1914, 24 October – Batley News

Here is the latest selection of articles and snippets from this edition of the Batley News relevant to the parish of St Mary’s. I have put in bold the names of men from the parish. These are exact transcripts (including spellings).

The 24 October 1914 edition of the paper was dominated by the arrival of 25 Belgium refugees, to be accommodated at Shaftesbury House, Upper Batley. This was the residence of the late Alderman J.J. Parker, an ex-Mayor of the Borough. It was fitted out and furnished free of charge by Batley residents. The refugees were also to be provided with free medical care, and Batley Corporation waived any rates on the property. Batley’s new Belgian residents are listed below, with corrected, or alternative, town/city spellings in brackets.

  • Franz Janssens (furniture maker), his wife and two sons (one named Daniel, aged 20), from Malines (Mechelen);
  • Jean Batiste Smets (37-year-old mechanic), and his wife and daughter, aged 9, from Malines (Mechelen);
  • Henri Personne (motor mechanic), and his wife of two years, from Brussels;
  • Raoul Meulemans (horse dealer), his wife, boy and girl, from Aerschot (Aarschot);
  • Madame Grandjean and her daughter, Aerschot (Aarschot). She was said to be 50, and a general dealer.
  • Adolf van Daele (wood-carver), a single young man, aged 21, Antwerp;
  • Evarist Palaers (weaver), single, Aerschot (Aarschot);
  • Alphonse Roudon (plumber), a single young man, Antwerp;
  • Rene and Cyriel De Nys, two brothers, Ghent. The elder was a weaver;
  • Madame Van Bollen and a boy of three. Husband is fighting in the Belgian Army;
  • Joseph Van Put (diamond cutter), and his wife and girl of three, from Berchem.

In other news Batley Hospital received 13 soldiers from Beckett’s Park Hospital, Leeds. They were transferred to Batley to convalesce, freeing up space at the Leeds hospital for the more seriously wounded. Only one man was from Batley, as follows:

Amongst the invalids was Private Thomas Mullins, of the 3rd K.O.Y.L.I., whose home is at 26, Hume Street, Batley. Mullins, who has two uncles with the Colours, fell into a trench during a sham charge at the Sutton-on-Hull training quarters. A cartilage of the right knee was disturbed, and he was removed to Beckett’s Park Hospital for an operation. He was given an opportunity of a discharge from the Army, but he gallantly preferred to remain with the Colours.

The newspaper contained snippets about other men with connections to the parish of St Mary’s. These included:

Mrs. Chappell, Ward’s Hill, Batley, has heard from her sons, Private Geo. Hy. (Border Regiment, stationed at Shoeburyness), and Private J. Chappell, 3rd Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment,1 at High Shields.


Two sons of Mrs. Hopkins, Fleming Street, Batley, who are serving their country at the Front, have come together along with some of their Batley friends.

There was also news of Private Michael Rourke:2

A typical soldier’s letter has been received by Mrs Rourke (North Street, Cross Bank), wife of Private Rourke, now at the Front with the Royal Scots Fusiliers. After mentioning his good health he adds:- “I am the only Batley man in this regiment. I am proud to be a member of it, as it has done very good work, but I am not allowed to give details.”

Finally there was news of prisoners:

….Private Michael Hannan, Royal Marines, is in Holland. His aunt, in Villiers Street, Batley, received official information on Tuesday….

1. Should read York and Lancaster Regiment;
2. Michael Groark on the St Mary’s War Memorial;