1914, 5 September – Batley News

Here is a selection of pieces relevant to the St Mary’s men and parish from this edition of the Batley News. I have put in bold the names of those with some link to the parish. Spellings are as per the newspaper.

Recruitment was continuing apace. This included those on the National Reserve list, now presenting themselves for active service. These were officers and men who had no further obligation for military service, but who remained on lists ready to come forward if there was an urgent need to increase military resources. And, if you thought your ancestor was too old to serve in World War 1, this list of names may be well worth checking. Many who stepped up were St Mary’s men, some born in the 1860s.

I have included the full list of Batley men from the article, but not included those from Birstall, Heckmondwike, Little Gomersal and Ravensthorpe. I have put in bold the names I have so far identified as St Mary’s parishioners, or with connections to the parish (e.g. through marriage). A couple have ‘possible’ question marks next to them, pending more research. But initial investigation points to them being linked. These names may increase as my research progresses. And if anyone does have any information it would be most welcome.

Batley and Birstall Names.

Batley National Reservists have responded magnificently to the call for volunteers for the Regular Army and Special Reserve, and Mr. Thomas A. Rose (secretary) has been actively engaged each evening this week in preparing their papers. Receiving orders from York on Sunday morning inviting men to offer themselves for active service with the Army, Special Reserve, or Territorials, Mr Rose promptly got into communication with as many members of the Detachment as possible, and before the day passed no fewer than 26 men had shown their readiness to serve their county by presenting themselves at the Drill Hall to be “signed on” for the Special Reserve. The members were swelled by 35 on Monday night, whilst ten others joined the Colours the following evening.

The names of those so far signed include:-

John Wm. Broadbent, 17, Bankfoot.
Norman Brooke, 33, Primrose Hill.
George Arthur Fox, 6, Hamburg Street.
Joseph Hall, 7, Senior’s Yard, Wheatcroft.
Colbeck Hemingway, 19, East Street.
Thomas George Whiteley, 15, George Place.
William Halliley, 121, Taylor Street.
F. Wroe, 54, Beaumont Street.
Robert Brearley, 77, Wellington Street.
Thomas Kershaw, 3, Bankfoot.
George R. Preston, 33 Russell Street.
Michael Foley, 8, Ambler Street (rejoined Army).
Michael Lyons, 4, Woodwell Street.
Tom Clafton, 52, Beaumont Street.
John W. Hurst, 1, Wilton Street.
William Pearce, 46, Oaks Road.
J. H. Dawson, 25, Wellington Street.
J. W. Thompson, 54, Richmond Street.
J. W. Fox, 11, Colbeck Buildings, Mount Pleasant.
J. Ineson, 12, Peel Street.
Josh Bairstow, 5, East Street.
John Peel, 14, Wilson’s Buildings, Bradford Road.
James Clarke, 32, Peel Street.
Josh Walton, 37, Richmond Street, Cross Bank. [Possible?]
Peter Brennan, 41, Cobden Street.
Mark Brannan, 6 New Street.
James Henry Bates, Lady Ann Road.
John Cannon, 1, Well Lane.
Charles Fox, 26, Sheard’s Place.
John Landers, 13, Hume Street.
George Spink, 10, Providence Street.
John Fitzpatrick, 30, New Street. [Possibly brother of Edmund Battye?]
P. J. Atkinson, 41, Forrester’s Yard, Common Road.
Frederick Wm. Heaton, 11, George’s Ter,
Henry Mosley, 38, Norfolk Street.
Harry South, 6, Tichborne Street.
Matthew McDonald, 7 Fleming Street.
W. Crann, 5, Preston Street.
John Hopper, 55, Field Lane.
Frederick M. Clough, 18, Peel Street.
Thomas Curley, 25. Common Road. [Possible, given surname – but could be within the Heckmondwike parish]
Edward McDonald, 7, Churchfield Street.
J. Collinson, 30, Peel Street.
James McDonald, 2 Yard, 3, East Street.
George Moran, 24, Peel Street,
Benjamin Stone, 9 Yard, Cross Bank Road.
Thomas Shaw, 59, Primrose Hill.
Herbert Brown, 28, Ward’s Hill.
Albert Pickles, 1, Brearley Street, Mount Pleasant.
Michael Flynn, 15, Fleming Street.
John Whitehead, 16, Ambler Street.
Thomas Carney, 25, Well Lane.
William Wilson, 1, Rosebank Street.
John Lyon, 19, Back Richmond Street.
Sam Newell, 31, Victoria Street.
M. Rush, 12, Charles Street.
J. B. Woodhead, Dark Lane.
William Newell, 9, Oxford Street.
S. Fox, 7, Quarry Street, Soothill.
Albert Stubley, 6, Birch Street. [Father of the War Memorial’s Moses Stubley]
Charles Grundall, 18, Colbeck Buildings, Mount Pleasant.
Lister Idle, 10, Woodwell Street.
James A. Williams, 25, Quarry Street, Track Road.
Hy. Thackeray, Telephone Exchange.
A. Redgwick, Albert Street [Husband of Mary Ann Cafferty, children linked to St Mary’s]
H. Goldthorpe, 3 Wellington Street,

Chris. Halliday, Gladstone Terrace.

William Moody, 38, Victoria Street.

Reservists were also rejoining the Colours, some from overseas. Amongst them former St Mary’s parishioner Thomas Foley.

Private Thomas Foley, son of Mrs. Foley, New Street, Batley, who as a member of the Cheshire Regiment saw active service in India and South Africa, and received medals for the same, went to Canada some time ago to seek better wages than he drew in this country as a miner. While at Kensington, however, he was called up as a Reservist, and left Canada with other British soldiers on August 23rd, for a destination unknown. Private Foley, who is 34 years old, has sent his medals home.

The paper also gave an update on the local Terriers, the 1st/4th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, which counted several St Mary’s men amongst its numbers. With an emphasis on food, fun and fitness, it was designed to appeal to those who had not yet joined the Colours. The article read:

Heavy Woollen District Gallants
Looking as Fit as Fiddles.

There must have been thousands of us – visitors on Sunday to the camp of the 4th K.O.Y.L.I.’s and other regiments at Doncaster. Our party, like lots of others, had a nice ride by road; but two trains, packed nearly to overflowing, were said to have come from Batley, Dewsbury, and places a few miles away. Anyway, we saw plenty of folk from the Heavy Woollen District. Pleased? Of course we were. Our men look as fit as fiddles and as brown as berries. To be candid, a lot of us rather envied our old pals – for they were pals that we went to see. They were glad to see us, and we were glad to see them.

The Batley and Dewsbury men are amongst those camped in tents on the grass, while the Bradford Artillery – which I think includes the Heckmondwike contingent (we saw some of these Spen men, looking regular royal fellows) – were housed on the grand stand of the racecourse, with the boarded floor for a mattress and a good rug for covering. You may be surprised, but our chaps preferred the turf for a mattress! Of course, the covered stand and the boards might be more acceptable for rainy nights; but in such glorious camping weather as there has been during August, the Batley and Dewsbury boys have been jolly well content with their waterproof ground cloth and their rugs.


I hope these lines will bring good cheer to the hearts of many a mother, sister, sweetheart, father, brother, son, etc. All the soldiers are fine. My particular chum said, “Oh, of course, they work us pretty stiff, but they are making us hard as nails. It is no joke to do 14 or 15 miles with 60lbs. or more of a pack to carry, but what bothers some of us novices is the effect on our feet. (By the way, let me give friends at home a hint – gifts of lanoline, boric ointment, and such like would ease foot troubles.) However, we’ll soon get accustomed to that.”

Then he started talking about the food. There’s more of it, and they get it more regularly, than some of them have had at home. Still, I couldn’t help laughing when a bread cart came in loaded. It wasn’t exactly a mice clean baker’s van; and two Tommies were sat on the edge of the cart – or on the bread! – doing an up-and-down movement as the vehicle jogged along. I made a remark, to which a Batley Carr Territorial replied, “Oh, that’s nothing – at worst, it’s only the crust that’s damaged, and the inside is grand stuff.”

I looked at him – he worked for me up to about a month ago – and I simply envied him. There he stood erect, healthy as a bairn on the sands, I couldn’t help saying, “Well lad, tha looks well.”

“Ay,” he replied, “I never felt fitter in my life.”

And there are hundreds like that – feeling as well as they look.


Then he threw a sidelight or two on things, half-laughing as he talked. “You know, some of our fellows haven’t got quite used to the stern discipline. They are a bit inclined to reply to sergeants, and even bigger men than those, when they are told to do something; they fancy for a minute that they’re back in the factory and would like to give a bit of a retort! However, we are all getting used to it. A Batley man got a fearful thirst on him one day last week near the end of a long march. When nearly back at the camp, he just slipped out to get a bottle of ginger beer at the roadside, and was in the act of having a drink when the Brigadier turned round, spied him, and cried, ‘Put that down.’ Tommy wanted to put it down – his throat; he halted for a second and put it down, without a drink. A good job too. Why? Because he might easily have been taken fearfully ill by swallowing that cold stuff whilst his body was so heated. So the Brigadier was looking after him, rather than being nasty and stern!

One Dewsbury youth who has been “domesticated” is making a rare lot of pocket money out of his knowledge. No doubt he’s been laughed at many a time as a lad because he could do a bit of knitting and sewing; but he’s doing well now – making as much as ten shillings a week by mending socks and that sort of thing.

Recruiting rallies took place, including one at Crown Flatt where Dewsbury Northern Union Football Club’s teams were assembled for final practice. Although aimed at the folk of Dewsbury, the rally was widely reported locally, including in the Batley News. J McCann, the Mayor of Dewsbury, addressed the crowd of around 3,000, and his speech included an appeal to the Irish community which was reported as follows:

As an Irishman he spoke on behalf of Ireland, and he assured his hearers that the Irish were with England in the present hour of need. (Applause.) They were behind his Majesty’s Government all the time, and there would be no sacrifice too great for the Irish to make. (Renewed applause.) England wanted more men, and his Worship said he relied on the patriotism of Dewsbury to answer the call nobly….

And as rugby league continued, Batley’s team was announced to face Leeds. With recent news of another Batley player, Debney, joining the colours it meant that “…with Jack Tindall and Randerson on active service, the Batley Club has now lost three of its most capable players…

My final selection concerns news reaching home from those already on active service. The Manning family were amongst those to receive letters.

Mr. Cecil Manning, of Carlinghow, who is on H.M.S. Berwick, stationed at Vera Cruz, in a letter home states that he wishes he was nearer the scene of the fighting. Since the arrival of the letter, his relatives have received information that his boat has had an engagement with a German battleship, and they are eagerly awaiting further news from him.