Friday 18 May 1917
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Left-Right: Pte Squire K Woodward of Shipley, wounded and in hospital in France; Pte C J Spence, 16 Rawson Square, Idle, who has been in hospital suffering from trench feet and now back in training; Pte Herbert Simpson, 8 Airedale St, Eccleshill, wounded; Pte Percy Pemberton, Wainman St, Baildon, wounded; Pte Norman Moulson, Idle; Pte John Joyce, New St, Idle, Killed in Action; Pte J W Close, 17 Fletton Terrace, Eccleshill, wounded.
A Baildon lad’s experiences in East Africa
Pte Frank Holmes Armitage of 10 Knoll View, Baildon Green, who has been serving with the RAMC in German East Africa and is now in hospital suffering from malarial fever, sent some interesting letters home before being taken ill. In addition to their only son, his parents have a son-in-law and twenty nephews serving with the forces. Many thanks for the parcel which has just come to hand. Everything was in splendid condition with perhaps one exception and this was solely due to the tremendous heat. There was a mixture in the parcel of green and white which at first I was unable to christen but on taking a good bite, I was not long left in doubt, for it did not require the powers of an epicure to find out that the said mixture was composed of candles and lime fruit tablets, which had dissolved and then set into one compact mass. There were about 500 of us who left Southampton in the summer of 1915 and after we got to the Mediterranean we were split up into different parties and heaven knows where they have all got to. Some were detailed for mine- sweepers, others for Egypt, whilst various hospital transports took up the rest, of which life I had a good spell before getting to the Dardanelles This campaign finished, we went to Egypt for a short rest. Afterwards we embarked for east Africa, exactly at the same time that the Bradford Pals were leaving there for France. Before the war there appeared little chance of being able to gratify my keen desire for travel but of this I have now had my fill and after it is over you can bet your bottom dollar that I shall be a strong advocate for foreign lands for foreigners and Blighty of Blighters – I mean Britishers. Yorkshire lads There are several Yorkshire lads amongst our clique but none from the West Riding. We are all chums and each one tries his best to make it as pleasant for the other as possible. There is no end of good-natured banter or ‘gagging’ as it is called against one another and a chap who cannot stand a joke is no good for the army. The most troublesome things we encounter here are snakes and mosquitoes. The main item of clothing worn by the natives comprise rings, beads and bracelets and when we have an impromptu concert and the band gets into full swing - my pal Jock with his mouth organ and the celluloid whistle that you sent me harmonise very well – the natives are very fond of dancing. The other day I had a journey by motor with one of my officers about twenty miles nearer the firing line but
travelling by motor in this country is vastly different to in England. Here the roads are in such bad condition that it is impossible to avoid raising clouds of red sand which almost blinds you, especially if the car travels at any great speed. After enjoying an excellent meal we commenced to work and very hard work it was for clearing the bush in this country is no light task and the hard nature of the ground in some places is remarkable. Overslept However, I managed to get our tents up after a bit of a struggle and I felt absolutely paid out by nightfall and talk about sleep – well, it is questionable whether a battery of field artillery could have roused me. I overslept myself and was late with my duties in the morning but my officer, being a regular sport, overlooked my tardiness and said nothing about it. After receiving your hint about the Frontiersmen coming out here and that several Baildon boys were amongst them, I kept my eyes skinned and coming across one in the hospital I asked him if he knew N.N and B.R from Baildon Good egg, he knew them both and
told me where to find them. I went up the day following but bother were out. But I came across a chap who used to go to school when I did, but for the life of me I could not recall his name. You see, he had grown a beard and this rather led me astray in my efforts of recollection. However, I soon found out that it was T.M of Lane End and we had a very pleasant chat about old times. Swimming At present I am nursing isolated and infectious cases and although the work is very tedious, I take a great interest in it and am picking up a lot of useful information. Ninety percent of our cases are from the effects of the climate and you would be surprised what a lot of our chaps get down with malaria. We recently landed on this coast after again being four days afloat. Swimming is our chief recreation, night and morning, and some of us are becoming fairly expert and can go quite a long distance out to sea. The storms we encounter during the rainy season are enough to fill you with awe. These storms generally start after sunset. The wind suddenly begins to rise and soon attains such a force that it lashes the sea into a seething, a boiling cauldron and hurls big waves almost up to our tents. Home sickness The lightning is most vivid and the thunder rolls and reverberates with the roll and clash of ten thousand cannon, whilst the rain comes down in sheets. These storms finish as suddenly as they begin and it is then you realise the old saying ‘there is always a calm after a storm.’ I am troubled with one kind of sickness but when the big white ship sails to take us back to Blighty it will bring the cure with it for it is only home sickness and I am not the only one who is troubled in this way I often dream about switching round the cathedral at the bottom of the Green with a pass in my pocket for a good long home leave and that this dream may soon be realised is the sincere wish of your affectionate son, Frank.
“Before the war there appeared little chance of being able to gratify my keen desire for travel but of this I have now had my fill”
Cpl William Johnson Smith (far right) of Moorside Cottage, Eccleshill, has been wounded in the head and is now at a base hospital in France. He enlisted in the 16th West Yorks in December 1914 and with this regiment saw service in Egypt. He was transferred last May to the Machine Gun Corps. The firm of Law, Russell Ltd was where he was previously employed. His brother, Pte Gilbert Sharp Smith (near right), joined the Black Watch last May and went to France in December. He is now ill in hospital at Boulogne. Prior to enlisting he was in the employ of the Liverpool, London and Globe Insurance Co.
Eccleshill brothers in hospital in France
Pte John Shaw, youngest son of Mr Fred Shaw of Woodville, Shipley, who is serving in the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment, had a very narrow shave during the recent heavy fighting in France. A piece of shrapnel struck his tunic pocket on the left breast, pierced the khaki and some letters and postcards, and finally embedded itself in a leather pocket book. The letters and pocket book, together with a piece of shrapnel have since been forwarded by Pte Shaw to his father. Humorous Pte Shaw is a member of the Shipley Liberal Club and for some years has been a humorous contributor at social gatherings. Besides contributing to the fighting forces, the Shaw family have been much to the fore in local war efforts. Through the kindness of Mr Herbert Shaw and his co-executors, Belgian refugees, now chiefly women and children, are still housed at Shipley Grange, the residence of the late Cll C B Shaw. And an extensive area of land on the Bradford Road side of the estate has generously been placed at the disposal of food cultivators.
Saved by his pocket book
How I miss my pal
Great regret is felt that Pte Harry Dixon, of 2 Tunwell Lane, Eccleshill has been killed in action. His parents received a letter from Cpl Willie Smith, since wounded, of Moorside Cottage, which reads: “I deeply regret to tell you that Harry was killed last Sunday, April 22nd. Shell “We were waiting in a trench previous to an attack when Harry, along with several others, met his death by the bursting of a German shell. “I cannot tell you how much I miss him. We both come from the same place and were transferred from the same battalion. For these reasons we had a great deal in common. “He was liked by everyone in the company for he was always so bright and cheerful. “Please accept my deepest sympathy in your great trouble.”
The wife of Pte John Whaley, of Edgar Street, Clayton, has received notification that her husband has been killed. Pte Whaley, who was the eldest son of the late Mr Dennis Whaley, attested under the Derby scheme and was called up in August of last year and went out to France on New Year’s Day. Children He was attached to one of the East Yorkshire Regiments, was 39 years of age and leaves a widow and two children, for whom much sympathy is expressed. Before joining the Army he was employed by the North Bierley Guardians.
Former Guardians worker killed in action
Welcomed home
Pte Arnold Illingworth, who was wounded early in March and has since been in hospital in Leeds and Malton, has this week been visiting his home at 18 Woodbine Terrace, Idle. He was given a warm reception by friends and fellow workers. His fellow employees at New Mills presented him with a luminous watch at an informal gathering last Monday. Pte Illingworth left his home yesterday to rejoin his regiment.
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