St Helen’s Church, Sandal
First World War N-Z
The bronze memorial at the west end of the church honours the fallen of both world wars.
72287 Sapper Leonard Walls North, of Base Signals Depot, Royal Engineers, died on 13 October 1918, aged 29. Son of Leonard and Anne North, later of Newmillerdam and formerly of Milnthorpe. Buried at Abbeville Community Cemetery extension, Somme.
Wakefield Express, 26 October 1918:
Sapper Leonard W. North, Royal Engineers [signalling section], only surviving son of Mr and Mrs North, Birdleigh, Milnthorpe, died from Bronchial Pneumonia in the 3rd Australian General Hospital, Abbeville, France, on the 13th inst. He was 29 years of age and in civil life he was a fitter in the employ of Messrs E. Green and Sons.
Although engaged on important work, he felt it his duty to fight for his Country, and he enlisted on November 5th 1914. In April of the following year he went to the Dardanelles and in December, having contracted enteric fever, he came home to England where he was in hospital in Manchester for six months.
In December 1916 he was sent back to Alexandria and was with General Allenby’s Forces in Jerusalem and other places, where he had a very trying time, the attack of enteric having left its effects. In September 1917 he returned to England and after being at home on leave for fourteen days - when it was obvious that he was not well - he returned to duty in France in July last. The change of climate and his weakened condition had serious effect, but he stuck manfully to his duties as long as he possibly could.
ROLL OF HONOUR
NORTH: On the 13th inst at Abbeville France of Broncho-Pneumonia, Sapper Leonard W. North Royal Engineers aged 29 years the dearly beloved son of Mr and Mrs L. North, "Birdleigh" Milnthorpe.
R/17434 Rifleman Robert Osbourn, 2nd Bn, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, died aged 20 on 10 or 12 (CWGC) July 1917. He is commemorated on the Nieuport Memorial, Belgium.
Wakefield Express Roll of Honour 28 August 1917:
Killed in action somewhere in France on July 10th 1917, Bugler R Osbourn, aged 20, King’s Royal Rifles, of Walton.
A. Parr (Military Medal)
15325 Private Arthur Parr MM, 1st Bn Coldstream Guards, died of wounds aged 32 on 5 November 1918. Son of William Parr, husband of Alice Beatrice Parr, of 69 Haddingley Hill, Sandal. Buried at Villers-Pol Communal Cemetery extension.
Wakefield Express 12 October 1918:
MILITARY MEDAL FOR SANDALITE
TAKING DESPATCHES UNDER HEAVY SHELL FIRE
The Military Medal has been awarded to Private Arthur Parr, Coldstream Guards, whose home is at 69 Haddingley Hill, Sandal. He is a despatch rider and earned his distinction by taking despatches under very heavy fire. Prior to enlisting in 1915 he worked at Kirkgate branch of the Wakefield Industrial Society Ltd.
Wakefield Express Roll of Honour, 7 December 1918:
PARR: In loving memory of my dear husband Private Arthur Parr, Coldstream Guards, of 69 Haddingley Hill, Sandal, who died of wounds on 5th November 1918 aged 32. From his sorrowing wife and children.
A photograph of Pte Parr was published in the Wakefield Express on 5 October 1918.
13502 Private George Pashley, 9th Bn, Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment), died of wounds aged 27 on 20 May 1918. He was the son of George and Ellen Pashley, of Ivy Dene, Ashdown Road, Sandal. Born at Newmillerdam. Buried at Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais.
Wakefield Express, 8 June 1918:
Private George Pashley (27), Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, a single man who lived with his brother Mr John Pashley and his wife at Ivydene, Ashdown Road, Sandal, was killed in France on May 20th. He had been wounded and was in hospital, which was bombed by the Germans from the air, and he was killed. Previous to enlisting in September 1914 he worked at Mr Moodie’s wine and spirit merchant, Wakefield. He had been three years in France.
267378 Corporal Leonard Pickard, 1/6th Bn, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, killed in action aged 34 on 30 April 1918. Son of the late Henry Pickard and Anne Pickard, of Sandal. Buried in the Jerusalem War Cemetery, Palestine (now Israel).
Wakefield Express Roll of Honour 25 May 1918:
PICKARD: Officially reported killed in action in France, 30th April, Corporal Leonard Pickard, aged 34, son of Annie and the late Henry Pickard, Manygates Lane, Sandal.
Note the apparent discrepancy in the place of death. The CWGC register gives the Jerusalem grave reference/ panel number as O.1.15
18874 Private E. H. Pickles, 7th Bn, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, who was killed in action aged 20 on 27 August 1916. He is buried at Carnoy Military Cemetery, Somme. Son of Mr and Mrs J. H. Pickles, of Ashdown Road, Sandal.
Note: Probably Ernest Harold Pickles whose birth was registered in Wakefield in the June quarter of 1896.
80178 Gunner William Alfred Pickles, 29th Division Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery, died aged 26 on 23 October 1915. Commemorated on the Mikra Memorial, Thessalonika, Greece.
Wakefield Express, 20 November 1915:
SANDAL SOLDIER THOUGHT TO BE DROWNED
Mrs Pickles, of Ashdown Road, Sandal, has received official intimation that her son Private William A. Pickles of the Royal Field Artillery, with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, is reported missing and thought to be drowned. Pickles. who is 26 years of age, worked at Sharlston Colliery when joining the Colours in August 1914.
Note 1: The Mikra Memorial is in the Mikra British Cemetery. The memorial commemorates, among others, almost 500 nurses, officers and men who died when troop transports and hospital ships were lost in the Mediterranean and who have no grave but the sea. They are commemorated at Mikra because others who went down in the same vessels were washed ashore and identified and are now buried at Thessalonika.
Note 2: The 29th Division served in Gallipoli and, after the British forces’ evacuation, transferred to Salonika (now Thessalonika).
34268 Private Charles Poxon, 5th Bn, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, died aged 38 on Christmas Day, 25 December 1918. He is buried in Cologne Southern Cemetery. Son of Mr John Poxon, of 10 Haw Park, Walton. Also named on Walton War Memorial.
No further information available. Three men with this name and first initial recorded in the CWGC register.
3573 Private George Frederick Priday, 1/4th Bn, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, died aged 21 on 31 December 1915. Son of David and Fanny Amelia Priday, of Low Town, Walton. Buried at Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais.
Wakefield Express Roll of Honour, 6 January 1917:
PRIDAY: In loving memory of our beloved son, brother and friend, Private George Frederick Priday, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, who fell asleep from gas poisoning at Etaples Farm, December 31, 1915. Mother, Father, Brothers and Sisters.
Note: Numerous Roll of Honour announcements including verses continue to at least 1919.
Multiple entries in the CWGC register.
Captain Guy Hepworth Roberts, 2/4th Bn, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, died of wounds aged 25 on 22 November 1917. Son of Arthur Hepworth and Mary Alice Roberts, of Woodthorpe Hall, Wakefield. Buried at Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt, Somme.
Wakefield Express, 1 December 1917
WAKEFIELD CAPTAIN’S SACRIFICE
WHILST LEADING HIS MEN IN AN ATTACK
HIS GALLANT EXAMPLE AND LEADERSHIP
THE LOSS OF AN EXCELLENT COMPANY COMMANDER
Captain Guy H. Roberts, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, who died of wounds on the 22nd inst received whilst leading his men in the great attack on the 20th, was the elder son of Mr and Mrs A. H. Roberts, Woodthorpe Hall near Wakefield. As soon as war was declared Captain Roberts tried to enlist in the Artists’ Rifles and again in the Public School Boys Naval Division, but was rejected for defective eyesight. He was, however, given a commission in our local Territorials in November. When the Division was finally formed the Brigadier asked him to serve on his staff, and in September 1916 General Braithwaite, Commanding the Division, appointed him his personal A.D.C. This post Captain Robert held until May 1917 when he rejoined his regiment (which had suffered heavy casualties in officers) to go into the fighting line. Captain Roberts got his Company in July last, and had been in the front line since January.
Writing to his father the Colonel of the Company says:- ‘We all mourn the loss of a cheery gallant friend, and in addition to the loss of an excellent Company Commander whom I cannot replace. Your boy was looking forward with great confidence to the attack, and I saw and spoke to him just before our troops were launched. All his arrangements were in perfect order, and he was as merry and cheerful as ever. The last words he said when we left him were “We are going to have a great time today.”’
His Major in the course of a kind letter, says:- ‘Guy died leading his men into an attack which was completely successful and it was his gallant example and leadership which greatly helped us to gain our objective.’
Captain Roberts, like many other Wakefield boys, began his education at the Preparatory School in Wakefield kept by Misses Gissing and afterwards he proceeded to a well known preparatory school at Buxton. From here he won an open exhibition at Oundle and was a member of the school football fifteen, head of his house, and captain of his house cricket and football teams. He also rowed in his house boat, and was an all round athlete.
Captain Roberts, who was 25 years of age, was articled to a well known firm of Charted Accountants in Sheffield and had passed the preliminary and intermediate examination of the Institute.
Note: The article was accompanied by a photograph of Capt Roberts.
There are 12 people with this name and first initial in the CWGC register, including a Territorial Force nurse.
29991 Private Jabez Sayles, not listed on St Helen’s memorial but buried in the churchyard. He was serving with 3rd Bn King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry when he died, aged 28, on 23 February 1919. Husband of Alice Sayles, of 5 Poplar Terrace, Agbrigg Road, Sandal Cross Lane.
Lieutenant Joseph Senior, 45 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps (formerly of the 11th Bn West Yorkshire Regiment) died of wounds aged 24 on 9 May 1917. He is buried at Bailleu Communal Cemetery Extension (North). He was the son of Arthur Senior of Manygates Park, Sandal.
Wakefield Express, 19 May 1917:
DEATH OF A WAKEFIELD OFFICER
SHOT IN AN AERIAL ENCOUNTER WITH THE HUN
FIRING HIS GUN THOUGH MORTALLY WOUNDED
HIS AMAZING CALMNESS AND COURAGE
A BRILLIANT SCHOLASTIC CAREER CUT SHORT
Another of Wakefield's most promising citizens has given his life for King and Country. We refer to Lieutenant Joseph Senior, the eldest son of Mr A. Senior, Manygates Park Sandal, of the West Riding Treasurer’s Department at Wakefield. The young Lieutenant – he was only 24 years of age –was one of the cleverest scholars sent from the Wakefield Grammar school, but in addition to his intellectual attainments he was a young man of high character, and respected by all who knew him. In the Army his great learning and courteous and genial disposition made him a very valuable officer, and he was not long before he proved himself to be a very gallant soldier, and one who must have advanced rapidly in the service had his life been pared Lieutenant Senior had a brilliant scholastic career.
At the age of 11, when a scholar at the Wakefield St John’s School he won a Story Scholarship tenable at the Wakefield Grammar School and was successful in winning his form prizes every year. In the Oxford Senior Examination he was awarded the first place in all England out of 14,000 candidates. Proceeding to University he gained an Open Classical Scholarship and Care Exhibition at Clare College Cambridge, and also won a West Riding County Major Scholarship and School Leaving Exhibition. At the end of his first year’s University career he was placed first in his college and the scholarship was increased and extended for a further period of two years, at the end of which he took the Classical Tripos with first class honours and was awarded the OWST Prize, which is only awarded to the candidate who is placed amongst the first six in the University Examinations. He also won the Dr Green silver cup for general learning at the University. At the outbreak of war he had entered Wren’s College, London, for a special course to prepare him for the Civil Service higher branch, After six weeks there he was offered a commission in the West Riding Regiment and after training in England he was sent to France, where he became attached to the Cyclist Corps. Nine months ago he volunteered and was accepted for the Royal Flying Corps and six months ago he was promoted to Lieutenant. A brother of the deceased, Second Lieutenant Walter Talbot Senior, of the West Yorkshire Regiment, was reported missing at Thiepval on September 3rd last. During the attack he was seized by four Germans and pushed into one of their dugouts. Later on he escaped bringing with him a supply of German bombs, which he used with great effect against the Hun. No further news has been received of him.
Another brother George holds a commission in the K.O.Y.L.I. attached to the Sherwood Foresters and is taking part in the present severe fighting. Writing to his father this week upon the sad news of his brother’s death he says:- ‘Try to bear up father. The trees here are speaking to us, although maimed, cut down, they are trying to carry on, giving fourth bud and blossom, teaching us how ever we are battered to carry on.
All the brothers were educated at Wakefield Grammar School and each gave promise of exceptional education powers. Lieutenant Senior met his death in a fearless manner. The Army Chaplain writing to Mr Senior states that he understands the gallant officer was fired at from an enemy machine, and that after striking his machine entered the lower part of his body inflicting such injuries that his condition was hopeless. He died at the hospital the same night and next morning he was buried in the cemetery with very possible military honour.
A thrilling account of the encounter in which Lieutenant Senior met his death is given by Captain W. McArthur who has written to deceased's father as follows:- ‘We were leading an offensive patrol and spotting a Hun, I dived on him. We pursued him down a considerable distance and he went for the ground. We had hardly turned round to make for home, when as far as I can make out, about three other Huns got on our trail, there was a bit of firing which I evaded several times by turning the machine as quickly as possible but after the second or third burst which hit our machine Joe told me down the telephone that he had one finger smashed and he thought he was hit in the stomach. This sounded very bad, but I was cheered to hear him speaking in his usual perfectly calm way. The Huns still came on and I thought the only thing to do was to turn and twist and avoid them as much as possible
when to my astonishment I suddenly heard Joe firing his gun again. It really was amazing. We eventually got back, and I went down to the nearest aerodrome to the lines where I knew there was an hospital adjoining. When we landed he said in his matter of fact way, “Well I think they will have to lift me out, I don't feel as though I could get out alone.” The only sign of pain he gave was to encourage me to get down as quickly as possible, but his calm courage, with never a complaint while he was being put on the stretcher and going to hospital, made me think he was certainly going to pull through. His loss here is mourned desperately by us all. He was the most perfect gentleman one could wish to meet – amazing calm and courage on all occasions, combined with perfect manners and such a delightful disposition. It is impossible to know exactly what happens in aerial flights, but many times I have attributed my safe keeping to his inexhaustible courage and skill and then yesterday but for his extraordinary pluck, we should probably have been shot down. I can no longer thank him, as I have always been able to - I can only thank you for the most gallant observer I could ever have had.’
Mr Senior has been the recipient of several letters, which testify to the affection and esteem in which his son was held at school, at college, and as a soldier. The Major commanding the No 45 Squadron sends a very sympathetic letter giving details of the funeral. Pilot G. H. Cook writes that deceased was a great favourite in the mess, and was liked by the whole squadron. ‘He was the most perfect gentleman and charming friend I ever knew. Although he had a bad internal wound and had lost a finger he continued to fire his gun as long as there was a target to shoot at - typical of his wonderful calm and courage.’
Mr J. E. Barton M.A., lately Headmaster at the Wakefield Grammar School, in the course of a beautiful letter says:- ‘He gave not only life but all the hope of a splendid career, and when he was already a soldier he was not content until he could face the greatest danger of all and live his life in his hands day by day for his country. So brave a soul, so modest, and restrained in spite of his unusual attainments has surely some other and wider destiny to fulfil behind the veil which we cannot pierce.
Sympathetic letters have also been received from Mr M. H. Peacock M.A. Oxford, a former headmaster at the Wakefield Grammar School, Mr J. R. Wardale, a tutor at Clare College, Cambridge, Mr W. L. Mollison, the Master of Clare College, and Captain G. M. Beck, who was a tutor at Clare College, who writes:- ‘I am sure that Clare has lost no more promising and no more brilliant man since the war began.’
Image: Yorkshire Rugby Football Union "In Memoriam" 1914-1919
Second Lieutenant Walter Talbot Senior, 6th Bn, West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Own), died aged 22 on 3 September 1916. Son of Arthur Senior, of Manygates Park Sandal. Buried at Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval, Somme.
Brother of J. Senior (see above), a report of whose death includes this information:
Second Lieutenant Walter Talbot Senior, of the West Yorkshire Regiment, was reported missing at Thiepval on September 3rd last. During the attack he was seized by four Germans and pushed into one of their dugouts. Later on he escaped bringing with him a supply of German bombs, which he used with great effect against the Hun. No further news has been received of him... All the brothers were educated at Wakefield Grammar School and each gave promise of exceptional education powers.
Image: Yorkshire Rugby Football Union "In Memoriam" 1914-1919
38887 Private Harry Shaw, 2/4th Bn, Royal Berkshire Regiment, died aged 19 on 21 March 1918. Son of William and Alice Shaw, of 63 Warren Avenue, Portobello. He is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, Somme.
Wakefield Express, 27 July 1918:
Private Harry Shaw (19), Royal Berkshires, son of Mr and Mrs Shaw, Back Montague Street, Agbrigg, was killed in action on March 21st. Previous to enlisting eighteen months ago he worked at Crigglestone Colliery. The news of his death was sent by a comrade who assisted to carry in the deceased, who he said died nobly.
57660 Pte George Ernest Skevington, Wakefield Golf Club professional, was killed aged 30 on 20 June 1917. He was serving in the 18th Bn, The King’s (Liverpool) Regiment, and he lies buried at the Railway Dugouts Cemetery (Transport Farm) 2kms west of Zillebeke village in Belgium, where the railway runs on an embankment overlooking a small farmstead, which was known to the troops as Transport Farm. The site of the cemetery was screened by slightly rising ground to the east, and burials began there in April 1915. They continued until the Armistice, especially in 1916 and 1917, when advanced dressing stations were placed in the dugouts and the farm.
George was the son of Charles and Annie Skevington, of The Hawthorns, Brough, Yorkshire. As well as drawing army pay while he was serving, the golf club still paid him 10s a week. In 2000 the club was able to purchase and display a hickory shaft putter that he made while he was at Woodthorpe.
Roll of Honour announcements in the Wakefield Express on 7 July 1917 and 22 June 1918 record that he was a professional at Woodthorpe golf club.
201162 Private Charles Richard Smith, 2/4th Bn, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, died aged 22 or 23 on 27 November 1917. Son of Henry and Sarah Smith, of 4 Victoria Terrace, Walton. Commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval.
Wakefield Express, 8 December 1917
News has been received of the death in action of Private Charles Richard Smith, of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, whose parents live at 4 Victoria Terrace, Walton. He enlisted in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry in December 1914, and had been in France over twelve months. He previously worked at Walton pit, and was a member of the Walton Athletic A.F.C. and also in the choir at Walton Church.
In a letter to deceased's parents Second Lieutenant Rodgers says:- ‘He was killed instantly by shell fire during the recent operations . I can honestly say he was the smartest man in the platoon, and I was terribly grieved at his death. His death is felt throughout the whole Company as he was respected by everyone.’
He was the son of Mr and Mrs Harry Smith and was 22 years of age.
A later Roll of Honour announcement in the Wakefield Express says Pte Smith was killed in action near Bourlon Wood.
556 Private George Smith, 1/4th Bn, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. died aged 28/29 on 20 November 1915. He was the son of Walter and Jane Smith, of Wakefield, and husband of Evelyn Smith, later of 15 Haigh Moor Street, Wakefield. He is buried at Bard Cottage Cemetery, Ypres.
Wakefield Express, 27 November 1915
WALTON TERRITORIAL KILLED
A BULLET FROM A GERMAN MACHINE GUN
The death as taken place in action of Private George Smith of the l/4th Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, who lived with his wife and son at Priory Square, Walton. Major Harry Moorhouse, writing to the widow on Sunday last, expresses regret that Smith died on Saturday night from a bullet wound in the knee from a German machine gun whilst on a working party. The wound was so serious that every effort to save his life was to no avail. He is buried in a Military Cemetery just behind the firing line, alongside some of his other comrades who have fallen.’
Lieutenant H. G. Fraser, in writing to deceased’s mother, who also lives at Walton, states that Smith was a very popular man in the Company, and his death is deeply deplored by both Officers and men.
Private Smith, who was 28 years of age, worked at Walton Pit, and formerly lived at Thornes Lane Wharf, Wakefield. He had been a member of the Territorials for eight years, and he was home on furlough about three weeks ago. Deceased had two brothers in the army. One of them Driver H. Smith, Royal Field Artillery, is now in Greece, and on a ship which was torpedoed. He was in the water eight hours before being picked up by a French boat. The other brother is in the l/4th Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He has been wounded and is now in hospital at Mansfield.
Wakefield Express, 18 December 1915:
THE DEATH OF A WALTON SOLDIER
‘THE LIFE AND SOUL OF No 6 SECTION’
In reference to the death of Private George Smith, l/4th Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, of Walton, his widow has received the following letter from Private Richard W. Paterson of the 2nd Platoon A Company:- ‘The boys in your husband’s old section wish me to express their profound sorrow at his unfortunate death. His ready wit, unfailing good humour and spirit made very dear to us all.
‘He was the life and soul of No 6 Section, so you can readily understand how much we miss him, and we realise what a great loss it is to you. Be brave and show a cheerful heart ever as George did in face of the greatest hardship.’
26882 Lance Corporal Harold Spencer, 8th Bn, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, died aged 22 on 7/8 June 1917. Son of Herbert and Elizabeth Spencer, of Woodthorpe Lane, Milnthorpe. He is commemorated on the Menin Gate at Ypres.
A Roll of Honour announcement appeared in the Wakefield Express on 7 July 1917.
13990 Lance Corporal Gilbert Stubley, 95th Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), died aged 23 on 13 April 1918. Son of George Henry and Selina Stubley, of 2 Gladstone Square, Sparable Lane, Sandal. Commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium.
Wakefield Express 11 May 1918:
Lance-Corporal G. Stubley was killed in action on April 13th. He was 23 years of age, and the only son of Mr and Mrs G. H. Stubley, Gladstone Square, Sparable Lane, Sandal and the husband of Mrs G. Stubley, Haddingley Hill, Sandal.
Previous to joining the Army he worked under his father at Messrs G. and J. Stubley’s Mills at Wakefield. He enlisted in December 1916 and was drafted to France in April 1917 , He left there for Italy in December 1917, but returned to France a few days before his death. The Commanding Officer, in the course of a sympathetic letter to Mrs Stubley, says her husband was killed by a shell and laid to rest with a few of his comrades.
‘The enemy,’ added the Colonel, ‘had made repeated attacks upon our lines and the machine gun company, notably the section to which your husband belonged, had done wonderfully well. His death is deeply regretted by all the company from the Commanding Officer downwards as he was an excellent soldier and a good comrade. He died a soldier’s death, and laid down his life for a great cause, that of Honour, Right and Freedom.’
The CWGC register contains the names of 51 servicemen with this name and initial
47375 Gunner Harry Wood Teale, 67th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, died aged 27 on 15 October 1918. He was the son of Emmanuel and Charlotte Teale, of Avondale Terrace, Sandal. Buried at St Aubert British Cemetery, France.
Wakefield Express, 2 November 1918:
Gunner Harry W Teale, Royal Garrison Artillery, Avondale Terrace, Sandal, has been killed inaction. His parents have received a very kind letter from his Major, who states:-
‘I deeply regret to have to inform you that your son was hit by a shell splinter in the neck and died instantly. We buried him to-day [October 16th] in a little British cemetery behind the lines, and as many of the battery as could possibly leave the guns were there, and the Church of England service was read over him. We all join in tendering our sincerest sympathy to you in your great loss. We cannot guess the depth of it, but we know how much we are going to miss him . Your boy was a brave cheerful and extremely capable soldier. He was very popular with everyone, and he died on duty. His life is yet another sacrifice in our great cause, but I know he would give it willingly.’
Gunner Teale who was 26. was one of those young men of whom his country had every reason to be proud. At the outbreak of the war he was employed as a fitter at Armstrong and Whitworth of Newcastle, and although by reason of his important occupation he could have been exempted military service he declared his determination to fight for his country which he loved. He at once offered his services, but owing to suffering from a serious form of varicose veins he was rejected. Not to be denied he underwent two operations, but he was rejected a second time at Wakefield . He was, however, determined not to be beaten, and very much to his delight he succeeded in ‘getting through’ at Leeds for the regular army. Truly a fine example of British pluck, determination, and genuine patriotism.
The CWGC register records 21 servicemen with these initials.
1726 Private Philip Totty, ‘A’ Company, 1/4th Bn, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, died aged 21 on 5 September 1915. He was the son of John and Sarah Totty, of 6 Ash Grove, Sandal. He is buried at Bard Cottage Cemetery, Ypres.
Wakefield Express, 9 September 1915
A WAKEFIELD PRIVATE KILLED - ‘BRIGHT AND WILLING LAD'
News has been received of the death of Private Philip Totty of Calder Grove Road, age 21, who was a boiler maker at Spurr, Inman and Co's Works. His parents have received several sympathetic letters from the Battalion. Captain J. P. Critchley, writing on the 7th inst, expresses his great regret on the death of Totty who says ‘he was always a bright and willing lad and tried to do his duty to the best of his ability, and it was whilst doing his duty that he met his death. There is a little consolation to you to know that he did not suffer long, as he died very shortly after receiving his wound. I trust your sorrow will be lightened by knowing that your son died in upholding the glory of his country.’
Lieutenant Colonel H.J. Haslegrave, in the course of a sympathetic letter, says Private Totty was killed in action on September 5th and adds:- ‘He will be buried just behind the firing line. A cross be placed over the grave, which will be looked after by a committee appointed for the purpose.’
Company Quarter-Master A. H. Weaver says Private Totty was wounded by a German bullet whilst performing his duty in the trenches. He was immediately attended to but subsequently died whilst in the hands of the medical staff. ‘No word of mine,’ continues Q.M.S. Weaver in his letter to the deceased's mother, ‘can in any way compensate you for your terrible loss, but all I can say is that my close connexion with him, I had learnt to regard him with great affection, as indeed had all his comrades.’
Corporal M. H. Horton, writing to Mrs Totty, says:- ‘Philip was the pet of the section and one of the liveliest lads in the platoon, always ready to do his duty without a grumble. We had just turned out on the Sunday night September 5th for a working party, and had gone about 100 yards down the communication trench when he was hit by a bullet in the right wrist and right side. The stretcher bearers were on the spot immediately, and made him as comfortable as possible.
‘He stuck it like a hero scarcely a murmur all the time although quite conscious. Before taking him away his last words were "Write home". The bearers informed me that he died on the way to the dressing station. As his section commander I was with him when he was hit and I am writing on behalf of the section who send their deepest sympathy.’
50314 Private William Hesselgrave* Water, 24th (Tyneside Irish) Bn, Northumberland Fusiliers, died on 10 September 1917. He is named on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme.
Wakefield Express Roll of Honour 10 August 1918:
WATERS: On or about 10 September 1917 somewhere in France, William Haslegrave*, the dearly loved husband of Martha Water, 3 Haddingley Place, Sandal, and son of the late Reverend D. D. Waters.
* The latter spelling is likely to be correct. The former is taken from the CWGC register.
57600 Lance Corporal Lionel Walker, Royal Air Force, died of wounds aged 25 at Milton Hill Red Cross Hospital on 1 November 1918. He is buried in St Blaise Church, Milton, Berkshire. Husband of Harriet Twimbury Whone (formerly Walker), of Tranby House, Welbeck Street, Sandal.
Wakefield Express Roll of Honour 9 November 1918:
WALKER: In sad but sweet memory of Corporal Lionel Walker, Royal Air Force, the dearly loved husband of H. T. Walker and nephew of Mr and Mrs Ellis, 14 Elm Street, Wakefield, who died November 1st 1918 age 26. Interred with full Military Honours in the peaceful churchyard at Milton Steventon, Berkshire. Loved by all who knew him.
From his sorrowing Wife and Auntie and Uncle.
24439 Sergeant Lionel Robson Warburton, 4th Bn, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, died of wounds aged 25 on 22 August 1918. Son of Seth and Mary Ann Warburton, of Beech Cottage, Walton. Buried at Daours Communal Cemetery extension, Somme.
Wakefield Express Casualty List, 28 September 1918:
Sergeant L.R. Warburton, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, has died in France as a result of an accident. Before enlisting he was under-gardener for Mr J.V. Hodgson, Walton House.
There is a headstone in St Helen’s Churchyard commemorating 200154 A. Ward, 1/4th Bn, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He died on 5 March 1919 but is not named on the memorial tablet in the church. No further details are given in the CWGC register.
3452 Private Herbert Ward, 1/4th Bn, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, died (gassed) aged 18 on 19 December 1915. Son of John and S.A. Ward, later of 12 Apple Tree Lane, Stanfree, Chesterfield. Native of Walton, Wakefield. Buried at Bard Cottage Cemetery, Ypres.
Wakefield Express, 1 January 1916:
A YOUNG WALTON SOLDIER
Private H. Ward, of Wood’s Yard, Walton, who was 18 years of age, joined the 2nd/4th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry in November 1914. Although so young he was an enthusiastic soldier, and he had his desire when he went to join the 1st/4th at the front. Regularly he wrote cheery letters to his parents. Any hardship did not appear to trouble him, and he always spoke highly of the good food and warm clothing with which they were provided. He was a fine young fellow weighing about 11 stone, and his height 5ft 6ins. Previous to enlisting he worked at Walton Colliery.
The Wakefield Express published numerous Roll of Honour announcements, many with verse, from various members of the family until at least 1919.
200762 Sergeant H. Warwick, 4th Bn, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, died aged 30 on 2 February 1919. He is buried in St Helen’s churchyard. The CWGC register gives no further information.
The initial may be an error but there is 200762 Sergeant H. Whitehouse, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, who died 2 February 1919, aged 30.
The CWGC register lists two men with the initial ‘V’. One was an Australian; the other was 28162 Private Vernice E. Whitehouse, 4th Bn, West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Own), son of Mrs May Whitehouse, of Harrogate. Pte Whitehouse, who died on 17 November 1918, is buried in Grove Road Cemetery, Harrogate. He is shown in the Harrogate area in both the 1901 and 1911 censuses so is unlikely to be the man named on the St Helen’s memorial.
12007 Gunner Percy Wilkinson, 168th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, died aged 27 on 31 January 1917. He was the son of Mr G. Wilkinson, of Woodyard Cottages, Walton. Buried at Sucrerie Military Cemetery, Colincamps, Somme.
Wakefield Express, 17 February 1917:
WALTON SOLDIER KILLED IN ACTION
A MAN WHO DID NOT KNOW WHAT FEAR WAS
ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR MEN IN THE BATTERY
Information has been received of the death in action of Gunner P. Wilkinson, of the Royal Field Artillery, who lived with his parents at Woodyard Cottages, Walton. He was 27 years of age. He enlisted in April 1915 and had been at the front thirteen months. Prior to enlistment he worked at Walton Colliery.
Deceased's mother has received several sympathetic letters from Officers and others connected with the Battery. The Chaplin (Reverend R. E. Grice-Hutchinson) writing on February 2nd says:- ‘I am so grieved to have to write and tell you that I was called upon to carry out the burial of your son on Thursday. I have seldom heard of a man whose death was spoken of with greater regret both by his Officers and fellow soldiers in the Battery. Lieutenant James, who commands the sub section to which he belonged, told me what a capital fellow he was, and his Sergeant (who was present at the funeral) said that he was the cheeriest and brightest man in the Battery, and did not know what fear was. He was killed in action in the Battery. Mr James told me his fellow soldiers were making a cross for his grave as a mark of their respect for him. I am afraid it must be a terrible blow to you, but I am sure you will be glad to know how popular your boy was and that he died in a moment while doing his duty. He could not have suffered at all.
Lieutenant Harold L. James in the course of his letter says:- ‘It is with the deepest regret that I have to inform you of the death of your son Percy he was hit today January 31st with shrapnel and died almost Instantaneously. His last remarks were "I am hit". I can assure you he was of a fearless nature and always willing to do his duty at all times, and he won the admiration of all who knew him. His social disposition made him one of the most popular men in the Battery, and as you undoubtedly know he was always ready to give anyone a helping hand. His death will be deeply felt by us all, and kindly accept the sincere sympathy of the Officers, N.C.O. of the Battery who share with you in this painful loss. In closing please accept my deepest sympathy. I was his section Officer for ten months, and I shall miss him very much.
Sergeant A. Ward also sends a sympathetic letter, in the course of which he says:- ‘Your son was always a good and willing young man, ever ready to give one a helping hand. He was of a brave and fearless nature, and was liked very much in the Battery by Officers, N.C.O. and men. We shall miss him very much, I can assure you. Little did I think when I came on leave and told you how he was getting on, that I should have to write a letter of this description three months later.’
3119626 Private Rowland Williams, 2nd Bn, Leicestershire Regiment, died aged 20 on 22 July 1917. Son of Charles and Fanny Maria Williams, of Hill Top, Newmillerdam. Buried at Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery.
Wakefield Express Roll of Honour, 18 July 1919:
WILLIAMS: In loving memory of our dear son and brother Private Rowland Williams, 2nd Leicestershire Regiment, who died in Mesopotamia from head stroke, July 22nd 1917, aged 20 years.
235102 Private Arthur Willis, 17th Bn, Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment), died on 19 July 1917. Buried at Woods Cemetery, Ypres.
Wakefield Express, 22 September 1917:
THE DEATH OF A SANDAL SOLDIER
Further particulars are to hand regarding the death of Private Arthur Willis, Sherwood Foresters, of Sandal. In a letter to the widow, Private H. Earnshaw states that ‘Willis's death was caused by a shell bursting near his dug-out on Sunday morning August 19th. He did not suffer any pain as he was unconscious and only lived a few minutes after it happened. He was laid to rest by some of his pals in a little cemetery set apart for the English who have met their death doing their duty for King and Country. All the boys who knew him join with me in expressing our deepest sympathy with you and your family in your sad bereavement.’
Official notification of his death was received last week. Private Willis, who was twenty seven years of age, was a son of Mr Willis, formerly Stationmaster at Sandal, and was well known and highly respected in the district. He served his apprenticeship with Mr Firth, butcher, Sandal, and afterwards went into business on his own account. He joined up on March 1st last.
J42160 Ordinary Seaman (Oswald) Cyril Wilson, Royal Navy, died aged 19 when his ship blew up at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916. The CWGC register. compiled after the war, says that he was the son of Louisa E. Green, of 5 Fern Bank Cottages Road, Sandal. His named bronze memorial plaque or "Death Penny" was offered for sale on eBay in May 2016.
Wakefield Express Roll of Honour, 8 July 1916:
WILSON: At the Battle of Jutland on H.M.S. Queen Mary, Seaman Cyril Wilson, aged 19, second son of the late Albert Wilson and Mrs Green, of Heath View, Walton.
Note 1: The battlecruiser Queen Mary, along with the other Jutland wrecks, has been declared a protected place under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 to discourage further damage to the resting place of her 1,266 officers and men. Surveys of this site in 2001–03 showed the wreck is actually in three sections, with the two forward sections being heavily damaged and in pieces. Her aft end is upside down and relatively intact except for her propellers, which have been salvaged. Examination of the damage to the ship has suggested that the initial explosion was in the magazine of the forward 4-inch battery.
Note 2: Oswald Cyril Wilson was born on 16 January 1896 and his Royal Navy service record can be downloaded from The National Archives website (fee payable).
22163 Private Harold Wilson, 1/4th Bn, York and Lancaster Regiment, died aged 25 on 13 October 1918. Son of Mrs L.E. Green, of Fern Bank Cottages, Agbrigg Road, Sandal. He is buried at York Cemetery, Haspres, France.
Wakefield Express, 14 December 1918:
Signaller Harold Wilson, York and Lancashire Regiment, eldest son of the late Mr Albert Wilson and Mrs Wilson Green, Fern Cottages, Sandal, who was previously reported missing on October 13th is now presumed to have been killed on that date. He was 25 years of age and previous to enlisting in February 1916 he was in the employ of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company at Barnsley.
58109 Private Hudson Womack, 5th Bn, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, died aged 19 on 27 August 1918. Commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial, Pas de Calais.
The family inserted a Roll of Honour announcement in the Wakefield Express, edition dated 28 September 1918. No address given.
201347 Private Walter Wood, 2/5th Bn, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, died aged 30 on 20 November 1917. Son of Mrs Sarah Ann Mountain (formerly Wood), of 4 Providence Terrace, Wakefield; husband of Edith Clements (formerly Wood) , of Station Cottage, Sandal. Commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval.
Roll of Honour announcements in the Wakefield Express on 8 December 1917 included the following:
WOOD: In loving memory of my dear husband, and daddy, Private Walter Wood King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, of Back Montague Street, Sandal Cross Lane, aged 30 killed in action somewhere in France, November 20th 1917.
Lt Col (retired) Walter Herbert Wright, 1st/4th Bn, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, of Castle Lodge, Sandal Magna. Born 1848; died in Leeds on 8 November 1915, Active in local army recruitment. Buried at Lawnswood Cemetery, Leeds. Member of Wakefield Rugby Football Club and former president of Wakefield Grammar School Old Savilians Club. For further details see the accompanying Yorkshire Post obituary.
There are 108 records under this name in the CWGC register, none shown as relating to Sandal and only one to Yorkshire. There are, however, many such gaps in the register.