Friday 7 July 1916
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Before leaving for the Somme, Driver Harry Hirst, son of Shipley councillor H Hirst, had his photograph taken with some of his colleagues from the Royal Field Artillery. ‘The object of their being taken in this manner is in order to show that they are not downhearted and hope when they have a chance to give the enemy a lively time.’ Driver Hirst, who is in the centre of the back row, also sent his parents a letter about the ‘send off’ they had been given as they headed for the trenches. “There were thousands of people lining the streets. Men and women rushed into the ranks and kissed us. One man carried my kit bag to the station and two girls carried my great coat and bandolier etc. I tell you it was a fine sight. “When we got to the station – I was among the first four – what a time we had. Women and girls threw their arms around our necks and kissed us, weeping all the time. I can assure you it fairly brought tears into my own eyes. “Then at the finale, they sang us a few songs and we parted in high spirits ready for the foe.” Pictured, back L-R: Tommy Lund, George Carmichael, Harry Hirst, Walter Bofam, Leonard Sunter. Front Row: H Carter, Sydney Shaw
Emotional send off to the Somme
Percy Walker
Walter Jones
Fred Harper
Ernest Buckle
Among the Somme’s first casualties
Only a handful of stories of casualties of the Somme had arrived at the newspaper before it went to press, mainly it seems because an enthusiastic local reporter had been checking up in the Idle area. The photographs of the men didn’t appear until the following week. Pte Walter Jones, who formerly lived at North Hall Farm, Thackley, with Mr and Mrs Sam Thornton, was wounded on 1 July, the first day of the ‘Big Push’ and was now in a military hospital in Birmingham. Four hours He was 23 years old and a member of the 2nd Bradford Pals Regiment and had served in Egypt before being moved to France. ‘In a letter home he says he was assisting in the great attack on the German trenches when some shrapnel caught him in the shoulder and knocked him out. He was wounded in the back in two places.
‘He was four hours before he could get back to the British trenches and have his wounds dressed. ‘It is feared he will have to undergo an operation.’ Mr and Mrs J W Buckle of Carr Bottom Terrace, Idle, received a telegram to tell them their youngest son, Pte Ernest Buckle, of the Duke of Wellington’s Regt, had been seriously wounded. ‘Pte Buckle is only 20 years of age.’ The couple had another son, Pte Harry Buckle, who was training with the Royal Field Artillery. ‘News has been received that Pte Percy Walker, son of Mr Walter Walker, Highfield Road, Idle, has been wounded and is now in Warrington Hospital.’ Another lad from Idle, Pte Fred Harper, a member of Leeds Pals, was also wounded. The son of Mr and Mrs Henry Harper, Pte Harper had been learning the business with his father before the war.
Able-Seaman Albert Rhodes was home at Mount Pleasant, Greengates after fighting in the naval battle off Jutland. Talking to a reporter he said that the Germans had taken a ‘terrific beating’ when they left the Kiel Canal, ‘and the process will be repeated should they ever to do so again.’ According to the paper, ‘Albert is looking exceedingly hearty and well and his old personality has, if anything become even more pronounced by his association with the sea. ‘He has been in the navy almost 12 months and some time ago received a slight injury to one of his hands. ‘He is an old member of the Wesleyan AFC and the majority of his former club mates are serving with the colours on all parts of the fighting front. ‘His brother Cpl Ben Rhodes, is in the 17th West Yorkshire Regt.’
Albert home after the battle of Jutland
War is over for Ralph
The war was over for Ralph North of South View, Thackley, who had been dismissed from the army on medical grounds. He was ‘so affected whilst on active service that he was unable to continue to serve his King and country as an effective soldier. ‘He enlisted in the early part of last year in the 18th West Yorkshires and after completing his training went to Egypt and subsequently to France where he remained for about four months. ‘It was during the Germ gas attacks that he was placed hors de combat. After being treated in hospital, he was invalided home and he has now returned to civilian life.’
Recent vigorous recruiting to boost the strength of the Volunteer Force continued and the writer of the weekly Volunteer Notes urged members ‘to throw themselves with all heartiness into the recruiting activities which are our immediate duty. ‘Men have been drawn in in appreciable numbers already but there is always more to be done along that line, which can be very materially facilitated by individual effort. Recruiting march ‘Those who cannot do more, ought at the very least to take part in the recruiting march arranged for Saturday evening of this week. ‘It is a Brigade affair and members of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Battalions are asked to parade at 8 o’clock in Union Street, behind Bradford Town Hall. ‘It is plainly incumbent on the Shipley and Bingley units to avail themselves of this opportunity of doing something acknowledge practically ungrudged assistance rendered at their recent public meetings by the officers from Battalion headquarters.’ The notes also described plans for a practical test which was due to be held that night. Motor Volunteers ‘It is assumed that 400 men or so are urgently required at some point ten miles or so out of Bradford and with friendly co-operation of the Motor Volunteers, those 400 men are to be whirled off to their destination in about a hundred cars. It should be a remarkably interesting experiment. ‘Those who can turn up should be at the Coliseum in Duckworth Lane, in uniform, shortly before 7.30 p.m.’
Volunteers called upon to boost recruiting and prove they are mobile
The members of Shipley Tribunal faced an interesting appeal from an unnamed, naturalised British subject who said he had a conscientious objection to fighting against Germany because he was born in Germany and his parents still lived there. The man was described as a pork butcher ‘who speaks with a foreign accent,’ and he revealed that he had renounced his rights to be a German citizen 21 years before and been naturalised in 1912. He told the tribunal, “I am willing to do anything else that is required of me, except take up arms.” Loyal The military representative on the Tribunal, Mr J A Burton asked: “What is the real meaning to be attached to your words? Does your filial affection to your progenitors prevent you from taking up arms or your loyalty to your old nation?” The Applicant: “I am loyal to England and nobody can prove anything different.” Mr Burton: “No, No, I am only
asking your view. You say you object to fight against the Germans. Every Englishman now is anxious to do everything he can to beat Germany. You say you are willing to do anything but fight. But why should you not fight? You know you are not likely to meet your father and mother on the battlefield.” Road to Berlin The Applicant: “I hope not.” Mr Burton: “Well, your argument does not apply in the sense in which you put it. You will not fight your father and mother in the field.” Applicant: “I might meet them on the road to Berlin.” (laughter) Mr Burton: “Yes, but in that case you can step on one side.” (laughter). The Chairman, Cllr Thomas Hill, observed that the sentiments now expressed by the applicant had certainly done something towards modifying the statements contained in his original appeal and as he had professed his willingness to do anything but fight, the Tribunal had decided to give him a certificate for
non-combatant service. In another case a horse slaughterer appealed on behalf of an employee and when asked if he couldn’t get another man to do the job, he replied, “I do not think there is one in Shipley or Bradford. “Men for this work are very difficult to get. it is a dirty job and one to which people will not serve an apprenticeship.” Mr Burton replied: “Why! Germans have now Sunday joints off horse flesh.” (laughter) The case was adjourned for a fortnight to allow the man to appear personally. Gala In disallowing the claim of a burler’s foreman, Mr Burton said: “Are you not asking too much? You might think we were having a gala instead of one of the most awful wars ever experienced. “The great point is how we are going to save the country and your business included. There should be strong reasons that prevent a man physically fit, from helping his country now.”
Naturalised butcher not keen to fight countrymen