Friday 2 March 1917
Home Page Home Page Home Page Shipley Times & Express base page Shipley Times & Express base page Shipley Times & Express base page
Rev F H Toseland, pastor of Bradford Road Congregational Church, Shipley, gave a talk to the Rosse Street Brotherhood about his experiences working for three months on the staff of one of the largest YMCA huts just behind the firing line: The conditions at the front are the reverse of comfortable. Even apart from the horrors of the conflict – the deaths, wounds and sickness – the conditions of trench life and the life in the camps in France are such as to put an immense strain on the minds, spirits and bodies of the men. Camp life in England is not very comfortable but in comparison to the conditions in France it is positively heavenly. For the most part the men live in tents; they also live in barns which, perhaps, have been partly shattered by shell fire, and often the men have no covering but the heavens above. Very little imagination is required to picture the discomforts and hardships which the soldiers undergo in France. In the midst of it all the men manifest a brave, cheerful and courageous spirit and bear their many burdens with a light heart. Grumble At home men and women grumble about small disappointments and petty hardships whilst at the front, where there is nothing but hardship and discomfort and human nature is under the highest possible tension, our brave men show a spirit of cheerful endurance that is absolutely miraculous. I remember particularly one bad night when the rain came down in sheets, battering the earth into a perfect sea of mud. I was sleeping in a hut which was by no means weatherproof and I began to doubt whether it was not almost as bad inside as out. Suddenly, above the noise of the
pelting rain, the sharp sound of a bugle rent the night. All around me were tents crammed with men and scarcely had the sound of the bugle died away when I heard voices of command and shortly afterwards the sound of men hurriedly marching from their tents. I listened quietly, expecting every moment to hear the curses and grumblings of the men. Instead, however, I heard nothing but laughter, fun and joking, and this was from men turned out into the pouring rain and marched off towards they knew not what, wounds and perhaps death. This was an example of how human nature can triumph over tremendous hardships and meet great perils in a cheerful spirit. I can say without hesitation that the YMCA huts and those of the various other institutions are the only comfortable spots for the men in France. I do not speak of comfort in the usually accepted term. The recreation huts in France are always packed with men and many of them cannot find seats, yet they find real comfort in the huts compared with the conditions under which they have to live daily. The people at home should lose no opportunity of supporting the good work of the YMCA and kindred organisations. These institutions are ministering to the body, mind and spirit of the men in a very wide sense. The soldier, of course, is an inveterate grumbler about his food and I can say the soldier does not grumble without reason. The cooks are men and very often the food which is given out to the soldiers, no matter how keen their appetite, is such as to provoke very earnest criticism.
The consequence is that the men are glad to get into one of the huts and supplement their army rations. The YMCA ministers to the mind as well as the body. The fact that a man might expect to be called in a few days does not prevent him from trying to improve his mind. The YMCA is doing its best to meet the intellectual requirements of the men. Libraries and lectures are provided. Thinking deeply I have been struck by the fact that great numbers of men are thinking deeply. I can prophesy with some certainty  that the thinking now going on among the men in France will have its effect in the time of peace when they have returned to their homes. Their minds have been opened in a most forcible and dramatic fashion to the rottenness which is in the heart of modern civilisation. They are thinking how the things which are happening today can be prevented in the future and when they return it will be with determination that there shall not be a repetition of such a war and that the whole social conditions of modern life will be brought more into accord with the ideals which naturally spring out of the Christian mind. My chief work was mainly on the religious side and I received some very vivid impressions of religious life at the front. Although there is no frank evidence of a religious revival, it is obvious that the hearts of the men are being touched and their souls stirred. Eagerness At the services the men are always reverent and there seems to be a touch of eagerness written on their faces as though they are seeking to find that which will inspire their souls. We are often told that the soldiers go into battle in a fatalistic spirit. Many of the men say that if there is a bullet made for them they will get it and it is no use worrying about the matter. Perhaps there is a certain wisdom in that attitude, at the same time there are men whose religious experience goes deeper than that. Once these men return, the churches will not hold them unless there is a real spirit of comradeship. They will expect to find that touch of earnestness, zeal and passion which is now so often lacking. There will be no toleration for coldness; the men will resent frigidity. They want to feel the real spiritual power that will give support to their higher aspirations and that will help them put their best into peace as they are now putting their best into war.
“Many of the men say that if there is a bullet made for them they will get it and it is no use worrying about the matter.”
Resilience and thoughtfulness in the face of horror
An inquest at Saltaire Hospital returned a verdict of accidental death on Mr William Wood, 80, a retired coal merchant of 3 Alexandra Square, Shipley. Sister Susie Rogers of the Saltaire Hospital said that Mr Wood had told her that he was carrying coal for the fire when he tripped on a hearthrug. He was found there later by his daughter, Martha Hannah Palliser of 3 Baker Street, Shipley, and was removed to the hospital where he died.
Fatal hearthrug trip
A very interesting feature of the report for February submitted to the Shipley District Council by Mr Albert Smith, the chief collector, is a statement to the effect that the rateable value of the district has increased during the past year to the extent of over £1,000. The increase is occasioned by the erection of new mill and house properties. The new houses number 45 and they are of a class which have an annual rental of about £18. This advance in rateable value means that the income of the Shipley Council in respect to rates and water charges will be approximately £500 per annum. As Cllr E Reynolds remarked, considering the state of the building trade and the fact that no building schemes can be embarked upon without the sanction of the authorities in London, Mr Smith’s report is of a highly satisfactory nature.
New houses push up rateable value
The annual treat to all the old folks of Eccleshill over sixty years of age was given in the Wesleyan School on Saturday. Over 300 people sat down to a splendid tea which was catered for by Mr H Sparks. In addition to those guests, 90 teas were sent out to those who were too infirm to attend.. At the concert which followed, Cllr J A Guy presided and on the Lord and Lady Mayoress, Ald and Mrs Abram Peel, putting in an appearance, they were asked to address the assembly and their cheery remarks received hearty acknowledgement. The vicar, Rev R B McKee, and Mr J A Thistlethwaite also made short speeches. Ventriloquist tricks An excellent concert was sustained by the following artistes: Miss Hilda Mortimer’s Concert Party; Mr R Y Walton, who greatly amused the gathering with his conjuring and ventriloquist tricks; Master Jack Craven, a boy soprano who was warmly greeted; Mr Rushforth, a whimsical coon and bone manipulator; Mr Ben and Miss Pattie Hobson, the popular local humorists. Mr Abraham Robertshaw was the accompanist.
Tea and concert for Eccleshill old folks
In consequence of its splendid response in regard to the Victory War Loan,, Keighley is described as the most patriotic town in the kingdom. Such a description cannot but delight Mr F W L Butterfield, (pictured) prospective candidate for the Shipley Division, who is Mayor of Keighley. The Chancellor of the Exchequer declares that he is particularly pleased with Keighley whilst Mr Albert Illingworth, the Postmaster General, says: “Keighley has thus shown that it is not only the richest town as reckoned per head of population in the kingdom, but also the most patriotic and determined to sacrifice everything to win the war.” Truly Keighley has earned for itself an enviable reputation. May it win further laurels during Mr Butterfield’s mayoralty.
Keighley is most patriotic  town in the kingdom
A well-built, healthy-looking young man,  named John Robert Bailes, Kensinington Street, Bradford, was charged at the Bradford West Riding Court with being an absentee under the Military Service Act. P.C. Quinn of Shipley said that at three o’clock on Tuesday afternoon he saw the prisoner working along with other painters at a shop in Commercial Street. On being asked why he was not in the Army, Bailes replied that he had been examined at Sheffield and had been put in Class III. Town to town The only paper he was able to show, however, was one calling him up for medical examination and the  military authorities at Sheffield knew absolutely nothing about the man. The truth was that the prisoner had been travelling about the country ever since the passage of the Military Service Act with no other object than to evade service. He was an absentee and was travelling from town to town in the hope of avoiding detection by the police. Bailes was fined 10 shillings and handed over to await a military escort.
Well-travelled absentee
Mr T B Mason of Gordon Terrace, Idle, is about to take up residence at Southport, having purchased a couple of houses there. Mr Mason is removing mainly on account of the continued indisposition of Mrs Mason. It is believed the change will prove beneficial to her.
Moving to healthier spot
Well known in American shipping circles
The death took place at his residence, Oakhurst, Saltaire, of Mr Robert Johnston, at the age of 76. A native of Liverpool, he came to this district over 50 years ago as the agent of the Inman Line Steamship Company, relinquishing that office to take up a similar position with the American and White Star Line. He was particularly well known in American shipping circles in connection with the export trade. Mr Johnston, who retired from business some three and a half years ago, leaves a widow and a son and daughter.
Review of cemetery fees
It has been suggested there should be an advance in the scale of charges at the Nab Wood Cemetery owing to the increased cost of labour and material since the outbreak of war. The clerk to the District Council was instructed to obtain full information as to the course adopted in other districts and report back.
Read more about 2 March 1917 Read more about 2 March 1917 Read more about 2 March 1917