1915, 26 June – 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.

A pastoral letter from the Bishop of Leeds was read out in Catholic Churches, including St Mary’s. Reproduced in the paper, it praised the Catholic sense of duty and patriotism, stating 10 per cent of the total Catholic population of the diocese had joined the Colours.

Bishop’s Pastoral Read in Heavy Woollen District Churches.
The Children Not To Be “Poorly Paid Slaves.”

A pastoral letter from Dr. Cowgill (Roman Catholic Bishop of Leeds Diocese) on the subject of Catholic secondary education was read out in all the Catholic churches of the Heavy Woollen District on Sunday. It stated:—

No one who has investigated the number of those who have obeyed their country’s call in this time of her trial could fail to be impressed with the Catholic sense of duty when he finds that the young men who have joined the colours in our diocese represent fully ten per cent. of the total Catholic population.

We are justly proud of this splendid spirit, and are confident that further appeals for the nation’s needs will find no readier or more willing response than in the hearts of the Catholics of Yorkshire. The spirit that makes a man a good Christian makes him a good soldier especially when the cry of justice calls so loudly as it does to-day, and when all that is civilised and righteous and Christian in us impels us to crush the inhuman cruelty and revolting barbarity of our enemy, and to push on the victory.

Already many of our young men have sacrificed their lives on the altar of duty and patriotism, but when the work of justice and atonement has been accomplished many will, please God, come back to leaven those around them with the spirit of self-sacrifice.

Catholic parents must make up their minds that their children shall no longer be the poorly-paid slaves of unskilled work, shall no longer be relegated to the lower strata of Society, but be so educated that they can take their place in the higher ranks of England’s industrial life, to voice the Church’s sentiments, right the Church’s wrongs, and make the Church’s pure moral teaching a greater power for good in the land.

I hope one of the many blessings that will result from this cruel war will be that the admirable spirit shown by Catholic young men will have convinced those who had unworthy notions of their patriotic spirit that there are no more trustworthy citizens than those who profess the Catholic faith.

School examination successes featured this week, including ones from St Mary’s:

Evening Continuation Schools

St. Mary’s – Prep. Boys: Thomas Durkin; 1st Year Ind. John Cartwright, John Elders, Patrick Haley, William Ryan, William Hannan, John Power, Thomas Harkin. Girls. —1st Year Housecraft: Annie Brennan, Annie Dillon, Janie Philips, Kathleen Ratchford, Eileen Tomlinson, Mary Flynn, Mary Gallagher.

One parish death featured in the family notices this week:

HUNT. —On the 19th inst., aged 68, Mary Hunt, 26, Cross Bank Road.

There was a busy local police column involving St Mary’s parishioners this week. These included Charles Gannon, John Armstead, Michael Cafferty, Michael Maloney and Thomas Kelly.

Batley Court – Monday.
“It’s not the time to be fighting at home, but in other places,” the Mayor said to Chas. Gannon, carrier, 43, Cobden Street, Batley, and John Armstead, labourer, 21, Back Taylor Street, Batley, who were bound over for a breach of the peace, in Wellington Street on Saturday night, June 12th, when they were seen fighting by Constable Thornton. Armstead said the other man started the bother.

Michael Cafferty, 27, Villiers Street, Batley, absentee from the 17th West Yorkshire Regiment (Leeds Bantams), ordered to await an escort.

Batley Court – Wednesday.
Michael Maloney, 24, Villiers Street, Batley, absentee from 3rd K.O.Y.L.I., remanded for an escort.

Elsewhere in the paper, another absentee featured in court:


Thomas Kelly, 16, Villiers Street, Batley, and Joseph Kelly, Forester’s Yard, Common Road, absentees from the 3rd/4th K.O.Y.L.I. and 3rd K.O.Y.L.I. respectively, were ordered too await escorts.

Finally this week, there was news of Edward Leonard’s unusual 21st birthday.

Batley Grammar School Old Boy and Strikers
Ex-Dewsbury Employee Thinks Mortars Worse then Shells

Private Edward Leonard (8th Leeds Rifles), a Batley Grammar School Old Boy who was a clerk for Messrs. Bodenheim and Carlebach, Dewsbury, before his enlistment on the outbreak of war, sends a graphic narrative of trench life, with some striking comments on English strikers, to his sister at 31, North Bank Road, Batley. He says:-

We came out of the trenches last night after six days of it, and are billeted in an old barn. You ask me to tell you how I spent my 21st birthday. Well, I cannot say that there was any incident worth special mention. We went up into the firing line on Friday night, and, of course, were awake all night. We did not get into “bed” until about 9 o’clock on Saturday morning, the 21st birthday of your humble servant. It was a quiet day – about the quietest I have spent in the trenches. I think the Germans must have known it was my birthday. We had a bit of music at night to celebrate it, with a mouth organ for accompaniments to a few songs by our men.

Some of the cycling corps went with us for two days’ instructional purposes. Some of them were naturally a little nervous, but they soon got used to the shells and bullets playing the German National Anthem as they whistled over. Taking things all round, we have had a very quiet week as far as shells, etc., go. We had about the busiest day yesterday, when the enemy started sending us shells and trench mortars over.

I saw in a paper not long ago that a man who had been in the trenches had written to say they could see the shells coming over like tennis balls at express speed. He must have had the finest pair of eyes it is possible to imagine. You can hear them whistle over, but cannot tell to a few hundred yards where they are going to burst. They “don’t half” make a row when they burst.

But the trench mortars are the worst. You can see these coming in the daytime. They look like bottles coming at about the speed a man throws a cricket ball. When they drop they are about ten seconds before they burst; but when they do they shake everything for a good distance away. Personally, I think they are the most terrible things they send.

We get any amount of aeroplanes over, and it is amusing to see how contemptuous they seem of the guns that are trained on them. I have seen any number of shots sent at them.

We have been extremely lucky this time, having had very few casualties.

I understand there are one of two strikes impending in England. This is what the men at home are doing to help those who are out here – doing their bit for their King and country – just because they are not getting what they think they ought to! All who are in favour of strikes at present ought to be sent out here, where they have to think themselves lucky to get eight hours’ sleep out of 24, never mind eight hours’ work; then the sleep they get is with one eye open.

I think they might leave strikes alone, at any rate until the war is over. They want to think of the men who have left such good positions to come out here, for a lot more work and about a shilling a day. It is to be hoped the men take a sensible view of things and stick to their work.