Two former members of third select class at Eccleshill Congregational Sunday School, Willie Longbottom and Fred Helliwell, had achieved rapid promotions to sergeant since joining the colours.Both had recently been back to visit their families.Sgt Longbottom had emigrated to Canada and within three weeks of enlisting in the 30th Canadian Battalion in July 1915, he had been promoted to lance corporal.After two months training in Ontario he was transferred to England and given his second stripe in November.He came out second out of all the candidates for the sergeant’s examination and was promoted in March 1916 Sgt Helliwell enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery in August 1914 and after ten months’ service at Inch Colm Fort, Scotland, was transferred to the Highland Light Infantry.Three months later he received is first stripe and was sent to Aldershot for special training as a drill instructor. On passing his examinations, he was made corporal.His third promotion inside nine months came in January 1916.He was now stationed at Haddington in Scotland.
Sunday School old boys’ make a rapid rise through the ranks
Danger and heroics in the Dardanelles
L Cpl Cecil Berwick arrived home on Thursday from a Birmingham hospital where he has been treated for an attack of dysentery, contracted by drinking the well water at Suvia Bay.He had initially joined Wellington’s West Riding Regt but was transferred to the Army Cyclist Corps and in that capacity went out to do his share against the Turks.He landed at Suvia Bay on August 6th and took part in the great attack on August 21st. Salt Lake PlainIt was during this stiff engagement he had to cross the Salt Lake Plain three times carrying messages and though the Plain was scarred with bullets and ploughed with shells, he came through unhurt.A souvenir which he greatly prizes is a clip of Turkish cartridges which he picked up from the first trench taken from the Turks.
A commendable piece of work which he and a sergeant did was the repairing of the telephone wire while the battle was going on. The bush took fire and burnt the wire but they pluckily went forward, pulled the wire out of the fiery furnace and repaired the damage.SnipedThough they were sniped at and a soldier was hit in the knee within a few yards of where they were working, they both came through the ordeal untouched.While returning they witnessed a sight which is typical of our Tommies. Two wounded soldiers were helping each other along when one of them collapsed and, of course, the other had to leave him. But having
struggled on about a dozen yards, he also fell to the ground.Just then a couple of stretcher-bearers came on the scene and were on the point of attending to the nearest man when he said, “There’s a chap yonder that can’t walk. Fetch him.” That spirit of sacrifice was very common in the troops of King George.Goat trackOn another occasion L Cpl Berwick was requested to take a dispatch on a dangerous road on a very dark night. The road was only a goat track over the hills and down the gullies. To make matters worse it commenced to rain. This made the track exceedingly slippery and he fell down a gully.Scrambling back on hands and knees he regained the track and by constantly feeling his way he eventually reached his destination in safety.He looked upon the Turks as hardy chaps and fair fighters.
Pte George Edward Bolton, 6th West Yorks, whose home is at 61 Valley Street, Valley Road, has been on a short furlough from the Front.He was accorded a hearty welcome by his many friends to whom he related some interesting stories of happenings on the Continent.Pte Bolton is a bomb-thrower and he likes his work immensely. He said that in the trenches there are rats of enormous size and you have to hang your eatables a good way from the ground or else you soon have none.Their regiment has a record which few can boast. Not a single officer in their regiment has been killed.* The Shipley and Saltaire lads out there are having a good time; they are quite happy.* The first officers of 1/6 West Yorkshire Regiment killed in action were 2nd Lieut N Dodd and 2nd Lieut C G Higgins, both killed on the first day of the Somme, 1 July 1916
Life in the trenches is fine apart from the rats
The Battalion drill in conjunction with Bradford and Bingley on Sunday the 16th was a welcome change from route marching and an earnest of the interesting day and night operations to which we are looking forward now the fine weather has actually arrived. Baildon Moor has a charm of its own, be the weather wet or fine, but in the sodden state of the ground it was heavy going and difficult to keep the line in extended order.We noticed a few cyclists taking part in the operations who proved very useful, particularly in bringing up for the return journey, the Bradford Band which had got out of touch with the main body.It seems very desirable that a Cyclist Corps should be established in connection with the Shipley Company. They would be of undoubted value for reconn-aissance work but would obviously require special training. Seeing that the Cyclist Volunteers will often be out of touch with their officers and obliged to act on their initiative, they should be instructed in the principles of tactics, map reading and elementary field engineering as applied to such things as the demolition of bridges and railways.Guard mountingThe Manual of Cycle Training 1914 should also be studied and practised and we hope that steps will be taken to develop this branch which would form a very useful adjunct for our summer operations.On Easter Sunday, Platoon No 2 had their first experience of actual guard mounting at Laisterdyke. We have pleasurable recollections of Easter Sundays spent in climbing the Lake Mountains and the Yorkshire Highlands but it was certainly a novel experience to pass the hours of golden sunshine amidst the salubrious surroundings of New Leeds.The first relief who had to rise at 4 o’clock in the chilly morn and walk to the other side of Bradford would, indeed, have the satisfaction of feeling that they were taking their volunteering more seriously than we are usually given credit for.Barring the fact that this function took up one day of the holidays, we unquestionably got off very lightly as compared with the Bradford Platoon, who relieved us for night duty and who were due to start within a few hours after they were themselves in turn relived for the march to Farnley.
Volunteers need cycle corps
Canadian emigré killed fighting for England
News reached Clayton that Pte Angus Garrod, the only son of Mr Jesse Garrod of Victoria Street, had been killed in action while serving with the Canadian Contingent in France.‘Pte Garrod who was only 28 years of age, left Clayton some few years ago for Canada. Shortly after the outbreak of war he joined one of the Canadian line regiments and after a period of training in Canada, completed his training in England, leaving for the front about six months ago.’His father received a letter from Cpl Handyside saying that the line they were defending was heavily shelled and Pte Garrod was hit in the back with shrapnel and died instantly.‘He fought and died for a great cause which we are struggling to vindicate.’
With the benefit of hindsight it seems clear that the severe training referred to in this article was in preparation for ‘the Big Push’ which was to come at the Somme two months laterAfter acknowledging his grateful thanks for a parcel, L Cpl Robert Helliwell, who is with the 1/6 West Yorks at the Front, says: “We are all out of the trenches at present and are going through some very severe training to be ready for open warfare. Before long we shall be having another go at them.Price of war“It is just a year ago today since we left England. Since then we have been to many places which we had little knowledge of before the war began.“What strikes me most are all the fresh faces that are to be seen on parade now, for they are almost entirely different from those which left Gainsboro.“Alas! This is the price of war. I am glad to say that my brother and I are going on very nicely.”