1915, 14 August – Batley News

There were several pieces in this week’s Batley News relating to St Mary’s. As usual I have put in bold the names of those parishioners serving with the military. And, as ever, the spelling and punctuation matches that of the newspaper.

A parishioner, Ann Feeney, appeared in Batley Borough Court on a theft charge from a local inn:

Batley Court – Monday.
THEFT AT A HEALEY INN. —Ann Feeney, widow, rag sorter, Jacob Street, Woodwell, Batley, was charged with stealing a boy’s red jersey, a pair of men’s socks, a pair of ladies stockings, three men’s fronts, a small towel and two glasses (total value 7s. 6d.), the property of Wm. Teale, landlord of the George Inn, Healey. —Complainant stated that on the 3rd instant Feeney and another woman named Howley entered his house with a man. They all had beer, and then the women went to a shed, from which prisoner returned. Witness could see certain of the articles referred to hanging below her shawl, and asked her if they belonged to him, but instead of replying she ran out. His son followed, and took from her some of the goods, the rest being found in the shed. —Ordered to pay 24s.

Another parishioner, Cathrine Brannan, was in Batley Court on Wednesday.

“She is in the habit of taking drink home, and getting into a condition which is a disgrace to herself and the town,” said Supt. Barraclough, about Catherine Brannan (Batley), who admitted being drunk and riotous in Back New Street, Batley, on Tuesday. Evidence indicated that she broke windows and used bad language.—Fined 6s. 6d.

The newspaper death notices contained one relevant to the parish, as follows:

TULLY. —On the 10th inst., aged 42 years, John Tully, Staincliffe Institution.

This week’s paper covered local arrangements for National Registration, with which two St Mary’s teachers were involved.

Under the National Registration Act everyone between the ages of 15 and 65, who was not a member of the Armed Forces, had to be recorded. It was conducted in order to quantify manpower for the war effort. It also enabled the military authorities to determine who should be called up for military service and those who should in the national interest be retained in civil employment.

The forms were to be completed on Sunday 15 August, and collection was to commence on Monday. The distribution and collection of the forms, and the preparation of the summaries, was undertaken in Batley by 29 elementary school teachers. The St Mary’s teachers involved in this data collection were Miss C. A. Phillips and Miss M. L. Scanlon.

When the enumerator called with the forms they were to ask how many occupants there were between 15 and 65 and leave a form for each person. There were separate forms for males and females. Every male had to reply to the following questions, and every female had to answer similar ones:

1. Age last birthday;
2. If born abroad and not British state nationality;
3. State whether single, married, or widower;
4. How many children are dependent on you;
5. How many other persons are dependent on you excluding employees?
6. Profession or occupation;
7. Name, business and business address of employer;
8. Are you employed for or under any Government Department?
9. a) Are you skilled in any work other than that upon which you are present employed, and, if so, what?
9. b) Are you able and willing to undertake such work?

Once the forms were handed back by the enumerators to the authorities they were then to be classified into occupational groups and age. Those men of military age were to be specially classified.

The major recruiting drive in Dewsbury enticed some parishioners to enlist in that town’s recruiting office. These are the extracted entries:

August 9th:
Newsome Stubley, 11th K.O.Y.L.I., Well Green Cottages, Ossett. Although living in Ossett Newsome was the uncle of Moses Stubley, and had St Mary’s connections through baptism of some children.
John Lyons, General Service, 97, Mount Pleasant Yard, Batley (Memorial man)
Richard Cunningham, 12th K.O.Y.L.I., 35 Ambler Street, Batley.

August 10th:
Martin Brennan, 12th K.O.Y.L.I., 17, Skelsey Row, Batley.

More enlistments were recorded in Batley. I have extracted the ones relevant to St Mary’s:

Last Week’s List Doubled During The Week-End.

In addition to the list of 32 patriots whose names we published last week, on having enlisted in connection with the War Anniversary Campaign, another 32 joined the Army during the week-end, the Recruiting Officer having a number of inquirers on Monday as well as on Friday and Saturday. Below we give the additional recruits:-

James Wm. Foley (20), finisher, Batley, K.O.S.B.

John Wm. Gannon (26), miner, Batley, 13th Yorks.
James Gavin (38), mill labourer, Batley, Connaught Rangers.
Edwin Rushworth (39) labourer, Batley, Connaught Rangers.
James Rush (20), miner, Batley, K.O.Y.L.I.
Thomas Dolan (20), miner, Batley, K.O.Y.L.I.

The complete list of Batley Ambulance men also featured this week:

To Succour the Wounded.

Appended is a complete list of Batley Ambulance men who are on military or naval duty:

Lieut. Quartermaster H. Allott (at a military hospital in Colchester).
Chief Petty Officer H. Greenwood (at Chatham).
Sergeants D. France, W. Postlethwaite, P. Mara, and H. Hudson.
Corporals J. Harrison, J. Kelly, and J. Marsden.
Privates W. Worsnop, H. Tyler, G. Markey, A. M. Pride, F. Micklethwaite, J. Doyle, E. Jackson, J. Kelly, S. Brearley, W. Healey, M. Atkinson, G. R. Pride, J. Tolson, C. Wharton, Thos. Chappel, Thos. Cook, E. Healey, P. Crowther, C. Atkinson, A. Ineson, A. Beevers, H. Walker, J. Bennett, J. G. Sheard, J. A. Yeadon, B. Stocks, Thos. W. Pollard, Joe Grayson, J. Crawshaw, A. Pickles, A. E. Lobley, P. Ward, L. Jones, and H. K. Gadie.

Chief Petty Officer Harry Greenwood has been home on a few days’ leave, along with a few other fellow-members of the Batley Ambulance contingent which he took to Chatham for war Service nearly a year ago. Looking extremely well, and reporting all his townsmen are as fit and keen as ever, her informs us that he had signed for the period of the war – his first term of service being for twelve months….

The death of Robert Randerson featured in this week’s Batley News:

Victim of Dardanelles Fighting
A Fine Sportsman Lost to Batley F.C.

Profound regret will be felt in Batley by the death in action of Captain Robert Randerson, who was a member of the teaching staff of St. Mary’s (R.C.) Schools, Batley, before joining the Leeds University Officers’ Training Corps on the outbreak of war. Captain Randerson was a three-quarter in the Batley (N.U.) football team, and his pleasant, cheery manner won him wide popularity.

News of the gallant captain’s death has been received from his father, Mr. Robert Randerson, York, who states that his son was killed in the recent fighting in the Dardenelles.

Captain Randerson’s brief Army career was of a brilliant description. He was given a commission shortly after joining the Leeds University Officers’ Training Corps last August, and was attached to the 6th Yorkshire Regiment. In January he received his full lieutenancy, and about two months ago was gazetted captain, although only 24 years of age.

Captain Randerson, who was educated at Archbishop Holgate’s Grammar School, York, received his training for the teaching profession at St. Mary’s (R.C.) College, Brook Green, Hammersmith, and whilst there he had the distinction of covering 100 yards in an inter-college sports’ contest in 10 1.5 secs.

He began his teaching career at St. Mary’s Schools, Batley, over two years ago, and was on the staff until his enlistment in the Leeds University O.T.C. He was also choirmaster at St. Mary’s Church.

Captain Randerson quickly won his spurs in the three-quarter line on joining the Batley Football Club, proving himself a speedy and reliable player. He was a good sportsman.

Unmarried, and not engaged, “Bob” Randerson (as he was known popularly) felt the patriotic call early. He remarked to his bosom friend, Chief Petty Officer Harry Greenwood (who is on leave this week),1 “I am not a fighting man; I don’t like to fight; but I ought to go and fight at a time like this.” Hence, prepared to do his best, he enlisted.

It was Mr. Greenwood who secured Capt. Randerson’s services for Batley F.C., and a better type of player never joined the Gallant Youths.

The soldier-footballer played with the Mount Pleasant Club a few times last season, and on his last appearance had the misfortune to be kicked on the head. He suffered so much that he had to be kept in a darkened room for a few days on returning to Beltham [sic].2 After recovering, he went with his comrades to Whitley, in Surrey, and thence to the Dardanelles.

There was news of another Batley rugby player too, Thomas “Dowdy” Brannan. At this stage he had not enlisted.

Batleyite Wins at Chickenley.

A well-known Batley sportsman, Mr. W, Asquith, promoted an 80 yards handicap for £5 at Chickenley Heath Running Grounds on Saturday, with a view to reviving foot racing, and despite the inclement weather there was a capital attendance of the public. Entries were so plentiful that eight heats were arranged, and in several there were close finishes. E. F. Hartley (Bradford) beat a much-fancied local in J. Pape, but perhaps the best heat was that between “Dowdy” Brannan, the Batley N.U.F.C. three-quarter back, and S. Gamble (Bradford). These two kept together in fine style, but Brannan just passed his opponent on the post. “Eddie” Ward, now of Dewsbury, and formerly of Batley, lost his heat. Brannan won easily in the semi-final and final rounds, and his victory was very popular.

Heat winners. —E. F. Hartley, Bradford, 11 yards; H. Hopkinson, Bradford, 13¾; H. Richardson, Bowling, 14½; E. Beeby, Bradford, 12¼; C. Whittaker, Huddersfield, 6; T. Brannan, Batley, 9¼; E. Tidwell, Bradford, 11; H. Henson, Keighley, 7½; J. Wild, Outwood, 11.
Semi-finals — 1. Beeby; 2. Hartley. Won by a foot. 1. Brannan, 2 Henson. Won by two yards.
Final — 1, Brannan; 2, Beeby.

I suspect the following extract from a piece in relation to an appeal for money for the Batley War Relief Funds relates to Catherine (Kate) Hardy, whose husband Herbert was missing after action at Hill 60, and whose son from her first marriage, Michael Cunningham, had enlisted.

….A woman called at the “News” office this week. She knows not whether her husband is alive or dead; he was seen to fall in one of the charges on Hill 60; the eldest boy has gone to be a soldier, and given up a job at over 30s a week; and there are five other children left, including a cripple who costs a lot for nourishment. The mother has had 25s. weekly so far, or on average 5s. per head per week. “When I’ve paid my way, same as I always did when my husband was at home – when I’ve paid for rent and food, and for the poorly boy – there can’t be much left, can there?” The answer is obvious, and we trust the citation of this one case from amongst scores will have its effect on the War Funds…..

Further on in the paper is an article about her husband, Herbert Hardy. In it there is a discrepancy about the number of children at home, but all other details match. Herbert was not a Catholic and not on St Mary’s War Memorial, though he is recorded in a 1922 letter by parish priest Father John Lea as being the husband of a parishioner. The newspaper piece reads:

Dewsbury Comrade Who Saw Him Fall at Hill 60.
No News for Three Months.

Much anxiety is felt regarding Private Herbert Hardy, 2nd Batt. K.O.Y.L.I. His wife, who lives in Balk Street, Batley, has not heard from him since May.

Private Hardy, who was 38 years of age, was called up at the outbreak of war as a Reservist, after serving in the Army for about 16 years. He went through the Boer War campaign, and arrived at the Western Front in the present war during April. That he passed through some hot fighting is shown by his letters. In one he stated:

“You will be surprised at me not writing before, but I could not, as we have been moving about. The biggest battle of the war is now going on, and if we go on as we have been doing, I think the Germans will pack up and move. It is costing both sides a terrible lot of men.”

In his last message the soldier said:—“As I write shells are bursting over me. It is all right, but you cannot tell where they are going to burst. However, no one has been hurt with one yet. There are plenty of spare horses and clothes here — dead horses. The life out here is a bit rough, but otherwise all right. You cannot expect everything to run smoothly in times like these.”

Private Hardy, who worked for Messrs. Midwood Bros., flock manufacturers, Dewsbury, previous to going to the Front, had as his companion a Dewsbury soldier, Lance-Corpl. Breheney (Nowell’s Yard, Boothroyd Lane), who is at present home on leave. He states that he was present with Hardy at the fight for Hill 60, and that in the second bayonet charge the Batley man “went down.”

Mrs. Hardy has been grieving for lack of news for three months, not knowing whether her plucky and patriotic husband may have survived the terrible charge; for Corpl. Breheney is not certain his friend was killed outright. He would have looked after his chum if possible, of course, but in the terrible fighting he could not stay to make inquiries. It was, as one man put it “every man for himself. The officer, in fact, gave a command to that effect.”

The case is one of those many pathetic instances of a married man showing his love of England and Liberty, and going out with the best wishes of his wife and family for a safe return after “doing his little bit.” Taking to a “News” man about him, she said proudly, “He was always one proud of his country. But the man who has caused this awful war has something to answer for. It’s awful.”

The poor woman, mourning, yet hoping against hope, added that her eldest lad, a collier, had given up a good job at Soothill Colliery to also serve his King and Country., She has four other children, one a cripple.

A letter was received on Thursday by Mrs. Hardy from the Record Office at York, intimating that “Private Hardy was posted as ‘Missing’ after an engagement at a place not reported on 7-5-1915. Should he subsequently rejoin, or any other information be received concerning him, such will at once be communicated to you.”

A military notice explains for the benefit of relatives that “the term ‘Missing’ does not necessarily mean that the soldier is killed or wounded. He may be an unwounded prisoner, or temporarily separated from his regiment.”

Although his Christian name is not given, the following item refers to James Flanagan:

Batleyite’s Untoward Experience.

After recovering from bullet-wound injuries last month, Private Flanagan, of 62, Hume Street, rejoined his comrades of the Batley Territorials, and is now reported to have had one of his hands severely injured by gunshot or shrapnel.

Elsewhere in the paper it was reported that he had a gunshot or shrapnel wound in his finger.

The final newspaper piece is a puzzle. It refers to letter-writer Pte T Cafferty. However it cannot be Thomas Cafferty who, although he served in the army, did not go overseas until December 1915. I suspect there is an error and this should be Thomas’ brother Patrick Cafferty, who worked at Soothill Wood colliery in civilian life, went overseas in May 1915 and served in the 6th KOYLI along with St Paulinus man Thomas Cox, whose death this piece covers.

Batley Comrade’ Sad Message
Private T. Cox Killed While Talking
Brother Enlists Same Day That News Arrived

It is feared that yet another Westtown soldier has lost his life on the plains of the Western Front, though up to yesterday the family had not received any official notification of the death. The patriot referred to, Private Thos. Cox, lived with his wife at 4, St. John the Baptist Street, off Boothroyd Lane, who enlisted last August on his 28th birthday, along with Private T. Cafferty, of Batley, with whom, prior to the war, he worked at Soothill Wood Colliery.

On Wednesday morning Mrs. Cox received the following letter from Private Cafferty:—

“I am very sorry to inform you of your husband’s death, which took place on Friday as we were going into the trenches. We were just having a rest, and we had not been sat down a minute when a shell burst and he was hit on the head. He never spoke again. I was next to him, and we were talking when it all happened. You can be sure that he did not suffer at all, and I hope he is in Heaven now. You all have our deep sympathy.”

Private Cafferty wrote the letter last Friday, and his companion was apparently killed on the Friday in Dewsbury feast week. On that day his wife sent him a parcel and a letter.

The deceased soldier – the seventh Westtown man to fall on the battlefield – would have been 29 years old had he lived until next Thursday. When he joined the Forces he as drafted into the 6th Battalion K.O.Y.L.I., and had been at the Front three months. Writing to his wife in Dewsbury Feast Week, he said he would never forget Dewsbury Feast Sunday, for on that day there was a terrible German bombardment. He also mentioned that the Germans could shoot straight. “Put up your finger and see,” he added.

Private Cox, who was well known in Dewsbury and Batley, leaves four children. His brother Frank enlisted at Dewsbury on Wednesday – the day the sad tidings arrived from Private Cafferty.

1. One of the Batley ambulance men mentioned in the earlier piece in this newspaper;
2. Belton Park;