This is a round-up of pieces from the Batley News this week relating to the parishioners of St Mary’s. As usual I have put in bold the names of those connected to the parish who served with the military. And, as ever, the spelling and punctuation matches that of the newspaper.
Prisoner of War Michael Manning’s parents received another letter, once more highlighting the lack of food at Doeberitz camp.
Seaman Michael W. Manning, Royal Naval Division, a prisoner of war at Doeberitz, writes to his parents at Carlinghow:— “I could do with a regular supply of groceries and tea-cakes. I am quite well, but empty, Hope you are all doing well and keeping fit.”
Private Joseph Hart, who had an association with the parish, being baptised there as a child, wrote to his mother.
“HOMELAND” ON A TIN WHISTLE
BATLEY MAN CALLS IT “SWEETEST’ MUSIC I EVER HEARD.”
Private J. Hart, 2nd K.O.Y.L.I., at the Front, writing to his mother at Ward’s Hill, Batley, states:-
“Everything is going on as usual out here. The weather is getting a little bit warmer, and that means a lot to us.
I am going to tell you a little incident which occurred last week. We had been relieved about 12.30 from the trenches, and had about nine miles to walk to billets. After we had been marching for an hour or so, we laid down on the roadside for a rest. We were about done up. Just before dawn, and when everybody was quiet, there sounded upon the road a tin-whistle playing “Homeland.” Well, as soon as this sound was heard there was complete silence, and if we could have seen one another I am sure there would have been a tear or two visible.
“I thought I would mention this to you, as I have heard some good music in my time, but I think that this was the best and sweetest I ever heard in my life!”
In the same battalion as Joseph Hart there was news of a war death of a St Mary’s parishioner: Private Michael Flynn. The report read as follows:
DEATH FROM WOUNDS.
BATLEY CATHOLIC AND COLLIER AT “YPRES, THE DEATH-TRAP”
Private Michael Flynn, 4th K.O.Y.L.I.,1 of Fleming Street, Upper Commercial Street, Batley, has died from wounds at a Base Hospital in France. A Reservist, he worked at Howley Park Colliery when war began. He attended Batley Roman Catholic Church.
His last letter arrived in Batley on the day he died. He said they were having a rough time.
A companion, Private Matthew McDonald, writes the parents: “It is not war, but murder out there.” The couple were together at Ypres, which McDonald calls “the death-trap.”
And back in Batley, the newspaper Death Notices had the following parish deaths:
COSTELLO. —On the 28th ult., aged 55 years, James Costello, 17 Fleming Street.
HIGGINS. —On the 24th ult., aged 4 years, Catherine, daughter of Timothy Higgins, Dark Lane.
1. This is incorrect. He was actually 2nd K.O.Y.L.I.