While the Shipley Times & Express gave extensive coverage to local men serving in WW1, they were largely reliant on friends and relatives passing on information.Many men went through the war without their story being told, men like Arthur Percy Cocksedge of Windhill, who we first read about as the war was coming to an end and then again, much later, in the reports of his tragic death.On 4 October 1918 the paper reported: Pte Arthur Cocksedge, Duke of Wellington’s Regt, of Pratt Lane, Crag End, Windhill, who is on furlough awaiting an artificial leg, fell down the steps of the Shipley Billiard Hall in Rosse Street last Friday afternoon.He was unconscious when taken to Sir Titus Salt’s Hospital and he was in that condition when he was removed in the ambulance the following day to St Luke’s Hospital in Bradford, the fall having resulted in severe concussion.Killed in ActionPte Cocksedge’s father was killed in action some time ago.Research in Ancestry to try and find how losing a leg affected Arthur’s life, we learned that he was born in Shipley on 29 April 1894, the son of a boatman, Alfred Cocksedge, and his wife Kezia. He was baptised at St Paul’s the following month.The family moved around the Windhill area and by the time of the 1911 census with Kezia having died two years before, Arthur, aged 17, was living at 56 Valley Road and described as a brick worker. As well as his father, Arthur was living with his siblings Herbert, Thomas and George, and Mary Hall, who was described as a servant.His army record doesn’t tell how he lost his leg but does contain a poignant letter from his grandmother, Emma Hoddy, who wrote:Dear SirWith reference to the telegram which you sent about Pte Arthur Cocksedge 266743 2/6 West Riding Regiment, we wish to say that we are extremely obliged to you for same.When you send any further news please send it to the above address as his father, Pioneer A Cocksedge, late of 58 Briggate, Windhill, was killed in action in April 1917.He left four sons, two are in France, the two youngest are living with me their grandmother as their mother died a few years ago. Enclosed you will find addressed envelope.Again thanking youI remainYours respectfullyMrs E HoddyThe army papers also reveal that Arthur was sent to the specialist Queen Mary Hospital in Roehampton to be fitted with an artificial limb and that he was discharged from the army on 8 July 1919. It would appear from electoral registers that Arthur lived for some time with his grandmother at 32 Pratt Lane but by the time of the 1939 Register, he had married, was
working as a night watchman and living with his wife, Lilian and sons, Alfred and James at 41 West Royd Avenue.And that was his address in 1952 when he was involved in an horrendous accident, reported in the Shipley Times & Express on 13 October:Shipley’s second shocking road tragedy within a period of just over four months occurred on Sunday afternoon in Commercial Street.SkiddedA Shipley father, mother and son were standing waiting for a trolley bus to take them to their home at 41 Westroyd Avenue, Windhill, when a taxi skidded and crashed into them, fatally injuring all three.They were Mr Arthur Percy Cocksedge, aged 57, his wife, Lilian Cocksedge, aged 56, and Mr William Hainsworth Hollings, aged 26, the son of Mrs Cocksedge by a previous marriage. They all live at the same address.The accident occurred at the spot where three Windhill girls had miraculous escapes from injury in June and within half a mile of the tragedy at Saltaire roundabout where, last April, a fire engine crashed into a bus queue killing two persons and injuring several others.The taxi driver, Mr William Dearnley of 54 Granville Road, Frizinghall, was uninjured but badly shaken. He was taken to Salts Hospital suffering from severe shock. There were no passengers in the taxi at the time. He is an employee of Black and Gold Taxis, 4 Charles Street, Shipley. The taxi was extensively damaged. Its radiator hit the wall, enlarging a hole made by the previous accident at the same spot. The offside of the car struck the trolley standard.It is understood that a passing motorist saw the accident but Shipley Police are having difficulty in obtaining eye-witnesses. They request that anybody who saw the accident or has any information about it should communicate with Shipley Police Station.The vehicle was traveling towards Shipley from the direction of Saltaire. Immediately after rounding the bend near the Junction Hotel it apparently skidded and mounted the nearside pavement.Mr Harold Marsh, licensee of the Junction Hotel, Westgate, Shipley, which overlooks the scene of the tragedy, said: “I was having lunch in the sitting room when we heard a crash and I saw through the window that a taxi had run into three people standing at the trolley bus stop.“I dialled for the police and the
ambulance and then took some blankets to keep them warm.“A man with a wooden leg was lying about 20 yards along the pavement from the bus stop. He was injured about the head and there was little we could do for him.“Another man and woman were lying near the taxi. The taxi driver was terribly shaken and his speech was incoherent with shock. I took him to the hotel and gave him a brandy.“This was the third accident at the same spot in the last nine months and I never saw anything quite so terrible. There was little we could do for the victims,” added Mr Marsh.Mr and Mrs Cocksedge and Mr Hollings were returning home from the Shipley British Legion Institute where they had met Mr Cocksedge’s brother, Herbert, who was probably the last person to speak to them before the accident.The call for an ambulance was first put through to the Shipley Fire Station but as there was no ambulance driver available, an ambulance was sent from Bradford.Mrs Cocksedge was found to be dead when the ambulance arrived and she was taken to Salts Hospital.Fractured skullMr Arthur Cocksedge, who sustained a suspected fractured skull, and Mr William Hollings, whose right leg was severed below the knee, his left leg fractured and who also had a suspected fractured skull, were taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary where they died later.Mr Cocksedge was employed as a night watchman by Shipley Council’s Highways Department and until recently worked for Baildon Combing Company.A member of the British Legion (Shipley) Branch and the Institute, he served with the 2/6 Duke of Wellington’s Regiment in the 1914-18 war and lost a leg at Cambrai in 1917,Mrs Cocksedge was a social member of the Institute.Mr Hollings was employed by John Smith (Shipley) Ltd, fruit preservers, of Windhill. He was a married man with a four-year-old daughter.Mrs Cocksedge had a son and a daughter by her first marriage and Mr and Mrs Cocksedge had two young sons, one of whom, James, is a cripple and is 16 years of age.The inquest on the three victims of the accident was opened and adjourned at Shipley Town Hall yesterday afternoon.After taking formal evidence of identification etc, the Deputy Craven District Coroner, Mr J H Winstanley, adjourned the inquest until Wednesday, October 1, at 10 a.m.
Evidence was given by Mr Laurence Holling of 9 Prospect Walk, Windhill, brother of Mr William Hollings, who identified all three victims.Dr D E Price, County pathologist, who conducted the post mortem examinations, said the cause of death in every case was due to shock and haemorrhage.In the case of Mrs Cocksedge there were multiple injuries; Mr Cocksedge had fractures of the ribs and the naso axillary lung; and Mr Hollings, fractured skull and amputation of the right leg.FuneralA week later, the newspaper carried a report of the family’s funeral:The funeral of the three victims of last week’s street accident at Shipley was held as a joint funeral at Windhill Cemetery last Thursday.The three victims were Mr and Mrs Arthur Percy Cocksedge and Mr William Hainsworth Holling, all of 41 West Royd Avenue, Windhill.The vicar of Windhill, the Rev H D Pitchford officiated.At first it was arranged that cremation should take place at Scholemoor Crematorium, Bradford, but it is understood that owing to the circumstances surrounding the accident, the Deputy Coroner, Mr J H Winstanley, was not prepared to issue a cremation certificate and the arrangements were changed to interment.Union Jack and poppiesThis took place in the same grave at the local cemetery.The cortege was headed by three hearses, Mr Cocksedge’s coffin being draped with a Union Jack and bearing a laurel wreath with a spray of red poppies as befitted an old soldier of the 1914-18 war and a member of the Shipley British Legion.Black and Gold Taxis, Shipley, one of whose vehicles was involved in the accident, were represented among the mourners and sent a spray of flowers.Principal mourners were Mrs W H Holling (widow); Master James Cocksedge (son); Mr and Mrs Laurence Holling and Mr and Mrs Herbert Cocksedge.Relatives of the victims are deeply grateful to Mrs Scott and other neighbours for their many acts of sympathy.