This year, 2018, is the centenary of the end of World War 1 and this Chapter, which I published 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 seems an appropriate time to review and update the Chapter particularly as I have been able to access additional information. What I have discovered is that there are many anomalies and inconsistencies, some of which I should have picked up when I did my original research- ( see later for specific details ).
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 email@example.com.
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. Where there is any important difference in the information, I have added it in brackets.
There are three 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, 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 third Memorial is located in the grounds of Holmfirth 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.
Late news – March 2018. I have just come across information on two further War Memorials both of which were located in Thongsbridge. The first was 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 that was affixed to a wall a hundred yards near to 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.
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.
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.
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 15, 2015 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.
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.
Signaller Leonard Buckley had joined the 9th. Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment ( Private No.14231 ) shortly after the outbreak of war and 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 a 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.
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 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.
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 ago, 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 P.Floyd joined up and went into training but due to the state of his health he was discharged medically unfit and subsequently died. 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. 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.
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 a 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 as Private 19329, 10th. Battalion Duke of Wellington regiment and 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 brother Arthur Heeley, Private 29323, also of the 10th. Battalion was born in Thongbridge. He enlisted on September 4 1916 and died from wounds at Boulogne on June 12,1917 aged 25. He was buried at Boulogne Eastern Cemetery on June 12 1917. ROH – NT & Th Mem. (Note that neither of the brothers are listed on the Netherthong War Memorial). (They are however both named on the ROH plaque in St.Andrews Church , Thongsbridge ). Harold’s name also appeared on a 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 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 of 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 lefta young widow and two sons aged 11 and 8 yearsBefore 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.
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.
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 and 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.
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 and 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.
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.
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 6′ tall.He enlisted as Gunner 77454, 135th.Siege battery, Royal Garrison Regiment on April 27 1916 and 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 ) reported that Outlane, which was no more than 200 yards from end to end , had seen 5 “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. ( 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 , aged 23 years and married and living in Deanhouse,, who was a discharged soldier, died in February 1920 under startingly sudden circumstances. He had served in the Northumberland Fusiliers and it appeared that whilst serving in France he had contacted frost bite and lost 4 toes from his left foot. He was discharged medically unfit in April 1917 and in 1918 began to suffer epilectic fits. He was employed at Albert Mills and had worked until 7.15pm on a Thursday. He had made no complaints during the day and was last seen alive as he left the Mill. At about 8.50 that same night he was found lying in New Road which was about 10 minutes away from the mill. The inquest was held in the Netherthong WMC 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. ROH – NT Mem.
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.
Edward Smith was born in Underbank and after leaving school was employed at Holmfirth P.O. At some stage 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. 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 ). (In March 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 1331 in Y Co. 8th. Battalion Duke of Wellington’s Regiment. He enlisted in October 1914 and 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.
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 2/6 Battalion Duke of Wellington’s Regiment on November 24th. 1914 and received his training at Newcastle He was wounded on July 2nd. 1916 and invalided home. After making a satisfactory recovery, he crossed the Channel again and 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 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 .)
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,. He was born in Wooldale and lived in Malkinhouse, Holmfirth.
Andrew Greenwood. ( In the 1911 Census there was a Andrew Greenwood, aged 10 years, whose parents lived on Huddersfield Road , Thongsbridge. No further information. )
Fred Hill. ( No information ).
Matthew Lockwood. In January 9 1915 , the Holmfirth Express printed a long list of soldiers from the Valley serving in the Army & Territorials and it included an Arthur Lockwood from Bottoms. An A.Lockwood was also a member of the Netherthong Scout Group.
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 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. he 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.
Read more about Netherthong and the wars…