Rolls of Honour: St Paul’s Shipley; Rosse Street Baptist Church, Shipley
A notice appeared in the Births, Deaths and Marriages columns on 19 November 1915 which read:NORMINGTON P Corporal David Normington, RAMC, attached to the first 6th West Yorkshire Regiment, killed in action November 12th, 1915, fourth son of Mr and Mrs G H Normington, Glen Maye, Victoria Park, Shipley.Cpl Normington was one of a number of Shipley ambulance men who answered the call in the first week of the war and he was quickly sent to various units 'to maintain a supply of pure water for the troops, to render first aid and to supervise the general sanitary arrangements'.In June of 1915 he wrote to Miss Ward of 1a Bradford Road, Shipley, telling her that while he had been in France he had come across a number of the Shipley RAMC men.He was based at the battalion headquarters about 500 yards behind the trenches where first-aid was rendered and wrote the letter while taking cover because a German aircraft was flying over, taking observations.Over by July or August‘The general opinion among the men where I am stationed,’ he said, ‘is that the war will not last long. I think that it will be over by July or August.‘On May 9th, the West Yorkshire were right in the centre of a great bombardment which I will never forget as long as I live. It started at 5 o’clock in the morning and lasted
until 7 in the evening.‘The West Yorkshires were in their dug-outs and could hear the shells whistling overhead all day. My battalion had about a dozen killed in action and three or four more died from wounds.’Cpl Normington concluded his letter: ‘We are all looking forward to the time when peace is declared so that we can come over to England and have some Yorkshire pudding.’His parents also received a letter from him saying he hoped to be on leave shortly but the next day they were told in a letter from the regiment’s Wesleyan Chaplaiin that he was dead.He wrote: ‘I am exceedingly sorry to have to send you bad news. Your son, Cpl D Normington, was killed at the dressing station of the ambulance. A shrapnel shell exploded in one of the upper rooms, a piece of the shell being driven through the floor into a room below in which your son
was, along with several others.‘The fragment of shell struck your son and he died almost immediately.‘I have just returned from burying him. We have laid him in the cemetery outside the house where he died.’The Rev R Whincup, vicar of Windhill wrote to the parents: ‘Your grief will be very great indeed but I hope that it may be somewhat lightened by the memory of the splendid manner in which your boy has done his duty on behalf of his country.‘Your son has died a very honourable death and after all, this is a very great thing to have done.Inscription‘As far as I can gather, he suffered no pain. His death seems to have been almost instantaneous. A cross with suitable inscription will be erected over his grave which is only about a couple of hundred yards from where he fell.’In his last letter to his parents, Cpl Normington remarked that they had had it rather exciting during the last few days. The Germans seemed to have made up their minds to shell their billet twice a day. They had dropped shells on all sides of the old house where he and his comrades were staying and which was used as a dressing station for the wounded.He added that he was very pleased to say they had not yet got too near with a large shell. They had, however, got within five yards with small shrapnel.
A report about private John Kendall that appeared in the Shipley Times & Express in February 1916 revealed: ‘Pte Kendall on one occasion had a very narrow squeak indeed. He was standing chatting with L Cpl David Normington when the latter was killed. There were three of them in a dressing station when a shell came in at the roof, killed L Cpl Normington and wounded another Shipley lad – L Cpl Joe Bateson.’
A memorial service was held at Rosse Street Baptist Church on 28 November 1915. ‘There was a large congregation which included members of the Shipley Volunteer Force and Boys’ Brigade.’The choir sang the anthem “Lord for Thy tender mercies sake.” Miss Procter fervently rendered “O rest in the Lord.” The hymns were “Lead kindly Light,” “O Love that will not let me go,” “Just as I am,” and “Eternal Light.”The Rev H W Burdett conducted the service and in his address paid a high tribute to the deceased who, he said, enjoyed the respect of a large circle of friends. He had responded to the call of duty, an example which each one of them must endeavour to adopt.The organist, Mr W Knight, played the “Dead March.”
Compiled from a number of reports in the Shipley Times & Express