thongsbridge. However I’m not sure how far Netherthong’s responsibility in the Thongsbridge area extended during that period as the Express always listed soldiers from Muslin Hall as being part of Thongsbridge. Those who died from Muslin Hall are listed on other R.O.H.s. An example is Lieut. Arnold Lee, RGA, son of Mr.Job Lee of Muslin Hall, who was killed in action and his name is on the Wooldale R.O.H. I shall not include any that died but will add to my list below any who served and survived. Better to duplicate than omit.
In the Parish Church there is a framed coloured, pre-printed certificate that is titled- “For King, Country & Humanity, Roll of Honour for the Brave Men who have gone forth at the call of duty from …. ” it then left a space to write in the name of the organisation and underneath there were three columns for the Names, Service and any remarks. This one was for the United Methodist Church and contains 27 names of whom seven made the ultimate sacrifice. In my research into the Methodist Chapel ( see chapter for its history ) , I never came across any reference to this certificate. I can only assume that when the Chapel closed in 1984-85 and became a private residence, the certificate was moved to the Parish Church. I have spoken to the Rev.John Capstick, who was the vicar at that time, and, although he could not remember any specific details, he said that the relationship between the two churches was always very cordial and there would have been no problems of transferring the certificate when the Chapel closed.
Also in the Parish Church is another framed certificate/scroll simply titled ” Netherthong Roll of Honour “. It lists 114 names of soldiers from the Parish who served in the WW1 and gives their rank, regiment and date of enlistment. 23 of the names are listed in the main War Memorial in Town Square. I have referred to it as the Parish Church ROH. in this chapter. Where I have been able to find a date of birth from the pamphlet ” All Saints’ Church Netherthong – Index of baptisms 1830-1983 “. I have added it in the format ‘b. date’.
I have listed below in alphabetical order the names of all those soldiers who survived and am adding information as and when I have been to find any. As of 01/01/2019, I have found 162 names which I think is probably about it.
The first four names below are of soldiers from the village who were decorated for their bravery .
Signaller Charles Albert Hudson was decorated with the Military Medal which he won in August 1916 for carrying dispatches under heavy fire in Delville Wood. He was delivering messages continuously for three days and of the 16 runners only 4 survived. He had enrolled on October 17 1914 with the first batch of young fellows from the district and went to France on July 15 1915. In the 1901 Census he was eleven years old, his parents were William and Ellen Hobson and they lived in Outlane. He had been associated with Netherthong since birth , was involved with the Parish Church and Sunday School as well as being a member of the choir. He was one of the scouts who had the privilege of taking part in the Scouts Rally at the Coronation Festivities in London. He was employed at Deanhouse Mills. He had been on active service since he went to France and came through the war without a scratch.
Corporal Sam Schofield : Mrs.John Scholfield was notified in May 1918 that her son, Sam, had been awarded the Military Medal. Later that year in October, the Express reported that he had been wounded and was in hospital making a satisfactory recovery. In the 1901 Census he was 11 years old and his parents were John and Jane Scholfield of Outlane .His older brother, Abel, was killed whilst on active service in Gallipoli in 1915. As his brother enlisted with the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment it is more than likely that Sam would have followed suit.
Corporal Norman Smith. He was born in Oldfield in 1895 and, until he was 15, he lived all his life in Netherthong and attended the National School ( see school attendance record for 1908 ) before he moved to Longwood.. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a Corporal in the 1/5 Battalion of the Duke of Wellington 49th. West Riding Regiment who enlisted on 19th.December 1914 and went to France in June 1915. During his service he was promoted to Corporal. When he was 21 he was awarded the Military Medal and ribbon for gallantly rescuing a comrade on the battlefield under fire. After the war he moved to Longwood, Linthwaite and Cowlersley/ Milnsbridge. The Golcar District Heroes’ Fund recognized his meritorious conduct by presenting him with a solid gold ten- guinea English made watch. In circa 1978 he wrote about his experiences as a Corporal in the Duke of Wellington Regiment and these memoirs are held as Catalogue No. KX212 in Kirklees West Yorkshire Archive Service. The photographs and ephemera were supplied by his grandson in 2020.
Lance-Corporal Joseph Edward Hobson: He was the oldest son of Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Hobson of Netherthong and died in Ottowa in 1945 aged 67. He was well known in the village and , as a boy, was in the Parish Church choir. He enlisted on September 1, 1914. He had served for eight years in the Army Medical Corps and, on his discharge, he obtained an important post in Canada and moved there four years later , married a Canadian lady and had two sons. At the outbreak of war, he re-enlisted in the Canadian Force, came over and was attached to A Section 22nd.Field Ambulance 7th. Division of the British Expeditionary Force and served in France. The photograph below is printed courtesy of the Holmfirth Express of February 6 1915. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH .. During the 1914-18 war he served in the RAMC being recalled before his reserve time had expired. He was awarded the DCM for gallantry in carrying in wounded under fire. On expiry of his service, he returned to Canada where he had left his wife and family. He re-enlisted in the Canadian Force and came over to Europe and served in France. He died in Ottowa in 1945.
Joseph A.Barden- Thongsbridge.Express October 30 1915- ‘Additions’ list. He was attested on 12/12/15 and put on the Army Reserve. He was put on Short Service on 12/9/16 and mobilised the same day as Private No.136188 in the Yorks. and Lancs. Regiment. He was married. He received the British War Medal and Victory Medal. In 5/4/17 he had his thumb amputated which classified him as 20% disabled and he was transferred to the RAMC.
Paul Sims has supplied the following information that differs to that given above. The Barden family, originally from the Kirkburton/Shelley area, had moved to The Heys, Thongsbridge, well before the war. Sam Barden was in business as a ‘glue, size and manure’ manufacturer, his son Joseph ( referred to as just Arnold on the 1911 Census and then aged 16 ) assisted in the family business, as did the eldest sister,Ethel, who kept the books. Joseph enlisted in the Terretorial Royal Field Artillery ; his regimental numbers 2706 and 785772 indicate he served with the 3rd. West Riding Brigade.
I shall keep both references.
Irvine Alsop. A joiner in civilian life, Irvin enrolled in the RNVR No.Y 1450 on March 1st. 1916 and served at the Royal naval Base at Devonport from March 29th. to July 8th. as ‘carpenters crew’, No. M/19617. An interesting letter from Irvin was published in the Express, July 1st. 1916, at which time he was in the Royal Naval Hospital. He thanked the Netherthong Patriotic Committee who had sent him a pocket knife, saying, ” the gift will come in very useful and be a happy reminder that we have not been forgotten.I have been in hospital for about nine weeks, I am doing as much as I can to help those who are in bed suffering from burns and wounds they got from the big shells of the Germans”. Irvin also mentioned he had been on kitchen duty but was hoping to be out soon as he believed he was “all about better”.The letter closed, ” Then I shall be able to do my share, instead of half of it for King and Country”. However he then appears to have been medically discharged. On July 1917 he married Harriet Brown in Netherthong and on the 1939 Register is a self- employed ‘ master joiner’ living at Dean Brook Farm with Harriet and nine children. His name is in the Parish Church ROH but no regiment or date is give.
A.Alsop – his name appears on the Parish Church ROH. He was a private in the Lincs. Later information from Paul Sims gives him as Albert Sanderson Alsop from Newlands View , Thongsbridge who was the older brother of Irvine Alsop above. He served overseas with the Labour Corps No. 200725 and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in the Peace Gazette of 1919 for devoted service with the 756th. Area Employment Company. Aged 23 he had enlisted in Holmfirth under the Derby Scheme on February 22nd. 1916 and reported to Halifax in July. He was initially posted to the 11th. Reserve battalion, West Riding Regiment. Howeve,r it would appear that due to an eye condition, he was later transferred to the Labour Corps. and , although classified for ‘ Garrison Duty at Home’, he eventually proceeded overseas. In August 1918 he married Edith Emma Little, setting up home at Green Terrace, Thongbridge. He worked in the woollen mills as a scourer and fulling miller and, on the 1939 Register, he was a foreman in the mill residing at 13, Dean Brook with Edith and three childre
N.Armitage – Listed in October 23 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. His name appears in the Parish Church ROH as a Private in the 2/5 Battalion Duke of Wellington regiment. He enlisted in May 1915.
Arnold Bailey – his name appears in the Parish Church ROH as a Private in the Northumberland Fusiliers and enlisted on April 24, 1916
E.Battye – listed as a Scout/ex- Scout – of the Netherthong Troop- serving in the front.
H.Battye ( Deanhouse ):His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. A Herbert Battye appears on the Parish Church ROH as a Private in the Royal Defence Corps. who enlisted on November 19, 1916.
J.Battye – the name Battye features in many chapters throughout the history of Netherthong but is not shown in the 1901 Census. He was a member of the NT Scout troop., Joseph was the older brother of Alec Battye who survived .There was a report in the Holmfirth Express that a Joseph Battye, a private with the 2/5 Battalion of the Duke of Wellinton’s regiment went over the top at Bullecourt in May 1917, just 10 miles from where his brother was serving, and was never seen again.
Private Harpin Battye. In May 1918 the Express reported that relations of Pr. Harpin Battye, Machine Gun Corps, of Deanhouse, had received an intelligence card from him saying he was in enemy hands. He was taken prisoner at Bullencourt on March 21 and the card was dated March 27. He stated that he was quite well. His last letter from the front was dated the same day he had been taken prisoner.
Private Dennis.Barrowclough : He was born on 9/5/1896 , baptised on 6/10/1897 as Denis and was listed as four years old in the 1901 Census. His parents were John William and Christiana from Lower Hagg ( in Census ) but Oldfield on baptismal certificate.. One of his brothers, Irvin, is listed in the ROH in the village centre. He is listed in the Parish Church ROH as a Private in the 6th.Durham Lt. Infantry who enlisted on August 5,1914
Private William Barrowclough: He was born on 16/12/1891 and baptised on 9/2/1992 and listed as 9 years old in the 1901 Census and was the eldest of the three brothers who enlisted. The Patriotic Committee received a letter from Willie thanking them for the gifts. He was in the 6th. Company, 3rd. Battalion, West Riding Regiment.He is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 2nd. Battalion Duke of Wellington regiment who enlisted on December 3,1914. There is a contradiction in which Regiment he served.
Arthur Beaumont – he is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a Private in the 63rd.R.N.Distribution Supply Co.
H.Beaumont – Wilshaw. Listed in the ROH in the January 4, 1915 issue of the Holmfirth Express. The list of ‘Additions ‘ in the November 27th. edition of the Express included the name E.H.Beaumont.
Private Harry Beaumont – No.82910. His brother was Lewis Beaumont whose name appears on the village ROH. He was born in Upper Hagg in 1897 and his parents were Annie and Tom Battye Beaumont. He attended Brockholes School and was a member of St.Georges choir and started work at the age of 13 at Rock Mills, Brockholes. He enlisted in the Yorks and Lancs Regiment in 1916 and trained as a Machine Gunner. Whilst serving in France, because he had experience with farm horses, he was selected to deliver ammunition by horse and cart to the front line at night and during that tour of duty he became ill with rheumatic fever and was returned to England and was placed in Holly Park Auxiliary Hospital, Hornsey, North London. I have been fortunate to have received a lot of information about Harry’s activities and I have included them in a chapter titled Harry Beaumont.
John Booth Thongsbridge – Express October 30 1915- ‘Additions’ list. I’ve just realised that his name is on the War Memorial as one of the fallen heroes.
Richard Bottomley – Express November 20 1915 – ‘Additions’ list.
J.Bowman – Miry Lane Thongsbridge :In June 1915, the Express listed his name in a ROH for local lads from around the Holme Valley who had recently enlisted in the Huddersfield Battery.
John Bray : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. He is listed in the Parish Church ROH as a Private in the 2/7 Royal Scots who enlisted on October 29, 1914
Arthur Bray is listed in the Methodist Church ROH. He served with the R.Labour Co.
Private Tom Bretton : In the 1901 Census he was 12 years old , was born in Thongsbridge and lived in Miry Lane Bottom. His parents were Reuben and Alice. A report in the local paper said that he lived in Giles Street and had been wounded. There is a John Bretton listed in the Methodist Church ROH. His name also appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the Duke of Wellington Regiment who enlisted on October 9,1916
Fitter Hubert Brook. Muslin Hall, Thongsbridge. His father, Mr.S.Brook, received a field card from France in August stating that his son, Hubert, was in a base hospital and wounded. The following month he was transferred to a hospital in Warrington where he had been visited by his parents. The Express added that his brother, Irvin, had died in hospital in England after having been interned in Germany for several months.
J.Brook : In the 1901 Census, he was born in the village and lived in Lower Hagg. He was 25 years old, married and working as a grocers assistant.
T.L.M. Buchanan ( Netherthong ) : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. ( but not in Oct.23 list ). In the Parish Church ROH the compiler listed the name Buchanan twice with no christian names or any other additional information. I’m assuming T.L.M. could very well have been one of them.
J.R.M. Buchanan ( Netherthong ) : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. ( but not in Oct.23 list). In the Parish Church ROH the compiler listed the name Buchanan twice with no christian names or any additional information. I’m assuming JRM could very well have been one of them.
Arthur Buckley – on Methodist Church ROH. He served with the North Staffs. regiment.
Pr. Arthur Cartwright. Mr. & Mrs. Cartwright of Fearnought Gardens, Thongsbridge, received a letter from their son in July 1918. He had been reported missing on May 28. In his letter, dated May 3 but which was not delivered until July 24, he said that he had been wounded and was in hospital and being treated very well. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a Private with the 5th. South Staffs.
Corporal Sam Charlesworth : He had been in the army for 11 years and came to the front with the Indian Expeditionary force and transferred to the 1st. Battalion of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Regiment . He was shot in the left thigh and hand and , after recovering , was made a prisoner in No. F Block at Doeberity and spent more than two and a half years as a prisoner of war in Germany. The Express in January 1916 reported that Sam had written to Mr.W.Dyson to acknowledge the receipt of a Christmas parcel sent to him on behalf of the Netherthong people. In May the Express added that Sam had been ‘adopted’ by the Misses Rosetti, two ladies of Regent Street,London, and they sent him a parcel every fortnight. He is listed in the Parish Church ROH with his enlistment date being August 5,1914
Arthur Charlesworth is listed in the Methodist Church ROH. He served with the Kings Own Yorkshire L.I.
Tom Charlesworth. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH and he was a Private in the Kings Own Yorkshire L.I. and enlisted in September 1916.
N.Coldwell : He was a scout in the NT troop. There is a Woodhouse Coldwell in the Parish Church ROH. He was a Private in the 2/7 Royal Scots and enlisted on October 3,1916
E.Crookes: He was a scout in the NT troop. and was listed in 23 October 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH.
Alfred Day is listed in the Methodist Church ROH. No additional information.
Frank Dickenson : He was born in Netherthong on 29/4/1882 , baptised on 04/06/1882 and his parents were William and Mary Ann. Although he moved away, he always retained fond memories of the village. He was a well known basso profundo and in July 1919 he visited his birthplace after he was demobilised from D.L.I. He had been in the army for three and a half years, seven months of which was spent in the Ypres section before being drafted into a concert party which visited many camps in France and Belgium. He is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a Lance Corporal in the Northern Fusiliers with an enlistment date of March 4,1916. He died at his home, Manor House , in January 1958 aged 75. He was a leading bass singer and was, at one time, in great demand throughout the country and had also appeared in music halls. He was formerly a grocers assistant at Netherthong Co-op and later a traveller for Harrogate Co-op. He then moved to Deanhouse Mills and was well known in the district as an antique dealer. He was a vice-president of the Male Voice Choir and a member of Holmfirth British Legion and Holmfirth Conservative Club. He was also an officer in the Holmfirth Home Guard , see photograph below. I have been informed that he is in the centre of the middle row and have incorporated an enlargement.
Wilfred Downs is listed in the Parish Church ROH as a Private in Motor Transport.
Private H.Dufton. There was a H.Dufton in the 1901 Census aged 21 years employed as a fuller. His parents were William and Ruth Dufton. If it is the same person he would have been about 36 years old when he enlisted. He was listed in the Express ‘Additions’ for November 7 1915. Harry Dufton is listed on the Parish Church ROH. He was a private in the 1/5 Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment and joined up on August 5,1914.
Private Lewis Dyson : He was a Netherthong lad who was wounded in the war and sent to a base hospital in France. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a Private in the 5th.West Yorkshire Regiment who enlisted on November 22, 1916.
William Dyson,b.25/4/1890. is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a driver in the Motor Regiment who joined up on February 28,1916.
Joe Dytch is listed in the Methodist Church ROH. In the 1901 Census he was 14 years old and employed as a piercer.
S.Earnshaw – A Samuel. Earnshaw was listed in the Express for December 1915 as a Scout/ ex-scout in Netherthong Troop serving abroad. He came from Dunford Road, Holmfirth, L/25473 R.F.A. and joined the Holmfirth Battery of the 168 Huddersfield RFA in April/May 1915 and was killed on November 11, 1917
Charles William Eastwood,b.23/11/1881, is listed in the Parish Church ROH as a Squadron Leader in the 2nd.S.A.Rifles.
J.E.Eastwood. In the 1901 Census Ben and Ellen Eastwood ( Brush manufacturer from Netherthong ) are recorded as having two sons, James aged 12 years and John aged 17 years. However in the baptismal records for the Parish Church the youngest son, born on 23/4/1888 and baptised 27/5/1888, was christened James Edmund. His older brother was christened John Broadhurst. He was listed in 9 January 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. James Edmund appears on the Parish Church ROH as a Corporal in the 1/5 Duke if Wellington Regiment. He enlisted on August 5,1914.
F.Eastwood , b.12/9/1877, – listed in 23 October 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. There is a Frank Eastwood in the Parish Church ROH. He is shown as a Quarter master Sergeant in the Queens Westminster Regiment who joined up on February 21,1915.
Arthur Elliot – Wilshaw – listed in 23 October 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH.
Frank Addy Falles – Thongbridge -. The Express in November 1914, reported that Corporal Fallas, a native of Thongsbridge, was fighting with his Regiment, the Kings Own , Yorkshire Light Infantry, at Le Cateau. He wrote to his mother -” I was wounded at Le Cateau and am in hospital there. I was shot through the leg but am now a bit better. I was taken prisoner by the Germans on the day I was wounded. You are allowed to write back and I have written the address on the other side – do not mention the war or I shall not receive your letter. If you could send me a little tobacco, I shall be very grateful.” He was also listed in October 23 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH.
John Fawcett is listed on the Methodist Church ROH. As John Richard his name appears on the Parish Church ROH. He served as a Gunner in the R.F.A. and joined up on September 22,1916.
Joe Fawcett is listed on the Methodist Church ROH. He was in the Military Police.
Thomas. W. Fieldsend – Albert Place Thongbridge .In June 1915, the Express listed his name in a ROH for local lads from around the Holme Valley who had recently enlisted in the Huddersfield Battery. He was also listed in the October 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH
2nd. Lieutenant C.S.Floyd : Charles Sykes Floyd was born on 9/9/1885 and baptised on 17/10/1886. His parents were John Peel Floyd Esq. J.P. and Ellen Gaskell of Roseleigh . He was in the 1/5 West Riding Regiment and was wounded for the second time on August 4 by a shell splinter above the knee. Although the wound was not serious he was at No.24 Casualty Clearing Station. In November 1915 the Express reported that he had attended the 15th. Red Cross Tea that month. The Parish Church ROH records that he was a 2nd. Lieut. in the Duke of Wellington Regiment who enlisted on October 12,1914.
Eric Gaskell Floyd : He was born on 13/9/86 and baptised on 17/10/86. He was the younger brother of Charles Sykes Floyd. The Express reported in December 1917 that Quarter Master and Hon. Lieut. E.G.Floyd had been promoted to the rank of Hon. Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a Lieut. in the P.M. R.A.M.C. 2/3 Welsh Field Ambulance and that he enlisted on November 3, 1914.
T.Foster ( Thongsbridge ) : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army.
Charles William Gill, b.11/1/76 ,is listed on the Parish Church ROH. as a private in the 2/5 Battalion of the Duke of Wellington regiment. He joined up on March 31,1916
Private L.Green. MGC. He was the son of Mr.& Mrs. A.Green, Muslin Hall, Thongsbridge. He was wounded in Mesopotamia. Prior to enlisting two years earlier, he had been the organist at Wooldale Wesleyan Chapel.
George William Haigh, b.16/9/1886, is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a Gunner in the R.G.A. who joined up on November 15,1914.
Herbert Haigh appears on the Parish Church ROH . He is recorded as being a Seaman on HMS to PAY.
Driver N. Haigh ; The only reference I could find in the 1901 Census was of a N. Haigh, a 14 year old piercer, who was born in Wooldale and was the grandson of Mary Seddon from Cawthorne. A Norman Haigh ( Netherthong ) appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. He is listed in the Parish Church ROH as Norman a Driver for the Royal Field Artillery. He joined on September 10,1914.
William Haigh : Played football for the village team. There are 75 Haighs in the All Saint’s Index of Baptisms and just one Willie, born 09/11/1883, baptised 06/07/1884 whose parents were Walter and Laura from Honley Moor
Charles Thomas Joshua Hart is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a Private in the Suffolk Regiment who joined up on August 1914. On the Baptism Records he is shown as the father of Thomas Charles Hart born on 4/10/1920,
H.Hebblewaite – He was a scout in the NT
Charles Hellawell is listed on the Parish Church ROH. He was a Private in the New Zealand Mounted rifles and enlisted on September 21,1914.
Gunner Robert Hinchliffe R.F.A. He was the son of Councillor W.Hinchliffe, Wells Green Netherthong, and the Express reported in October 1917 that he had been wounded in the legs and arm. His name appears on the Parish Church ROD.
Albert Hirst ( Thongsbridge ) : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army.
Norman Hirst appears on the Parish Church ROH and is shown as a Gunner in the 168th. Royal Field artillery.
Private Charles Albert Hobson : In the 1901 Census he was 11 years old and the son of William and Ellen Hobson from Outlane. He was a scout in the NT troop and involved in the United Methodist Church.. As a Private hejoined the 2/5 Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment in March 31, 1916, and in July the Express reported that he was training in the South of England and had sent a letter to the Patriotic Society thanking them for the gift of a camp knife which reminded him of the village and all the friends he had left behind. He went to France in 1917 and was reported missing on May 3 1917 but later wrote that he was a POW and was in hospital suffering from slight wounds in his head and back. He was in hospital for four months and left to work in an iron foundry in Hamelin before he was released. He had to walk 100 miles to Holland. He was one of the leaders of the Peace Celebrations march through the village. He returned home in January 1919 and said that the date of May 3 1917 would live long in his memory for it was a day that the 2/5 West Riding Regiment lost many of its soldiers. He added that he had been badly wounded and removed to a dug-out , which was shelled later on . He thought his pack had saved his life because , as it was full of tins , the shrapnel did not play havoc with him. He suffered a severe wound to his back and lost consciousness and when he awoke he was in German hands. He is listed on the Methodist Church ROH. He also appears on the Parish Church ROH.
J.Hobson :In the 1901 Census there is a J.Hobson, aged 20 years employed as a finisher, born in Honley and the son of William and Sarah from the village. In the same Census there is another J.Hobson, a 15 year old wool feeder born in Holmfirth but living in Outlane. Parents were William and Ellen Hobson. A J.E.Hobson appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army.
A.Hollingsworth ( Thongsbridge ) : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. An Allen Hollingworth appears on the Parish Church ROH but without any other details.
Lewis Hollingworth is listed in the Parish Church ROH as a Sergeant in the R.G.A.
Harry Horncastle. The Express reported in July 1916 that the Patriotic Society had received a letter from Harry thanking them for the gift of a camp knife.There was a Harry born on 16 April 1888 and baptised in the Parish Church on 3 June 1888. His parents were James Henry and Ann from the village and his father was a joiner. The Parish Church ROH simply lists the name Horncastle with no other information.
Private Charles Albert Hudson : He was born on 10/11/1894and was baptised on 06/01/1895 and his parents were John Henry and Ann who lived in the village .He was a scout in the NT troop.His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. In the Parish Church ROH he is listed as a Private in the 9th. Battalion of the Duke of Wellington regiment who enlisted on October 17,1914. See separate chapter for Charles Hudson.
Signaller Charles Albert Hudson : It is highly possible that Albert , also called Charles, is the same person as Private Charles Albert Hobson above . The difference in army ranks could be due to a promotion.
H.Horner :He was a scout in the NT troop. The Express for December 1915 referred to him as R.Horner.
Booth Hoyle is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 9th. Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment who enlisted on December 21,1914
G.Hoyle – Scout/ ex-scout in Netherthong Troop serving abroad.
Ronald Hoyle is listed on the Methodist Church ROH but there are no further details.
Herbert Kenyon, b.12/7/85, is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 2/5 Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment. He joined up on March 31,1916.
Private George Kirwin – Thongsbridge. The Express reported in November 1914 that George , the wounded Thongsbridge postman, continues to improve and expects to go to a convalescent home. He was also listed in the October 23 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry who enlisted on August 4,1914.
Corporal Harry Lawrence: He was born on 1/9/1895 and baptised on 13/10/1895. His parents were Richard and Hannah Elizabeth who lived at Bridge Mill and his father was a Coach-Man. Harry was a scout in the NT troop, attended Holmfirth Technical School and was employed at Huddersfield GPO. He enlisted in November 1915, was the first of the British Troops to go to Italy and spent most of his military life there. In July 1918 he was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in the course of heavy bombardment of British lines. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH and it adds that he was a Bombadier with the R.G.A.
A.Lawton – Fern GrangeThongsbridge – In June 1915, the Express listed his name in a ROH for local lads from around the Holme Valley who had recently enlisted in the Huddersfield Battery. He was also listed in October 28 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. He is listed in the Parish Church ROH as a Gunner with the 149th.R.F.A.
Ernest Leach – his name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private who enlisted on January 30,1917 but it does not give his Regiment.
R.Lee. Scout/ ex-scout in Netherthong Troop serving abroad.
Arnold T.Lee – Thongsbridge – His name appeared in the Express ‘Additions’ list in November 20th. 1915.
Dennis Littlewood is listed on the Methodist Church ROH. The 1901 Census gives his age as one year.
William Littlewood is listed on the Methodist Church ROH. The 1901 Census gives his age as six years. His name also appears on the Parish Church ROH but with his christian name written as Wilfred. He was a private in the M.T.A.S.C. who enlisted on February 28,1916
A.Lockwood – Scout/ ex-scout in Netherthong Troop serving abroad. There is a photograph of a Seaman Arthur Lockwood in the Holmfirth Express of March 3 1917 and I have included it below.
Harry McHugh ( Thongsbridge ) : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. There is an article in the Express for May 22 1915 that reported he was back home on a short leave and had described to the paper some of his experiences after being wounded. He had enlisted in the 2nd. West Ridings Regiment on August 6, 1914, and, after four months training, he was fit for the front. He was wounded in his left thigh and although his wound was much better the bullet/shrapnel was still embedded. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a Corporal in the 8th.Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment who enlisted on October 17,1914.
Wm.Hy.McHugh ( Thongsbridge ) : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. Possibly brother to Harry. The Parish Church ROH lists him as William Henry. He was a private in the West Riding Regiment.
V. McNish : A F.McNish ( Netherthong ) appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. Maybe same person !! The Express, in February 1915, published a letter from Private McNish. ( no christian name ). The Parish Church ROH gives his christian names as Thomas Vincent but I’m assuming it is the same person. He was a lance Corporal in the 2nd. Home Services Garrison Battery and he enlisted on September 9,1914.
Corporal A. Harry McQue : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. He was born in 1886 and was 25 years old in the 1911 Census. He enlisted in 29/9/15 as Private 14238 in the Duke of Wellingtons Regiment and ended up as acting-sergeant. He first served in the Balkans.
Private James Henry Marsden : He was born on 19/4/1895 and baptised on 2/6/1895 and in the 1901 census was listed as 5 years old, the son of George Henry and Rhoda Mary Marsden living in the village ( in the Census ) but Oldfield on the baptismal certificate. His father was a cloth finisher. He was a scout in the Netherthong troop. For five years he attended Holmfirth Secondary School before proceeding to Sheffield University in 1912. On the outbreak of war, he enlisted in the Sheffield University Battalion of the York & Lancashire Regiment and saw service in Egypt and France and received a promotion to Corporal during the war. He was listed in October 23 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. In July 1916, the Express reported that he had been wounded in the recent offensive and had been admitted to hospital in Birmingham suffering from a bullet wound in his right arm and shrapnel wounds in his left leg. In September they added that he was making steady progress and had been transferred from Birmingham to Royds Hall and had been able to visit Netherthong to see his friends. He was discharged from the army at the end of July 1917 and returned to University and obtained his B.A. with Honours in Modern Languages. He marched in the Peace Celebrations in the village. The Parish Church lists him as a Corporal in the 12th. Yorks & Lancs regiment who enlisted on September 14,1914.
Lieut. Harold Matthews was born in Holmfirth but joined the Netherthong Scout Troop in March 1910. He was the first scout in the Huddersfield area to obtain a commission and the first to make the supreme sacrifice. There was a report in the April 3 1915 edition of the Holmfirth Express that the Netherthong Scouts had congratulated their old brother scout, Harold, on being the first scout in the Huddersfield area to obtain a commission.
Rifleman Ben Moorhouse : He was baptised on 30/5/1892 to John and Mary from Oldfield ( Dean Brook ) and his father was a weaver. Ben was in the King’s Royal Rifles and was wounded twice. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH and gives his date of enlistment as November 21,1915.
Fred Moorhouse,b.6/3/88, his name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the M.T.A.S.C. who joined up on May 13,1916.
Vincent Mosley : He was a scout in the NT troop. Listed in October 23 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. A James Vincent Morley is listed on the Parish Church ROH and is probably the same person. He was a private in the 2/8 battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment and enlisted on September 19,1914.
John Mosley – his name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the North Staffs. who joined up on May 30,1916.
Private Tom Newall :He was on the staff at the Deanhouse Institute and, after he had enlisted, he sent a letter to the Patriotic Society to say that he was on the headquarters staff at the 4th. Cavalry Brigade. The Minutes of the Deanhouse Institution Committee for February 1916 showed that Newell ( sp?) would be returning to his duties at the Institution as his term of service in the Army was about to expire. The Parish Church ROH lists him as a private in the 3rd. Dragoon Guards who joined up on August 5,1914
Sergeant Herbert Noble, RFA : He was the son of Mr. Noble the Thongs Bridge station master.The Express for August 1915 reported that Gunner Noble had been promoted to NCO and had recently been the victim of German gas, although only slightly. In April 1917 his parents received a letter in which was enclosed a certificate of merit which read : To Sergeant Fitter H.Noble, 246th.W & R Brigade, RFA. Your Commanding Officer and Brigade Commander have informed me that you distinguished yourself in the field on the 14th. April 1917. I have read their report with much pleasure. It was signed Major General R.M. Percival.
Corporal Norman North. In the December 15 1916 issue of the Express there was a report that a long list of awards to officers, NCOs and men for service had been published in the London Gazette. One of the names was Corporal Norman North ( 21 years ), the oldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur North, Longwood, and formerly of Netherthong.
E.Phipps – Wilshaw – listed in October 23 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. His name is also on the 1914-1919 Timber Board ROH in the Church of St.Mary the Virgin in Wilshaw.
Private Arthur Preston of Deanhouse., b.28/12/1870. The Express reported in June 1918 that Pt. Preston was in a hospital in Lancashire suffering from severe wounds. He went to the colours in March 10,1916. He is listed on the Methodist Church ROH. as well as the Patriotic Church ROH , which lists him as a private in the 2/5 Battalion Duke of Wellington Regiment
B.Radcliffe ( No. 2017) ( Thongsbridge ) :His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. Later information gives his name as Bertie from Cinder Hills.
A.Rhodes ( No. 2429)( Thongsbridge ) :His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. Later information gives his name as Albert from Thurstonland who died in the war.
Corporal Charlie Ricketts : In In the Index of baptisms for All Saints’Church, a Charlie Ricketts was baptised on 25/12/1870 and his parents, Godfrey and Jane, were from Deanhouse, with his father being a Clothier. However in the 1901 census, there was a Charlie Ricketts, listed as 25 years old and married, who lit the bonfire at Wolfstone Heights at the end of the Peace Celebrations. An anomaly somewhere? His name is on the Methodist Church ROH. His name also appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private with the West Yorks. who enlisted on August 18,1914. The Express reported that Charles Ricketts, who served in the South African War and WW1, died in 1939 at West End aged 69 years. He had been a member of the British Legion.
Harry Robert. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a 1st.Air Mechanic in the Royal Flying Corps who enlisted on May 1,1916.
Albert Roberts. The Holmfirth Express in its May 1915 reported on the very sad death of Albert Roberts of Norridge Bottom. He had been found hanging in the police cells where he had been taken on the charge of being absent from his regiment. After a lengthy inquest, the jury returned a verdict that the deceased had committed suicide by hanging and it was agreed that there was no blame attached to the police. He had been a private in 2/5 (Territorial ) Battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment. He was 37 years old and had enlisted in 1914. Prior to that he had been a mason’s labourer and a good worker. He was married with four children.
Herbert Roberts, b.15/10/1884. – his name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the West.Yorks. who joined up on April 8,1916.
H.Robinson – Could he be the H. Rollinson below ??
Harry Rollinson – Thongsbridge – Listed in 23 October 1915 Express ROH.
Joe A Rollinson : Thongsbridge. in the 1901 Census, he was four years old and the son of George and Lucy Rollinson from Mount Pleasant. In June 1915, the Express listed his name in a ROH for local lads from around the Holme Valley who had enlisted in the Huddersfield Battery. He was also listed in the October 23 1915 Express ROH. ( in this list there is a J.A.Rolinson and a J.A.Rollinson – typo error ? ). He is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a Gunner in the R.F.A.
Captain J. Rogers :The only reference I could find was for a J.Rogers who was born in 1866 at Torphichen. He was married to Isabella for 20 years , was residing in Netherthong in 1911 and was the manager of a woolen spinning company. Although he would have been in his late forties when war started , it might explain why he was a captain. The first time his name appears is in the Express in November 7 1914 when it gave a list of the persons from the Netherthong Parish who were serving. His name appears again in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. In the October 23 1915 Express ROH, he is listed as Major and from Thongbridge. His name did not appear again until April 1919 when the Express reported that there was a contest for a single seat in the District Council Elections. Major Roberts ( spelling? ), who had been heavily engaged with the army whilst he was a member of the Council, was the retiring representative and seeking re-election. ( His opponent was Mr.Ogden who was described as a Co-operative candidate and who won the seat with 111 votes). The Parish Church lists a Major J.Rodgers from the West Riding regiment.
Private Lewis Russell. The Express in August 1916 reported that Lewis, a motor driver in the Army Service Corps, had sent an interesting letter to the Patriotic Society all about his journeys. In October the Working Men’s Club reported that they had appointed Mr.J.T.Jackson as their representative on the Patriotic Society in place of Lewis Russell who was serving abroad.His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the M.T.A.S.C. who enlisted on July 20,1916.
Joe Russell. He is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a driver with the Royal Engineers who enlisted on April 15,1916.
Ben Russell. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the M.T.A.S.C. who joined up on November 14,1916.
Private Herman Sanderson. He was eight years old in the 1901 census and his parents were Arthur and Jane who lived at Lower Hagg. He was wounded in the war and sent to a base hospital in France. He had three older brothers, Herbert 22, Brook 19, who died in the war and is on the village ROH, and Harold 13. His name is on the Methodist Church ROH. He also appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 2/5 Battalion of the Duke of Wellington regiment who enlisted on march 14,1916
Harold Sanderson is listed on the Methodist Church ROH.
George Albert.Scholfield ( Schofield) (No. 2001) ( Thongsbridge ): His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9, 1915 serving in the Army. His parents were George and Jane from Deanhouse. Later information gave him as living in Upperthong.
Sam Schofield , b.12/10/1889. His name appears in the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 4th. Battalion Duke of Wellington Regiment and he enlisted on November 16,1916
Harold.Seddon , b.7/1/1889. His name appears in the Parish Church ROH as a Seaman in the Royal Naval Barracks.
H.Senior ( Thongsbridge )( No. 2178): His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. There is a Harry Lindley Senior in the baptismal records of the Parish Church, who was born on 4/5/1889 and baptised on 7/7/1889. His parents were George and Jane from Deanhouse and his father was a Dyer.
Gunner Senior. The Express reported in July 1916 that a Gunner Senior of 135th. Siege battery had written to the Patriotic Society thanking them for the gift of a camp knife , saying that it was doing its duty and had opened lots of tins. I am not sure how he relates to the name above.
Private Arthur Sewell : He was a former Deanhouse resident and was reported wounded and missing. He was the son of Mrs. A. Sewell, formerly of the Cricketer’s Arms Public House in Deanhouse.
Private Wm.Sewell of the West Riding Regiment was the brother of Arthur Sewell . The Express reported in August 1917 that he had been wounded twice and, after treatment, had again gone back to France.
J.Shaw.In the 1901 Census there was a Joe Shaw, aged 15, working as a piercer. He was born in Meltham to John and Lydia Shaw who lived in Netherthong.
Arthur James Shaw is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a Lance Corporal in the 3rd.Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment. He joined on October 17,1914.
George E.Shaw is listed on the Methodist Church ROH. In the 1901 Census he was six years old.
Private John Shore . The Express in April 1918 started a new column titled ” Echoes of the Battlefield ” . In April 20 it reported that a Private John Shore from the village had been wounded and was in a hospital abroad. It added that he had only been at the front for a few weeks.
W.Shore ( Thongsbridge ) : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH, issued January 9 1915, serving in the Army. Also in the 23 October 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. His name appears in the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 2nd.Battalion MGC.
Wm. Shore – Thongsbridge- Listed in 23 October 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH.
Private Norman Smith : Another one of the soldiers who sent a letter from the front to the village. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a Corporal in the 1/5 Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment who enlisted on December 19,1914. It also records that he was a military medallist.
E.Spenser ( Wilshaw) : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. There is an Edwin Spenser on the stone/marble 1914-1918 ROH in the church of St.Mary the Virgin in Wilshaw.
Private Walter Stacey. A letter was received in August 1918 from Walter, son of Mr.Walter Stacey of Muslin Hall, who had been reported missing between May 27-30. He said that he was a P.O.W. and was quite well.
Harry Stott appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 1/7 Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment who enlisted on August 3,1916.
Wright Stott is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 2/4 Royal Scottish Fusiliers who joined up in May 1915.
Pt. Harry Swallow. No.77684,C Co., 10th.Platoon,1/7 Durham Light Infantry. In June 1918, Mr. & Mrs. Hugh Swallow of Deanhouse received an official message that their son,Harry aged 19, had been reported missing on May 27. The last letter from him that they had received was at the beginning of May. His brother, Frank, was killed in action on August 14, 1917 and his name is on the village ROH. He returned home in January 1919.
Arthur Ronald Sykes : In the 1901 Census he was 7 years old and his parents were Arthur and Martha of Netherthong. The Express reported in October 1918 that he had been wounded and was in hospital in England. He appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 11th.Kings Liverpool Regiment who enlisted on October 23,1914. He is listed on the Methodist Church ROH with the same Regiment.
Private Ronald Sykes. There is a Ronald Sykes who was born on 27/6/96 and baptised on 15/8/97 at All Saints and his parents are listed as William Isaac and Ada Ann from Lindley, with his father being a Book-keeper. He sent a letter from ‘somewhere’ in Belgium to the village about his experiences. His age differs from the Arthur Ronald above.??
Bernal Sykes. The Parish Church ROH lists him as a Captain in the K.O.Y. Light Infantry who joined in 1912.
Gunner Eddie T. Sykes: Gunner Eddie Sykes from Deanhouse was gassed and lost his eyesight in August 1917 although the Express did add that it might be temporary. He was a scout in the NT troop and an apprentice with Lawton & Hogley, painters and decorators, Holmfirth . He joined the 168th. Holme Valley Battery and was later transferred to the 175th. Battery. A Edward Timothy Sykes appears on the Parish Church ROH as a Signaller in the R.F.A. who joined in May 1915.
Herbert Oswald Sykes is listed on the Methodist Church ROH. In the 1901 Census his age is given as 22 years. He is listed in the Parish Church ROH as a private in the Northumberland Fusiliers who joined up on June 14,1916. His name also appears on the Methodist Church ROH.
Lieutenant Keith Sykes. There was a Lieutenant and Adjutant K.Sykes 1/5 Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment of the Holmfirth Company of West Riding . The Parish Church ROH lists him as a Captain with the M.C. who signed up in 1912.
John Arthur Sykes (No.1855 ) ( Netherthong ) : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9, 1915 serving in the Army. Could have been from Upperthong.
Lewis Sykes. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 2/5 King’s Own Scottish Borderers who enlisted in March 4,1916.
Tom Sykes, b.10/5/1887.. His name is listed in the Parish Church ROH as a private in the Lincolnshire Regiment who joined on July 17,1916.The Express reported his death on May 1936 aged 48. He was a member of the British Legion.
Private Harry Swallow. In August 1918, Mr. & Mrs. Hugh Swallow of Deanhouse received a message from their son Harry of the DLI that he was a POW. He started his letter – I am just dropping a line or two to let you know I am alive and well but am still in bed ( an indication that he had been wounded ).
E.Thacken (No.2489 ) Wilshaw : Listed in 23 October 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. Later information records a Ernest Thackra from Denby Dale who died in the war.
Private Chas. Rockley Tinsdeall. The Express printed the following report in January 1919 about Private Rockley. ” He was the son of Mrs. Alfred Tinsdeall of Deanhouse, and had been reported missing from the ranks of the West Yorkshire Regiment during the latter part of April 1918. He returned home from Germany on January 18, 1919, aged 20. Before he joined up he was one of the youths serving behind the counter at Messr. Wallace’s shop in Victoria Street. Apparently he was wounded at the time of his capture but appeared to have fared better than his relatives expected, although it was evident that he had suffered through lack of food.
T.Thorpe ( 1086 ) – Wilshaw– Listed in 23 October 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. Later information gives a Turner Thorpe from Hinchliffe Mill, who died in the war.
N.Thorpe ( 2583 ) Wilshaw : Listed in 23 October 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. Later information gives a Ned Thorpe from Underbank who died in the war.
Pt. Chas Buckley Tinsdall. The Express reported in June 1918 that Mrs. Alfred Tinsdall of Deanhouse had received a communication card from her son saying that her son had been wounded and was a P.O.W. He was first reported missing on April 25.
Private Brook Turner : The Express reported that Mr. & Mrs. A.E.Turner of Deanhouse had received a postcard through the Red Cross Society that their son Brook, of the D.L.I., who had been reported missing on May 27, was now well and a P.O.W. in Germany. In his last letter home he related that he had just had a narrow escape from drowning whilst bathing and being ” fished out ” when going down for the third time. He returned home in January 1919.
H.Turton – Wilshaw – Listed in 23 October 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. Later information gives his name as Harry from Cinder Hills.
It is very interesting that four soldiers, Ned Thorpe, Turner Thorpe, Ernest Thacken and Harry Turton were listed in the Holmfirth Express ROH as all being from Wilshaw, which is now contradicted by this later information.
J.Wadworth – He was a scout in the NT troop.
Private Harry Walker (27878) ,: He was the son of the late Mr.& Mrs. Young Walker and, before joining up he was a teamer for Joseph Woodhead & Co., grocers of Giles Street. He enlisted in August 1916 at the age of 20 and was attached to the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment and had come over to France in January 1917.He had been reported ‘ missing’ since May 3 1917, but had written a field card to his sister on April 30 saying he was alright. His friend Signaller C.A.Hudson said he had seen him in the trenches shortly before coming home on leave. On May 19 1917 he sent another field card saying that he was a P.O.W. in Germany. He returned home in January 1919. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 3rd. Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment with his enlistment date being August 14,1916.
A.Walton (No.2427) ( Thongsbridge ) :His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9, 1915 serving in the Army. Later information gives an Arthur Walton from Thurstonland.
Driver E.A.Ward : He wrote a letter from the front which was read out at a patriotic Society meeting. Spenser Allen ward is listed in the Parish Church ROH as a driver with the R.F.A. who joined up on January 2,1915
Willie Webster :His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. He is listed in the Parish Church ROH as William, a private in the 9th. Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment who joined up on October 17,1914. (There is a John Webster on the War Memorial in the Town Square who was his brother.)
Joseph Whitehead appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the Prince of Wales Own who enlistedon July 15, 1916
Gunner Harry Wilkinson. The Express in August 1916 reported that the Patriotic Society had received a letter from him thanking them for the gift of a camp knife. His brother, David, was fatally wounded at Gallipoli 12 months earlier. He is listed on the Methodist Church ROH. His name also appears on the Parish Church ROH as a Gunner in the R.F.A. who enlisted on July 14,1916
In March 1930 the Express reported on the death of Henry Wilkinson of Deanhouse – with the confusion over Christian names of soldiers during the war, I’m assuming that Henry was the Harry Wilkinson above. He was out walking on the outskirts of Honley with a young woman, became ill and died before medical assistance could be secured. His sister, Miss Lily Morley, said that about 10 years ago her brother had had an accident at work when he fell off a ladder. He had served in the war and had not had any serious illnesses. On the Tuesday he worked to 5.30 pm and, after having tea, left work. Miss Evelyn Hoyle of Deanhouse said they went out for a walk about seven o’clock in the evening. As they walked along he complained about feeling unwell and, as they were going up Bradshaw Road, he suddenly fell forward to the ground. She could get no response so she went for assistance. Dr. Smailes said he saw the departed and, in his opinion, death was due to atheroma. The Coroner recorded a verdict that death was due to natural causes viz. atheroma. Harry had worked at T.Dyson & Sons Deanhouse Mills and was very well known in the area as a football player and sportsman and was involved with the WMC and the Gardeners’ Society.
Private Tom Wilkinson : Haigh Lane, Deanhouse. Before enlisting he was employed at Deanhouse Mills and was associated with the Wesleyan Chapel and the WMC, He served with the Duke of Wellington Regiment was wounded in the thigh and was in base hospital in France. The Express reported in July 1916, that he had sent a letter to the Patriotic Society saying the the gift of a camp knife ‘was just the thing he needed.’ The Express reported in September 1918 that he had been wounded again, this time in the back and foot. and was in Dewsbury Hospital. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 1/5 Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment who joined up on March 28,1915
Arnold Wimpenny – Express October 30 1915- Addition list. He was born on July 27 1992 and baptised in the Parish Church on August 28 1992. His parents were Albert and Ann from Upper Bridge. He is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a Bombadier in the R.F.A. who joined up on June 4,1915.
Evelyn Wood. He is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the R.A.M.C. He enlisted on October 14,1916. He was not baptised in the Parish Church but is shown as the father to Stanley Wood, b.27/11/1927, and twins Nancy and Tony on 24/12/1931.
Private J.B.Wood – He was the son of Mr.J.W.Wood, Vickermans Buildings ThongsBridge and, before enlisting, had worked at Rock Mills, Brockholes. The Express in June 1917 reported that he was listed as missing and the following month added that his family had received a letter from him saying that he was a prisoner of war but was in the best of health and unwounded.
Corporal Tom Wood, b.24/3/1875. In the 1901 Census he was listed as 26 years old, working as a wool drier. The Holmfirth Express reported in April 1915 that Sergeant Tom Wood, after a brief spell at home, had returned to military duty. In a letter to J.T.Jackson he said that he was helping to guard the railways and had caught a Germanspy. At the Peace Celebrations the Holme Valley Band was conducted by Corporal Wood.He is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a Corporal in the Royal Def.Corps.
The first four photographs are from Mr. M.Ellis .They were originally postcards and he very kindly reproduced them and sent me these copies. They are .
1. Coronation -Netherthong – June 22nd. 1911 probably taken outside the Parish Church?
2. Peace Celebration – Nether Thong – July 16th. 1919. Could this have been taken at Deanhouse Workhouse.?
3. A small group of ” Indians ” – “blacked -up” and in costume. Could these be local people appearing in a play or musical.? Probably circa 1910s and could have been taken inside the Parish Church?
4. A much larger group of actors and actresses including the eleven ” blacked – up” from the above photograph. What sort of play would incorporate such a diverse range of characters?
I have also inserted the photographs in the appropriate chapters in this history.
In 2016 Judith Wobst sent me the photograph below. It shows a group of Old Folks outside the Parish Church and is marked on the back 1898. She says that Emma Wimpenny, 4th. person in 2nd. row, was her great,great grandmother.
This very old postcard, late 1920s, is of one of the famous char-a-bancs, full of people on a day out, and could have been taken in either Netherthong or Brockholes. The ‘centre-gentleman’ with his elbow on the side and wearing a flat cap is George Wood ( his parents ran a pub in Netherthong ). Next to him is Amy Beaumont from Hagg who became his wife. In the front row the gentleman in a flat cap could be Frank Wood. The photograph of charabanc below is from the late 1940s .
The photograph of the charabanc below is dated circa 1930s and the lady in the front with her arm on the sill is Louie Watson, nee Charlesworth, and next to her is her brother.
One of the benefits of having put my version of the History of Netherthong on the web is that it is never static with new information coming from various sources. In August 2019, I was contacted by Paul Sims from the Ordinary Men Regimental Heritage Project which is focussed on the men of the local Territorials, the 5th.Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment in the Great War.
Paul has been able to add information and correct anomalies in the details of some of the soldiers listed in my history..
2018 was the centenary of the end of World War 1 and this Chapter, which I added to my history in March 2013, is all about those young men of the village and the surrounding districts ( Deanhouse & Thongsbridge ) who fought and died in that war. There are 41 names on the ROH ( Role of Honour ) on the War Memorial in the centre of the village , plus one from the Boer War and three from World War 2. ( for details of the War Memorial and life in the village during the war years, see Chapter titled Netherthong and the Wars part 2 ).
It seemed an appropriate time to review and update the Chapter particularly as I was able to access additional information. What I discovered is that there are many anomalies and inconsistencies, some of which I should have picked up when I did my original research.
As an essential part of ensuring that the life histories of those servicemen and women who served in the war are not lost, a project has been set up by the Imperial War Museum, in association with the genealogy web site – Find My Past – and it will be called Lives of the First World War. The website contains the names of eight million servicemen and women. The project is going to be very important locally because, for the first time, it will draw together information on all the Holme Valley servicemen into one online location. A Community on the website is formed by collating servicemen into groups defined by a common connection – eg. regiment, workplace, location, family etc.
Vivien Aizlewood of the Holmfirth Local History Group is co-ordinator and has set up, on behalf of the Project, two Communities for Holme Valley servicemen. The first is ‘Holme Valley Memorial Hospital’ which consists of all the men who are listed on the War Memorial at the Hospital. The second is ‘Holme Valley Lads’ and this project will comprise all the other servicemen and women who served and survived and had connections with the Upper Holme Valley. The email for the Project is firstname.lastname@example.org. In December 2020 Vivien contacted me with an update on all the work that had been carried out. The Community Group, Holmfirth Remembers, continues to research the life histories of the men who died and publishes them on the national database called ” Lives of the First World War”. The information has also been published on the Holmfirth Remembers Facebook page. During the research they found a number of men from the area who are not remembered on any of the War Memorials in the area, an emission which should be corrected. There were 17 names from WW! and one from WW2. One of the names, Pt. Harry Clay was born in Thongsbridge and, as Thongsbridge was associated with Netherthong during this period, I have included his details in my list of WW1 heroes.( see below).
Vivien informed me about a superb book titled ” Huddersfield Roll of Honour 1914-1922 “. The information was researched by Margaret Stansfield, who spent 30 years compiling the biographical entries in the book. She passed away in 2012 but her work was not in vain as the book was edited by Rev.Paul Wilcock, BEM and published by the University of Huddersfield Press in 2014. The ISBN is 978-1-86218-126-7 and a version of the book is available at http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/21278/
It contains the names of 3,439 servicemen from the Huddersfield area who gave their lives for their country and 1,304 of that number died fighting with the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment. The information contains details of where the soldiers were buried and , if they had no known grave, at what Memorial to the Missing they were commemorated. It also lists the local memorial ( s) where they appear on the Roll of Honour (ROH ). The book includes many, but not all, of the Netherthong lads whose names are inscribed on the Netherthong War Memorial. In some instances, their details are similar to what I had been able to obtain when I originally compiled this chapter, but I have incorporated any relevant additional information.
There are a number of locations where Netherthong ( and Thongsbridge ) lads appear on a Roll of Honour. The most important is the War Memorial in the Town Square of the village with 41 names, which was unveiled and dedicated on Sunday, November 11, 1923 at 3pm. ( There is no reference in the Huddersfield Book to this memorial except for one entry for George Durrant which could be a typo. )
The second is the Working Men’s Club Memorial which embraced photographs of members of the Club who had laid down their lives and which were enclosed in two large fumed oak and gilt frames. There were 17 names and the Huddersfield Book listed this Memorial 15 times.The location of this Memorial is currently unknown ( December 2018).
The third Memorial is located in the grounds of Holmfirth Memorial Hospital and lists soldiers from all over the Holme Valley. Plaque No. 5 is titled Netherthong & Thongsbridge and contains 30 names. The Huddersfield Book lists this Plaque 22 times.
The fourth Memorial is in Huddersfield Drill Hall. The very impressive ROH is on the rear wall of the Hall and is inscribed ” In Honour of Officers, Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers of the Duke of Wellington Regiment.” Six names of soldiers from the village memorial , who served in the Regiment, are listed. They are Lewis Beaumont, Walter Bray, George Gledhill, Luther Hellawell, Arthur Quarmby, J.Worsley.
There are two War Memorials both located in Thongsbridge. The first was originally in St.Andrews Church and contained eight names, six of which appeared in either or both of the memorials in Netherthong and at the Hospital. As the Church is now closed, the Memorial has been moved to Holmfirth Parish Church and is displayed inside on the North Wall The second was a brown metal plaque affixed to a factory wall a hundred yards from the Miry Lane Post Office ( now closed ). It was put there by the local firm of R.L.Brook ( no longer in existence ) and listed five names. Leonard Buckley, Harold Heeley, Thomas Roger Booth, William Haigh and Fred Hirst. The plaque is still in place.
In the Parish Church there is a framed ROH certificate of 27 names of soldiers associated with the Methodist Church. This ROH was transferred from the Chapel when it closed in 1984. Seven of the names are of soldiers on the Villiage Memorial ROH and they are Hubert Hobson ,Leonard Buckley, Davis Wilkinson, Ben Senior, Walter Bray, Fred Shaw and Norman Preston. . The remaining 20 names are of soldiers who survived and are listed in the chapter of WW1 survivors.
Also in the Parish Church is another Certificate, titled Netherthong ROH, which lists the names of 114 soldiers who served in WW1. 21 of the names are on the Village Memorial ROH and their names are Irvin Barrowclough, George Herbert Bradley, Walter Booth Bray, Leonard Buckley, Norman Fisher, Robert Henry Froggatt, Luther hellawell, F.Hills, Hubert Hobson, John Henry Hoyle, Benjamin Roebuck, Abel Hellawell Schofield, Ben Senior, Clemence Shaw, Edward Smith, Frank Swallow, Edgar Taylor, John Webster, David Wilkinson, Charlie Woodhead and A.Worsley.
As I mentioned earlier, there are 41 names from WW1 on the ROH at the village memorial. They are : Irvin Barrowclough : Lewis Beaumont : George H.Booth : Clarence Brackenbury : Harold Brackenbury : George Bradley : George Bray : Walter Bray : Leonard Buckley : Harry Charlesworth : George Child : George Durrant : Norman Fisher : Cecil P. Floyd : Robert Froggatt : Stanley Gill : George Gledhill : Andrew Greenwood : William Haigh : Luther Hellawell : Fred Hill : Hubert Hobson : John Hoyle : George Kaye : Matthew Lockwood : Arthur Quarmby : Norman Ricketts : Ben Roebuck : Brook Sanderson : Abel Scholfield : Ben Senior : Clemence Shaw : Fred Shaw : Edward Smith : Frank Swallow : Edgar Taylor : John Webster : Arthur Whitely : Davis Wilkinson : C.Woodhead : J.Worsley.
However on Plaque 5, Netherthong and Thongsbridge , at the Holmfirth War Memorial at the Hospital, there are only 30 names listed . The 13 names that are on the village ROH but do not appear on the Plaque are : Irvin Barrowclough : George H.Booth : Clarence Brackenburg : George Child : George Durrant : Cecil P.Floyd : Robert Froggatt : Andrew Greenwood : Matthew Lockwood : Arthur Quarmby : Brook Sanderson : Fred Shaw : Arthur Whitely . There are two brothers, Arthur Heely and Harold Heeley, both from Thongsbridge, who are on Plaque 5 but not on the ROH at the village memorial.
I spoke to Tom Ashworth, the well know war historian for the Holme Valley. His first book was ” Photos on the Wall ” which detailed the 34 names with photos of the soldiers from New Mill Working Men’s Club who failed to return from the war. He is also the author of “Dark Hours 1916 – A Valley at War ” and is due to publish a new book about 1918/1919 later this year. I asked him about the anomalies I have encountered in this chapter and quote his reply below.
” A few years ago I put together a data-base for the 300 names on the Holmfirth Memorial and found that it was riddled with errors – not just the odd name that didn’t seem to exist, but names repeated, names out of sequence, names misspelt etc.
I checked the Holmfirth Express for 1919 – 1923 ‘ish and the monumental mason, charged with constructing the memorial, made a number of pleas for the families of the missing to send him details of the men to be recorded. In the end, I suppose, he used the names he had been given and not all the information was correct”.
The following 13 names that appear on the village ROH are not listed among the 3,439, soldiers in the Huddersfield Roll of Honour Book : Irvin Barrowclough : Clarence Brackenbury : George Bray : : Norman Fisher : Cecil P.Floyd : George Gledhill : Fred Hill : Matthew Lockwood : Arthur Quarmby : Brook Sanderson : Clemence Shaw.
The 17 names on the WMC ROH are : C.Woodhead : David Wilkinson : Abel Scholfield : Walter Bray: John Hoyle : Leonard Buckley : Hubert Hobson : Ben Senior : Frank Swallow : Ben Roebuck ( Austr) : Brook Sanderson ( Austr ) : Harold Brackenbury : Jack Webster : Stanley Gill : Willie Haigh : Norman P.Ricketts and Edgar Taylor.
The soldiers on the village memorial for whom I have details are given below.
Irvin Barrowclough. In the details for Brook Sanderson, there is a mention that Brook lived next door to three brothers named Barrowclough, Irvin, Willie and Dennis. The brothers were in the 1901 Census for Netherthong with Irvin shown as 6 years old. and in the 1911 Census as 16 years old . At the 41st. AGM of the WMC, a letter was read out from Willie, and in 1918 the Express printed a letter from Dennis and commented that he was one of three brothers on active service. No mention of Irvin. ( Irvin was a step-son of John and Christiana Heppenstall who lived in Fearnought, Thongsbridge and, at the time of the census, was employed as a wool piercer. He enlisted as private 15210 in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and died on 30 July 1916 aged 21. He was Commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial for the Missing which means there was no known grave.)
Private Lewis Beaumont, No. 242023, 2/5 Battalion Duke of Wellington Regiment. He was born in Upper Hagg, Thongsbridge and was employed at Rock Mills Dyehouse. He was killed in action at the battle of Bullecourt on May 3,1917 aged 22. There was no known grave and he was commemorated on Arras Memorial to the Missing. ROH – NT Mem ; NT & Th Mem ; Hudds. Drill Hall : Brockholes Mem.
The above three photographs of Lewis Beaumont have been supplied courtesy of his niece and Vivien Aizlewood.
Private George H.Booth , No. 301950 2/7 Battalion Durham Light Infantry, formerly No. 6083 Duke of Wellington regiment was born in Underbank and educated at Netherthong National School. He was married with two children and enlisted in July 1916. He was killed in action on April 2 1918, aged 26. There was no known grave and he was Commemorated on Pozieres Memorial to the Missing. ROH : NT Mem : Upperthong War Memorial.
Private Harold Brackenbury of Deanhouse was born in Thongsbridge. In the 1911 Census the head of the household was recorded as Miss Josephine Brackenbury, single, aged 33, from Lower Hagg. He was 12 years and a part- timer at the Netherthong National School and was connected to the Wesleyans in Netherthong. He had a younger brother, Clarence, aged 10 ( he also enlisted in late 1918 and was in training when the war ended ). After leaving school he worked at Albion Mills,Thongs Bridge and was a member of Burnlee Association FC. He enlisted in March 1917 and trained with the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment ( private no. 31383 ) before leaving England in June 30 but, when he reached France, he was transferred to the 6th. Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment ( private no. 33222 ). He had been on leave only a few weeks before he died and in his last letter to his mother he wrote ‘ It felt hard leaving home ‘. He died of his wounds on October1, 1918 , aged 20, and was buried in Chapel Corner Cemetery, Sauchy- Lestree. ROH – NT Mem : NT & Th Mem : WMC Mem. An impressive memorial service was held in the Parish Church.
George Hubert Bradley was born in Thongsbridge and educated at the village National School. He was employed as a weaver at Bridge Mills. He enlisted on August 1914 as 1st. class Air Mechanic 403127, 1st.Aeroplane Supply Depot Repair Park Royal Air Force. He embarked for France in April 14, 1915 with the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and was accepted into the RAF in July. His mother, Mrs. Bradley of Newlands View, Thongsbridge received a letter stating that he had died of his wounds, caused by an enemy bomb,on September 23 1918 aged 27. He was buried in Terlincthun British Cemetery. ROH – NT Mem : NT & Th Mem : WMC Mem. He is also listed on the ROH plaque in St.Andrews Church, Thongsbridge.
George Bray was born in April 1881, giving his birthplace as Gully, Holmfirth. On 9 July 1904 aged 22, he married Gertrude Downes of Goose Green, Holmfirth, at Holy Trinity Church, giving his occupation as dyer. In the 1911 census they were living at 32, Miry Lane, Thongsbridge and had four children all sons. Albert Edward born 14 December 1904, Arnold born 15 April 1906, Irving born 9 July 1908 and Reginald born 24 July 1910. They eventually had a daughter, Edith born 12 December 1912. He enlisted on 2 January 1915 and served in France from July 1915 until August 1917 when he was diagnosed with Valvular Disease of the heart ( Mitral Stenosis ) due to gassing and exposure on active service. He was repatriated to England on board hospital ship, St.Patrick, and was transferred to No. 2 Military Hospital in Canterbury. After two months in various hospitals, he spent four months in Ripon before being discharged from military service in 1918 due to sicknes and was given the Silver War Badge no. 350476. The Invalidity Board recorded him as 100% disabled with uncompensated Mitral Stenosis, arrhythmia, tachycardia and hyper trophy which was assessed as permanent and likely to get worse. He was 36 years old, his dark brown hair was turning grey and he was described as “steady, sober, honest.” He died on 14 February 1919.
Private Walter Bray ( Private no. 23585 ) who was married with a young wife, joined the 2/7th. Battalion,Duke of Wellington Regiment in January 1917 . He was invalided home for a while but returned back to France later in 1917 and was killed in action on March 27 1918. He was educated at Netherthong Church School before working at Deanhouse Mills. He was involved in many village activities, especially the football and cricket clubs as well as the WMC and the Free Gardeners Society . For a while he was the day- cricket professional for Emley CC. He was buried in Pommio Communal Cemetry. ROH – NT Mem : NT & Th Mem ; WMC Mem : Hudds. Drill Hall : Memorial in All Saints Churchyard. He is also listed on the Methodist Church ROH.
Signaller Leonard Buckley had joined the 9th. Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment ( Private No.14231 ) shortly after the outbreak of war, had been out at the front since July 1915 and had taken part in the battles round Ypres. He returned home for a rest before going back to the front and he was wounded whilst repairing telephone wires and died, at the age of 25, of those wounds on April 25 1916, somewhere in France. He was buried in the Bailleul Communal Cemetary Extension. He was among the first batch of young men who volunteered for service at the start of the war. He had been employed as a tuner at Vickerman & Sons, Thongs Bridge, was educated at the Church School and was closely identified with the United Methodists being a member of the choir and an instrumentalist in the Sunday school band, ROH – NT Mem; NT & Th Mem ; WMC Mem. His name also appeared on the Thongsbridge War Memorial, which was a metal plaque put up in the village by the local firm of R.L.Brook which is no longer in existence. He is listed on the Methodist Church ROH.
Harry Charlesworth was born in the village and educated at the National School. He enlisted on March 17 2016 as Gunner 151447 87th. Siege Battalion Royal Garrison. The Express in August 1917 reported that he had been wounded in the left arm – he wrote that a shell came over and wounded six of us. He added that he was sorry to hear that Willie Haigh had got killed and commented that he thought the village of Netherthong had lost its share in the war. The Hudds. ROH reported that he was wounded at the Battle of Arras on September 7 1917 but returned to duty, so there is some discrepancy in the dates. He died from his wounds at No.23 Casualty Clearing Station on September 7 1918 aged 32. He was buried in Duisans British Cemetery and he is commemorated on his parents headstone in the Parish Church graveyard. ROH – NT Mem : NT & Th Mem.
Corporal George Child. He was born in Wooldale and resided at Cliffe until he was 11 before moving to live in Netherthong. After school he began working in Victoria Street, Holmfirth and then was employed by Netherthong Co-Operative. He later transferred to the Colne Co-Operative . He enlisted on January 1 1915 as a Corporal 17554 in the Scottish Rifles, and went to France on October 29 ( October 10 1916? ). He was killed on August 1 1917 aged 30 . after having been at the front for 10 months and he left a widow and four children. There was no known grave and he was commemorated on Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing. ROH – NT Mem.
24516 Private Harry Clay of 9 Bn Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment was born on 8 April 1897 in Thongsbridge, the eldest of the eight children of Arthur and Mary Hannah Clay of the Albert Hotel, Thongsbridge. In the 1911 census, Harry was 13 years old and working as a millhand. Harry was a reservist and called up on 11 July 1916 aged 19 years. By this time the family had moved to Kirkgate, Huddersfield and Harry was working as a percher in the woollen industry. After initial training, he went out to France on 25 October 1916. He was wounded in the field on 19 October 1917, which necessitated a return to England but was able to return to his unit in the field on 11 April 1918.
Harry was killed in action on 26 August 1918 during the second Battle of Bapaume aged 21 years.
Corporal George F.Durrant was born in Guildford, Surrey and was employed by the Huddersfield Board of Guardians as a masters clerk at Deanhouse Institution. ( His wife , Olive, was also employed at the Institution ). In August 1914, as a reservist he was recalled to the colours of the 2nd. Manchester Regiment in which he was a Corporal of D Company -No. 8728 . He left Deanhouse on August 5th. and on August18 he wrote to his wife that he was with the Expeditionary Force at the Front and was safe and well. The January 23rd. issue of the Express reported that further news was heard of him until, a few days later, his name appeared in the list of “ wounded and missing “. It was feared that he was seriously wounded about August 25th. in the neighbourhood of Armentieres. His death, at the age of 26, was later confirmed and that he had been wounded at Mons on August 26 and died later from those wounds. There was no known grave and he was commemorated at La Ferte-Sons-Jouarre Memorial to the Missing. ROH – NT Mem. In January 1916, the Board of Guardians for the Deanhouse Institution considered his salary. it was resolved that the allowance to be paid on his salary ( £30 ) and the value of his emoluments ( £34 14s ) less the separation allowance paid to him by the War Office, and that, as Mr. Durrant has been reported as wounded and missing, Mrs. Durrant was to be placed on widow’s pay. In February 1916, she received official notification of his death.
Norman Fisher : He was born on 5/2/1890 , baptised on 6/4/1890 and in the 1901 Census was listed as 11 years old. His parents were John and Alice Fisher from Church Street/Dockhill ( another report said they lived in Thongbridge at Spring Grove Terrace) and his father was a weaver. Norman was educated at Netherthong National School , attended the Wesleyan Sunday school and was a fine baritone in the Chapel choir. In civilian life he was employed by Hey & Co., outfitters of Huddersfield, later becoming the manager of the firm’s shop in Victoria Street, Holmfirth. He was attached to the Leicestershire Regiment and spent 10 months in France. He became a victim of heart disease and returned from France in January 1916 and, after six months stay in hospital, he was discharged and resumed business as a commercial traveller. He appeared to be in good health but was suddenly affected by pneumonia and died of heart failure at the age of 28. The Express reported the news of his death in November 1918. Internment was at All Saints Church. ROH – NT Mem : NT & Th. Mem.
Cecil Peel Floyd. He was born on June 12th. 1881, the son of John Peel Floyd JP of Rose Leigh. As a younger man he had served as an officer with the old 2nd. Vol. Battalion, West Riding Regiment, though only for three years. In February 1908 he married Gladys May Carter in London and they had two sons. When the Great War arrived Cecil was a woollen manufacturer living at Woolcroft, Murray Road, Edgerton, Huddersfield and he enlisted under the Derby Scheme on November 27th. 1915, aged 34. It was not until October 1917 that he was called up and reported to the Royal Garrison Artillery Depot to begin training ( No. 177092). Only two months later he was discharged from Catterick Military Hospital due to ill health. What had begun as a severe cold in July 1917 led to his death from Pulmonary Tuberculosis in March 1919, aged 39. ROH – NT Mem.
Stanley Gill was born in the village and was the son of Mr.& Mrs. B.Gill of Stoney Croft. He was educated at the Day School and was a member of the Parish Church Sunday School and, after leaving school, he became a student at Holmfirth Secondary School and made progress in chemistry, drawing and building construction. He started an apprenticeship with Radcliffe & Sons , contractors and builders. He was in the Boy Scouts . He enlisted in February 1917 as Private No. 29049 in the 1st. Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment and was killed at Passchendaele in October 25 of the same year aged 19. An officer wrote ” He died doing his duty and all the Company join in expressing their feelings of deep sympathy. He was a great favourite with the officers …..”There was no known grave and he was commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing. The comment that everyone in the village made was that “ he was a great favourite“ which echoed the comments by his officer.. ROH – NT Mem ; NT & Th Mem ; WMC Mem.
George Richard Gledhill, 2nd. LT. 1/5 Battalion, Duke of Wellington;s regiment. He was a family member of the firm Walter Gledhill & Sons, Bridge Mills, but had spent most of his early life abroad. He was living in Huddersfield when he enlisted on 3/9/14 and was killed in action in the attack on Schwaben Redoubt on 3/9/16. (The Express reported in July 1917 that he had been reported missing on September 3 1916 but it was only now that he was finally presumed dead.) There was no known grave and he was commemorated on the Thiepval Commemoration to the Missing.ROH : NT Mem : Huddersfield College School : Huddersfield Drill Hall. The Huddersfield College School was in Highfields in Huddersfield and the Memorial Plaque is currently located in St. Peter’s Parish Church, Huddersfield.
Gunner William Haigh, was a native of Netherthong and involved in many activities in the village until he married and moved to Hoylandswaine. ( another report says that he was born in Honley and lived in Deanhouse ). He was a member of the Parish Church School and Sunday school as well as the WMC. He was an official of the Netherthong Gardener’s Friendly Society and interested in football and cricket and was employed at Vickerman’s, Thongs Bridge, before he joined up. As Gunner No.326692 he was with the 33rd.Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery. He was killed in battle about 6pm on July 18,1917 aged 30 and was buried in Dickeburgh New Military Cemetary Extension. His wife received official confirmation that her husband had been killed in action and had been hit in the head by a piece of shell and died instantaneously. ROH – NT Mem : NT & Th Mem : WMC Mem, His name also appeared on the Thongsbridge War Memorial, which was a metal plaque put up in the village by the local firm of R.L.Brook, which is no longer in existence.
Private Harold Heeley was born in Wooldale and lived in Thongbridge . He enlisted at the start of the war and had been one of a draft of thirty men posted to France on 15th. June 1916 as Private 19329. He was originally destined to join the 10th. Battalion Duke of Wellington regiment. However , after arrival at the Base Depot at Etaples, he, and the other men, had instead been attached to 10th. Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry on 8th. July. He was serving with that Battalion in an attack near Guedecourt when he was killed at the front in August 1916. ( ROH plaque in St.Andrews Church lists date as September 25 1915 ). There was no known grave and he was commemorated at Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.
His elder brother Arthur Heeley, Private 29323, was born in Thongsbridge , enlisted on September4th. 1916, joined the Duke of Wellington’s 10th.Regiment and was posted to France in January 1917. He suffered severe head wounds on the opening day of the Battle of Messines ( 7th. June 1917 ) and was evacuated to 83rd. General Hospital at Boulogne. He died five days later on June 12,1917 aged 25. He was buried at Boulogne Eastern Cemetery on June 12 1917. ROH – NT & Th Mem. His mother, Sarah Jane, would later receive a parcel of his personal effects comprising disc, letters, photos, cards, wallet, religios book, mirror and broken wrist watch. He was unmarried but engaged to Florence Sanderson who was born in Little Cliffe( 31 Cliffe Road ). Shortly before 1911, her family moved from Little Cliffe to 1, Kirkroyds Lane.
Catherine Gibbons, granddaughter of Florence, wrote in February 2021, with a poignant story to say she has a postcard dated 10th. January 1917 at Folkstone that was sent by Arthur just before he set sail to France. She said that Granny always wore the engagement ring he gave her even though she later married my Grandad. Catherine also sent me the following photographs – the first is of a very young Arthur, the second is of Florence who was a Red Cross nurse during WW1 in a cottage hospital in Holmfirth. The last two photographs are the front and back of the postcard.
Note that neither of the brothers are listed on the Netherthong War Memorial. They were however both named on the ROH plaque in St.Andrews Church , Thongsbridge, which, with the closure of the Church has been relocated in the Parish Church in Holmfirth, . Harold’s name also appeared on the Thongsbridge War Memorial, which was a metal plaque put up in the village by the local firm of R.L.Brook. The firm is no longer there but the plaque is still on the wall.
Additional information on the Heeley brothers was kindly supplied in January 2021 by Dr.Bill Smith and the story of both of them, in the context of a day-by-day history of 10th.Duke of Wellington’s can be found at tunstillsmen.blogspot.com. As mentioned above, additional information was supplied by Catherine Gibbons in February.
Private Luther Hellawell, from Deanhouse died in hospital at one of the clearing stations from wounds sustained in battle. The letter his wife received stated “ … he was badly wounded in the chest and in spite of all we could do he succumbed to his injuries. He passed away very peacefully without any pain at the end. He was laid to rest in the military cemetery near here. “ He was 34 years old and had seen much active service as he joined up a few weeks before Christmas 1914 and embarked to France in July 1915 as Private No. 14981 with the 9th. Battalion and was later transferred to the 2/5 Battalion Duke of Wellington Regiment. He had been involved in the big push and was wounded in his foot and thigh which necessitated his return to Blighty. He had hospital treatment for several months before going back on active service. He died from further wounds on 21 November 1917, aged 34, and was buried at Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery. He left a young widow and two sons aged 11 and 8 years. Before joining the colours he was employed at James Robinson & Sons, Smithy Place. ROH – NT Mem : NT & Th Mem : St. Batholemews Church, Meltham : Hudds. Drill Hall. In the Memorian column in the Express for November 23 1918, there was a tribute from his mother and brother.
Lance Corporal Hubert Hobson , 25 years , was killed by a shell on July 2 1916. He was a member of the Machine Gun Section, B Company, Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment. ( No.14235 2nd. Battalion of Duke of Wellington Regiment ). He was involved with the Methodist Church, was the Sunday School secretary, played clarinet in the Sunday School orchestra and was a member of the choir. He played for the village football team and was a member of the WMC. Prior to the war he was employed at Deanhouse Mills. He was killed during the Battle of the Somme on July 2 1916, aged 25. He was buried in Bertrancourt Military Hospital. ROH – NT Mem ; NT & Th Mem ; WMC Mem. He is listed on the Methodist Church ROH.
Private John Henry Hoyle was born in Wilson Square in 1879 and was the son of Mr.Ben Hoyle of Thongsbridge. He received his education at the Church Day School under J.T.Jackson, becoming a pupil teacher. He joined the Church choir, became the deputy organist and was engaged in the musical profession ( There is also a reference that he was the organist and choirmaster at Clayton West which explains why he was on the Clayton West ROH ). He enlisted at Oxford in January 1916 as Private No.10120 in the 9th. Battalion Royal Fusiliers. ( Public Schools Battalion ). He was reported missing on October 7 1916 aged 36 years. The Express in April 1917 carried the heading ” Netherthong ‘Old Boy’s ‘ body found. The report said that detailed information had reached relatives on the fate of John Hoyle who had been reported missing on October 8. His wife had received a letter from the chaplain of the regiment of which her husband was a member stating that the body of the missing soldier had been found on March 20 and information on his body confirmed his identity.There was no known grave and he was commemorated at Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. ROH – NT Mem : WMC Mem : Clayton West Mem. ( a thought – if they identified his body, his remains surely would have been buried and ‘no known grave’ would not apply).
George Kaye was born in Thongsbridge , lived in Crodingley and attended St.Andrew’s Church. He was married with two children. He joined up under the Derby scheme and died of wounds on September 23 at No.44 Casualty Clearing Station aged 31. He was buried at Nine Elms British Cemetery, Poperinghe. ROH – NT Mem ; NT & Th Mem. He is also listed on the ROH plaque in St.Andrews Church, Thongsbridge. In the memorian column in the Express for November 23 1918, there were two tributes – the first was from his fiancee Florrie and the second from his auntie and uncle.
Arthur Quarmby, Private 241918,2/5 Battalion Duke of Wellington’s Regiment was born and lived in Honley. He attended Honley Church and was a member of Honley Wesleyan Cricket Club. His only connection to Netherthong is that he worked in the finishing Department at T.Dyson & Sons, Deanhouse Mills. He enlisted in April 1916 , embarked for France in January 1917 and was killed by a sniper during the Battle of Cambrai on 20/11/17 aged 26. He was buried at Hermes Hill British Cemetary. ROH – NT Mem : Honley War Memorial : Huddersfield Drill Hall. In the Memorian column in the Express for November 23 1918, there were three tributes – the first from his brother, Wright, and sister – in-law, the second from his sister, Martha and brother – in law, and the final one from his brother, sister, niece and nephew.
Private Norman Ricketts, was born in the village and was the son of Mr. & Mrs George Henry Ricketts of Outlane. He was educated at the National School, attended the United Methodist Church and was a member of the WMC and the Gardeners Friendly Society. He worked at Albert Mills. He enlisted on May 10 1917 as Rifleman 60476, 7th. Reserve Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment and was training at Cannock Chase Military Camp when he contacted meningitis and died after a brief illness in Cannock Chase Military Hospital on January 2 1918 aged 18. He was buried with full military honours at All Saints Churchyard, South West part, L,73. ROH – NT Mem : NT & Th Mem : WMC Mem. Norman Preston Ricketts is listed on the Methodist Church ROH
Private Ben Roebuck, 37 years, was killed in action in the great “ push “ by the British on August 12. He was born at Netherthong , the son of Joseph Hirst Roebuck and Rachael Roebuck of Cliff View, Thongs Bridge and was educated at Saint Mary’s Church in Wilshaw and became a resident in Netherthong. He attended the Parish Church and was a member of the Working Men’s Club. He was employed as a teamer for John Batley. In 1910 he emigrated to Australia and, through hard work, bought a farm and orchard at Harvey, in a farming area in the South Western part of western Australia.. He was attached to the 16th. Battalion Australian Imperial Force as Private 5178. He volunteered at Blackboy Hill, near Harvey, on January 19th 1916, listing his mother, Rachel, as his next of kin, and sailed from Freemantle with reinforcements for the 16th Battalion on March 31st 1916, on board HMAT A9 Shropshire, stopping at Egypt on the way to the Western Front. He was killed in action on Saturday August 12th 1916, shortly after he had arrived in France. His family received the news of his death on September 2nd; he was thirty-seven years old. There is no known grave. He was Commemorated at Villers-Bretonneux Memorial to the Missing. ROH – NT Mem ; NT & Th Mem : WMC Mem. The 16th Battalion spent the week before his death in attacks in the area around Circular Trench, north of Pozieres, France, also beating off a German counterattack from Mouquet Farm. On the 12th. the German artillery bombarded the left of the line, and at 1:30 p.m. the Battalion was relieved, though the Germans shelled them as they moved to the rear. Benjamin Roebuck was either one of the thirty-nine men who were known to have been killed, or, one of the nineteen reported missing believed killed in action with the 16th Battalion that day.Many more men were wounded. A letter written shortly before his death arrived in Holmfirth saying he was glad to get away from Egypt, which was a miserable place to live, and that he hoped to visit them at Netherthong before he returned to Australia.
Brook Sanderson died in Australia. In 1901 he was nineteen years old and living at 85 Lower Hagg, Netherthong, next door to Irvin, Willie and Dennis Barrowclough, who were all still young boys at the time and living at 87 Lower Hagg. Brook was a woolen cloth cutter who went out to Australia before the war. He joined the Australian Army on February 2nd 1916 but was discharged as unfit by the end of the month. He seems to have been suffering from a heart condition (mitral stenosis) which did not become apparent until he began training. He died in 1917 aged thirty-three years. He is believed to have been buried at Newtown, New South Wales, Australia. ROH – NT Mem.
Private Abel Scholfield , In the life of the village, he was the organ blower at the Parish Church for several years and attended Sunday School. Like many of his friends he was a member of the WMC and was employed at Thompson’s Mill at Honley. He was a fine lad who was one of a party of about 30 lads from the district who set out for the wars one Sunday in October. In company with his brother he attended a recruiting meeting in Holmfirth, and on the way they talked matters over. He said that one of them should obey the call and he decided, as he was the elder , that he should be the one. He enlisted in October 1914 and, as Private 14241, he joined the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and with the 8th. Battalion sailed for the Dardenelles on July 3 1915 and landed at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli on August 6. He was going on duty repairing trenches ,when he was hit in a trench called Green Lane by a Turkish sniper on October 30, aged 28. He was buried at Hill 10 Cemetery, Suvla, Gallipoli. ROH – NT Mem : NT & Th Mem : WMC Mem.
Gunner Ben Senior, of Outlane was the son of George Senior, landlord of the Queen’s Arms. He was employed as a weaver at Deanhouse Mills, was a member of the WMC and the United Methodist Church as well as playing for the village football club. He was the second son and was nearly six foot tall.He enlisted as Gunner 77454, 135th.Siege battery, Royal Garrison Regiment on April 27 1916, went to the front on August 19 and was killed in action in France on October 8 1916 aged 24.. He was buried at Longueval Road Cemetery. The local paper ( Holmfirth Express ) reportedthat Outlane, which was no more than 200 yards from end to end , had seen five “lads” – Hubert Hobson, Abel Scholfield, Leonard Buckley , C. Woodhead and now Ben Senior fall in action, each having found a soldier’s grave on the Continent. It questioned whether so confined an area in the whole district had won so much distinction on the battlefield. ROH – NT Mem ; NT & Th Mem; WMC Mem. He is listed on the Methodist Church ROH. ( In October , Mrs.George Senior, his mother, received a letter from Lieut. E.G.Richardson of the RGA stating that her son, Ben, had been killed in action. The letter read – Dear Mrs. Senior. I regret to inform you that your son,Ben, was killed in action last night at 9.20pm. He was one of my best gunners and his loss is greatly regretted. Fortunately he did not suffer at all as he died within an hour of concussion and was , of course, unconscious all the time. )
Clemence Shaw was born in Holmfirth in about 1895, the eldest of six children of Fred Horsfall Shaw and his wife Mary. In the 1911 census the family were living on Jubilee Terrace, Far Cliffe and Clemence was 16 and working as a piecer. He had three younger brothers, Thomas,Freddie and Arthur and two younger sisters, Mabel and Emily. He enlisted on 10 February 1916 in Halifax, initially in the reserve battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers . His medical report gave his height as 5’3″ with a chest size of 35″. He was mobilised on 3 June 1916, remaining in England until November 13 , 1916 when he went to France. He served in France until 5 March 1917 when he returned to England . He remained in the army in England until 27 July 1917 when he was discharged with Silver Badge 124978, due to an unspecified sickness. Returning home , he married Doris France at Netherthong Parish Church on 15 February 1919 giving his occupation as a cloth miller at Deanhouse. He died in February 1920 under unusual circumstances leading to an inquest which was held on Saturday 14 February 1920 in the Working Mens Club. The inquest was told that he was an ex-soldier who, after his discharge from the army, had been employed at Albert Mills. He had been found lying dead in New Road, which was about ten minutes from the mill. on the previous Thursday night. He had been discharged in April 1917 and since then had had several fits , some of which lasted a short time and some about five minutes, Latterly they had been for longer periods and that whilst serving in France he had contacted frost bite and lost four toes from his left foot. The post-mortem found the brain was “congested” and the verdict was that death was caused by a hemorrhage on the brain resulting from him knocking his head against a wall when having an epileptic fit. The funeral was held in the Parish Church on 16 February 1920. ROH – NT War Memorial.
Fred Shaw was born in Honley and attended the Netherthong Free Church Sunday School. He was employed as a fettler by T.Dyson & Sons, Deanhouse Mills. He was reported missing, presumably killed on August 2 1917 aged 19. The was no known grave and he was commemorated at the Menin Gate Memorial for the Missing. ROH : Honley Mem. : NT Mem. He is listed on the Methodist Church ROH.
Edward Smith was born in Underbank and, after leaving school, was employed at Holmfirth P.O. For a period he was also employed at Albion Mills, Thongs Bridge.He was married with one child and lived in Thongsbridge. He enlisted in May 1915 as Private 19870 in 1st. Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment, and embarked to France on November 17 1915. He was killed in action near Le Transloy, during the battle of the Somme on October 12 1916. There was no known grave and he was commemorated at Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. ROH – NT Mem : NT & Th Mem. ( A service in his memory was held in November in St.Andrews Church which was crowded to capacity )
Private Frank Swallow was born in Thongsbridge and lived in Deanhouse . He was a scholar at the National School and, being a member of the Wesleyan Chapel, he later attended the Holmfirth Wesleyan Day School. He was active in the Netherthong Boy Scouts Troop as well as being a member of the WMC. Before joining up he worked at Deanhouse Mills. At the age of 17 he volunteered for service on October 27th. 1914 as Private 33550 6th. Battalion Yorkshire Regiment ( formerly No.31186 11th. Reserve Hussars Regiment ) and, after being in training for some weeks, he was discharged on account of ill health. He was not content to sit at home so he offered his services again in 1915 and was accepted into the 18th. Hussars Cavalry early in 1916 and was transferred to the Yorkshire Regiment and went to France on December 1916. He was killed by a shell on August 15,1917 aged 20. There was no known grave and he was Commemorated at Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing. ROH – NT Mem : NT & Th, Mem :WMC Mem.
Sergeant Edgar Taylor was born in Halifax but lived in the village. He attended the Parish Church and was a member of the WMC. He was 37 years and, before going to France, he had been employed as a porter on the L & Y Railway at Thongs Bridge. He had previously served in the South African War ( Boer War ) and afterwards in India and was for eight years with the colours and four years as a reservist. When war broke out, his period of service had expired but he enlisted again on September 14 and, being a trained soldier, he was quickly ready for the field where he was soon promoted to Sergeant 5514 in the 10th.Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Shortly before he left the country at the beginning of 1915 he was given a good send-off in the Church school. Upwards of 70 of his friends together with several recruits who had enlisted were present and during the evening, Mr. Harry Mellor of Homeleigh presented him with one of the camp knives which had been purchased by public subscription . Whilst at the front he acted as a grenade instructor and had been in charge of tunneling operations. He was killed by a shell on February 19 1917 and was buried at A.L.F.Burial Ground,Flers. ROH – NT Mem ; NT & Th Mem ; WMC Mem : Halifax Civil Book : Lancs. & Yorks. Railway Roll. ( In December 1915, he was present at a dance held in the National School, organised by the young men of the village, and entertained them with tales of his military experience ). (On March 18 1917 a memorial service was held in the Parish Church.)
Private Charlie Woodhead, was born in the village He was educated in the Church school, was musically inclined, learned to play the clarinet and became a member of Huddersfield Military Band and the Netherthong Philharmonic Band. He had served as an apprentice with John Batley, joiner and builder. He was Private 14331 in Y Co. 8th. Battalion Duke of Wellington’s Regiment. He enlisted in October 1914 , went to the Dardenelles in July 1915 but was killed in action on August 21 1915, aged 26. There was no known grave and he was Commemorated at Helles Memorial to the Missing. ROH – NT Mem ; NT&Th Mem.; WMC Mem.
His very close friend, Private David Wilkinson , was also born in the village but lived and worked in Deanhouse. He enlisted at the outbreak of war as Private 14391, Y Co. 8th. Battalion Duke of Wellington’s Battalion. He died, aged 29, at Alexandria, Egypt, on September 9 1915 from wounds he had received at Gallipoli on August 20 1915 . He had sent a letter to his sister which was faintly scratched, almost illegible in indelible printing .” You will have heard of C.W. ( his mate Charlie Woodhead ) and myself by the time you get this. They were both done on the 20th. ( August ). It was awful , but I can’t talk about it as I am in a lot of pain. I have lost everything, even my pay book. I was shot 50 hours before I was picked up and my clothes were sodden with blood. “ Even in his pain and suffering, he did not forget those back at home and his short message concluded with the words “Hoping you are all well at home “. It was his last message home. In a letter written only four days before he was wounded, he gave an indication of the stern task which the soldiers have to accomplish as they begin their march on Constantinople. “ It is 50 times worse here than in France. We had to charge them straightaway as we got out of the boat. I have been on three bayonet charges by now and they are awful. It is about nine days since I had a wash and a fortnight since I shaved. “ ROH- NT Mem : NT&Th Mem ; WMC. Mem. He is listed on the Methodist Church ROH.
Private John Webster joined was born in Glasgow and came to live in the village in 1910 along with his brother, Willie ( he also volunteered for service but was discharged on account of defective hearing ). He attended the Parish Church Sunday School and was a member of the WMC and the football club. He was employed as an apprentice by Mr.B.Eastwood, brush manufacturer. He enlisted as Private 14870 in the regular West Riding Regiment on November 24th. 1914 and received his training with the 3rd. Battalion at Newcastle. He was posted to the 2nd. Battalion and was wounded on the Somme on July 2nd. and invalided home. After making a satisfactory recovery, he crossed the Channel again and was transferred to the 2/6 Battalion Duke of Wellington’s Regiment. He was killed on June 28 1917 and buried in Queant Road Cemetery. A fellow soldier ( 2nd. Lieut. L.H.Thropler ) describes how he met his death – “ At the time we had just relieved a Company on the front line when a whizz-bang burst a few yards away, hitting John and another. The injuries he received were to the top of his head. He was unconscious immediately and in a very few minutes expired. His end was painless. He has had a soldier’s grave about two miles from the line , the service being conducted by the chaplain” . ROH – NT Mem ; NT & Th Mem ; WMC Mem.
Arthur Whiteley. He was the son of Mr. & Mrs. J. Whitely of Carr Green,was born in Holmfirth, “brought up” at Lower Hagg and, as a boy, was one of Mr. Jackson’s scholars and educated at Netherthong National School. He was employed at Bottom Mills – he was well known as a very keen cyclist. He enlisted as Private 42060 6th. Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers in the summer of 1916. He had been in France for five weeks when he was killed by a shell which burst in the trench where he was in action on July 26 1918. He was aged 30. He was buried at Kreule Military Cemetery. ROH – NT Mem : Holme & Holmbridge Mem.
Joseph Worsley was born in Holmfirth but lived in Thongsbridge, attended St.Andrews Church and was a member of the choir and bible class.He enlisted at the outbreak of war as Private 1854 1/5 Battalion Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, left for France in April 1915 and was killed in action six months later on September 28, The was no known grave and he was commemorated at Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing. ROH – NT Mem ; NT & Th Mem : Hudds. Drill Hall. He is also listed on the ROH plaque in St.Andrews Church, Thongsbridge.
There are names on the village memorial for whom I have little or no information. However I visited the Meltham Branch of the Family History Society and they were extremely helpful and managed to furnish me with some details. ( I have attached them in italics .) Further information was supplied by Vivian Aizelwood.
Clarence Brackenbury : His older brother by two years, Harold Brackenbury is also listed on the memorial – see details earlier in this chapter . According to the Express in October 1918, Clarence was in training with the Northumberland Fusiliers. It is more than likely, that with the war ending the following month, he wouldn’t have seen any active service. He reportedly died in 1921.
George Bray : There were Brays in the village but George was not shown in the 1901 Census. However in January 9 1915, the Holmfirth Express printed a long list of soldiers from the Valley serving in the Army & Territorials and a George Bray from Thongsbridge was one of them. He is also listed on the ROH plaque in St.Andrews Church, Thongsbridge with his date of death, February 14 1919.
Robert Froggatt. The only information found was in the 1911 Census of a Robert Henry Froggatt, married aged 23, working as a domestic coachman and married to Beatrice who was born in Langsett. He was born on 18 October 1887 , the third son of William and Emma Froggatt then living on Stake Lane, Searching the website- Soldiers died in Great War-there were three entries for a Robert Froggatt. Gunner 63570, Royal Field Artillery, died 1916 ; Private 1911, West Yorkshire Regiment, died 1915 : Private 305326, West Yorkshire Regiment, died 1919 . However there was a reference that he died at Hill, Holmfirth on 11 September 1920, aged 33 years so none of the three entries would apply. He is named on the Holmfirth Panel of the Home Valley Memorial, which begs the questions : are the Froggatts on the two memorials one and the same person and what is the connection to Netherthong that justifies his inclusion.
Andrew Greenwood. ( In the 1911 Census there was a Andrew Greenwood, aged 10 years, whose parents lived on Huddersfield Road , Thongsbridge. No further information. ) One possibility from the website – Soldiers died in Great War – gave a Private Andrew Greenwood, no number given, who died in 1915 and served in the Duke of Wellington Regiment ( West Riding ). Another reference is of an Andrew Greenwood, born on 7 October 1900, the eldest child and only son of Arthur and Annis Greenwood, then living in Almondbury. He joined the RNVR as a wireless operator towards the end of the war but, within five weeks, he died of pneumonia in Croydon General Hospital just three weeks after his eighteenth birthday. He died on 24 October 1918. The Express carried a report of his death which included the following details of his funeral: “In due course the mortal remains were brought to Holmfirth and the internment took place atHolmfirth Parish Church burial-ground last Tuesday. Amongst the mourners were six RNVR men, who had come north especially for the purpose of attending the funeral and the relatives were also accompanied by many friends of the family. The last rights were performed by the Rev JWS Walker, vicar of Holmfirth, and the funeral was of the most impressive nature. There were many tokens of sympathy from the relatives and admiration of the boy who had died in the service of his King and Country, amongst these being a wreath from Burnlee AFC of which organisation Andrew was an active member, one from his workmates at the mill, and another from a number of personal friends in Holmfirth. The deceased sailor- who it will be noticed bore the same name as his grandfather, the well-known county cricketer. received his education at Upper Thong National School; he was also closely connected with St John’s Sunday school and church, and was at one time a member of the choir. After leaving the day school he entered the service of Messrs T and J Tinker and was with his father in the finishing department at Bottoms Mill, prior to joining the forces. A cheerful, well-behaved, smart youth Andrew was popular wherever he went and his loss is keenly felt in many walks of life.” The connection to Netherthong seems to be very tenuous.
Fred Hill. ( No information ). but … Searching the website- Soldiers died in Great War – threw up a very long list. However information I received in September 2019 is that he could be Ernest Hill, No. 35279, who served with the 15th. West Yorkshire Regiment. He was born on 22 May, 1890 at 7, Woodside Road, Lockwood and was the son of William and Mary Ellen Hills. He attended Mount Pleasant School and worked as a porter for the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway at Brockholes. On the 28th. June 1913, he married Laura Ellen Whitwell at Honley Parish Church and set up home at Lower Hagg, which explains why he qualified to be on the village memorial. He enlisted on June 9th, 1916 with the 15th. West Yorkshire Regiment and was reported missing, presumed killed on 3rd. May 1917 in an attack at Gavrelle. He has no known grave and is commemorated at Arras Memorial. He is listed as E.Hills on the Parish Church ROH which gives his unit as the 15th. West Yorkshire.
So an F instead of E on the memorial and an additional S on the Church ROH created the original confusion.
Matthew Lockwood. He was born in 1881, the son of Edwin and Eliza Lockwood, and a native of Thurstonland. In the 1911 Census he was registered as a 30 year old postman residing at Cliffewood Terrace, Brockholes. The following year on July 12th. he married Lilian Clarke at All Saints Church and presumably then lived in the area. He served overseas with the Lincolnshire Regiment No.41103 ( possibly the 12th. Labour Battalion which went to France in August 1916) and then early in 1917 he transferred to the Labour Corps No. 24299. After the war he returned home and his death was registered in March 1921 aged 39. He is not listed in the Index of Burials for All Saints. ROH – NT Mem.
Lieut. H.Matthews was born in Holmfirth but joined the Netherthong Scout Troop in March 1910. He was the first scout in the Huddersfield area to obtain a commission and the first to make the supreme sacrifice.
Corporal Pickles of Brockholes Lance Corporal Number 14060 9th Battalion Duke of Wellington Regiment was well known as a football player and was goalkeeper for the Netherthong team. He had worked at Thongsbridge and Brockholes Railway Station. He was reported missing, presumed killed on July 1916, aged 27. ( His death was reported in the Express in February 1917). There was no known grave and he was commemorated at Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. ROH – Holmfirth War Memorial.
Private John Roberts , Private 17907, 9th. Battalion Duke of Wellington’s Regiment was born in Leeds but lived in Netherthong , attended the Wesleyan School and was an employee at Deanhouse Mills. He enlisted in January 1916 and was killed in action at Delville Wood during the Battle of the Somme on 2/8/1916 aged 23. There is no known grave and he is Commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. He is listed on the ROH at St.John’s Church, Golcar and Longwood War Mem. ( I am very suprised that his name does not appear on any of the Netherthong ROH ).
Private J.A.Senior – Private No. 44679, 2nd. Platoon, ‘A’ Company, 12th/13th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. Born in Holmfirth, son of Mr.& Mrs. George W. Senior, Muslin Hall, Thongsbridge. Educated at Wooldale Council School and was employed at a mill in Milnsbridge. He enlisted in 1916 and was reported wounded and missing on 18/4/18, aged 27. There was no known grave and he was commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing. ROH – St.Andrews War Memorial.
There were a total of eight soldiers whose names and date of death were listed on the ROH plaque located inside St.Andrews Church, Thongsbridge. Other than his name, I have no further information on the one listed below.
Private. B.Smith – died October 12,1916.
There are two further names that are listed on the Thongsbridge Mill War Memorial. They are :
Thomas Roger Booth. Private. No 24863. 8th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s Regiment.
Born Holmfirth. Son of Hirst and Harriet Booth of Ward Place, Holmfirth; husband of Sarah Booth (later Jessop), Old Yew, Holmbridge, Educated at Choppards School and the Wesleyan Sunday School. Employed as a fettler at Dover Mills and later at Vickermans of Thongsbridge. A keen football player and cricketer. Killed by shellfire, 10.6.1917, aged 32 years. Buried in Derry House Cemetery No 2, Wytschaete, Belgium. Grave location:-Plot 1, Row A, Grave 7. ROH:- Cartworth War
Memorial; Huddersfield Drill Hall.
Fred Hirst. Private 41932, 2nd. Platoon, ‘A’ Company, 7th. Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment. Born in Skelmanthorpe, son of Jere and Clara Hirst. prior to enlistment he was employed by Vickerman Ltd. Thongsbridge. He enlisted Easter 1917 and embarked to France in Easter 1918 and was reported missing near Rheims, 27/5/18, aged 19. There was no known grave and he was commemorated at Soissons Memorial to the Missing. ROH. Fulstone War Memorial.
Remembrance Day has always been held at the Memorial in Towngate and there are some photographs of the event in various chapters in this history, especially those involving the local scout and cub groups. The photos below were taken on Sunday, 11 November 2018 .
The Chapter on Netherthong and its involvement in the Boer War and World War 1 is very detailed as it serves as an everlasting record of the role that the young men ,who went off to fight for their country, played in keeping it safe.
I have been able to find five In Memoriam / In Loving Memory cards and have decided to put them in a separate chapter. I have also included the card issued on Saturday , July 26th. 1919 for the Peace Rejoicing Celebration.
The Netherthong War Memorial is located in the Town Square and is there as a lasting reminder of all those lads from Netherthong, Deanhouse and Thongsbridge who answered the call to arms and fought and died for their country. On May 20th. 1922 a well-attended and fully representative meeting of residents of Netherthong was held in the National School to consider the question of a fitting public memorial to the fallen in the war. Mr. J.Woodhead presided. Everyone agreed that there should be a memorial and a further meeting should be held to decide the details.
That next meeting once again confirmed the need for a memorial as Netherthong had a splendid war record. Few Parishes had sent more men to the colours in proportion to its population and the number fallen was testimony to the part they had played. There were differences of opinion as to the position of the memorial so a further public meeting had to be held.
At that next public meeting, J.Woodhead again presided. The question of a recreation ground or an Institute , whilst worthy, would impose too big a financial load on the people of Netherthong. It was finally agreed that a memorial be built at the top of New Road and the piece of land, owned by the District Council, be purchased. A committee was formed to implement the proposal and its members were – J. Woodhead, Councillor Ogden , C.S.Floyd, H.Mellor, A. Dixon, W.Wagstaff, T.Wood,S. Butterworth, A.Wimpenny, W.Batley, E.Moorhouse, A.Preston and T.Dyson.
The Unveiling and Dedication of the Memorial was performed on Sunday , November 11th. 1923 at 3p.m. in front of a large gathering. A four page booklet giving the Order of Service and details of the Prayers. Lessons, Dedication and hymn was published and I have included it at the end of this chapter. There was a memo attached to the booklet saying that “ Parents or relatives of the fallen are specially invited to take part in the Ceremony and meet near the Memorial at 2.45 p.m.
There was an appeal in the Express in February 1924 for funds to complete the Memorial, specifically for the railings and entrance gate. In May the Memorial Committee made a further appeal for additional funds as £40 was still required to meet the deficit. However at the end of the 4th. Annual Music Festival in June, Mr.Lancaster, a well known figure in the Holme Valley and chairman of the Festival , said he would clear the outstanding debt on the Memorial.
The memorial takes the form of a cross bearing the following inscriptions : “1914-1919. In grateful remembrance of the men from this Parish who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War “
“ The men were very good unto us and we were both not hurt. They were a wall-unto us both by night and day” ( Samuel xxv.15-16 ).
It was made from Bradford stone and the work was executed by S. England & Son, Holmfirth.The following names were inscribed on it.
George H. Booth
Cecil P. Floyd
James Walker ( S.A.War )
In the November 7 1914 issue, the Express listed those persons from Netherthong Parish who were serving but did add a rider that it might not be complete and in subsequent issues added further names.
Netherthong Boy Scouts. The following names were scouts who served and those marked with a * are also listed in the above table,
On Nov 21 the Express added the name of T.Buchanan.
The Netherthong Working Men’s Club sponsored a memorial to the fallen in the war which was unveiled and presented by Capt. C.S. Floyd of Rose Leigh in the Church School. The memorial embraced the photographs of the “ lads “ from the district who had laid down their lives.
The photographs were of : Privates Woodhead, David Wilkinson, Abel Scholfield, Walter Bray, John Hoyle, Leonard Buckley, Hubert Hobson, Ben Senior, Frank Swallow, Ben Roebuck ( Austr ), Brook Sanderson ( Austr ), Harold Brackenbury, Jack Webster, Stanley Gill, Willie Haigh, Norman P. Ricketts and Sergeant Edgar Taylor.
Captain Floyd said about 130 men had enlisted, 21 were killed, at least 7 were wounded, four had been wounded and taken prisoner and three had won decorations, one DCM and two MM.
The memorial was presented to Mr.H.Wilson, the president of the WMC. Mr.Taylor read a report and said that the memorial had been subscribed for entirely by members of the club. The cabinet photographs were enlargements of photographs taken by and sent by the gallant lads while on active duty. They were enclosed in two large fumed oak and gilt frames executed by Messrs. Bamforth & Co. 14 of the lads were native born and received their education in the church school under Mr.Jackson and staff.
The following scouts and ex-scouts of the Netherthong troop served in HM Forces.
Lt. H.Matthews was born in Holmfirth but joined the Netherthong Troop in 1910. He wasthe first scout in the Huddersfield area to obtain a commission in the army and the first to make the supreme sacrifice.
In the January 9th. 1915 issue, the Express listed a Roll of Honour of all the men from the Holme Valley serving in either the Army, Territorials or the Navy – 42 of them were from Netherthong and Thongsbridge. In each issue they also printed letters sent by soldiers serving at the front.
In Spring 1915, enlistments had averaged 100,000 men per month but this number could not be sustained. The upper age limit was raised from 38 to 40 in May 1915 in an attempt to keep the numbers up but it became clear that voluntary recruitment was not going to provide the number of men required. The Government passed the National Registration Act on 15 July 1915 as a step towards stimulating recruitment. The results of the census became available by mid- September 1915 ; it showed that there were almost 5 million males of military age who were not in the forces of which 1.6 million were in the “starred” ( protected, high or scarce skill ) jobs. On October 11 1915, Edward Stanley, 17th. Earl of Derby, better known as Lord Derby, was appointed Director General of Recruiting. The Derby Scheme, official title was Group Scheme, was an attempt to increase recruitment and avoid the need for conscription by allowing men to voluntarily attest for service at a later date. Attested men were placed in groups according to their age and marital status, and the groups would be called up when needed, prioritising single men over those who were married. ( In November a public meeting was held in the National School in Netherthong for the purpose of appointing canvassers for this scheme in the village). A total of 215,00 men enlisted when the scheme was on and another 2,185,000 attested for deferred enlistment. The numbers were not sufficient and in January 1916, the Military Services Act, see poster below, was passed which imposed conscription on all single men between 18-41, and a second Act was passed in May 1916 which extended the conscription to married men. In 1918 during the last months of the war, the Military Services ( No.2 ) Act was passed which raised the age limit to 51.
Throughout the course of the war many local organizations raised money to send parcels to local soldiers. This was particularly relevant at Christmas and the presents included shirts, socks, cake, cigarettes, chocolates, hand kerchiefs and stationery. Penknives and periscopes were much requested items along with copies of the local newspaper. At the meeting of the Patriotic Committee in January 1915 it was reported that 30 of the men at present or formerly associated with the village serving their country had each received a gift of a camp knife and three khaki pocket handkerchiefs.
In January 1915 a decision was made by the Upper Agbrigg magistrates to enforce the closing of public houses at 9pm. This would cover the whole Holmfirth area with effect from January 23.
The Netherthong Red Cross Society regularly ran monthly “ teas “ in aid of the funds. In January 1915 they raised £4 8s at a tea in the schoolroom and £1 1s 2d was raised at a social gathering organised by Corporal Edgar Taylor who was on leave for a few days. The 6th. tea in February was given by Mrs. Stephenson, Sands, in the Church schoolroom and 90 sat down and, with the teas sent out, the total was over 100. The attendance for the 7th. tea was very large and £4 16s was raised. The popularity of the teas continued and the 8th. tea in early April was given by Mrs.T.E.Turner of South View Villa and raised £3 8s. The vicar, Rev.H.N.Hind , gave the 9th.tea at the end of April and 125 sat down and £3 13s was raised. The 10th. tea in June had a very large attendance and Mrs. Buchanan, Mrs.Joseph Woodhead, Miss Edith Mary Wilson and Miss Gertrude gave the tea and £3 19s was raised. The ladies who gave the 11th.tea in August were Mrs.Joseph Roebuck, Mrs. Wm.Hy. Goddard, Mrs.Edwin Briadbent and Miss Briggs and £3 12s was raised. The Express often got the ‘number’ of the tea wrong because in September they reported that the 11th. tea was given by members of the Parish Church choir. 200 sat down at the tables which were presided over by Mrs.Jackson the voluntary organist and three of the oldest members of the choir, Miss Wood, Miss M.H.Schofield and Miss E.E.Batley and the princely sum of £5 8s was raised. At the 14th. tea in October, 180 sat down notwithstanding that that price had been increased from 6d to 8d a head and £6 2s was raised. The tea was followed by a social promoted by the inkers and knotters of Thomas Dyson & Sons, Deanhouse Mills.The secretary , Miss Edith Mary Wilson reported on the activities and said there had been four teas in 1914 and ten in 1915 plus two socials and that a total of £65 8s had been raised. She added that the first consignment of goods were sent to the Huddersfield Bureau on September 14th. 1914 and since then a further 13 parcels had been sent and the total number of articles included : 28 pairs of pyjamas,113 day shirts, 6 cushions, 20 mufflers,17 pairs of bed socks,1 pair of slippers,10 pairs of gloves, 8 pillows, 3 helmets, 26 night shirts, 40 pillow slips,160 pairs of socks, 8 bottle covers, 37 belts, 79 scarves,1 flannel vest, 4 bed jackets, 69 pairs of mittens and 122 sand bags. The 15th. tea was given by the sidemen of the Parish Church, Private C.S.Floyd ( who was on leave from fighting at the front in France ), H.H.Wilson, Herbert Roberts, J.Russell, W.E.Bailey, J.H.Harper and S.D. Butterworth. Over 140 sat down to eat, £6 8s was raised and the trays were presided over by Mrs. Russell ( in her 80th. year ), Mrs.W.Batley, Mrs.Harper and Mrs. Tom Willis. The tea in November 1916 was sponsored for a second time by the firm and employees of Joseph Sykes & Co., Rock Mills.The trays were looked after by Mrs. Joe Taylor,Mrs.M.Bailey, Mrs. Arthur Sykes and Miss Mallinson and £5 10s was raised.
In October the Red Cross organised a sewing meeting and tea. 122 people sat down and 24 teas were sent out to people, either old or too sick, who couldn’t attend.The amount raised was £4 1s and it was collected by Corporal Tom Wood and Private James Marden who had both been given an 48 hour leave pass from camp.
A dance promoted by Misses Doris Mallinson, Priscilla Longbottom, Maggie Heaton, AmyHey, Mary Swallow and Doris Beardsell was held in the Church schoolroom. There was a large gathering of young people and dancing was indulged in to the music by Mr.Wood ( piano ) and Mr.Walker ( violin ) . £3 17s was raised. A Sewing tea in connection with the Red Cross Society attracted a large attendance and £3 17s 8d was raised. A social and American fair and café was featured at Wesleyan School , artists were in capital voice and selections were given on a gramophone kindly lent by Mr. Albert Longbottom. £5 was raised.
Letters received from soldiers serving at the front were often read out at the start ofmeetings. At the 41st. AGM of the Working Men’s Club , there were letters from Corporals Hubert Hobson and Harry McQue : Privates Wm. Barrowclough, T. Newall, Chas. A. Huson. Norman Smith, H.Dufton and Ronald Sykes : Drivers Norman Haigh and E.A.Ward.
At the Patriotic Committee meeting in January 1915, it was reported that each of the lads had received a camp penknife and 3 khaki pocket handkerchiefs. Letters of thanks from the soldiers were read out. Mr.T. Dyson was the treasurer and W.Wagstaff the treasurer.
Later that year in October, the Express printed a Local Roll of Honour for the whole of the Holmfirth District based on the names it had been supplied with and they updated it each week. They also gave prominence to a letter from King George asking for more volunteers.
In December the young men of the village held a dance at the National school to raise funds to provide seasonable gifts for the local soldiers fighting in the trenches. Dancing was to the music of Mr. C. Wood’s band and there was a good attendance with proceeds of £4 6s. Sgt. Edgar Taylor was present and entertained everyone with tales of his military experience. The MCs were George Charlesworth and Arthur Buckley.
The people of Netherthong had contributed a substantial sum of money towards the Scouts Hut which had been “opened” in France early in 1916. It was a great wooden building and named ” The Boy Scouts YMCA Hut ” and was open from 11.30 to 1.30 and 4.30 to 8.30. It proved to be a very popular venue and was usually crowded to overflowing.
On May 20 1916, the Home Office issued a public notice about an alteration to times. On the night of Sat-Sun, May 20-21 at 2am. the time would be put forward by 1hour to 3 am. The chief objective was to reduce the number of hours during which artificial lighting was being used and thus save the nation fuel, oil and coke which were urgently required for other purposes arising from the War. In August a Public meeting was held in the National School to form a War Savings Department for Adults. Mr.J.E.Woodhead QC presided.The scheme had begun the previous week in the school when over 70 children had become members and paid in nearly £5 in the first week. The meeting unanimously decided to form an ” Adult Association ” and that the Wesleyan Chapel, the Free Church, the Co-op store, Gardeners’ Society and the WMC should be asked to nominate a member to serve on the commmittee.
In December 1916, the children of the primary department of Netherthong Wesleyan Sunday school took pennies and toys to the Christmas service. The pennies bought a cake for wounded soldiers and this was taken by some of the children and teachers to the Military Hospital. The toys were sent to the West Indian Mission Creche. Christmas in the village was enlivened by a whist drive and dance in the Church School to which a party of 30 wounded soldiers from the Holmfirth Military Hospital were invited and conveyed by motor-car. The music for dancing was played by Mr.C.A.Wood on the piano and Mr. Fenton Walker on violin.
In January 1917 a Whist Drive and Dance was held in the Church school to which 18 wounded soldiers from the Military Hospital were invited and conveyed by motor car. Music for dancing was by C.Wood ( piano ) and F.Walker ( violo ). £7 profit was handed to the treasurer of the Military Hospital.
A meeting of the Patriotic Society was fairly well attended and it was reported that 12 camp knives and 3 periscopes had been sent to the soldiers. In March a dance , promoted by Misses D.Mallinson, P.Longbottom, M.Heaton, A.Hey, M.Swallow and D.Beardsell, was held in the Church schoolroom in aid of funds for the Netherthong Patriotic Society. There was a large gathering of young people and £3 17s was raised. Miss Hart and Miss Mallinson organized another dance to raise funds to enable the Patriotic Society to send parcels of comforts to the gallant lads serving with the forces. There was a good attendance and dance music was supplied by the regulars, Mr.C.Wood on piano and Mr. Walker on violin. Over £5 was raised.
Throughout the year the Netherthong Red Cross Society held teas in the Church School.
The 3rd. annual report of the Netherthong Patriotic Society was prepared by Mr.J.Jacksonand presented in December. Based on Netherthong and Oldfield 140 villagers had joined one or other of the various services. 19 had been discharged, 3 were POWs, 17 had made the great sacrifice and 101 were still on active duty. Last year 66 Christmas parcels had been sent and thanks received and this year 18 periscopes and 31 field knives had been sent. Mr.Jackson listed all the various sources from which aid had been received. A special thanks was given to their secretary, Thomas Dyson, who was now serving his country.
What was described as the most festive social of Christmas 1917 was promoted by the young ladies under the banner of the Patriotic Society. The function included a whist drive and dance. Wounded soldiers from Holmfirth Military Hospital were in attendance and the music was provided by Mr.Wood and Mr. Walker. Mr. Russell and Mr. Horncastle were theMCs and £9 3s 6d was raised.
On August 1918, the 4th. Anniversary of the Declaration of War was commemorated by a special service at the Parish Church. The Rev. Hind conducted the service in a manner befitting the occasion. Suitable music under the leadership of C.Wood with Mrs. Jackson on organ was provided.
In October at a meeting of the Netherthong Patriotic Society , presided over by Mr. W. Horncastle, a vote of condolence was passed to the bereaved mother of the late Private Harold Brackenburg who had been killed in action in France. At the same meeting it was decided to supplement the Christmas gift of a shirt and pair of socks by a substantial monetary gift to each boy serving in the Forces either home or abroad. It was anticipated that at least £40 would be required.
At the end of the year the Patriotic Society promoted a concert in the Church School. They had an accomplished quartette party – Miss Lizzie Mellor, soprano ; Miss Ethyl Barker , contralto ; David Oxley, tenor ; Harold Sykes, bass. Mr.Goddard was the accompanist and further entertainment was provided by Frank Phillips, humorist. The objective was to raise funds for sending Christmas parcels to local lads serving in the forces. The hall was packed and the Express reported that the concert would long be remembered as one of very high order.
In July a cricket match was organized between wounded soldiers from the Holmfirth Auxiliary Hospital and a team from Denby Dale Auxiliary Hospital. Unfortunately no further information was supplied.
I have dedicated a separate chapter for the list of details of many of the Netherthong heroes.
Patriotic Thong “ Lads “.
Admirer’s Message from the Antipodes
“ I am proud of them all”.
Mr. Thomas Edward Mosley, who, out in South Africa, is proud to be known as a Thong lad, is particularly pleased to learn of the response made by Netherthong to the national demands of the Empire, and, besides forwarding a substantial contribution to the funds of the Red Cross Society, sends a most interesting letter to Mr. T.Dyson, the secretary of the Netherthong Patriotic Society.
“ I am thankful “ writes Mr. Mosley “ that the lads from Netherthong came up so well, I am very proud of them all I can tell you. We get the Holmfirth Express every week and we always look forward to it coming. it does one good to read about the place that is near and dear. How terrible it is to think about this War and a lot of cowards we have to fight. I hope itwill be soon be over but not before we have broken Germany military power “ After touching on the daily demands of the War – Mr. Mosely is engaged in a woolen factory in Cape Town. Mentioning that he works from 6am to 8.30pm. “ So as a Thong lad I did my duty for the soldiers who went to British South West Africa, and nobody was more pleased to see General Botha coming back after conquering them.” Mr.Mosely adds that the place where he works is just on the sea front and “ I can see all the ships come into Cape Town Docks and I was able to see all the ships go away to German West Africa and we were also able to see the troops leave for Europe “. In the course ofan intensely-human postscript , he mentions that just as he had completed his letter, he received the sad tidings that C.Woodhead had been killed in the Dardenelles and he had to add the following appreciation ; -“ I sympathise with you all at Netherthong in having lost a fine and promising young man. Please give my sympathy to his parents. It will be very trying to have to part with a fine young man like Charlie was. He was one of those young men I took an interest in. He was one of the young men who came to our class held at the Wesleyan Chapel onThursday nights. I hope his parents will be given strength to get over the serious shock that it will have caused them. It will be a consolation to them to know that he died a heroic death in doing his duty for the country. “
In a subsequent letter, Mr.Mosely made touching reference to the death of Private DavidWilkinson. “ We have got the Express again to-day and I see that one of my friends at the National School has died from his wounds. It is very sad to keep seeing such news. I cannot express my sorrow –it is too much for me to say anything ; just take our sympathy in the loss of yet another school friend. I am sure you will be upset by the loss of two fine young men like David and Charlie. I would write a long letter , but I cannot do so after reading your paper.
By the former mail, he also sent eight scarf- helmets “ similar to those that have been given to all the troops who are coming over to Europe. “ So just let the Netherthong lads have them . Following this gift, the Netherthong Red Cross Society decided to use the monetary donation received from him to buy more scarf- helmets. The Committee decided to send a scarf- helmet and a pair of gloves to each of the 24 “ lads “ serving at the front so that they would be better equipped for the rigours of winter campaigning. It was hoped that the Christmas “ boxes “ will reach them on the morning of Dec. 25th.
NETHER THONG SOLDIER’S
Graphic Battlefield Messages
Telling Descriptions of the War’s Realities.
“ I can assure you that all of us are eagerly looking forward to the time when the cause of the Allies will be crowned with glory. I am keeping very well and cheerful, knowing that we are only fighting for what is right. “
This is the prevailing sentiment of quite a number of the messages from the battlefield to the good people of Netherthong, who recently sent suitable presents to the local soldiers at the front. Several of these letters were read at the meeting of the Netherthong Patriotic Committee, held in the National School under the presidency of Mr. W. Horncastle. The patriotism of the young men of Netherthong in promptly answering the national call has been an encouraging and pleasing feature of the life of the community during the first year of the War. 15 Netherthong lads are on active service and Mr.T. Dyson, the secretary of the Patriotic Committee, read pleasing letters of grateful thanks from practically all of them. Mr. Dyson, in the course of a few introductory explanatory remarks, claimed that no community throughout the country has sent more suitable presents for the soldiers nor received such delightful letters of appreciation. Moreover , the soldiers were particularly desirous of hearing from them again, not from a monetary point of view, but for real friendship’s sake. Each of the local soldiers at the front had had a periscope sent to him from the people of the district. They were anticipating the fulfillment of a statement recorded in one of their gallant soldier’s letters ; “ I hope that in due time the War will come to a successful close, and a peace will reign which the world has never known before. “
In addition to the simple, yet forcible, message given at the outset, Pte. Ronald Sykes, writing from “ somewhere in Belgium “, expressed his appreciative thanks to the Patriotic Committee’s present of periscopes in the following terms – “I am sure they could not have bought anything that will be more serviceable for us. They are used in the trenches a lot at present. As you will know , it is not safe to show ourselves, but by means of the periscopes you have presented to us we shall be able to see what is going on in front without exposing ourselves. I am sure that we shall always remember the interest all the people in the village have taken in us.This, for one thing, helps us to face the dangerwith a better heart, and I am sure we are only too pleased to be doing our little bit in this great national strife.”
Pte. Sykes also gave a graphic pen picture of the devastation wrought by the enemy.“ We come into contact with sights here that we would not like to see at home. It would make your blood boil to see the houses and churches all in ruins. The town that we are billeted in at present must have been a fine place but to see it now it is awful. All the homes belong to someone who have had to flee and leave everything for the safety of their lives . “
Referring to the periscope and knife which he had received, Private J. Webster’s message ran ; “ They are the very things we want in the trenches, and when we come out for reststhey come in useful for shaving purposes, but they are more useful in the trenches. “
From Pte. D. Barrowclough, one of three brothers on active service, came the following impressions. “ I shall try to use your presents every opportunity I have. I shall try and do my duty as far as I can and keep the Huns out of good old England, because if they get in they will be ten times worse to our women folk and children than they were forthe Belgians.”
Pte. T.Newell, who was formerly on the staff of Deanhouse Institution, and now with the headquarters staff at the 4th. Cavalry Brigade sent the message ; “ Just a few lines to answer your nice letter and to thank you for the very handy periscope, which arrived quite safe, for I know, if necessary, it will be a great help. “
Private Dutton incidentally wrote ; “ You all know we are only doing our duty, as true Yorkshire lads ought to do. I am pleased to say that God has kept us free from shot and shell so far. We have been on the banks of the River —————, and I can tell you it is a very warm place.We have had a few wounded and gassed. It is not a nice place to be whenthey are shelling. “
Other similarly grateful epistles were presented, and the reading of them was followed with considerable interest. The members of the Patriotic Committee went home gratified with andproud of their gallant representatives who were serving their King and country.
Most of the soldiers obviously sent letters home and some were printed in the paper.
Mr. J.Hobson, a native of Netherthong, who was formerly in the R.A.M.C. for some years and went to Canada from where he was called to the front. He sent a letter to H.Mellor in Netherthong and said that he was in the Red Cross with the stretcher bearers. “ It is dangerous as we render first aid from the firing line having to do all our work in the dark. We can’t get anywhere in daylight as the Germans have no respect for the Red Cross and will fire on ambulances without any thought for thewounded. “ He ended by asking Mellor to thank the Netherthong Red Cross for the presents they had sent.
In a letter to a friend in Deanhouse, Private Charles Hudson related a remarkable experience on night duty. He wrote ; “ I have had some exciting experiences since I came out what with dodging shells and one thing and another. I will relate to you one of them. I was picked for a reconnoitering patrol in front of the German trenches one night. There were 6 of us and an officer. By the way my platoon officer is a very good one. We crawled out about 10 o/clock under our barbed wire. We went out into the open feeling a little excited you can guess for bullets were flying over us and flares kept going up. When they did we had to lay flat down. We got to the German trenches, had a good look round and crawled for about 3 hours. Once I was crawling over a dead German and another time I was laid on a dead man’s foot but we got in at last safe and sound , I am glad to say. You can guess now what we have to do. “
In December 1939 the Express reported the death of Mr. Charles Ricketts of West End. He was 69 years old and was an old volunteer. He had served in the South African War and WW1 and was a member of the Holmfirth branch of the British Legion and of the South African Veterans Association of Huddersfield.
The news of the armistice reached Netherthong about 11am on the Monday morning but it was not fully confirmed until the flag was raised at Deanhouse Institution by order of the master, Mr.F.E.Rowbothan. This was followed by flags being hoisted at Deanhouse Mills, the Church,the Schools, Holmleigh, the Manor House and many cottages in Netherthong and Deanhouse. Merry peals were rung on the church bell by Oswald Sykes, Arthur Wimpenny and Robert Gill.
Peace rejoicings were not held on the official day, July 19, but were postponed for a week. The official day however did not pass unrecognized with flags floating gaily on public buildings, mills, workshops and cottages and, at three hours intervals, the Parish Church bell was rung. In the evening a bonfire and flares were lighted at Wolfstones Height by kind permission of Mr.Hampshire followed by a display of rockets and fireworks under the superintendence of Mr. Harry Mellor and assistants.
The following report on the celebrations on the Saturday is taken from the Express and I have put it in parenthesis so as to maintain the tense and the style of the reporting used. … ” Saturday was the children’s and old folks’ day and one which will be long remembered by the youth in the Parish in years to come as was the peace rejoicing day in 1852 by the old folks. The village was en fete for the occasion for, in addition to the flags that were still flying from the previous Saturday. the village was ablaze with brightly coloured bunting, Union Jacks, bannerettes and Chinese lanterns strung across the streets thanks to Mrs. Floyd of Roseleigh and Joseph Woodhead, Green Cottage, for their generous gifts of much of the material used. Town Gate was simply stunning. The only mark of sadness in all the decorations was the laurel leaf mounted on a Union Jack and surmounted by a gilded crown at the entrance to the Churchyard in honour of the brave and loyal lads who have made the great sacrifice. Deanhouse was not far behind in its spirit and among its beautiful decorations was an effigy of the fallen exile ” The All Highest ” hanging from the arm of a lampost on Deanhouse Hill and which, in the course of the evening fittingly paid its due penalty in the ascending smoke and burning ashes falling to the ground to be contemptuously trodden underfoot.
The day’s proceedings commenced with merry peals ringing from the church bell at 12 am and 1.30pm. The children from the Day school, the Parish Church, Free Church, Wesleyan Church and Oldfield Mission Church Sunday schools assembled in the Day school yard and were marshalled into marching-order by Harry Mellor, Edward Dyson, Ben Gill, Albert Wimpenny, James Hy Mallinson, Harry Mallinson, Corporal J.Marsden and Private Albert Hobson and marched up to Town Gate where they met the demobilised and discharged soldiers under the command of Captain C.S.Floyd, members of the WMC and Free Gardeners plus a large gathering of the general public. A short service of thanksgiving was conducted by Rev.H.Hind and hymns were sung accompanied by the Holme Valley Silver band conducted by Sergeant Tom Wood. A large procession was formed and, headed by P.C.Denton, Mr.B.Eastwood and A.F.Sykes, marched to the Deanhouse Institute and then back to the village.The sing in Town Gate , listened to by a large concourse of people , would long be remembered.
On returning to the Day school, about 350 children were regaled with a sumptuous tea of bread and butter, sweet cakes, crackers etc. the trays presided over by Misses E.Wilson, E.Cousen, A.Woodhead, A.Hart, A.Whitehead, L.Boothroyd, S.Briggs, M.Eastwood, Marion Woodhead and Elsie Woodhead. The old people, along with the soldiers and their wives ,were treated to a knife and fork tea consisting of roast ham and ox-tongue, bread and butter, almond tea-cakes and 18 other varieties of confectionery supplied by Miss Mitchell. The trays were presided over by Mrs.Floyd ( Roseleigh ), Mrs.Hinchliffe ( Oaklands ), Mrs.Mellor ( Holmleigh ), Mrs.Jackson ( Manor House ) , Mrs.Brookes ( The Hagg ) and Mrs.Craig ( Thongs Bridge House ). Among those sitting down were five octogenarians, Mrs.Bower, Mrs. Russell, Mrs. Eastwood and Mr.& Mrs. J. Armitage all of whom had taken part in in three peace rejoicings, two Royal Jubilees and two Coronations.
The evening from 6 to 10.30 was spent in a field, kindly lent by Mr.J.Moorhouse of the Clothiers, and a large crowd enjoyed watching the parade of the fancy dress competitors and the judging , the sports and the music by the Holme Band.
There was a large range of sporting activities and the winners of the various sports were. Flat races, Boys 5-7 – Lloyd Swallow & Reggie Mallinson. Girls 5-7 – Blanche Hall and Hilda Hallas. Boys 7-9 – Ronald Ricketts and George Davidson. Girls 7-9 – Edna Smith & Elsie Chambers. Boys 9-11 – Bernard Daniel & Ronald Knutton. Boys 11-13 – Robert Buckley & Frank Day. Boys over 14 – Eric Rusby & Harry Charlesworth. 3-legged race – Boys 9-11 – Bernard Daniel & Ronald Knutton. Egg & Spoon – girls 9-11 – Phyllis Brook & Cora Charlesworth. Egg & Spoon – girls over 11 – Gertrude Marsden & Sarah Brook.Thread & Needle race – girls 9-11 – Cora Charlesworth & Marjorie Hall. Obstacle race – boys 11-13 – Frank Day & Raymond Hall. Boot race – boys under 14 – Cyril Dufton & Ryder Dyson. Skipping competition – under 10 – Elsie Chamber & Edna Smith. Under 14 – Phyllis Brook & Marjorie Hall. Senior skipping – Elsie Batley. Fancy skipping – Edna Smith. Tandem race – girls over 14 – Gertrude Marsden, Dora Woodhead & Aurelia Batley. The fancy dress winners were : Ronald Settle, Reggie Hirstle , Cora Charlesworth,Alice Turner, Marjorie Hart,Eileen Knutson,Marion Woodhead and nellie Wilkinson.
A large bonfire had been built at Wolfstone Heights , by kind permission of Mr. Hampshire whoowned the highest point. Messrs. A.Dixon, H.Mellor, J.Mallinson,W.Wagstaff, A.Wimpenny, H.Wimpenny and F.Harper built an enormous beacon. Seen from the village it looked like a tower. In the evening there was a beautiful, never –to-be-forgotten, sunset. As the hour for lighting approached one could see beacons on Holme Moss, Nabscliffe ( Shepley ) with lots more visible in the distance. At the start a rocket was sent up and then one of the giant Admiralty flares which made the whole hill as day. As the flare burnt, the rain came down in torrents. The National Anthem was sung and Corporal Charlie Ricketts, who had served in the South African war and the present war, lit the bonfire and the huge pile became a mass of flame. It reminded the old stagers of the bonfire in 1887 in the village which burned for a week. The cost of all the festivities were defrayed by public subscription.”
In the midst of all the celebrations Deanhouse Poor Law Institution was not forgotten and the Guardians granted extra fare for “ Peace Day “. Mr. and Mrs. Beavis prepared a most sumptious menu for the patients, breakfast, dinner and tea with entertainment to finish.
I had not been able to find any photographs of the peace celebrations although I’m sure many must have been taken. Then, in October 2020, I received the following three superb photos of the celebrations in Town Square courtesy of Rich McGill of Holmfirth. The first one shows the crowd gathered in Town Square outside the Co-Op with everyone dressed in their finery and the children in a range of costumes. The second looks to have been taken at the top of Outlane and features the Holme Band. The third photograph shows another crowd scene with what appears to be a bowler-hatted man controlling them.
I have also included the photograph below which I think was taken at Honley.
In April 1919 a social re-union of returned soldiers took place in the Wesleyan school. A substantial dinner followed by entertainment was provided.
In March a public meeting was held in the National school in support of the Holme Valley Memorial Scheme. Mr. Jackson presided over a capital attendance and the scheme was explained by Major Trotter. Many members of the audience spoke in support and subsequently a local committee of about 30 members was formed with Mr.T.Dixon as secretary. It was noted that £5 remained from the fund for the Coronation festivities and the meeting resolved that this balance be handed over to the funds for the new Memorial Hospital.
The concept generated lots of articles and letters in the paper and in June it gave numerous lists of people in the District and their subscriptions. In the second list there were 62 names of Netherthong residents and 38 appeared on the 4th. list.
The Express ran a ½ page notice about the proposed War memorial Scheme. I detail it below.
In aid of the Holme Valley War Memorial Scheme
Netherthong District Committee will hold a
Whist Drive and Dance
In National School
On Friday Next, December 5. Whist to commence at 7.15pm.
Four handsome prizes will be given to the most
Successful Ladies & Gentlemens Whist Players
Admission ( including refreshments ) 2/-.
Please bring your own sugar
The paper reported the following week that the event had been very successful with 32 tables. After the Whist drive there had been tea and dancing and £20 was raised for the fund.
The second anniversary of Armistice day was celebrated in November 1920 by a supper and social held in the house of mine host, Mr.Richard Russell, the Queen’s Arms Hotel. Covers were laid for 60 ex-servicemen and friends and an excellent meal was provided. The social that followed was very well attended and the only toasts proposed were ” The King “, ” The Army, Navy and Air Force” and ” The Memory of the Fallen Heroes “.
On January 29th. 1922 , a Grand Concert was held at the National School in aid of the Holme Valley Memorial Hospital. Music was by the Merry Makers and admission was by programme with tickets priced at 1/6 and 1/- and 6d for school children. The Express reported that there was a large audience and the programmes comprised choruses, songs, duets, recitations and jokes and a sketch entitled ” Callers at a police station “. There were 22 items and with many encores the concert lasted 3 hours.
With the war completely over, the Netherthong Patriotic Society held a meeting to discuss the disposal of the Society’s surplus funds. After a vote it was agreed to donate the balance of £23 to the Netherthong Memorial.
In May 1923 an impressive ceremony took place in the Drill Hall, Holmfirth, when a memorial tablet was unveiled by Colonel R.Mellor. The ceremony took place after a church parade at Netherthong Parish Church and the gathering at the Hall included relatives of the fallen, past and present members of the Holmfirth Company, the Meltham and Netherthong sections, members of the Holmfirth Branch of the 5th. Duke of Wellington’s Old Comrades Association and the trustees of the Drill Hall. The tablet read :
5th. Duke of Wellington’s Regiment
In glorious and grateful memory of the
Officers, non-commissioned officers and
Men from this District who died in the
Service of their King and Country
Great War, 1914-1919.
This was the 2nd. tablet to be unveiled in the Hall. The 1st. one was unveiled in appreciation of those who served in the South African war.
N.B. Both of these plaques were moved and re-located in the entrance foyer of Holmfirth Town Hall.
At the Remembrance Day event in November 1924, the Rev. E. Harland, the superintendent Wesleyan minister, offered prayers ; the Rev. H. Hind , All Saints, read from the scriptures and Mr. Snow, United Methodist minister, read out the list of the names on the Memorial. The event in 1925 was recorded as most impressive. There was a large attendance and the service was conducted by the Rev. H. Hind, the vicar, and the Rev. J. Birkbeck, a minister from the Holmfirth Wesleyan circuit. The Rev. A.Sharman, United Methodist, sent his apologies.