This is a round-up of pieces from the Batley News 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.
Spellings and punctuation are as per the original paper.
The first series of news stories concern parish deaths.
One, that of Mary Brannen, was the subject of an inquest. And this piece perfectly illustrates the issue with the spelling of names. In the article there are two surname spellings used: Brannan and Branner. In the death notices Mary’s surname is written as Breman. If you look at the 1911 census the family surname is Brennan. And for her death registration, the GRO Indexes record it as Brannen.
FATAL FALL DOWNSTAIRS.
Leg Broken at Five O’Clock in the Morning.
A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned at an inquest conducted by Mr. P. P. Mainland on Tuesday, on Mrs. Mary Brannan (47), 11, Villiers Street, Batley. She fell down three steps on the 5th inst., fractured her thigh, but after progressing favourably for a time she died suddenly on Sunday.
Patrick Branner (sic) bricklayer (husband), said deceased was a rag sorter. She had good health, though about twelve months ago she had a bad leg. On the 5th inst., shortly after 5 a.m., she called him to “come down.” She explained that after lighting the fire she climbed three steps, and on looking round to see if the fire were burning she felt dizzy. She knew no more. Witness found her in great pain. He went to bed at 11 p.m. on Saturday, but at 1.30 a.m. on Sunday he was called by his daughter Margaret Ann, who was nursing the deceased. About 15 minutes later his wife passed away.
Dr. G. S. Broughton said deceased had a simple fracture of the left thigh, and witness at first thought the injury was going on nicely, but death ensued.
I have included Mary’s death notice as it appeared in the paper, showing the final version of the family surname:
BREMAN. – On the 18th inst., aged 47 years, Mary, wife of Patrick Breman, 11 Villiers Street.
In the family notices column there were a total of three parish-related deaths. Mary Brannen’s is mentioned in the above section. The others were:
GALLAGHER. – On the 18th inst., aged 5 years, son of John Gallagher, 8 Villiers Street. [Note the child’s name is not mentioned, but the cemetery burial register confirms it was John’s son James Redmond Gallagher]
MACNAMARA. – On the 21st inst., Bridget, infant daughter of John Macnamara, 31, Cross Peel Street.
There will be more about baby Bridget MacNamara’s death in the next weekly news round-up post.
The next piece illustrates the anxiety some of those men serving felt about their families at home. This one concerns Joseph Walton.
BATLEY ARMY ABSENTEES
Wife Said to Have Only 4s a Week.
Joseph Walton, 37, Vero Street, Batley, a private in 6th K.O.Y.L.I., admitted at Batley Court to-day that he overstayed his leave, and also that he similarly offended eight weeks ago. “But,” he said, “my children are starving. My wife is only receiving 4s. a week.”
The Mayor: There has been some mishap at the Hull end, and you should see your commanding officer. You have enlisted for a soldier, Joseph, and you must try to be one.
Vero (sic): Oh, I am not frightened; I’ve never done any wrong. But I might as well start work when my wife gets no more than 4s.”
He was detained to await an escort, and the Mayor had a private talk with him about how to get proper help….
There was one other relevant court appearance.
LOCAL POLICE NEWS.
Batley Court – Monday.
Mary Ellen Dolan, married, Upton Street, Batley, was summoned for being drunk and riotous on Sunday, but only admitted being drunk. —Fined 7s. 6d. and costs.
This was the mother of Thomas Dolan.
Finally, Walter Hughes received more war news from his uncle, a French resident.
THOSE AWFUL CANNON.
Letter to Carlinghow Tells of Train Loads of Wounded
Mr. Walter Hughes, Coalpit Lane, Carlinghow, has received another letter from his uncle, Mr. James Karney, who lives at Senlis, Aisne:-
I was pleased to hear you are all pretty well; and as for us, we are knocking on as well as can be expected. We can still hear those awful cannon firing night and day and not far away.
Wounded come through here in cart-loads – poor fellows, they look terrible. Still, when they are well they go back with a good heart to fight. When it will finish, God knows! Now one hears that Italy and Roumania are going to start; and if they do that will bottle the Germans up.
What the enemy have done in France is beyond question, but they will have to pay for all that, perhaps sooner than they think.
I know the country where our troops are. When it rains you cannot get about, for it is just like a lake. With a little fine weather, however, we should see a great change.
I am afraid they will pay another visit in the air to England, as that is the only way the Germans stand a chance of getting there. They will try to do all the harm they can to England.
This final paragraph is a reference to the first of the German Zeppelin raids over England. On 19 January they dropped bombs on the Norfolk towns of Sheringham (the first aerial bomb to drop on British soil), Great Yarmouth (these bombs caused the first British civilian air raid casualties, with two fatalities and two other injured), Snettisham and Kings Lynn (killing another two). The fact that this letter from France referencing the raids appeared in the Batley News of 23 January shows the efficiency of the postal services.