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March 8th 2019
Three Wreath Ceremonies were held during the last month …..
- James Douglas LYON of the Royal Engineers
- John Fawcett COOKSON of the West Riding Regiment
- Alfred Handley of the Royal Army Service Corps.
Whilst researching Alfred Handley’s Soldier Story it was realised that his younger brother Private Tom Robinson HANDLEY, of the North Staffordshire Regiment, had been killed on September 29th 1918. He was buried at Aisne in France but we included his story at the grave side of his older brother and markers were placed together for both men.
During March the following Ceremonies will take place ….
- S.A.R. Albert Edward PICKLES. Royal Navy Auxiliary Sick Berth Reserve,on March 11th – 10.45 at Batley Cemetery
- Gunner Willie CLEGG, Royal Field Artillery, March 22nd – 10.45 at St. Peter’s Birstall
Commonwealth War Grave Commission
Formal confirmation has been received that the CWGC is reviewing the sixteen cases of names on the Batley War Memorial who were not included in the Official List of WWI Casualties – we were advised that the review will be held in the near future.
At the same time as the Batley list was compiled it was established that two men were buried in St. Peter’s Churchyard, Birstall who had not been included in the official records.
Private Ernest POLLARD, Labour Corps, Died February 17th 1919
S.R.A Roland George PRIDE, Royal Navy Sick Bay Berth, Died February 12th 1923
As Roland Pride died after the official cut-off date – August 31st 1921 – he cannot be included in the list of official war casualties.
Ernest Pollard’s Soldier’s Story and background has been fully researched and a submission has been made to CWGC to have his name included in the official list.
And finally …
One of the project team – Stephen Walker – is a Friend and Helper at Birstall Library and acts as our project man on the ground. He heard from a proud father that his son had written a poem about WWI during his school work. Stephen asked that we add it to the Project BUGLE website.
Charging bullets hitting the target, running in fear, we dive for life
We observe the wounded that shout for help, it’s a disgrace here
Getting shot is even worse than the trenches, anxiously, we fire
The cold winter hits my face like a charging air of chlorines gas
Bravely, we keep our heads up and try to save our country, England
From dusk until dawn we never stop, they’re bombing us in the trenches
The food is raw and canned.
We dream of our families embracing us in our homes
Oscar White, aged 8, St. Mary’s Roman Catholic School Batley
January 29th 2019
This will be the first month in over four and a half years where we have not published a Newsletter. For the future we will issue a ‘Latest News’ statement to keep you abreast of latest developments.
There will be three ceremonies during February 2019
- Birstall St. Peter’s Church
10.45am at the Church on February 11th 2019
For Private James Douglas Lyon of the Royal Engineers
- Batley Cemetery
10.45am at the Chapel on February 17th 2019
For Private John Fawcett Cookson of the West Yorkshire Regiment
- Batley Cemetery
10.45am at the Chapel on February 26th 2019
For Driver Alfred Hadley of the Royal Army Service Corps.
Soldier Casualties after the Armistice
From the date of the signing of the Armistice a further 66 soldiers deaths were recorded on the Batley War Memorial. From research this seemed a high number compared to the WWI graves in Batley Cemetery for the same period.
A detailed analysis highlighted that sixteen soldiers were buried in the Cemetery, recorded on the War Memorial, but were not added to the official CWGC Casualty Register.
- Private Joah MORTIMER Durham Light Infantry November 5th 1918 – aged 22
- Corporal Herbert BOOKER Irish Rifles January 6th 1919 – aged 36
- Private Alfred INESON Royal Medical Corps.January 7th 1919 – aged 25
- Ex-Private Fred Fox COOPER West Yorkshire Regiment April 3rd 1919 – aged 37
- Private John GAVAGHAN King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry April 12th 1919 – aged 53
- Ex-Lance Corporal Herbert ROBINS Coldstream Guards July 14th 1919 – aged 29
- PrivateJames William RAYNER King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry August 30th 1919 – aged 32
- Ex-Pioneer Robert Smith DIXON Royal Engineers September 9th 1919 – aged 28
- Ex-Private Leonard ASHTON Royal Defence Corps. October 4th 1919 – aged 20
- Ex-Lance Corporal John MURPHY Army Ordnance Corps. December 23rd 1919 – aged 30
- Gunner Herbert Stanley BROWN Royal Garrison Artillery February 23rd 1920 – aged 30
- Private Thomas Henry COOK King’s Own Scottish Borderers April 12th 1920 – aged 26
- Ex-Private Samuel GLEDHILL King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry January 1st 1921 – aged 28
- Private James McDONALD Royal Defence Corps. March 21st 1921 – aged 48
- Ex-Pioneer Anthony CADDEN Royal Engineers March 26th 1921 – aged 45
- Ex-Sergeant Thomas Albert GIBSON King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry May 3rd 1919 – aged 39
We have taken the matter up with the CWGC requesting a review.
All of the men were discharged and returned home. Some never served – they signed on but failed the medical when they were called up. Some lived many years after discharge and died of everyday causes – flu being the most prevalent. Whilst all situations will be reviewed special consideration has been requested for seven on the list. They all served more than one year including service on the frontline.
Further developments will be advised in due course.
January 7th 2019
The January Edition of the BUGLE Newsletter and the Poppy List are now available on the website and the Exhibitions in Batley and Birstall Libraries.
The BUGLE NEWSLETTER
This will be the 54th and final monthly edition of the “Project BUGLE Newsletter”. There will be five special issues of the newsletter over the coming months and details will be announced shortly.
The Exhibitions in Batley and Birstall Libraries
The Exhibitions in Batley and Birstall Libraries will continue until the end of June 2019 to coincide with 100th Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles – bringing the formal political end to the war. At this time we would like to thank the staff of both Batley and Birstall Libraries for their help with the monthly Exhibitions and the distribution of the Newsletters.
The Exhibitions will now include a POPPY LIST of all the soldiers who died after January 1st 1919 and are named on the Batley and Birstall War memorials. Also included will be the schedule of Wreath Ceremonies planned for 2019.
These will be held on the 100th day/year anniversary of the soldiers death through to October. There will then be four Ceremonies outstanding which have anniversaries running into 2020 and 2021.
We therefore plan to hold these four Ceremonies on Remembrance Day November 11th 2019. This will then complete the commitments made in the Project BUGLE intentions.
The stories about the following soldiers have been added to the website and links to the stories have been placed in “LATEST RELEASES”
Private Arthur WALSHAW died December 20th 1918
Private Clifford BRUCE MM died December 28th 1918
Private Alfred INESON died January 7th 1919
Private Clifford BRUCE MM
After the Wreath Ceremony for Private Bruce our Hon. Project Bugle poet penned the following words …
TODAY IN BATLEY
We were at the Cemetery there in Batley
It was on that cold, wet, grey December day
When we stood at a fallen soldier’s graveside
We were there all our respect we wished to pay
We, we are the members of ‘Project Bugle’
Who to this sacred graveside on this day came
We were there to honour another fallen soldier
The world would hear, again spoken his proud name
It was Private Clifford Bruce MM. this fallen soldier
With the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) he did serve
Had lived at 15 Carr Street, Birstall, but born in Batley
Clifford’s loving wife Eliza, she did not this deserve
It was December 1918 there at the hospital in London
Clifford from wounds received in France he sadly died
His Military Medal was presented ‘for bravery in the field’
His two year old son Clifford holds his fathers medal with pride
It is 100 years today since he fell in the service of our country
This young man who came from this proud Yorkshire town
It was in the First World War that just like many others
Clifford proudly served, for us laying his young life down
Sleep forever in peace now you brave British soldier
Your great sacrifice for your country it was not in vain
As the last post sounds again there at your graveside
Once more the world will hear spoken your proud name
Stuart Bailey. 28.12.2018
December 4th 2018
The December Edition of the BUGLE Newsletter and the Poppy List are now available on the website and the Exhibitions in Batley and Birstall Libraries reflect the situation in December 1918.
Although the armed conflict ended over three weeks earlier six men from Batley and Birstall died whilst on Service. In fact over 50 men died over the following couple of years as a result of injuries received during the War.
The main activity over the last four weeks has been the Eve of the Armistice ‘Moment for Reflection’ gathering at St. Peter’s Parish Church.
It was a special evening and thanks go to those who look took part and particularly to Rev. Paul Knight and his team at the Church. Thanks also to the ‘Birstall in Bloom’ team for preparing such a beautiful floral tribute and to The Mayor of Kirklees and her Consort – Gwen and Ken – for joining our event and staying after to talk to so many who attended.
PLANS for Project BUGLE
Although the Armistice was signed on November 11th 1918 – and the fighting stopped – the political end of the war didn’t come until June 1919 with the signing of the ‘Treaty of Versailles’. I fact over fifty local men died as a result of their war efforts after the date of the Armistice.
The January edition of the Project BUGLE Newsletter will be the last produced in the monthly series. There are plans to produce another five or six special editions under a group series of ‘How We Remembered Them’.
The Exhibitions will continue in both Batley and Birstall Libraries.
We will continue in 2019 to hold the Wreath Ceremonies on the 100th day/year Anniversary date for those who were buried locally. The last one falls in October. Thereafter there are four anniversaries that occur in the following two years.
For assured completeness we plan to hold these four Wreath Ceremonies on Remembrance Day November 11th 2019 for the four men …
Private Joseph Miller CRAWSHAW, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry,
Died – March 1st 1920
Farrier Sergeant Frederick HEMMINGWAY, Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry)
Died – December 25th 1920
Sgt. Joseph Edward MUNNS MM, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Died – January 7th 1921
Rifleman George LEE, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Died – October 6th 1921
As has been the practice over the last four years full details of the Ceremonies will be posted on the Project BUGLE website
WREATH CEREMONIES in the coming few weeks
Wreath Ceremony for Private Arthur WALSHAW of the Northumberland Fusiliers at DEWSBURY Cemetery on December 20th 2018 at 10.45. Meet by the Top Gate
Wreath Ceremony for Private Clifford BRUCE of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) at Batley Cemetery on December 28th 2018 at 10.45. Meet by the Chapel.
Wreath Ceremony for Private Alfred INESON of the Royal Army Medical Corps. at Batley Cemetery on January 7th 2019 at 10.45. Meet by the Chapel
The stories about the following soldiers have been added to the website and links to the stories have been placed in “LATEST RELEASES”
Gunner Edward CHADWICK died November 13th 1918
Ex-Pte. Joah MORTIMER died November 15th 1918
Sgt. Fred GREENWOOD died November 17th 1918
Pte. Charles MYATT died December 1st 1918
November 6th 2018
The November Edition of the BUGLE Newsletter and the Poppy List are now available on the website and the Exhibitions in Batley and Birstall Libraries reflect the situation in November 1918.
During this month there were TWENTY-SEVEN losses from Batley and Birstall.
This month in 1918 marked the beginning of the end of World War One and the 2018 BUGLE November Newsletter has the headline ”THE WAR IS OVER”. The announcement was made on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. The Germans signed the Allies Armistice at 5.00am on that morning. Whilst this was planned to be the end of the hostilities it wasn’t until June 28th 1919 that the political end was achieved through the formality of the Treaty of Versailles.
Many WWI events are taking place this month and through Project BUGLE and the local churches a special night is planned for November 10th
Wreath Ceremony for Private Joah MORTIMER of the Durham Light Infantry at Batley Cemetery on November 13th 2018 at 10.45. Meet by the Chapel.
Wreath Ceremony for Sergeant Fred GREENWOOD of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment at Batley Cemetery on November 13th 2018 also at 10.45. Meet by the Chapel.
Wreath Ceremony for Gunner Edward CHADWICK of the Royal Field Artillery at Dewsbury Cemetery on November 13th 2018 at 12.00. Meet at the top gate on Burgh Mill Lane.
The stories about the following soldiers have been added to the website and links to the stories have been placed in “LATEST RELEASES”
- Private Thomas SMITH
- Private Andrew SMITH
- 2nd Lieutenant John Walter HANSTOCK
- Private George Charles FRANCIS
- Gunner Willie THWAITES
- Private George William LEES
- Ex Able Seaman William Frederick TOWNSEND
SPECIAL RESEARCH by Ken Fedzin.
With the end of hostilities declared, Ken has researched the two soldiers who were the first and the last to be ‘killed in action’.
The two men were
Private Alfred Percy DYER (aka Joe Winrow)
King’s Own Yorkshire Light infantry
Killed at Mons on August 26th 1914
Corporal Herbert SUTCLIFFE
King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Killed in France on November 7th 1918
The stories of these two men can be found by following this link
A new book has just been released that links the First World War with the world of Rugby – League but as it was then ‘The Northern Union. Local Historian Jane Roberts, and her husband Chris, have produced an extremely well researched and superbly presented book “The Greatest Sacrifice – The Fallen Heroes of the Northern Union” — many a Christmas present solved!!
October 31st 2018
“A Moment for Reflection”
Plans are now complete for the special event to be held at St. Peter’s Parish Church, Birstall on Saturday November 10th – the Eve of the WWI Armistice.
This a collective service involving the Batley and Birstall churches together with project BUGLE
I’m delighted that we will be joined by the Mayor of Kirklees, Councillor Gwen Lowe.
Please pass on an invitation to your friends – a special moment and time to reflect on the impact WWI had on Batley and Birstall
October 2nd 2018
The October Edition of the BUGLE Newsletter and the Poppy List are now available on the website and the Exhibitions in Batley and Birstall Libraries reflect the situation in October 1918.
During this month there were FIFTY FOUR losses from Batley and Birstall.
——— ********* ——–
The LATEST RELEASES now also contain ……
Full Soldier Stories for ….
- Arthur REDFEARN – died from wounds July 23rd 1917
- Air Mechanic Alfred HELLIWELL – killed September 6th 1918
- John T. COGAN MM – Killed in Action September 30th 1918
- Air Mechanic Harry SYKES – died in hospital October 8th 1918
- Tom RILEY – died at home October 13th 1918
- Deck Hand Harold GAUNT – died in hospital October 17th 1918
- Wilfred E. EARNSHAW – died from wounds October 17th 1918
- Thornton WOOD – died at home October 28th 1918
- Robert R. RAMSDEN – died in hospital October 29th 1918
- George C. FRANCIS – died in hospital October 31st 1918
There are also TEN Soldier Stories in the shorter format in the LATEST RELEASES Section
There are ten Wreath Ceremonies during the month and the details of the dates and times are shown on the website in the EVENTS SECTION.
HERITAGE LOTTERY FUND
Pleasing to report that the project has come through the stage review of the projects achievements against the objectives we set out and HLF have completed a full audit of how we spent the first £8,500 of the Project BUGLE grant.
We have now received the second stage grant of £7,500.
Additionally the HLF have agreed to our request to extend the project through to the end of 2019 and they will fund the spend through to the end of the extension. This will allow us to complete our ambitious plans and also add a few new features to our ‘legacy’ intentions.
A MOMENT FOR REFLECTION
A date for your diary – Saturday November 10th at 6.30pm at St. Peter’s Parish Church, Birstall. Remembrance Sunday this year coincides with the 100th year Anniversary of the ending of the conflict of the First World. On the eve of that Anniversary we plan to collect to take time to reflect on the last four and a half years of WWI. To remember those lost but also to remember those who returned – many wounded in body and well as mind.
I am please that both the local MP and the Mayor have accepted invitations to join us.
Full details in the November release BUT WRITE IT DOWN today.
September 2nd 2018
The September Edition of the BUGLE Newsletter and the Poppy List are now available on the website and the Exhibitions in Batley and Birstall Libraries reflect the situation in September 1918.
During the August there were FORTY losses from Batley and Birstall.
The LATEST RELEASES Tab now also contain ……
Full Soldier Stories for ….
- Fred MIDGLEY MM killed July 19th 1918
- Harry ALDERSON killed July 20th 1918
- Fred Arthur MANN died as POW August 14th 1918
- William KELLY died at home September 12 1918
(Special thanks to Denise Nelson – Denise Jackson to all from Howden Clough – for access to family papers relating to Harry Alderson. Harry Alderson was killed in action at a time when his father was a POW in Germany. The soldier story contains extracts from the family letters.)
Wreath Ceremony – included in the above stories is that for William Kelly. Although he enrolled in 1915 he wasn’t called forward until June 1918 by which time he was found to be quite seriously ill. He was discharged in early September and died at home on September 12th. He served just one day in uniform. His was regarded as a civilian death and he wasn’t included in the War List of Casualties but his name is on the Batley Memorial. The Project Team will lay a Wreath on his grave at 11.00 am on September 12th at Batley Cemetery. An open invitation is extended to those who wish to join us.
The next full Wreath Ceremony is at Batley Cemetery on October 8th. There are in fact EIGHT Wreath Ceremonies locally during October and full details will be on the website shortly. In a couple of cases we are holding Ceremonies on the same day.
Visit to Tyne Cot – as advised in the August 16th Latest News our BUGLE colleague, Ken Fedzin, visited the Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial during his recent touring holiday and placed a BUGLE Wreath on behalf of the people and Batley and Birstall to the men remembered there.
A full report and a series of photographs can be found on the Website under the ‘RELATED ARTICLES’ tab — or just follow this link …
Ken took quite a number of photographs of the names on the Memorials and the Graves of the Batley and Birstall men who were buried there. If you have a relative associated with Tyne Cot then contact the website via info@projectBUGLE.org.uk and we will forward any relative images.
August 16th 2018
Ken Fedzin – who is a member of the project BUGLE team, will be
visiting Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial Gardens on August 16th.
He will be placing a Wreath to the memory of the sixty-eight men
from Batley and Birstall who were buried there or who are listed
on the Memorials.
TYNE COT CEMETERY
This wreath is laid by team members of Project BUGLE (www.project bugle.org.uk)
on behalf of the grateful people of Batley and Birstall, West Yorkshire, England.
The 68 men named below are Remembered with Honour
on the Tyne Cot Memorial and in Tyne Cot Cemetery.
They were among the 1,000 men from the West Yorkshire towns of
Batley and Birstall
who gave their lives for King and Country during the First World War.
For Project BUGLE
August 16th 2018
August 7th 2018
The August Edition of the BUGLE Newsletter and the Poppy List are now available on the website and the Exhibitions in Batley and Birstall Libraries reflect the situation in August 1918.
During the August there were TWENTY losses from Batley and Birstall.
The LATEST RELEASES now also contain ……
Full Soldier Stories for ….
- Driver Sam DIXON
The Shorter Format Stories (s-f) for
- Gunner Arthur WILSON (s-f)
- Private George SWIFT (s-f)
- Driver Sam DIXON (s-f)
- Driver George DOBSON (s-f)
- Private George H. GOODARE (s-f)
- Private Allen AINLEY (s-f)
- Private Clement MANNING (s-f)
- Private Thomas William YATES (s-f)
- Driver Gilbert WILSON (s-f)
On MONDAY AUGUST 13th we are holding a Wreath Ceremony at St Paul’s Church, Hanging Heaton for Driver Sam Dixon who died on that date 100 years ago. The Ceremony will follow our well established format and we will meet in the Church Hall – by the Church gate – from 10.30 am. We will be joined by Rev. Martin Naylor and Rev. Val Keating.
Those who follow BUGLE might remember that in May we remembered Private John Bailey Dixon MM – he was one of Sam’s older brothers. As John’s body was killed in action and his body never recovered it seemed appropriate to lay a Wreath for him at Sam’s Ceremony.
The brothers were two of five who served in the First World War and our research has found grandchildren from Sam and John and the youngest brother Eli. I am delighted to advise that nine grandchildren from these three men will be joining us for this Ceremony – they will be traveling from Cornwall, Tadcaster and Batley. Some have never met …… it should be quite an occasion.
We hope you might be able to join us.
June 27th 2018
Due to a Wreath Ceremony taking place early in the month the
LATEST NEWS bulletin is being circulated earlier than usual. This
should give those interested time to plan their attendance.
The July Edition of the BUGLE Newsletter and the Poppy List are
now available on the website and the Exhibitions in Batley and
Birstall Libraries will be updated on Monday July 2nd to reflect the
situation in July 1918.
During the month there were TWENTY TWO losses from
Batley and Birstall.
The LATEST RELEASES now also contain full Soldier Stories for
• Driver Harry Boyes
• Private Arthur Berry
This month we have two Wreath Ceremonies for men listed on the
Batley War Memorial but who were buried in nearby towns.
Driver Harry Boyes – July 4th
On Wednesday July 4th a Ceremony will take place at Morley
Cemetery for Driver Harry Boyes of the Royal Field Artillery. The
event will be hosted by Morley Royal British Legion and lead by
Morley Community Archives. Please meet by the main gate, off
Leeds Road, around 10.30am – the Ceremony will take place at the
Private Arthur Berry – July 11th
On Wednesday July 11th a Ceremony will take place at
Heckmondwike Upper Congregational Church for Private Arthur Berry
of the West Yorkshire Regiment. The event will be hosted at the
Chapel by Heckmondwike Royal British Legion together with the
Spen Valley Royal British Legion and Spen Valley Historical Society.
Meet at the Chapel from 10.30 when teas and coffees will be
available. The Chapel is down the main road into Heckmondwike
from Batley (WF16 9JP) and parking is in the Chapel grounds. Due
to the state of the graveyard the Ceremony will take place on the
forecourt to the Chapel’s War Memorial.
June 15th 2018
Following a number of requests to distribute their stories down this route I attach the Soldier Stories for the TOWNLEY brothers. Willie, the older of the two died in hospital in France on June 1st 1918. George survived the war and later in his life he wrote an account of his war experiences and what life was like when he returned to Civvy Street in Batley. This is the first time this account has been available outside of his immediately family.
BLUE PLAQUE UNVEILING …..
Through the efforts of Batley History Group a new Blue Plaque will be unveiled at Batley ZION – Central Methodist Chapel – on Wednesday June 20th at 11.00am. All are welcome. This is the second in a series of Blue Plaque initiatives being managed by Peter Connor on behalf of BHG.
Soldier Story — Private Percy BODEN, Northumberland Fusiliers
June 21st marks the 100th anniversary of the death of 18 year old Percy Boden. He was captured with weeks of going to the front and died in hospital in Hamburg following an operation for Appendicitis. His Soldier Story is attached.
June 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 June 1918.
During the month there were NINE losses from Batley and Birstall.
——— ********* ——–
Last month in the Newsletter we reported on the death of Private Percy Link of the Manchester Regiment. The article was read by members of his direct family and they kindly sent a photograph of Percy with his wife, Elsie, and their young son Norman. The photograph has been included in the June Newsletter.
On May 27th 1918 Ex-Private Fred Avison of the Durham Light Infantry died at home in Batley. He had been a Reservist for over a year but was discharged from the Army due to poor health. He died eight months after his discharge and so he had civilian status at the time of his death. This being the case he was not included in the Commonwealth War Register but, at his family’s request, his name was added to the Batley War Memorial. It seemed appropriate that his passing should be noted and a Wreath was placed on his grave on the Anniversary date.
Fred Avison’s brother, Private Charles Avison of the East Yorks. Regiment was killed on April 17th 1917 and both soldier’s stories have been added to the BUGLE website.
[For those interested in Batley History the soldiers’ father was Arthur Avison an important brother in the “Nelson of the Nile Lodge” – Lodge 264 – and the family lived in the Masonic Lodge, at the bottom of Park Street, right up to 1898 – the year of Arthur’s death, at forty years old. He died in the year he had been installed as the Worshipful Master.]
This month LATEST RELEASES contains-
Full Soldier Stories for
- Private Charles Avison
- Private Horace Naylor MM
- Private Fred Hill MM
- Sapper Frank Jackson
- Ex Private Frederick Avison
- Private John Bailey Dixon MM, and
Shorter Format for
- Private Willie Townsley (S-F)
- Rifleman Godfrey Moore (S-F)
- Private Israel Hey (S-F)
- Rifleman Clifford Bennett Ineson (S-F)
- Private Alfred Haggerston (S-F)
- Sergeant William Pit Kitson (S-F)
Additionally included in LATEST RELEASES are two other stories.
Brothers Willie and George Townsley both served in France. Older brother Willie died at Etaples on June 1st 1918. Younger, George returned home at the end of the war. Willie’s Soldier Story is included in LATEST RELEASES.
In 1977 George Townsley wrote of his experiences in the war and he told the story of returning to Civvy Street and picking up his life in Batley. He married, had a family and lived well into his eighties. This personal account has never been read outside the Townsley family. But George’s daughter has given us permission to lift the story and add it to the BUGLE records.
If you read Willie’s story, at the end there is a link direct to George’s article. But you can find George’s article directly by looking on the website at the TAB “Soldier’s/Sailor’s Stories” – first file “THOSE WHO CAME BACK”. It is a remarkable insight into life in Batley after The First World War.
May 2nd 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 May 1918.
During the month there were SIXTEEN losses from Batley and Birstall.
Sapper Frank JACKSON died on the 15th of the month and he was buried in St Peter’s Church at Birstall. We will be holding a Wreath Ceremony for him on the same date. This will be the first of our Wreath Ceremonies to be held at Birstall Churchyard and I am delighted that we will be hosted by the Church for our event. Usual timings for such an event – 10.30am at the Church with a walk to the graveside for an 11.00am service. We hope many of you will come to support the project in this first Birstall Wreath Ceremony.
On May 27th we lost Private John Bailey DIXON MM – yet another Military Medal winner lost in such a short space of time.
Private John Bailey DIXON MM. K.O.Y.L.I.
John Bailey Dixon was born in March 1882 and lived in Leeds Road, Dewsbury. He was one of four brothers who served in WWI – two of the brothers died. In July 1910 John married Grace Ladyman Bramley and they subsequently had two children – Norman and Laura.
This photograph shows John and Grace with their children – Norman and Laura. Norman was the father of Grahame and Keith Dixon who live in Batley. Project BUGLE is indebted to them for providing and giving permission for us to use the photograph and for giving access to copies of their Grandfather’s letters to his wife.
John Dixon joined the forces in September 1916 and went to the front the following January. He was involved in a great deal of action and sent regular letters home to ‘his Dear Wife’.
A very modest man – he wrote on May 4th 1918 …..
“I have been decorated today with my Military Medal Ribbon. I shall not get the medal ‘til I return to Blighty so I shall have to wait for that. They was very proud today when I had it pinned on me after the parade. They came shaking hands with me and wished me the best of luck. I told them it would be no good to me if it did not bring me luck. Dear Wife it has been hard earned. I will not say what I got it for because I do not want a lot of paper talk. You can tell the Vicar I got the Military Medal for good work on the Somme. I would like the Vicar to know but I do not want my photo to get in the paper. I am satisfied with what I have got without a lot of talk.”
And then on May 20th …
“My Darling wife and children and sister. Times changes and we have to do with the times but not with those we love, for the longer I am away from you and more I long to see your dear faces. …… It makes me think that this terrible war is never going to finish and it makes me more dissatisfied with our life’s journey. I try to keep my trust in God but when we have been so happy together it makes it hard. ….. From your and ever lasting husband. So goodnight and God bless you all”.
This was his last letter. He was reported missing on May 27th. His body was never found and it was over a year and three months before he was officially declared dead and his family could finally receive his pension.
Again thank you to Grahame and Keith for allowing us today to read these family treasures.
It is pleasing to record that both the Dewsbury Reporter and the Batley News devoted a full page in their Thursday April 26th edition to tell the story of the five Military Medal holders who were killed one hundred years ago. We are pleased the soldiers’ stories received such a wider audience.
And, following that publication, we have been contacted by the family of Private Fred Hill MM asking for more information about him. More might follow …..
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)
EFFECTS OF THE WAR
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 !!!
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
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.