Friday 14 April 1916
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‘The young Baildon hero, Cpl William Ellison (right), who was recently decorated with the D.C.M. for valour in the field, was given a rousing reception on Monday evening at a function which took place during the show at the Baildon Picture House.’ Many local dignitaries attended and ‘the appearance of Cpl Ellison was the signal for deafening applause and the singing of “He’s a jolly good fellow,” “It’s a long way to Tipperary” and other popular melodies.’ Cllr H Williams, chairman of the District Council, noted the hall was
‘well filled and that Cpl Ellison would accept that fact as instant evidence that Baildon appreciated the honour which had been confirmed on him by the awarding of the D.C.M.’ Cllr Williams went on to present Cpl Ellison with an inscribed silver cigarette case. Breezy heights Cllr W Whittaker said they were ‘all anxious that the lads should come safely back. At the same time they felt proud of the manner they were doing their duty and doubly proud
of those who, in doing it, distinguished themselves as Cpl Ellison had done.’ In an editorial describing Cpl Ellison as ‘a lion’, the Shipley Times & Express wrote: ‘There were, of course, military men at Baildon in former times. No record is to found of any of them securing similar distinction to the D.C.M. but many capable soldiers were reared on these breezy heights. ‘A tablet at Baildon Parish Church tells of the death at the early age of 28 years of Major Paul Meyer – “He was bred to the Profession of Arms and was universally acknowledged to be a most able officer.” ‘So runs the story. That was in 1743, getting on to two hundred years ago.’
Cinema packed to welcome Baildon hero
In his monthly letter to his parishioners in Windhill, Rev Richard Whincup gave a picture of his life while serving as curate to the West Yorkshire Regiment in France, describing the small villages in which they were billeted as ‘a pathetic spectacle. ‘They must be poor sorts of places even in the most peaceable times but after months and months of neglect, together with the wholesale damage which the shells and the ravages of war generally have caused, they appear more uninviting than ever. ‘And yet, however desolate the village looks, it is entered with a certain feeling of exultation for it often marks the end of the day’s march at any rate and in the minds of many it is heaven compared to the trenches. Prodigious rats ‘Amongst the chief thing for which most of those villages are noted are rats and stray dogs. The dogs, with true military instinct, very soon attach themselves to the different regiments for “rations” while the rats manage to procure the rations without any very visible signs of attachment. Rats abound, rats of truly prodigious size according to all one hears. ‘It’s an ill-wind that blows nobody any good and already the rat presents himself as a most convenient scapegoat for the loss, the theft and the
waste of all manner of things. Being, however, entirely immune from field punishment and all such objectionable practices, the rat goes on his way rejoicing despite the fact that he may be called upon to bear the sins of many. ‘I have not been much impressed by many of the French and Belgian churches which I have seen. With all due respect to the deep religious devotion of many of the local people in this country, yet their churches seem to lack the quiet dignity of most of our English churches. ‘We recently marched through a city which has a very fine cathedral; some of the glass was exquisite and the whole conception of the building was most chaste and beautiful. But here again some very ornate decorations around the altar and the pulpit and in other parts of the edifice seemed to
considerably spoil the general effect, but there was no mistaking the stately grandeur of the pile as one approached the city. ‘I often wonder what the French really think about us British people. We seem to be so different from the French in all sorts of ways and there need be little surprise if all kinds of little misunderstandings occasionally arise. Here we are, a perfect multitude of us, we seem to have practically taken possession of the country for miles and miles all around here. Tres bon ‘We have our own railways, all our own police, our own postal system, our own canteens, our own doctors, our own travelling entertainments etc., etc. No wonder if the French people at times ask each other whether the English will ever take their departure now that they seem to be so full in possession. But our French friends would soon have little doubt on this point if only we had a clear and honourable chance of departure. ‘Personally I have received many kindnesses from the French people that I have come across and I am very glad to say that, despite the many faults which are so often found with us clergy in England, yet the French people seem to give the British chaplains a very, very good name. Possibly they do not know us sufficiently!!! I have even heard us referred to as ‘tres bon”!!!’
‘I often wonder what the French really think about us British people. We seem to be so different from the French in all sorts of ways and there need be little surprise if all kinds of little misunderstandings occasionally arise.’
Reflections on dogs, rats, churches and the French
Bombadier Fred Barnett (above), who resides at 20 Institute Road, Eccleshill, is one of the Congregational volunteers who enlisted within a month of the outbreak of hostilities. After nine months’ service in France he has been allowed home on leave. He says the infantry are the real heroes of the fight. The men who manned the trenches had to rough it more and being nearer the Germans were more subject to sudden attacks. His most trying duties were the repairing of the telephone wires while under fire. Gruesome business Going out one night with a comrade, they were compelled to make rushes across the open in between the lights made by the German star shells and the dropping on dead bodies to avoid discovery was a gruesome business. On one occasion some of their men were being picked off by a German sniper and they were at a loss to discover his position. No Man’s Land At last one of the officers spotted him by means of his glasses and he was laid between two dead bodies in ‘No Man’s Land,’ The officer borrowed a rifle and added another to the number of the dead. Bombardier Barnett was in the attack at Loos and though many of brave men fell in that attack he came through his dangerous business without a scratch He is one of the signallers attached to the 72nd Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery. One of their recreations at the front is rat catching.
Fred shares experiences on the front line
The paper included pictures of four related Baildon soldiers who ‘are very well known in the locality. ‘Pte R W Stead whose home is at Baildon Bridge, enlisted in September last year and went to France a fortnight later. He was formerly employed by Mr Percy Fletcher of Shipley as a motor driver. ‘His brother, Pte Fred Stead, is serving with the Bradford Pals in France. ‘Another relative, Pte Milton Leeming of 21 Lower Holme, Baildon, is in the Royal Engineers. He joined on 15th November last year and went to France six weeks ago. He served is apprenticeship as painter and paper-hanger with Mr J R Payne of Shipley. ‘Pte Joseph Cordingley, a cousin, of 6 Albert Street, is also in the Royal Engineers “somewhere in France.” He is 25 years of age.’
Baildon’s Brave Boys
R W Stead
Fred Stead
Milton Leeming
Joseph Cordingley
Cpl Sharpe, son of Mr Joseph Sharpe, 9 Windhill Old Road, Thackley, was included in a piece on ‘Thackley Loyal Lads.’ He had enlisted into 24th West Yorkshire Regt and subsequently transferred into the Royal Flying Corps. He was now at Curragh in Ireland. Also featured were Sapper J A Vale who was in France with the Royal Engineers, Gunner Thomas Lee who was training with RFA in Ripon as was Driver Harry Peate.
Joined the Royal Flying Corps
After waxing lyrical about beauty of the landscape on the moors above Riddlesden, the writer of the Volunteer Force notes, claimed ‘It was strange, last Sunday, when the Shipley Company went that wild way over into Wharfedale, to hear man after man declare that he was up there for the first time. ‘Wingate Nick is high but it is abundantly worth the climb from below. ‘It is probably better known to the Keighley Company, whom we could see working up to Keighley Gate, after their morning inspection, escorting Brigadier General Bewick- Copley to Ilkley for the afternoon parade of the 20th Battalion there. Finishing touch ‘It would seem to be the opinion of at any rate some members of the Shipley unit that, fine as that lovely stretch of moorland may be, it requires a finishing touch in the shape of an inn somewhere above Holden Gate. ‘Sunday’s round works out at about 22 miles – an advance of three miles on our previous record – and on the whole it was very creditably done.’
Fine scenery up on the moors but Volunteer Force think it needs a pub