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Wreath Ceremony for Sapper Frank Jackson at Birstal St Peter' Church. The date will be announced shortly. ........Checkout February 2018's BUGLE Newsletter - There is an account of how a WWI British Nurse survived a major ship disaster in Egypt

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April 4th 2018

The latest Editions of the BUGLE Newsletter and the Poppy List are now available on the website and the Exhibitions in Batley and Birstall Libraries have been updated to reflect the situation in April 1918.

April 1918 was another terrible month for local casualties with SIXTY men lost from Batley and Birstall – and many many more were injured and took no further part in the war. In the two months of March and April we lost over ten percent of the total loses in the whole war.

The Batley News set out the position that, despite all the losses suffered, perhaps there was room for hope ….


Within the numbers killed in the month were FOUR local men who had been awarded the MILITARY MEDAL on the field of battle …

Private Herman PRESTON MM, aged 28, Northumberland Fusiliers

Lance Corporal Richard EVANS MM, aged 28, Royal Engineers

Private Horace NAYLOR MM, aged 21, West Riding Regiment

Private Fred HILL MM, aged 28, K.O.Y.L.I


This month we release the first soldier story produced by the research undertaken by Stephen Walker on the

Batley Co-operative Society – WWI Roll of Honour

This plaque was situated just inside the main door of the original store just off Commercial Street. The plaque is now kept in the Co-op Archives in Rochdale and we are trying to arrange it to form part of an exhibition later in the year. There is also a montage of the images of the eleven soldiers listed and a copy is shown in the Soldier Story names below.

Purwell Methodist Church – Glass Window

His window took the form of a Roll of Honour for the twenty two men associated with the church who were lost in the war. A photographic image is also shown in the Soldier Story referenced below.

April Soldier Story

April 14th 1918  Private Leonard SMITH

April Soldier Stories (Short Format)

April 13 Gunner James L PRESTON (s-f)

April 14 Lieutenant John Henry KITSON (s-f)

April 14 Private John Walker WILSON (s-f)

April 15 Private Horace NAYLOR MM (s-f)

April 26 Lance Corporal Percy RICHARDSON (s-f)

April 26 Private Fred HILL MM (s-f)


And just as if losses of husbands, fathers and sons were not enough for those at home to endure the Government took action to help replenish the counties much diminished cash resources.

A miserable existence just got worse.

But you can help – VOTE for PROHIBITION !!!

And …

We will let you know in due course ……

 March 5th 2018

The latest Editions of the BUGLE Newsletter and the Poppy List are now available on the website and the Exhibitions in Batley and Birstall Libraries have been updated to reflect the situation in March 1918.

In February we reported that one soldier from Batley and Birstall had been lost during the month. March 1918 was a totally different month – with FORTY men killed and many others badly wounded.

Through his research Peter Claydon came across a review of the book “FIVE DAYS FROM DEFEAT: How Britain Nearly Lost the First World War”. The headline to the article states “A historian as concluded that the French saved Britain from an almost certain rout 100 years ago”.

The article will change a few perceptions and it sets the scene far better than we could do so we have included it in this month’s Latest News. It is shown in full in the LATEST RELEASES and there is a direct link to the article here

The POPPY LIST this month gives details of those who died – additionally, for the Library Exhibition Ken Fedzin has produced a special page showing photographs of some of those who died. Again this is presented in LATEST RELEASES or you can follow this


SOLDIER STORIES – two full stories this month.

Sergeant George SYKES. King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

In research Ken Fedzin found that this soldier came from Slaithwaite but he had close connections with Batley and he is names on the Batley Memorial. He also found that the soldier was buried in Slaithwaite – so falls into the scope of ‘local’ burials and our BUGLE Wreath Ceremonies. We plan to meet at Slaithwaite Cemetery on Monday March 12th to lay a Wreath at Sergeant Sykes’ grave. (The Cemetery is in the A62 away from Huddersfield and we will meet at the Cemetery Gates at 10.45am.)

Sergeant Sykes Soldier’s Story in presented in the LATEST RELEASE tab.

Lance Corporal Edward BARRON. York and Lancaster Regiment

 Lance Corporal Barron is included in the “Drighlington Lads” Roll of Honour that we include in the BUGLE website. (see “Books of Remembrance” tab). This Roll was researched and developed by the late Philip Wheeler who gave all his local research – including his Batley Grammar School book “Batley Lads” – to BUGLE for the website).

We are indebted to Tony Slade, who is related to three of the soldier’s on the Drighlington Memorial, who has agreed to update the Soldier’s Stories and add details and photographs that were not available to Philip Wheeler. Lance Corporal Barron’s story is the first update that Tony has produced. We have added (2018) to the title so both versions can be held in place.

(Philip was keen that any new information should be added to his work but we will of course always keep his original work with the Book of Remembrance)

February 6th 2018

The latest Editions of the BUGLE Newsletter and the Poppy List are now available on the website and the Exhibitions in Batley and Birstall Libraries have been updated to reflect the situation in February 1918. This was a quieter month in the War – with one casualty – but all hell broke loose in March when we lost over forty local men.

The Website has been updated with the short-form Soldier Stories for Gunner Ernest Newsome and Private George Arthur HARGREAVES. More stories will be released mid-month.

Part of the challenge of Project BUGLE is the research behind just the names on the Memorials. And this last month had been particularly interesting.

We reported in January that Able Seaman Farrar Hill had been lost when his submarine crashed and sank in late January. Researching his story – a steam powered submarine in 1917 – was particularly interesting and the research took us to a Museum in Northern Denmark. And a further link with local history was that his father, also Farrar Hill, became Mayor of Batley 194-50.

Gunner Ernest Newsome drowned when his ship sank when it hit a mine as it entered Alexandria Harbour in Egypt. We found relatives in America who knew of him, but nothing about him, and had never seen his photograph. Then it was found that a young Volunteer Nurse had survived the sinking and had written home telling of her ordeal. Contact was made with the granddaughter of the Nurse who lives in Brisbane, Australia and with permission we include that account in this month’s Newsletter.

The full Story of these two men will be released shortly – the release has been consistently delayed by further findings.

The Nurses story is itself quite interesting. She was a volunteer – from a well to do family. The Government were not keen to taking onboard these young women from privileged backgrounds – with no experience working – but the sheer number of shortages of nurses  left them with no alternative. The Nurse’s story had a happy ending – she lived to be 105 years old.

NOW – for any who have a particular interest in “NURSING DURING the GREAT WAR” our close neighbours DEWSBURY SACRIFICES is hosting a talk by Tim Lynch at Dewsbury Minster at 7.30pm on February 13th – all are welcome.

January 22nd 2018

We have added three Soldier Stories to the website – and they can also be found in the LATEST RELEASES section.

Private Frank Brook ROEBUCK who died on December 28th 1917 was a former Batley Rugby League Player. His story also appears in the “Rugby Players” Book of Remembrance in the website

Private Horace RHODES died on December 30th 1917 and a Wreath Ceremony was held today at Batley Cemetery.

Rifleman Albert Edward BARBER died on January 22nd 1918 and a Wreath Ceremony was held today at Batley Cemetery.

 These stories will remain on the website under the Soldier Stories tab but they will also remain under LATEST RELEASES for 90 days.

January 4th 2018

The Team would like to wish all BUGLE followers a happy, healthy and trouble free 2018. We, we know that the Great War would end in another eleven months – but those living the experience had no reason to feel optimistic.

This month’s Newsletter very vividly tells of the thinking of that time, in January 1918, under the leading article ‘THE UNKNOWN FUTURE’.

It starts  ….. “The events and experiences of the past three years have cured most people who indulged in the propensity to prophesy about the end of the war. The beginning of another year finds us in a more resolute mood than in any previous year of the war.”

And ends … “So far as we can see, the year that is before us will involve greater difficulties and heavier burdens than we have hitherto had to bear”.

It is poignant to record that whilst in the life of Project BUGLE – so far – we have remembered over 500 men from Batley and Birstall lost to the conflict – but there will be nearly 350 more men who died from January 1st 1918 through to the end. For many many people the impact of the war had yet to reach them.

For January 2018  – – – we have released the Project BUGLE Newsletter and this month’s Poppy List. The exhibitions in both Batley and Birstall Libraries reflect the happenings of the new month.


Additionally, we have published, and placed on the website (LATEST RELEASES), the shorter version of the Soldier’s Story for ..

  • Jan  2        Private. Donald James WATSON
  • Jan  9        Naval Engineer John ROBINSON
  • Jan 22       Rifleman Albert Edward BARBER
  • Jan 31       Able Seaman Farrar HILL

Wreath Ceremonies

 It was regrettable that we couldn’t hold the planned Ceremony for Pte. Rhodes on December 30th. However, earlier this week, we placed the Wreath and the BUGLE Marker on his grave and we will tell his story and complete the Ceremony at the next Wreath  Ceremony.

Therefore on Monday January 22nd we will meet at the Chapel in Batley Cemetery at 10.30 for an 11.00am service with Wreath Ceremonies for …..

Private. Horace RHODES of the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry,


Rifleman Albert Edward BARBER of the Royal Irish Rifles

All are welcome and teas and coffees will be available both before and after the proceedings.

For the Project BUGLE TEAM.