1915, 23 October – Batley News

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.

The family notices contained two parish deaths, including the mother of posthumous DCM recipient Thomas Foley:

FOLEY. —On the 15th inst., aged 61 years, Bridget, wife of John Foley, 86, New Street.

KILGALLAN. —On the 18th inst., aged 2 years, James, son of Thomas Kilgallan, 34a, New Street

James Kilgallan’s death came a little over a month after his 4-year-old sister, Ellen (see 11 September 1915).

Another military death impacted the parish. This time Robert Hirst, husband of parishioner Winnie (née Coleman).

Howley Park Collier Leaves Widow and Infant-in-arms.
(Special to the “News.”)

After waiting five weeks for news in vain, Mrs. Hirst, 6, New Street, Batley, has received War Office intimation that her husband, Private Robert Hirst, was killed in action on September 24th. Some weeks ago it was rumoured that Batley soldiers had written to their homes respecting his death, but the relatives could not trace any authentic report, and lived in hope that the soldier was alive, until official intimation late last Friday dispelled the hope.

Private Hirst worked at Howley Park Collieries before the war, and enlisted in the 6th K.O.Y.L.I., soon after the outbreak of hostilities. He went abroad about three months ago, and in his last letter home asked for a consignment of small articles, invaluable to the Tommy at the Front. A big package was accordingly sent.

Much sympathy is felt with Mrs. Hirst, who has a child in arms, and with his mother, who resides in Wellington Street, near to the bereaved young widow.

Private Robert Hirst

Michael Rush was one of the recipients of a parcel of useful items from the Batley Trades and Friendly Club

Batley Clubmen Soldiers’ Welcome Comforts.

Batley Trades and Friendly Club members take a weekly collection for fellow members on active service. Some time ago a dozen parcels were dispatched, each containing a pair of socks, a woollen shirt, a khaki handkerchief and a sleeping helmet, while 12 other parcels of cigarettes were sent. The Tommies have received their gifts, and this week letters of acknowledgment have come to hand from Privates Michael Rush, New Street1 (Labourers’ Battalion R.E.), Frank Parr, Caledonia Road, (1st/4th K.O.Y.L.I); Orlando Morrison, Providence Street, (1st/4th K.O.Y.L.I); John Burnett, Peel Street (R.A.M.C.); Percy Hill, Spurr Street, (1st/4th K.O.Y.L.I); Joe Wilson, Woodwell (K.O.Y.L.I.); Arthur Thompson, Talbot Street (K.O.Y.L.I.); Arthur Haigh, Hume Street, (K.O.Y.L.I.); W. Illingworth, Chapel Fold, Staincliffe (K.O.Y.L.I.), and Ben Taylor, Preston Street (Northumberland Fusliliers).

The last-named says in a typical letter to the Secretary: —“I should be highly satisfied if you will convey my thanks to the members who have helped to contribute to these gifts. I am pleased the lads are not forgetting me in the time my King and Country need me, and I can tell you the articles you have sent are very welcome in a place like this. This is the time when we are all joined together to fight for our liberty and freedom. We can’t all be soldiers, and I consider those who are helping in this scheme are doing their bit towards making a few of us happy and making our burden lighter.”

There was more news of merchant navy ship’s steward William Delaney.

Mr. William Delaney, Taylor Street, Batley, who has been on transport service, is at home with an injured foot, accidentally sustained at sea. He was treated in his ship’s hospital.

Finally for this week Father Julian Kestelyn, who was to move to St Mary’s, merited a brief mention.

Father Julian Kestelyn, a Belgian priest who has for some months been staying with Father Russell at Birstall, recently spent a month in Ireland, and was much impressed with what he saw in the Sister Isle. Spiritually, Father Kestelyn regards Ireland as another Belgium, and the ruined abbeys and monasteries strongly reminded him of the dilapidation wrought in his own country during the war. Father Kestelyn admires the cheerful spirit of the Irish people.

1. Michael Rush’s address was actually Charles Street.