Friday 29 September 1916
Idle and Eccleshill have furnished men for almost every branch of the service and by no means the least effective are those in the Royal Engineers. Though the work of this section of the army is seldom mentioned in the public papers, it is fraught with the greatest danger and is essential for the safety and progress of both the artillery and infantry They laying of barbed wire in front of the trenches, tunnelling under the earth to lay mines under hostile trenches, spanning rivers and canals by pontoon bridges often under heavy fire, calls for courage and resource in the highest degree. The men in the photograph will soon be engaged in this hazardous work as they are shortly to go to France. Their names are: Top row (L-R): Sappers Jesse Bradbury, Bolton Woods; Herbert Rodgers, Pudsey; Arthur Robertshaw, Wrose Hill; Hansel Marvis, Ratby; Des Lumby, Pudsey; Lambert Catsfield, Fagley; John Howlett, Leicester; Albert Rhodes, Idle Second row: Hilton Dixon, Eccleshill; John Spencer, Eccleshill; John McQuillan, Newcastle; Hartley Padgett, Eccleshill; Peter Simpson, Eccleshill; Fred Woodward, Kent. Front row: Abraham Robinson, Eccleshill; Fawthrop Drake, Eccleshill; Harry Myers, Pudsey; Fred Firth, Undercliffe.
Local Royal Engineers heading off to face hazardous work in France
Private Ernest Baxter (right), of 65 Aire Street, Windhill, and of the West Yorkshire Regiment, has died of wounds. He was severely wounded on September 3rd and death took place two days later, his case being hopeless from the first. Private Baxter, who was 26 years of age, leaves a widow and one child. He was a member of the Windhill Liberal Club, where the flag has been hoisted half-mast as a token of respect. He attended the Windhill Methodist Church. Before the war he was employed at Hodgson’s Loom Works, Frizinghall Persist in talking The Rev R Whincup, in the course of a letter to Mrs Baxter, said: “Your husband seemed very cheered to see me after he had been wounded and even rather amused me because he would persist in talking to me although the doctor kept telling him that he must not do so. He was in too serious condition to exert himself in any way. “It appears that the regiment had been engaged in a stiff fight with the enemy. The doctor seemed distinctly hopeful that Pte Baxter would recover and I believed so myself. He did not appear to suffer very much pain and before he was sent to the base, he seized my hand and asked me to write to you. I believe that he suffered from a bayonet wound to the stomach.”
Windhill soldier succumbs to wounds inflicted by bayonet
Hope that missing man may be prisoner of war
L Cpl Cyril Pearce, son of Mr and Mrs B Pearce of Leeds Road, Idle, is reported missing. According to a letter from the Rev R Whincup, vicar of Windhill, L Cpl Pearce was seen in the German trenches during the heat of the battle and the vicar inclines to the view that he has been taken prisoner by the Germans. Mr Whincup asks the parents of L Cpl Pearce not to be over anxious. “Your son,” he says, “has done his duty splendidly out here, there is no doubt about that, and he is worthy of much praise for his gallant work.
“I know L Cpl Pearce quite well. I often talked to him as I went about amongst the men and I liked him very much.” L Cpl Pearce was a well-loved young man and was one who could not fail to win the esteem of all with whom he came in contact. For many years he was a zealous worker for Idle Parish Church and Sunday School and at the time he joined the forces was a church official. News regarding his welfare is eagerly awaited by his numerous friends as well as by his relatives.
Concern over treatment of mentally afflicted soldiers
At their last meeting Wharfedale Board of Guardians had discussed the “manner in which mentally afflicted soldiers were taken from Menston station to the asylum, being marched up under escort” and had sent a letter of protest to the authorities. They had now received replies from Northern Command at York and from the West Riding Asylums Board. The clerk to the Asylum Board wrote to say that he would bring the matter up before the next meeting of the Menston Asylum Committee, “though he did not think they would have much to do with it.” Proper precautions The Northern Command wrote to say that there was no likelihood under existing arrangements of any more mental cases being sent to Menston for the present. All mentally disabled soldiers would be transferred to the Lord Derby War Hospital at Warrington. In these cases it was left with the officer commanding to hire a vehicle if he thought it necessary. The Board could rest assured that proper precautions would be issued to all concerned.
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Pte Harry Hewitson, who has been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry and devotion to duty in action, is a son of the late Mr William Hewitson and of Mrs Hewitson of St Paul’s Road Shipley. He is an old Salt School boy and prior to joining the 16th West Yorkshires (First Bradford Pals) on its formation in September 1914, he was on the staff of Messrs Charles Semon and Co, Merchants, Bradford. In a letter, Pte Hewitson wrote: “You know I never hankered after glory or sought the limelight. I am only glad I received the medal for the sake of all at home. Everybody deserved one on that terrible 1st.” Swell affair Pte Hewitson also describes how the men who had been awarded distinctions were withdrawn from the trenches and conveyed by an old London omnibus to the Grand Place, where the presentations were made. “It was quite a swell affair. There were generals, lieutenant-generals, colonels and various staff officers in addition to French high commanders. “The ribbon was pinned on my breast by the Corps Commander who asked me where I earned it, wished me good luck and shook hands.”
Military medal for Salt School OB Harry
Arthur killed in action
Pte Arthur Allen, who had previously been wounded in the hand, has now been killed. He was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs E Allen of 57 Undercliffe Road. He was formerly employed by Sir Jacob Beherens and Son, Bradford and was 22 years of age.
Anxiety for woman with four brothers at war
Mrs Cooper of 9 Tunwell Street, Eccleshill has had four brothers fighting at the front. Of these two have been wounded and one is missing. Writing to her from Manchester hospital, Pte Alfred Burnley, RFA, says: “I was shot in the face and unable to see. I was picked up by the stretcher-bearers and conveyed safely to the dressing station. “That morning will never be forgot as we got bowled over like penny cakes. We lost a lot of men but they lost a great deal more as we were in the trenches and they were out in the open. “This was the third time our battalion has been cut up for we have been in the thick of it both in Belgium and France so I think I’ve done my bit. “I have now been in Manchester hospital three weeks and have almost got one eye better but the right eye is still blind.” Pte Herbert Burnley, RFA, saw service in South Africa and fought at the Dardanelles where he was wounded.
Returned from Canada to serve his homeland
Pte H Craven, who formerly resided at Providence Row, Baildon, is now in hospital at Rouen, suffering from severe gunshot wounds in the back. Pte Craven went out to Canada in April 1914 and joined the Canadian Infantry in August 1915. His regiment crossed to England in May of this year and was drafted to France in June. He is the nephew of Mr and Mrs J Pickard with whom he resided previous to emigrating. Crushed foot Pte Thomas Sutton of 15 Chapel Street, Eccleshill, a mechanic attached to the armoured motor services at the front, has had his foot badly crushed by the accidental falling of an 18lb shell. He is now in hospital.
Writing from the trenches in France to his Sunday School teacher in Eccleshill, Signaller Frank Illingworth, who was recently wounded, says: “At present we are in one of the villages evacuated by the Germans and all around can be seen the terrible effects of our gunfire. “Now that we are attacking, we can expect nothing else but a great number of casualties but I am glad to say the majority are only slightly wounded and nothing near as many as the enemy. I have had some lucky escapes so there is plenty to be thankful for.” Private Gilbert Isles has been wounded in the left wrist and is in Hammersmith Hospital, London. He has been previously wounded in the left arm. His home is at 10 Holdsworth Buildings, Eccleshill.
Plenty to be thankful for
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