Friday 12 May 1916
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Cpl Charles Cook of the Northumberland Fusiliers, of 16 Regent Street, Saltaire Road, Shipley, has been wounded in the right shoulder with shrapnel. He enlisted a little over a year ago and went to France about nine months since. He has been home on leave after having been in hospital in Essex but has now returned to the Front.
Back to the Front
Church pays tribute to Greengates’ heroes
An entry in the Greengates Parish Magazine covered the deaths of two local soldiers. “It is with deep feelings of regret that we announce the death in action of Capt E B Fawcett so well known to many of us as a brave, fearless soldier and a man of splendid character. “Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Alderman and Mrs J E Fawcett and also to his sorrowing widow and child in their bitter grief. Four sons “The former have sent four sons and one daughter to do their duty by their King and Country in a righteous cause and whilst we deplore the life cut down in its prime, Greengates is proud of the contribution which she has made in officers and men who have gone forth to fight and die for righteousness and honour.” Proceeding further the magazine adds “Another who has suffered in this cause is an old choir boy, Charles Elliott, who was killed in action on March 27th; our sympathy goes out to relations who mourn his loss.”
Pte William Illingworth (right) of the 13th Northumber- land Fusiliers was killed instantly when a shell burst in his dug-out on 27 April 1916. The son of Mr Fred Illingworth, Pte Illingworth lived at 18 Woodbine Terrace, Idle and was 23 years old. The previous September he had been wounded fighting at Loos. Before the war he was a warehouseman at Brigg Neumann, East Parade and a popular player at Idle Baptist Cricket Club. Pastor Thomas Moss addressed a packed memorial service at the Baptist Church and reminded the congregation that Pte Illingworth had been the first lad from the church to respond to the call of the colours. “He had two characteristics – gentleness and homeliness – and these manifested themselves in his life and in the letters which he sent home from the Front. “Furthermore, he was always bright, cheerful and that fact was bound to make him a favourite amongst those with whom he came into contact.” The hymns Brief life is here our portion and O God, our help in ages past were sung, whilst the organist Mr F Ripley, played the Dead March from Saul.
Shell kills church’s first volunteer
L Cpl Fred Slingsby of the West Yorkshire Regt (right) never regained conscious-ness and died a few minutes after being hit in several places by shrapnel from a shell. He was the son of Mr Thomas Slingsby and the late Mrs Slingsby of 8 Back Kitson, Street, Crag Road, Windhill. He had only been married a little over two years and his widow received letters from officers that read as more personal than many that must have been written during the war. Capt Blackborough told Mrs Slingsby
the details of his death and added: ‘I want to tell you how sorry I and the rest of his comrades in the company are and how much we sympathise with you in this great sacrifice for your country. ‘He died at his battle post after bravely bearing hardships for several days during which his conduct as a good soldier had earned him the promotion he coveted chiefly, I think, for your sake. ‘We have none of us long been soldiers but in our life together we have acquired a great spirit of comradeship and I can assure you that
during his soldiering days he made a great many friends who are sharing the sympathy of the friends of his old life and who feel especially sorry for you.’ Give us a song Lieut F H Webster said that during the months of training, L Cpl Slingsby ‘has done his duty magnificently and he was always most willing and straightforward.’ And he added: ‘I shall never forget him. When we got up impromptu concerts he would come forward immediately I asked for him and give us a song in splendid style. ‘When we were on the march and were singing, I could always pick out his fine voice.’
Memories of Fred who sang at the front
Second Lieut J Cawthorne wrote to his brother in Baildon and assured him “I am still knocking about and feeling as fit as a fiddle.” “We came out of the trenches on Sunday morning before daybreak and we shall probably be going in again tomorrow night. Livened up “We are having lovely weather now and it has livened things up a bit on both sides. Fighting has been pretty brisk down in this quarter lately and our operations have been very successful.” After being on active service for almost two years he expressed the hope he would soon be getting leave, he asked to be remembered to his Baildon friends friends “who will be winning the war as armchair generals.”
Remember me to the armchair generals
When 24-year-old Gilbert Taylor (right) went missing after the battle at St Eloi his colleagues guessed he had been killed but his parents found that hard to accept, clinging on to hope that he might be found in another part of the line. The first Mr and Mrs Richard Taylor of 17 Mount Street, Eccleshill heard was from one of Gilbert’s friends in the 12 West Yorkshire Regt who wrote: ‘I am very sorry to say he is reported missing and there seems to be nothing else for it but that he has been killed.’ Carry bombs He explained that he and Pte Taylor, along with 22 other men, had been ordered to carry bombs close to the German lines to supply the Northumberland Fusiliers. They made three successful trips but ‘On coming back the third time we got separated by a lot of German prisoners and I never saw Gilbert again.
‘I have made inquiries at the Field Ambulance stations but they know nothing of him. The Germans made no prisoners of our lot so I can see nothing else for it but that he has been killed. Big heart ‘He was the least in size amongst us but he had a big heart and never showed any signs of fear. My comrades and myself send you our deepest sympathy.’ Pte Taylor’s parents replied asking for more information but the response was not encouraging: ‘I think I have told you all that is possible about Gilbert. I have made inquiries of the men now in the trenches but they have seen nothing of him. ‘Mr and Mrs Taylor your son has been missing since March 28th. My own opinion which is shared by my comrades is that he is killed.
‘Quite a lot of men out here are killed and buried by the shells bursting near them. I shall keep on making inquiries and if his body is recovered you can rest assured that it will get a decent burial.’ Pte Taylor enlisted on in the 3rd West Yorkshire Regt on Whit Monday 1915 but was later transferred to the 12th battalion. He left for France on October 6th and within a week was engaged in trench warfare. An enthusiastic footballer, two years before the war he won a gold medal when Sunfield Rovers won the Bradford Hospital Cup at Park Avenue, despite him breaking his leg in the final. The following season he joined Bolton United FC and was part of the team that won three trophies. He also won a medal with Eccleshill Clarence cricket team.
Parents struggle to cope with pal’s grim news
Pte W Battle (left) had emigrated to Canada some years before but had still felt it was his duty to ‘don the khaki’ and do his bit for King and Country. He wrote from Dunnvill, Ontario, to his former Boys’ Brigade captain, John Garnett, in Idle and said: ‘I tried twice before I was finally accepted for the 114th Battalion Overseas. ‘I am liking it well and feeling fine. We have had some awful weather this winter; for two months there has been snow to a depth of 10 inches and in some places up to the knees… I have had enough water in my boots to bath my feet in. ‘However, the training I received in the 12th Bradford Boys’ Brigade has certainly been of great value to me on joining the army. I shall never cease to thank the officers for enforcing strict discipline when I was a boy in the Boys’ Brigade at Idle.’
Grateful for Boys’ Brigade training
There was no time for a honeymoon when Cpl Arthur Brown married his bride Annie Harris. In fact there was hardly time for the wedding. Having fought with the Royal Engineers in Gallipoli, followed by two months at the front line in France, Cpl Brown of George Street, Saltaire, got married at 9a.m. at Bradford Registry Office. An hour and 25 minutes later, he bid farewell to his bride, who was from Victoria Road, Saltaire, and headed back to France ‘With the best wishes of his many friends that he might have good luck and a safe return.
Here comes the bride - there goes the groom
Driver Herbert Pawson (above) of the Royal Field Artillery sent a letter to his mother at 96a Crag Road, Windhill which contained a poem summing up many soldiers’ view of those who were shirking serving. TO ALL MY PALS AT SHIPLEY Oft in my dug-out I think Of the poor chaps left at home, And the miseries that surround them No matter where they roam. How awful it must be at night To sleep in a feather bed And find for breakfast daily, Sweet butter on their bread. Out here the things are different, And life is great and free. We don’t find butter on our bread Nor cow’s milk in our tea. The only things that bother us Are lyddite, bombs and shells, Bully beef and biscuits And foul, unhealthy smells. To all my pals at Shipley I send my sympathy And advise them for their honour To come out here with me. There are young men at Shipley Can do their bit, I’m sure, So let them join the R.F.A. And win for all that’s pure. Then let us buckle in and fight Till wicked wars shall cease, And sword and spear and bombs and shells Give place to lasting peace.
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