In common with all the hamlets, villages and towns throughout England the young men of Netherthong responded to the call to arms and willingly enlisted in the forces to serve their country in its time of need.
They fought in the Boer War and the two major conflicts, WW1 and WW2. They fought with honour and dignity and sadly far too many of these young men met their deaths on foreign fields. Their names are listed in perpetuity on the War Memorial located in Town Square which records the names of the the casualties from the Boer War, from the First World War and from the Second World War. They are also recorded , along with other casualties from the District, on the large War Memorial in front of the Holmfirth Memorial Hospital. ( Plaque 5 – Netherthong & Thongsbridge ).
The chapters on the wars are intended not only to provide an everlasting written record to ensure that their memories will never be forgotten but also to give a picture of how the war impacted on their families and the residents of the village and to detail their efforts in raising funds and giving support to their sons and friends.
M.Hirst, who lived at 33 Outlane , painstakingly compiled a large scrapbook full of newspaper cuttings and other ephemera about the young men of the Parish who had fought and died in the First World War. His book is kept permanently in the Parish Church and a lot of the information in this chapter is taken from it. I have also trawled through all the issues of the Holmfirth Express covering the war years to gather details of the part that the villagers played in supporting their soldiers.
For many years leading up to the start of WW1 , the Express had been, for most of the inhabitants, the only source of written news. Its content had been a mix of mainly local news and sport with some selected items of national and international news that the Editor decided would be of interest.. It also included details of local entertainments and often published stories in weekly installments. It frequently gave lists of jokes and occasionaly published poems in t’local dialect. When the war started it devoted many pages to stories of the war, how our soldiers were getting on and gave their names and details.
By the time WW2 had started , villagers had had access to many other newspapers for quite some time but the Express carried very little news of the progress of the war. In addition, because of the fear of German spies, it no longer gave details of the serving soldiers and instead referred to them as ” a corporal from the far East ” or ” a sapper from somewhere in Europe “. It devoted many pages to major fund raising drives and War Bonds, rationing and methods of economising on food. All these are detailed in the chapter on WW2.