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Born: 1893, Leeds
Died: 20 November 1917, St John’s Hospital, Etaples
Buried: Etaples Military Cemetery
Address: Fircroft, 16 Bradford Road, Shipley
Parents: John Sykes Kelley & Lucy Ann
Siblings: Edith, Miriam, Kathleen
Occupation: Stuff Merchant’s assistant (1911)
Rank: Cpl
Rolls of Honour:
Regiment: RAMC
Henry Hainsworth Kelley
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The first we hear of Henry is in a letter describing his fears that the war could last a long time and describing his life in France: Mr J S Kelley of Fircroft, Bradford Road, Shipley, president of the Shipley Liberal Association, has received a letter from his son, L Sgt Harry H Kelley, Royal Army Medical Corps, who is attached to the 7th Battalion of the Leeds Rifles. Writing from “Somewhere in France” on 4th July, he refers to the prospect of a long campaign: You say in your last letter that the war is not going to last for ever. Well, it may not but people at home have not the slightest little bit of an idea what an effort is required to take even a few yards of German trench. And as for our task of driving the enemy out of Belgium and France, well such words as gigantic, colossal and Herculean are quite inadequate to describe it. The war may be over this year but I would not mind putting every halfpenny I possess on it lasting well on to the end of next. Of course we shall beat them but since coming out here I acknowledge a fact which I never could acknowledge before – that it is possible for them to beat us, even though it is improbable in the extreme.
Do not let this make you think that the soldier out here is despondent or pessimistic; he is not. But everyone realises that although he is pretty confident of victory in the end, that victory is a lot further away than Tipperary. No, we have not been in a great engagement lately; don’t believe all the mad rumours you hear. We are at a ripping spot now, about seven miles behind the firing line. We are billeted at a farmhouse as usual, but Murphy and I have built an A1 bivouac. Between two stunted willows we placed a long hop pole and put others resting on it and the ground
on each side. One side we covered with our medical cart tarpaulin and the other with straw wattles. The two triangular ends are closed by stretchers, bundles of faggots, a small tarpaulin and a ground sheet. The floor space is at least 15ft x 12ft and the height at the centre about 8ft. The soft grass and an oilsheet make a splendid bed and while we are here this life is the finest a single man can lead. We have our meals in the open air; indeed, for the last four days I have never been in a house except for an occasional cup of coffee at the farm house.
We have had our fair share of the trenches so far and I can tell you they are not convalescent home and I shouldn’t be really sorry if I never had to see the bally things again. I have not managed to see a German yet although one or two must have seen me. However, I am still alive and kicking in spite of their snipers. Only too true, their snipers are smart to a degree – much too dangerous for us when we are going in and out of the trenches. They are clever shots and no mistake. L Sgt Kelly joined the RAMC about four years ago and at the outbreak of war was in camp with his battalion at Scarborough. He has been in France about three months Shipley Times & Express 16 July 1915
We regret to have to report that Cpl Henry Hainsworth Kelley, only son of Mr and Mrs J S Kelley of Fircroft, Shipley, died of wounds in France on 20th November. At the outbreak of war he was already in camp with the Territorials (Leeds Rifles) and later he went out with the R.A.M.C detachment from Shipley. After serving nearly a year in France he came home time expired and after a few months at home rejoined last summer. He was sent out to France in December and his parents learnt last Thursday afternoon that whilst at the dressing station dug-out at Ypres, a shell burst and injured him severely in thigh and calf. At the time it was thought that the wounds were not so serious but unfortunately two days later he died from the effects of them in St John’s Hospital, Etaples.. He had some time ago put in his application for a commission. This had been arranged and his parents had news from him last week that he expected very soon to be home on leave and in training for becoming an officer. Cpl Kelley was 24 years of age. Shipley Times & Express 30 November 1917