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 in one of the ROHs in the Church.