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Born: 22 October 1888, Rawdon
Died: 3 October 1918
Buried: Le Quesnoy Communal Cemetery
Address: 2 Northcote Terrace, Eccleshill
Parents: Thomas & Marth Ann, nee Brooks
Siblings: Nine
Rank: Pte
Rolls of Honour: St Luke’s, Eccleshill; Greengates
Regiment: West Yorkshire
Wilfred Lee
Wilfred Lee was born on the 22nd of October 1888 and baptised at St Peter, Rawdon. He was the second youngest of ten children of Thomas Lee and his wife, Martha Ann. nee Brooks. By 1891 the family had moved to 41 Millman Lane, Idle and in 1901 the family were living in the dockyard at No. 21 Apperley Road. By 1911 Thomas had died and Martha had six of her younger children still living at home. Wilfred at 22 years was working as a cabinet maker for Mr Harry Walker. When Wilfred enlisted in Leeds during October 1914 he was living at 2 Northcote Terrace with his sisters. He joined as Private 161493 in the 15th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales Own). The Battalion was formed in Leeds
in September 1914 by the Lord Mayor and City and on the 17th of December 1915 the Brigade departed Liverpool for Egypt to guard the Suez Canal. They left on the 6th of March 1916 when the Brigade was transferred to France as part of the build up for the Somme. In his three years on the Western Front Wilfred saw a great deal of action but he was reported missing during the First Battle of the Somme which occurred 21st March to the 5th April 1916. On the night of the 27th of March the Germans advanced on both sides of the Somme reaching Sailly le Sec (12 miles from Amiens) and it was on this night that Wilfred went missing. News that he was a prisoner of war
was received by his sisters during August 1918 stating that he was safe and enjoying good health. However news came in October 1918 that Wilfred had died a prisoner of war at Le Quesnoy on the 3rd of October 1918. In the St Luke Parish Magazine of January 1919 the Rev. John Sweetnam wrote “The circumstances in which he lost his life are such as to arouse all our sympathy for his sorrowing sisters and to steel our hearts against the inhuman beings who brought it about. “Knowing he was a prisoner of war in Germany, hearts were beating high at the prospect of reunion. “These revived hopes were suddenly shattered by the information, received through a
comrade, that Wilfred had died of starvation in the hands of the enemy. “Letters had come home bearing the post marks of two prison camps in the interior of Germany and to these addresses parcels of food etc. had been regularly sent. “It now transpires that Wilfred was never at either of these camps. The addresses were a blind. He was all the while just behind the enemy lines in Belgium and he never received a parcel”. He was 32 years of age and he is buried in Le Quesnoy Communal Cemetery. Le Quesnoy was captured by New Zealand soldiers on the 4th of November 1918 and 24 graves were brought in from the German extension. 19 soldiers died as prisoners of war and ten are buried here. He left his effects to his sister Annie who on the 28th of August 1919 received £43.11.2d,
Eccleshill Roll of Honour Eccleshill Roll of Honour Eccleshill Roll of Honour
. Researched and written by Jean Britteon, to whom many thanks
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