Friday 3 November 1916
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Cpl A E Craven of Otley Road, Baildon, who was in Salonika with the Royal Garrison Artillery, wrote to columnist Owd Abe with a plea to readers to send “any old papers, periodicals, magazines etc.” He emphasised how much the men enjoyed getting news from home and how much he personally enjoyed getting the Shipley Times & Express each week. As a Windhill cricket supporter he especially enjoyed reading the Bradford League reports, asking “What must next season have in store for us when all the lads are back home? We are hoping for this great game to be over by the time the next season starts.” Filthy After expressing his regret at all the local casualties recently reported, he went on to describe his own experiences. “We got to fair Salonika, as they call it. It was a lovely scene from the boat but like all other Eastern towns, very
filthy. The main streets are difficult to walk on. They are not paved but made of large cobble stones. “We knocked about the country, which reminds me of the Glen and the Moors. Some parts are very remindful of the Glen Valley approaching Eldwick, only the latter is very miniature compared with here. “You can guess that there are great difficulties to be overcome in transporting the Allied troops and equipment. Since the offensive started here we have had a very busy time. “Everything is going on as well as could be expected and I hardly think we shall be long before the Bulgars are settled. The Russians, Serbians and French, along with the Romanians are sure to make their weight felt
before Christmas at the latest. “It only wants a continuance of the fine weather we are having to help us. The roads are not bad – nearly as good as the new road across the Moor. “We have experienced a trying time this summer. There has been sickness among the Allied troops – the British especially. Flies “The climate has been terribly hot and we have been worried with flies. Anything that attracted them has been literally black with them and at meals it has been very unpleasant. “I am pleased to say I have got over it after a rough time. I am now feeling splendid – could not be much better. And I am looking forward to getting back to Blighty.” He finished with another appeal for reading matter and “a mouth organ or two and notepaper and envelopes (they have stopped the issue of green envelopes) would be very much appreciated by the men.”
“We knocked about the country, which reminds me of the Glen and the Moors. Some parts are very remindful of the Glen Valley approaching Eldwick, only the latter is very miniature compared with here.”
News from Blighty most welcome in Salonika
Lieutenant Frank Noddle (right) of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, who resides at 14 Hall Royd, Shipley, has been awarded the Military Cross for bravery in the field on October 1st. Lieut Noddle, who is the battalion bombing officer, accompanied by four men, entered enemy trenches, captured a machine gun and prisoners and bombed up four hundred yards of trench. With the aid of an additional eight men whom he gathered together, the captured position was blocked up and held against seven bombing attacks until reinforced seven hours later. Lieut Frank Noddle is 24 years of age and the second son of the late Mr Harry H Noddle, Machine Broker, Bradford. His parents have been deceased many years and his welfare for the last eleven years has been looked to by his brother, Mr W I Noddle, with whom he resides.
Shipley officer wins Military Cross
Official intimation has been received that Pte Alfred Long (above), of the West Yorkshire Regt, has been killed in action in France. Before joining the army he was employed in a combing works in Charlestown and lived with his eldest brother, Pte Harry Long, at Valley Road, Windhill. He had been with the colours for about 18 months and had seen service at the Dardanelles, in Egypt and in France. At the former place he contracted enteric fever and was brought to England, afterwards being drafted to France. A month or two ago he was wounded but was able to return to the firing line three weeks before his death. He was 22 years of age and single. His brother, Pte Harry Long, has been in the army since the commencement of hostilities and was seriously wounded. He recently returned to his military duties.
Killed three weeks after returning to the front
Pte Tom Mannifield of DudleyHill Road, Eccleshill, who was badly wounded in the face, right arm and left leg, passed away at the 11th Stationery Hospital, Rouen, two days later. He had been 18 months in France with the Durham Light Infantry. In a letter written to his relatives by the Captain of the regiment, he says: “Tom was the nicest lad I have had during all the years I have been in the army and he was well liked by all the boys.” Another brother is in the navy and two others are with the artillery in France.
‘Nicest lad’ succumbs to injuries after two days
Cheerful soldier killed
Pte Sam Charlesworth, who has been four months in France with the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment, died on Oct 24th from wounds. His cheerful disposition and his enthusiasm for army life made him a general favourite with his comrades who regret his death. He was 20 years of age and resided at 174 Undercliffe Road, Eccleshill. He was employed for a good number of years at Messrs George Garnett’s, Apperley Bridge.
Cpl Stanley Gawthorpe, Duke of Wellington’s Regt, of Ravensthorpe, and formerly of John St, Baildon Woodbottom, is officially reported to have been killed. A comrade who has been badly wounded says in regard to Cpl Gawthorpe’s death: “We went over to take the first line of German trenches. Stanley and I went over. “Stanley and the rest of the Company went to the first line trench whilst I and the backing company went up the communication trench to bomb the 2nd line. A Coy Battalion bombers and B Coy were holding the front line trench four and a half hours when they found the rest of
the Battalion had retired. “We were completely surrounded so we bombed our way back to the German front line trench and there I saw Stanley laid at the mouth of a German dug-out. He had severe shrapnel wounds in the chest and legs and I knew for certain he was quite dead. “I have been out since April 1915 and have been with Stanley all the time in his platoon. I beg to offer my deepest sympathy with you in your loss as he was a good comrade and did his duty well and with a will.” The late hero’s aunt resides in Thompson Street, Shipley.
“We were completely surrounded so we bombed our way back to the German front line trench and there I saw Stanley laid at the mouth of a German dug-out.”
Baildon corporal killed going ‘over the top’
Pte Harry Page, Motor Transport, is in a London war hospital suffering from an injury to his knee. He had been at the front for about six months. Before joining the forces he was in business as a picture framer etc, in Commercial Street and his wife is continuing to carry on the business.
Picture framer wounded
Pte George William Nelson, of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, who enlisted five months ago, has had here weeks of trench warfare and has been wounded in the right ankle. His home is at 5 Westgate, Eccleshill.
Wounded in right ankle
The many friends of Rifleman Edgar Hirst, the eldest son of Mr and Mrs Albert Hirst of Carr Bottom Road, Greengates, will be sorry to learn that he has been invalided to England suffering from trench feet. Rifleman Hirst was in the King’s Royal Rifles and had been at the front about three months. He is at present in hospital in Newcastle. Before the outbreak of the war he filled an important junior position in the London Civil Service.
Hospital with trench feet
The Rev W H Power, vicar of Greengates, passed on letters he had received from local officers, one of which included an account of ‘going over the top’ at the Somme. After describing the gruesome business of burying the dead and searching the bodies for identification, he went on to describe how he and his men gained revenge with an attack on 7th October that gained a ridge overlooking Bapaume. We had quite moderate casualties in that little escapade and I think I am right in saying that the majority of the wounded were sent back with injuries which were in every sense of the word ‘Blighties.’ As a result of our ‘push’ my views on the situation of ‘going over’ in a charge have been considerably modified.
Before ‘zero’ was to me the most exciting or shall I say most nerve- wracking time. Here in our narrow jumping off trench, one foot on a step, we had made ready to leap over at the exact moment. Every man looking anxiously at his watch, we watched the minutes tick off. Screeching Then all at once there was a fearful screeching in the air above our trench and in another half second, or less, a perfect hurricane of high explosive shell dropped right along the whole line of the Bosch trench we were called upon to capture. This first moment of our barrage was our signal. We walked leisurely up to the edge of our barrage, hesitated a moment to allow our guns to lift and then on again. In those few remaining yards we had
to travel, we lost almost the whole of our casualties during the whole exchange. We had had 200 yards to walk but the first objective had been gained in the brief space of three minutes. Our barrage lifted to the second objective after it had done its wonderful work on the first and we waited twenty minutes for the next signal to advance. When it came we hopped over and apart from a little sniping and machine gun fire had no opposition. We even got beyond the objective and then came back about 100 yards and consolidated. That is the simple story of the advance. It was exhilarating, I grant you, while it lasted but not too much so. Really I thought our captures were more or less a ‘gift’.
Exhilarating while it lasted, but not too much so
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