Friday 26 May 1916
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Second Lieutenant R Dickinson (right), son of Ald and Mrs Dickinson of Laurel Bank, idle, has gone to the Front. It is nearly a year since he joined the forces and he has been in training with the 16th West Yorks. He has made great progress in his military studies and is regarded as an exceedingly smart officer. He has specialised in bomb throwing and has passed for a first class instructor. Interviewed by an Express representative immediately prior to his departure for active service, Lieut Dickinson expressed pleasure at the way in which the young men in Idle rallied to the flag while the voluntary system was in operation. “And there is nothing to hold back for,” he declared. “After a year with the colours I am convinced that military training is a fine thing for the youths of the country. “Although I never was soldier brained, I consider it the duty of every citizen of military age to take up arms in the defence of truth, justice and honour. “I am convinced that the sort of training the soldiers and sailors are now getting will be the making of them.”
Army training will benefit young men
Pte Vernon Barker surprised his wife when he turned up for a week’s leave from the trenches ‘as on many occasions his expectations of a furlough had been disappointed.’ Sadly even this break was overshadowed by the death of his brother the week before. Reticent ‘Pte Barker, who has had considerable experience in the army, has been at the Front since last August. ‘Though reticent in regard to his experiences, one could easily gather that they have on several occasions been of a dangerous and exciting character. ‘On one occasion he received a wound in the thigh but fortunately has full recovered and is now enjoying the best of health. ‘He returns to France on Saturday.’
Soldier’s rare leave is overshadowed by the death of his brother
A group calling themselves Shipley Council Against Conscription held a demonstration at Shipley Glen at which they passed a resolution expressing ‘uncompromising hostility’ to the Military Service Bill which was going through parliament that would bring about automatic conscription. This they saw as parliament trying to ‘establish permanently a system of military conscription in this country.’ The Shipley Times & Express did not report the meeting sympathetically. ‘The No-Conscriptionists – who by the way are now regarded by ordinary people as a lot of cranks – had a “field day” on Sunday at Shipley Glen. ‘We understand that through the patriotism of the people in the
vicinity, these “men of conscience” were unable to secure a wagon to serve as a platform. ‘But being people who like to talk – they prefer talking to acting – they held their meeting though nobody was any the wiser for what they said Those present consisted chiefly of women. Boys in khaki ‘There were a few “boys in khaki” at the edge of the crowd and they seemed to look upon the whole affair as a huge joke. ‘When the resolution was put to the meeting, all but a mere handful of the audience dispersed.’ In an editorial, the paper pointed out that several members of the District Council had been accused of lacking patriotism because people were confusing the two bodies.
‘It appears that there is in existence at Shipley a Council which has been formed for the purpose of objecting to compulsory military service. ‘The name itself is an absurdity and it consists of people who are in the habit of doing absurd things. ‘Nobody need wonder at the vagaries of men who are taking part in a demonstration against military service at the time when every effort is needed to win the war. ‘If the consciences of these no- conscriptionists are what they profess them to be, one might expect them to recognise that they owe an apology to the District Council and we have pleasure in giving publicity to the repudiation of the latter body of any desire to take part in a movement in opposition to the Government.’
Mockery for no-conscriptionist meeting at Glen
Military Tribunals were meeting all over the country to consider men’s appeals against being conscripted on the grounds that they were indispensable to their company, were financially responsible for a number of people or were conscientious objectors. Regular columnist “Scrutator” was clearly unhappy with the way many of the Tribunals were working. He wrote: ‘I would like to shake the hand of the chairman of the Coalville Military Tribunal. More, I would like to introduce him to Lloyd George and a few Military Representatives of whom I have heard and with whom I have come into personal contact. ‘Judging by what one hears and what one reads, many of the Tribunals have come to look upon themselves as recruiting agencies, their duty being to obtain for the army as many soldiers as possible – a totally wrong- headed idea
‘As this Coalville chairman reminded the Military Representative, the duty of the Tribunal was to safeguard the business interests of the country and not to compel men to be soldiers. ‘That chairman has realised the fact that if all the men are taken away from industry, England cannot produce those silver bullets of which Lloyd George spoke and which are still the ones that will win the war. ‘Lord Selborne and Mr Acland, who are responsible heads of our Agricultural Department, have both said some severe things about Military Representatives and the tribunals. They fear for our food supply. The agricultural districts are having their life-blood drained.
‘This and the high cost of living is going to make things bad for those of us who are left at home to find the silver bullets.’ He went on to quote a French journal that had said how important England was for the supply of ships, coal, explosives, steel, trucks and locomotives, meat, bread and money. ‘In short, to England it is that all the Allies are looking for material not only to carry on the war but to keep the industries of their own lands going. ‘If England is to do all this she cannot provide the men for the army in the field. We want a few more men like- minded with the Coalville chairman, not only to realise this fact but to speak out as well. Shipley is blest ‘Shipley is blest in that it has a Tribunal that thinks and acts in the spirit of Coalville and more, the Military Representative is one who, whilst alert to secure every soldier he can, is equally alert to the fact that the industries of the district must be kept going and who acts sympathetically towards those whom the call for service hits hard.’ He concluded: ‘When the story of the war comes to be told, no part of it will be more surprising, more sensational than that which deals with what England has done in furnishing all her Allies, not only with munitions of war but supplies and money for the carrying on of the ordinary daily life of their countries.’
“When the story of the war comes to be told, no part of it will be more surprising, more sensational than that which deals with what England has done in furnishing all her Allies”
Tribunals must heed business’s needs too
You will want an Umbrella when you have got our new clothes. Don’t have to struggle like this poor fellow, trying to keep the rain off both of them with his wife’s Umbrella. Come and let me fit you up with one for a few shillings. I have all the latest styles to choos from and prices to suit all pockets
A report of the Calverley Military Tribunal underlined how much farming was carried on in the local community. In one case a farmer of 60 acres sought exemption for himself and cowman, who was a single man aged 24 and had already been granted temporary exemption. The Tribunal Chairman pointed out that ‘no single man under 25 could be recognised as in a reserved occupation’ to which the farmer replied: ‘But when you cannot get a man, what have you to do?’ The Tribunal turned down the young man’s application but agreed he would not be called up before 1 July. Regular man When the clerk added: ‘You can apply to the military authorities during the hay season,’ the farmer replied, ‘Yes but I want a regular man.’ The farmer’s application was put back to 1 September although one of the members said that it was wasting both the man’s and the Tribunal’s time. ‘The man is certainly doing more good for the country in his present occupation than if he were a soldier and should be exempt.’ In all Calverley Tribunal listened to 29 applications and granted at least temporary exemption in most of them. Two major local employers applied on behalf of a number of the workers. Cansfield & Sons asked for seven cases to be considered while Stone Hall Quarry Company sought to excuse five men. The Tribunal decided to hear those cases at a later date.
Farmer concerned that he cannot replace conscripted cowman
Two Clayton Heights soldiers received a warm welcome when they arrived home on a short leave from the battle field. Pte Harold Mann had been at the front for more than a year with the 6th West Yorkshire Regiment. Pte Alfred Sykes had been away from home for the same amount of time but he had spent the last three months in a military hospital in Sheffield after being wounded. Before the war both had been members of Stocks Lane New Wesleyan School which, ‘though not a large school, the roll of honour contains 43 names, most of whom have been in the army since the outbreak of war.’ The Sunday school used the opportunity of the men’s leave to present them with ‘handsome, luminous wristlet watches’ in recognition of their service. Making the presentation Cllr Charles Lumb said he hoped the gifts would remind the pair ‘of their former associations and that when the war is brought to a successful conclusion, both of them will be able to return to their old Sunday School.’
Sunday School marks the service of two returning heroes
Back in hospital
Cpl E Illingworth of Shipley, who had been wounded at the Dardanelles wrote to tell his former employer, Mr George Dalton, that he had been re-admitted to hospital but was ‘going on very nicely.’
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