1914, 8 August – Batley News

Here is a 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). I have interspersed the articles with various adverts which also featured in this edition of the paper, the one immediately following Britain entering the war.

By way of background, you may want to read the simple overview of the events leading up to this declaration of war.

The Batley Territorials of the 1/4th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI) were on their annual camp at Whitby when the war declaration came. This battalion included a number of St Mary’s men. This was how the newspaper covered the situation:

Enthusiastic Scenes at Batley and Dewsbury
Urgent Recall from Camp
Midnight Arrival at Batley and Dewsbury
Animated Scenes at Drill Halls

Although the announcement occasioned but little surprise, great excitement prevailed in Batley and Dewsbury on Monday evening when it became known definitely that the local “Terriers” had “struck” their camp at Whitby, and were returning home in obedience to the urgent command of the War Office. A strenuous week-end had been spent, and much useful work executed. The war crisis had been eagerly discussed whenever the opportunity was presented, and the men were quite prepared for the orders they received shortly after breakfast on Monday morning.

The camp immediately became a hive of bustling activity, and the “Terriers” made their preparations for the return journey with a despatch that bespoke their desire to render every assistance in the great crisis. It had been hoped to catch a train about 6 p.m., but there was over an hour’s delay in the train services, whilst an hour’s stoppage near Malton further hindered their progress. It was, therefore, half-past twelve before the Terriers reached the Heavy Woollen District.

Not many people were about when the Batley contingent left the home-coming train, its arrival at 12.30 not being generally expected. The men dispersed to their homes, with instructions to present themselves at the Drill Hall for parade at 11 o’clock.

The appearance of the Terriers in uniform about the town after 9 a.m., and the news that they were to parade at barracks at 11 created the impression that they were to leave that morning. Crowds flocked to the Bradford Road headquarters in a state of suppressed excitement, and the situation was keenly discussed on all sides. Every Territorial who appeared on the scene was greeted with curiosity, and all faced the ordeal of scrutiny with commendable calm, looking, as every man did, fit and well, although, needless to say, a little tired after their long hours in camp and in the train but with a brief respite in bed.

Major Maggs, Captain Critchley, and Captain Taylor were early in barracks, but they could make no statement as to their probable movements, final orders not having been received. The men inspected their kit to see that everything was in order, and were dismissed about 12.30. Meanwhile the crowd outside the Drill Hall had grown to big dimensions, and people did not disperse until the announcement was definitely made that the Terriers were not to leave the town that day.


Whilst on parade each man was served with mobilisation instructions as follows:-

Food. – Bring food to last you at least one day. Put dry food, such as bread, chocolate, etc., in your haversack, and moist food such as meat, etc., in the mess tin. A small tin to hold salt is most useful. Fill your water bottle. Spare clothing should be placed in the kit bag, securely labelled with the soldier’s number, rank, name, company and regiment. These articles will be left at the battalion headquarters on mobilisation, or at the company headquarters on proceeding to annual training. The kit bag will be brought to the company headquarters at or before the notice to join on mobilisation or when detailed in detachment or company orders on proceeding to annual training.

Procedure of Joining. Mobilisation. – On joining you will be in due course:- (a) Medically examined, (b) be issued with pay book for active service, identity disc, to hang round your neck under your clothes, additional clothing (if available), 100 rounds of ball ammunition, field dressing, additional equipment (if available), (c) be asked on parade as to family entitled to separation allowance, and as to any allotment of pay you wish to to make.

Family. – On mobilisation separation allowance is issuable in respect of your wife and each child under 14. In addition you can allot a portion of your pay to be paid direct to them while away, or to any other relative you support.

General Conduct. – Orderliness and quiet behaviour on the part of every man is essential to speedy mobilisation.

On Tuesday afternoon recruits were engaged in practising at the Howden Clough rifle range, and there was a fine muster and much capital work.

Orders were given for the men to parade at the Drill Hall at quarter to nine on Wednesday morning, and animated scenes again marked their assemblage. Throngs of spectators gathered in Bradford Road, it being generally thought that the citizen soldiers would leave that morning. The parade, however, was for medical inspection, which was undertaken by Drs. Bennett, Broughton, and Russell. The men looked in the pink of condition after their much-needed rest, and bore themselves in true military style.

It was stated that out of a strength of rather over 100 men only two men failed to pass the doctor.

The Morley detachment were examined at Batley Drill Hall, and they left about 9 o’clock with Sergt. Terry.

The general public evinced great interest in the activities at the Drill Hall throughout the day, and delay in the announcement as to the time the Terriers were to leave caused the crowds of people to wait in the vicinity until two o’clock, when the announcement on the “News” war sheets that they were not to depart till night led most spectators to return home (or to work ) for a few hours. The regulation time for recommending work at the factories seemed to be often disregarded, for batches of girls were still walking about Bradford Road after 9 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. in expectation of seeing the soldiers march to the station.

The detachment paraded at 1.30 p.m., and were afterwards confined to headquarters until they left for the 6.50 G.N. train for Wakefield. Merry scenes marked the men’s activities in barracks, for their preparations for departure had already been fully completed. A capable mouth-organ player entertained his friends with all the latest music-hall songs, and solo dances were frequent. The men were in the best of spirits and anxious for the word to march. Tea was taken in the barracks, many friends bringing large mugs of the beverage from neighbouring homes and shops.

At six o’clock the detachment again paraded, to the number of 103 of all ranks. Captain Critchley was in command, and with him was Lieutenant J. S. Brooke. Captain L. M. Taylor was with the Morley Detachment, whilst Lieutenant Craik was on the sick list.


In the absence of the Mayor, the Deputy-Mayor (Alderman John Whitaker) gave the citizen soldiers a civic send-off…..

Addressing Captain Critchley, the non-commissioned officers and men, the Deputy-Mayor said:-

“In the absence of the Mayor of Batley (Councillor Ben Turner), who is in London and will not be back till late ton-night, I desire as Deputy-Mayor to offer a few words of good-will to you all on your responding to the call of duty which has been made to you at this momentous time.

“We have hoped against hope for the maintenance of peace; but our hopes have not been realised, and we are now faced with a European crisis the like of which is unknown in history. The call made upon our Territorial Forces has been made, and as true Britishers you are loyally responding to that call.

“I desire in the name of the people of Batley to recognise this demonstration of your loyalty to your country, and your readiness in this hour of need to carry out the spirit of your obligation of allegiance to his Majesty the King to serve for the defence of this country against its enemies.

“We pray that God’s blessing may go with you, and that ere long we may have a return to that condition of peace which it was our hope might have been maintained.

“I feel certain that you will in the discharge of the duties upon which you are just entering quit you like men, and in that spirit of loyalty for your King and country which led you to volunteer your services as members of the Territorial Branch of our Army, and will fully maintain all the traditions of your country.” (Applause.)….

A huge crowd awaited the appearance of the men outside the Drill Hall, and there were large numbers along the route to the station. There was no demonstration, however, the lack of music undoubtedly accounting for the dearth of cheering such as marked the departure of the ambulance men. Yet the greatest interest was taken in the detachment, and may affectionate farewells were waved from the crowds who lined the route. There was a dense throng at the foot of Station Road. The Soothill entrance was used by the soldiers, and as but a few privileged persons were allowed on the platform the final scene was not so enthusiastic as it might have been. A crowd of people succeeeded in reaching the L. and N.W. platform by way of the goods yard, and they gave a hearty cheer as the train on which the men were quickly aboard steamed out of the station. Cheering could also be heard from the people who lined the railway bridge and Soothill Lane to gain a last glimpse of the soldiers.

“Are we downhearted?” shouted one of the soldiers as the train left, and his comrades responded with a vigorous “No,” about the sincerity of which there could be no mistake.


There was an exciting scene outside the L. and N.W. Station after the train left. A big crowd still surged round the entrance, and to clear it a station worker brought a hose-pipe into use. A large quantity of water was projected, amidst vigorous protests, and on the appearance of the police who had been guarding the platforms the official was requested to desist. The crowd declined to clear away for some time, and many comments were made on the station official’s drastic methods of dispersal….

The piece about the departure of the Batley KOYLI Territorials, also referred to the departure of a contingent of part-time ambulance-men. And some St Mary’s parishioners were named amongst these. To date I have identified three. The write-up, with St Mary’s men in bold, was as follows:

Remarkable Demonstrations in the Streets at the Station.
“The Most Humane Service in War.”

Batley has ever been proud of its ambulance workers, but never more so than when on Tuesday 21 members left fo hospital and battleship duty in the great war. A tremendous send-off was given to the gallant contingent, the route from the ambulance station to the G.N. station being packed with spectators. One of the biggest crowds known in the town mustered round the station to cheer the men on their departure. Batley Old Band played stirring selections, and every head was bared and bowed in profound emotion to the strains of “God Save the King” as the train moved out of the station.

Superintendent Harry Greenwood, whose yeoman service with the St John Ambulance Brigade at Batley has won him the gratitude of the whole town, was in charge of the contingent, who are all members of the Royal Naval Auxiliary Sick Berth Reserve, the other members being Sergeants D. France and W. Postlethwaite, Corporals H. Hudson and P. Mara, Privates R. Pride, A. M. Pride, James Kelly, Joseph Kelly, J. J. Doyle, G. Markey, T. Chappell, M. Atkinson, Stanley Brearley, W. Healey, Ernest Healey, W. Worsnop, J. Marsden, Percy Crowther, Ernest Jackson, and F. H. Micklethwaite. The men went to Chatham Naval Hospital, there to await further instructions.

The contingent were instructed to parade at the Ambulance Hall at 9 o’clock, but before that time the vicinity was packed with patriotic crowds anxious to give the gallant volunteers an “au revoir” worthy of the town. Smart, well-trained, proficient in a high degree, the men commanded the admiration of the privileged persons who were admitted to the parade room. Mr. Thomas Fox (vice-president of the Batley Division), Drs. Bennett and Broughton (hon. surgeons), Corps Office[?] Allott, and many others, including lady members of the Brigade and relatives and friends of the men leaving for the Hospital, attended for what were sincerely affectionate leave-takings.


After parade Superintendent Greenwood addressed the men. “I am proud of you,” he declared. “You have got a duty to perform, and I hope you will perform it with credit to the Batley Division. I ask for nothing more than that you will do what you have done in the past.” (Hear, hear.)


Dr. W. H. H. Bennett (senior hon. surgeon) said we were all extremely sorry that, apparently, we were to be dragged into the war, but, as of old, we were glad there were men ready and willing to do whatever duty they were called upon to perform. Batley had always taken a leading part. The ambulance men were well-equipped for their work, and he was quite confident the volunteers would do their work well wherever they went and whatever it was.

“I have just seen the Town Clerk (Mr. J. H. Craik),” Dr. Bennett continued, “and he especially asked me to give you a message of good luck. I hope you will all come back quite well and come back with an enlarged outlook and enlarged experience. I need hardly say that I wish you the best of luck.”

Dr. A. G. S. Broughton joined in the words of cheer. “This is the greatest day in our history,” he remarked. “We have been training and training, and I am sure you have done your training very well. You have been very earnest in equipping yourselves for this kind of service, and now the occasion has come – come unexpectedly and suddenly – but I think I know you sufficiently well to dare to say that it has found you ready. You are able to do this duty you have been called upon to perform. You are going to relieve men who give the whole of their time to the work, and you have only done it as spare time work. Therefore, perhaps, a great deal more will be expected of you than has fallen to your lot before, but I am sure you will go in full of enthusiasm and zeal.”


Proceeding, Dr. Broughton said that the men would be of even greater benefit in the mills and workshops after their experience than they had been in the past. “It will be a great day when we see you come home,” he added. “We hope that day may not be long. We hope the war will soon be over, and satisfactorily from our point of view, and that you will come back with additional credit and in the best of health.”

This concluded the speechmaking, and shortly afterwards Batley Old Band arrived to escort the men to the Great Northern Station, where they were to entrain for Chatham. Scenes of great enthusiasm marked the march of the Gallant Twenty-one from headquarters to the station, cheers being raised all along the route by the packed masses of spectators. Station Road presented a striking scene in the gathering darkness with its flood of humanity pouring up the steep hill to give the ambulance workers a last proof of anxiety for the success of their mission. Batley Old Band played lively music to hearten (if need be) the volunteers, and the crowd who seethed round the station gates gave a rousing welcome.

Needless to add, the crush would have been at other times uncomfortable, but in the enthusiasm of the hour no heed was paid to the little buffetings received. Quite a goodly sprinkling of enthusiasts managed to get inside the station, though the gates were quickly closed and those who went round to the Soothill entrance at all late had to journey back to Station Road, there to take a back place in the surging crowd. The front entrance gates were on one occasion forced by the crowd, and large numbers succeeded in reaching the L. and N.W. platforms. Several policemen, in charge of Inspector Ripley, were on duty to keep the enthusiastic throngs in check.

There were many affecting scenes, relatives and comrades of the ambulance men breaking down on taking their farewells, whilst there were tears in the eyes of scores of others not bound by ties of blood or even friendship to the departing contingent. Batley Old Band enhanced the impressiveness of the occasion by playing “Auld Lang Syne,” which was heartily taken up by the crowd. The excitement grew to breaking point when the train steamed in. The men and their baggage were quickly entrained, and without delay the train resumed its journey, to the accompaniment of a great shout of “Hurrahs.” Hands, handkerchiefs, and hats were waved, and Batley Old Band played the National Anthem. The last that was seen of the ambulance men was a few hands that were being waved from the carriage windows and some bright, cheerful faces that betokened the calmness with which the men will perform their duty.

This edition of the newspaper also reported on the the arrival in Chatham, although they said the men left Batley on Wednesday, not Tuesday as in the main piece (above). It read:

Serving Together on An Ambulance Train at Chatham

The news received from the Batley ambulance men who on Wednesday left for Naval Service is very satisfactory.

They have been placed together on an ambulance train at Chatham. Supt. Harry Greenwood is at the head of the Batley men, who are delighted that they have been allowed to stick together under their own commandant.

The train is in readiness to start for any part of Great Britain where the services of ambulance men may be required, and the men aboard will, in the ordinary course, be amongst the first to secure release, as the trains will be disbanded before the hospital staffs are depleted.

Wives, children, and friends at home will be glad to hear that the Batleyites may not be long away.

The names of some men on the National Reserve list who presented themselves for service featured in this edition of the paper. These were trained officers and men no longer obliged to serve in the military, but who were voluntarily available to reinforce the regular army or Territorial Force in times of national emergency. As yet I have to link any to St Mary of the Angels, but some of the surnames are ones familiar to the parish. I’ve therefore included the article. As my research progresses I may be able to tie some of them in formally to St Mary’s. The piece reads:

Sixty More Enrolments in Batley National Reserves.
Batches for Home Service.

Members of Batley Detachment of the National Reserves are responding loyally to the call for volunteers. Ten men left this morning to join the 4th Battalion K.O.Y.L.I. at Wakefield (to complete a unit), whilst there has been a ready reply to the official request for 30 others to complete a unit of the 6th Battalion West Riding Regiment at Bradford. All these men will be available for home service during the war, and have been promised a gratuity of £5. So eager were several that they wrote three “Yes’s” in reply to the inquiry as to whether they would be willing to offer their services. The Detachment has not yet been asked or volunteers for general service, but there is no doubt about the answer when the summons comes. The general service section contains over a hundred men.

Busy scenes at the Drill Hall have been witnessed this week, and Mr. Thomas A. Ross, the local secretary of the National Reserve, has had his hands full in dealing with applications for enrolment. No fewer than 60 men have been enrolled, a large number coming in last night, and the strength of the detachment is now over 250. There have also been a number of applications to join line regiments, and they have been referred to the Town Hall and Post Office. Others responding to the Government’s call for skilled men for Army services have been sent to York.

The ten National Reservists who left for Wakefield to-day were: – Sergts. John Emerson and W. Lane, Corporal O. Morrison, Privates A. Ather, H. Haigh, James McDonald, John Clarkson, Benjamin Stone, T. Roberts, and Ben Hall.

The 30 for Bradford are: Sergeants Carter and J. Collinson, Lance-Sergt. R, Ingleson, Gunners T. Croft and P. Barstow, Privates John Ainley, J. Ineson, G. Marsden, J. E. Baxter, George Moran, Tom Haigh, Herbert Brown, G. T. Denton, A. Pickles, C. Halliday, Thomas Shaw, Robt. Womersley, G. Carney, J. M. North, Samuel Newell, Michael Rush, J. B. Woodhead, William Newell, Sam Fox, Albert Stubley, Michael Walsh, Harry Yeadon, Charles Grundall, Lister Idle, James Arthur Williams.


No fewer than 17 men have been enrolled in Batley Territorials this week, eight entering service on Wednesday before the Terriers left Wakefield