Occupation: James Harper’s, Ravenscliffe Mills, Greengates
Rolls of Honour:
Regiment: West Yorkshire
On 19 January 1917, the Shipley Times & Express reported:Pte Albert Stansfield of 2 Bromet Place, Eccleshill, who has been at the front several months with the 15th West Yorks, has been sent to a base hospital suffering from trench fever.Two of his brothers are also at the front, one being in the Royal Field Artillery and the other in the Yorkshire Hussars.Later that year, on 22 June, we learn:Pte Albert Stansfield, who was recently reported missing, wrote home on Monday to say he was a prisoner of war in Germany.He was previously employed at James Harper’s Ravenscliffe Mills, Greengates
Albert was finally freed after the armistice and on the 24 January 1919 the newspaper reported:Pte Albert Stansfield, West Yorkshire Regt, of 2 Bromet Place, Eccleshill, who has returned home from prison camps in Germany, has been in the hands of the Germans for twenty months. He fought eight months in France before being captured.Fort McDonald, Lille, where he was with 149 other prisoners, was a mass of vermin and he was in the cells for nineteen days and only had a wash once.He was afterwards put to work on the making of railways and when
he showed signs of fatigue he was struck on the ribs with the butt-end of a rifle.The prisoners had no shaving requisites and they used to get lots of fun out of chaffing each other about their long beards.For five months they went about like grandfathers and were overworked on practically empty stomachs throughout the day, while at night they could hardly get any sleep for the vermin.To prevent themselves being starved they plucked nettles, docks and dandelion leaves to make broth with and when they could catch a few frogs, they used to kill them
and throw them into the stew. The men were in such a bad way for food that they looked upon this kind of dish as ‘dainty’Stansfield says he heard of some of the men eating rats but that he preferred frog soup.While working on a farm the daughter of the house spat at him for being an Englishman. The prisoners were now better off for food, getting ham or bacon twice a week which, however, had to be eaten raw.They were paid 3d a day for thirteen hours’ work on the farm and last season three of them reaped 130 acres of corn and 25 acres of clover with hand scythes.Influenza took a heavy toll of the prisoners and seventeen Britishers died from this complaint at Christmas.