Friday 28 September 1917
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A pleasing function was held at Somerset House, Shipley, at the close of the Education Committee meeting on Monday evening when Pte William Abberton, a Shipley man attached to the R.A.M.C., was presented with the Military Medal. Pte Abberton, whose parents reside at 13 Rosebury Avenue, Windhill, had not been home since the award was made. He had been, however, decorated with the colours in front of the whole of his regiment on the field at the time of winning the decoration. Abberton is a very modest young man, 21 years old and single. He joined the army voluntarily upon the outbreak of war, being then employed as assistant by Mr J S Micklethwaite, hairdresser, Godwin Street, Bradford. He is a member of St Walburga’s R.C. Church, Shipley, and highly respected. In fact, Father O’Sullivan described him to our representative as “a most loveable boy of a rather retiring disposition.” Pte Abberton, who resided with his aunt, Miss Whelan, in Rosebery Avenue, Windhill, was educated at St Walburga’s School, Shipley. Two years ago he joined the 107th Field Ambulance and has been in continuous service since that time. He was then only 19 years of age. Incessant fire He was not a robust youth but he patriotically joined up when he could have escaped had he desired to do so. The circumstances under which he was awarded the Military Medal were as follows: On May 8th, 1916, he was one of two men with the doctor seeing to wounded men in the fighting line and the doctor found himself short of stretchers and bandages. Pte Abberton at once volunteered to go back for these appliances. It was a very brave thing to do because he had to cross an area which was being subjected to incessant shell fire from the enemy. The doctor feared that it would be impossible for Pte Abberton to get through alive but he succeeded in getting there and back with the ambulance aids which the doctor required.
For that he was awarded the Military Medal, being one of the first to receive this decoration which had only just been adopted as a reward for services in the field. Pte Abberton should have received the medal more than a year ago but he had been in France and now Father O’Sullivan had interested himself and had succeeded in getting the medal presented before Pte Abberton returns to France. In making this presentation Cllr Hill said he desired, on behalf of the Council and the people of Shipley to compliment him on his conduct as a soldier and to congratulate him on the recognition he had received. Cllr Hill then affixed the medal to the hero’s coat. Duty as a soldier Responding, Pte Abberton  said he must  thank them for their kind appreciation of him and also for the trouble they had taken to get the medal for him and for presenting it to him. He had only done his duty as a soldier. Father O’Sullivan, in an eloquent speech, said: “It is no small honour to be singled out from a large body of soldiers, all of whom are ‘doing their bit’ and to be awarded the Military Medal. “He is very much to be congratulated
and I join the chairman in wishing him every congratulation and hope also that he will come back from the war – when this terrible war is over – safe and sound to his friends. Schoolfellow killed  “Only yesterday a schoolfellow of Abberton’s was reported to have been killed in action – a young man named Sidney Whitcliffe, who was at home six weeks ago. His mother has now received a letter from the Commanding Officer in the field that her son has died, bravely defending his Commanding Officer. “The nations at war have now lost terribly both in men and in the expenditure of fabulous sums of money. And all the time the men have to suffer. “This war should never have been. We were not the cause of it. Throughout the whole British Empire we are a peaceful, commercial community. Choice bits “We have no desire for conquest. We have nearly all the choice bits of the world in our possession and all we want is to keep them in our possession. “ Cllr C E Learyod, as chairman of the Education Committee, said that he would take some credit for that committee as having been responsible for some of the development of the hero. It was encouraging to them as public workers. Pte Abberton was brought up in which was an  unappropriated school and it was very creditable to the school. It was a very great pleasure, whatever denomination they belonged to, to show appreciation from whatever quarter it fell from. It was doubly gratifying to those who were Protestants to see that it had come from that part of the town which they had every cause to respect. Cllr Hill then presented Pte Abberton with the sum of £3 3s, the result of a whip-round among the councillors present. Pte Abberton thanked the council for this altogether unexpected present which, he added naively, he could “find a use for.”
St Walburga’s pupil finally gets his medal
After three months service in Belgium, Wesleyan lay preacher Pte Joe Crossley of Thackley contracted dysentery and he has now arrived at Addington Park Palace War Hospital in Surrey. Writing of his experience he says: “It was an inspiration to know that we had landed in Blighty again. On our arrival at Croydon, the platform soon resembled a battlefield with all the stretchers and patients about. Park “We were quickly removed in ambulances and it was my lot to be sent to a palace which has been converted into a hospital and which is surrounded by a beautiful park. Since coming here I have picked up nicely and was well enough to conduct last Sunday’s service at the YMCA hut. The place was packed to the doors and many stood outside. I did my best to give a living message to living men. We had some rousing hymns and a Church of England clergyman presided. If all goes well I shall not be long before being amongst my old friends in Yorkshire.
Mr and Mrs W Dobson of Low Baildon received the sad news on Wednesday last that their second son, Pte Thomas Arthur Dobson, had been seriously wounded on the preceding Friday, September 14th only to be followed a day later by the painful intelligence that he had died on September 15th from his wounds and never regained consciousness. Pte Dobson was in the employ of W A Whitehead, Esq., of Langley, Baildon, as a gardener for eight years prior to his enlistment. Mentioned in dispatches Joining the Duke of Wellington’s Regt in March 1916, he was trained at Salisbury Plain, Henham Park and Bideford, going out to France in January this year. On May 15th, Pte Dobson was mentioned in dispatches for his bravery in carrying in a wounded captain of the York and Lancaster Regt under a terrific fire. The gallant soldier was 23 years of age and was highly respected by a large circle of friends.
Baildon gardener dies from his wounds
Sent to a palace
Another local loss which is greatly regretted is that of Pte Charlie Jefferson of 10 Intake Road, Fagley. He was both well-known and well-liked and brother to Mr Harry Jefferson, the well-known Wesleyan local preacher. Mrs Jefferson became aware of her bereavement by receiving a letter from Lieut Welsh of the West Yorks, her husband being in the same regiment. The letter is dated September 16th and says: “I much regret to inform you that your husband was killed in action on the 13th inst. “I can assure you I deeply sympathise in your loss. Anyone, whatever his position in life, who met your husband, instantly recognised in him qualities much to be admired. “He had been under me now for nearly two years and never once during that period did I have to doubt him or anything that was given him to do. “I am thankful to be able to tell you he died without pain and that he lost his life in an action in which the name of the regiment was made. He was interred with many others in the cemetery, many of his friends and most of the officers being present. Died nobly “His fellow pioneers are making a cross and I can assure you I will see that his grave is properly kept and fenced round. If I can be of any service to you, be sure to let me know. “Your husband died nobly in a good cause and did not give his life in vain.” Pte Jefferson entered the army in January 1915 and took part in several important engagements with the West Yorkshire Regt. He was 36 years of age and was formerly employed at the Thornbury Tramsheds. He leaves a widow and three children.
Conscientious father of three  is killed in action
Wounded for second time
Cpl Charlie Kitson of 14 Chapel Street, Eccleshill, of the West Yorks Regt, has been wounded in the face and arm and is now in a Canadian hospital in France. He was wounded in the face 12 months ago and has recently been home on leave.
Gunner Willie Sutcliffe, R.F.A., son of Mr and Mrs Albert Sutcliffe, Highfield Road, Idle, is home on leave from France. It is over two years since he joined the forces and he has had eighteen months’ active service. He took part in the bombardment prior to the great advance in July of last year and has since then been in many hot corners. Choir At present he is acting as servant to the Senior Chaplain of one of the divisions, the Rev Major C W O Jenkyn. He returns to the front on Sunday evening next. Before donning khaki, Willie was in the employ of Fawcett & Sons, Bradford. He was a member of the Parish Church choir and sang with that body on Sunday. He will also be present on Sunday next. He was an enthusiastic cricketer and was a very promising member of the Idle club.
Leave from ‘hot corners’
A wedding of more than ordinary interest was celebrated at Eccleshill Parish Church where Miss Elsie Bougen, the daughter of the late P.C. Charles Bougen, was married to Gunner Joseph Holden Fernley of the R.F.A. The bridegroom has been on active service in France over 12 months. The Rev R B McKee was the officiating clergyman and the bride was given away by her brother, Pte Charles Bougen who has served in the army 13 years, three of which have been spent on active service. He took part in the Dardanelles operations and has been wounded three times. The best man was Able Seaman Walter Bougen, brother of the bride and Miss Hilda Bougen, sister, was the only bridesmaid. The newly-married couple reside at 20 Peterboro’ Terrace where the reception was  held. The bridegroom returned to active service on Monday.
Khaki wedding
Briefly back with the band
After being 18 months at the front,, Gunner B Barker, who before donning khaki was conductor of the Idle Salvation Army Band, has been granted a short leave and he returned to his military duties on Monday morning. While in Idle he took charge of the band and he had a very enjoyable stay.
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