Having been wounded in action, one soldier discovered he couldn’t escape danger even in his own home.‘An explosion occurred on Monday morning at a house in Leeds Road, Windihll, occupied by Mr Joseph Hird, marine stores dealer.‘Every window of the house was blown out, the kitchen ceiling collapsed and the furniture both upstairs and downstairs was damaged.‘There were in the house at the time Mr and Mrs Hird and their son, Pte Ernest Hird, of the Army Service Corps, who is home on furlough from the Front.‘All of them suffered from shock and burns, the worst case being that of Mrs Hird, whose injuries were to the face and head. Mr Hird’s left arm was badly burned and Pte Hird was slightly injured on the right cheek.‘Dr Jenkins attended to the sufferers and later Mrs Hird was admitted to the Saltaire Hospital. On inquiry at the hospital last night we were informed that the patient had so far recovered that she would be able to leave the hospital tomorrow (Saturday).‘It is understood that the cause of the explosion was the escape of gas due to defective fittings in the gas oven.’Shipley Times & Express 19-11-1915
I am grateful to Freda Humpherson for supplying me with information and photographs of Ernest and the four Barraclough brothers
In the 1911 census, Ernest Hird was described as working in a glass works and was living with his parets and younger sister, Ada, at 3 Walker Place, Windhill.The family had moved to 7 Ives Street, Windhill, by 1918 when they heard of Ernest’s death.The Shipley Times & Express reported: “Pte Ernest Hird, West Yorkshire Regiment, died on 19th April from wounds received on the the 17th.
“He had had four birthdays at the front and was 22 years of age on 18th April.“In civil life he worked for his father, a metal and machinery broker and he enlisted on 5th August 1914.“Altogether he had been wounded on three occasions, the first time being in September 1915, after whih he returned to the front in February 1916.”Ernest was the grandson of Eliza Barraclough, who also lost four sons in the war. There are links to their stories below.