Here is another round-up of pieces from the Batley News relating to the parishioners of St Mary’s during the Great War. As before, I have put in bold the names of those connected to the parish who served with the military. Spellings and punctuation are as per the newspaper.
The news this week was dominated by the 16 December German naval bombardment of the east coast towns of Scarborough, Whitby and Hartlepool. The final death toll was over 130 killed, and almost 600 injured. Train stations were full, as inhabitants of the the towns sought refuge elsewhere. Batley was amongst the destinations of these refugees. The attack would invigorate recruitment appeals nationally, with locally in Batley the attacks on familiar holiday destinations striking a particular chord.
Elsewhere the repercussions of the White Lee Ellison Chemical Works explosion continued to ripple through the surrounding areas. And the town geared up for Christmas, with a Christmas shopping guide running over several pages.
However, in between this, there was still some pieces with a St Mary’s parish connection. This included the news that St Mary’s RC Church recorded their seventh donation to the Belgian Fund, this time £3 11s 1d.
There was another parish name listed amongst those National Reservists opting to join the Army.
Three more Batley National Reservists of Class 1 have joined the Forces – Luke Gowes and J. A. Burnett (A.S.C.) and J. Gavaghan (York and Lancaster Regiment).
Meanwhile, more news from his uncle in France reached Walter Hughes, as follows:-
PIECE OF SHELL ON THE ROOF.
Letter to Carlinghow Expresses Hope for Revenge.
Another interesting communication has been received from Mr. James Kearney, of Senlis (north-east of Paris), by his nephew, Mr. Walter Hughes, Coalpit Lane, Carlinghow:-
We are just beginning to feel ourselves again. We have been so upset these last two months, through the war, that we were ill and could not eat or sleep. Thank God, we feel much better now. The Germans have cannon in holes made four years ago, and we can’t get them out, but time (and hunger) will do a lot. What they have done in France is something awful. I hope, if we are lucky enough to get into Germany, our men will treat them just the same. They deserve it.
There was fighting in Senlis for seven days. We have a good many of the enemy men buried in the fields here. I found a piece of shell on top of my house the other day – stuck right in the slates.
I will end this selection with a poem from a St Mary’s teenager, Annie Kilbride, daughter of County Mayo-born coal miner Thomas Kilbride and his wife Catherine. Annie was one of their nine surviving children. She writes about the character of the Englishman. Interestingly in it she references the campaign for women’s suffrage, illustrating the impact this movement had made on a young working class girl from Yorkshire, of Irish heritage.
Oft under the front that seems so cold,
And the voice that is wont to storm,
We are certain to find a big broad mind,
And a heart that is soft and warm.
The English bear woes in a lordly way,
As only the great souls can,
And it makes us glad when in truth we say
We are kin of the Englishman.
He slams his door in the face of the world,
If he thinks the world too bold;
He will even curse, but he opens his purse,
To the poor and the sick and the old.
He is slow in giving to woman the vote,
And slow to pick up her fan.
But he gives her room in an hour of doom,
And dies like an Englishman.
Annie Kilbride (16), 14, Holland Street, Batley.