There was one huge news item dominating the paper this week in relation to not only the parish of St Mary’s, but Batley and the surrounding areas – the raft disaster involving the local Territorials, the 1st/4th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.
As usual, the spellings and punctuation used in the newspaper are replicated below (hence the two versions of the surname Hemingway/Hemmingway, for example). And the names of the St Mary’s men serving with the military are in bold.
As hinted at above, the Gainsborough raft disaster, directly affected St Mary’s, marking the parish’s second fatality of the war. Following Austin Nolan, killed in an accident in the previous August, Edmund Battye (the spelling used in the report was Baty), of the same battalion, was one of those who tragically lost his life in the raft accident. Among the men involved in the rescue attempts, and dragging two – possibly three – men to safety was parishioner Willie Barber. And one of those rescued was parishioner Matthew Crayton, with Thomas William Chappell involved in his rescue.
SEVEN K.O.Y.L.I. MEN DROWNED.
Batley, Dewsbury, Birstall and Morley Families Bereaved.
Scramble for Life by About 20 Men: Thrown From a Raft.
Coroner Calls it a Cockle Shell.
Solicitor Bravely Rescues Ex-Soothill Wood Miner
Touching Scenes at Inquest and Funeral.
Full details were given at the inquest on Saturday, of how seven K.O.Y.L.I. men – two of them belonging to Batley, Dewsbury and Birstall families – were drowned the previous afternoon whilst at pontoon practice in Gainsborough district, where their Battalion is quartered.
About 25 men boarded a raft, and it was not far from the starting-point when the heavy human load began to move, causing the “craft” to capsize; and despite thrilling efforts at rescue by Batley, Dewsbury, and Leeds men (whose names we are pleased to be able to announce), a deplorable loss of life resulted.
The scene of the terrible affair, about a mile and a half from most of the billets, was a deep pit or pond, locally called a “gyme,” close by the banks of the River Trent. The gymes are believed to have been formed years ago, when ballast was being obtained for forming the Trent embankments. The one in question was, as stated in the “District News” account of the disaster last Saturday of unknown depth – a statement confirmed by Coroner Gamble in his address to the jury.
The latter’s verdict was that the affair was an accident, but they regretted the inexperience of the officer and men engaged on the fatal work, and expressed the opinion that the raft was inadequate for the number of men, also that there was not sufficient life-saving apparatus. The Coroner pointed out that Captain Harold Hirst (of Alexandra and Bright’s Mills, Batley, and Victoria Mills, Savile Town) was only carrying out his instructions by conducting the pontoon practice.
The bodies of the Batley and Dewsbury men were conveyed to the homes of the parents on Monday, and the scene in each district was a sad preliminary to the last rites at the military funerals on Tuesday.
LIST OF THE VICTIMS.
Private John Myers (24), Savile Grove, Savile Town;
Private Edmund Baty (22), New Street, Batley (son of Mr. J. Baty, Fieldhead lane, Birstall);1
W. Dent (21), South View, Churwell;2;
E. Cockill (20), Stratheden Road, Wakefield;3;
F. Cooke (34), Cardigan Terrace, East Ardsley;4
W. Atheron (20), Stanley Road, Wakefield;5
A. Bruce (21), 40, Chatsworth Place, Harrogate.6
Private Baty, who was the son of Mr. John Baty, Wentworth Place, Fieldhead Lane, Birstall (latterly of Ward’s Hill, Batley), lived with his sister, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, at New Street, Batley, and joined the “Terriers” a year ago. A miner, he hailed from Atherton and worked at Howley Park Colliery.
Private Myers, so of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Myers, was a popular member of D Company, and joined Ossett Detachment Territorials two years ago. He was 24 years old a fortnight ago, and was due home last week-end to celebrate his birthday. He was formerly with Dr. T. O. Halliwell (Dewsbury Medical Officer) and was chauffeur for an Ossett gentleman when war broke out. Deceased was the eldest of a Savile Town family comprising five boys and four girls.
Private Dent had been in the Territorials four years when war began. A single young man, 21 years of age, he worked for Messrs. Hudson Sykes, and Bousfield, cloth manufactures, Springfield Mills, Morley.
Private W. Atheron was to have been married next week; and Private A. Bruce was a Harrogate footballer who had won several education scholarships.
BATLEY MAN RESCUED.
Private Matthew Crayton (19), only son of Mrs Crayton, New Street, Batley, and a miner at Soothill Wood Colliery till the war, was rescued unconscious, and the utmost possible exertion was centred upon him, oxygen and other means of resuscitation being applied.7
He owed his life primarily to Lance-Corporal Chorley, who lives at 27, Cumberland Street, Headingley, and is a member of the firm of Barr, Nelson and Co., solicitors, Leeds. He saw Crayton sinking, and diving in brought the Batley young man up, and landed him safely at the bank.
CAPT. HIRST DESCRIBES HOW MEN FELL INTO WATER.
Captain Harold Hirst, commanding D Company, described how he took a number of men to a deep “pit” or pond near the bank of the Trent. Two platoons were engaged in construction of a pontoon raft, composed of two waterproof tarpaulins, filled with hay and straw, to which posts and a boarded platform were fixed by ropes. The two floats were 6ft. square and from 2ft. 6in. to 3ft. deep. The platform would be about 12 ft. by 7ft. A pole 12ft. to 14ft. long was used to control the raft.
He did not know the exact number of men who got on to the raft to test it. There might have been twenty-five; but he judged them to be between 16 and 20. In answer to the question, “Was there any limit to the number, or could as many get on as liked?” Captain Hirst replied, “As soon as I took it there was a sufficient number of men for testing the raft I stopped any more from coming on.” After they had left the bank for perhaps five minutes, he gave the order to return. He then felt a transference of weight to the corner where he stood, and a certain amount of water washed across.
He twice told the men to stand still, but there was a rush to his side and back, and then they were all thrown into the water. Some made for the shore, but some he could not see because he was under the water himself. When he came up most of the men appeared to be on the raft. Witness swam to the shore and saw one of his men dive in and swim towards the raft to save a man in difficulties. When he saw the first two men rescued and in good hands, he sent for the doctor and had the men sent home. He had the roll call made of the two platoons, and on finding some men missing he sent for a boat. He went to change his clothing, and on his return three bodies had been recovered. The men on the raft were not carrying their packs. Seven bodies were recovered by means of grappling irons.
DID NOT HEAR ANY PROTESTS.
The Coroner: Were any non-commissioned officers present on the raft?
Witness: Yes, there were Sergt. Hemingway, Sergt. Baines, and Lance-Corpl. Punyer.
Had any of these non-commissioned officers had any experience in raft building? — Not at this particular pond.
It was the first time this particular platoon had been doing that work? — Yes, Sir.
What was the object of building this raft and getting the men on it? — The object of the building of the raft was to gain experience in bridging.
When you are on a small and confined platform like this platform was, it is possible to hear what is being said by the men, is it not? — Yes, if you were paying attention to it.
At the time these men were on the platform was anything said as to it being unsafe? — I heard nothing at all.
Did you hear any objection or any soldier enter a protest about going on, on account of the raft being not safe? — I heard nothing whatever.
The Coroner said he was putting these questions in the witness’ own interest as much as anyone else’s, owing to the rumours. He then proceeded with his examination of Capt. Hirst: —
Did anybody say that it was unsafe? — No.
There was no compulsion to make these men get on at all? — No.
SAFE, IF MEN HAD KEPT STEADY.
At the request of Colonel Haselgrave the Coroner put the following questions to Captain Hirst: —
How long was it after pushing off before the raft was ordered to be returned? —As far as I can say about five minutes.
Did the raft float or was it submerged? — In my opinion it was floating very well.
Does that mean that the platform of the raft was clear or the water altogether? — Yes.
Is the raft in the same condition this afternoon as it was yesterday? — No, not at all.
Colonel Haselgrave: They lose their buoyancy after eight hours. How far was the platform above the water?
Captain Hirst: I should think nine inches or a foot.
The Colonel: Were the men in marching order or were you?
Captain Hirst: I was in full marching order, and the men were in fatigue dress only.
If the men had kept steady would the raft have been safe? — Quite safe.
Were the men warned on getting on to the raft to keep steady? — Immediately after pushing off I warned them to keep still and steady.
Was a lifebuoy provided? – Yes, a lifebuoy was provided on the bank, and was thrown in immediately the raft went over.
About what time did the accident happen? — About ten minutes past twelve.
Can you tell me whether Private Wm. Dent was on the platform with you? — I could not.
In reply to a juror, Captain Hirst said he supposed the carrying capacity of the raft would be about 40; the buoyancy was all down the centre and any undue pressure upon the sides would affect it. He had not had previous experience in raft building before Friday, and he was in command. There was no other provision for rescuing in case of accident except the lifebuoy previously mentioned.
The Juror: Was it provided by the Military or is it always there?
Colonel Haselgrave: I think it is provided by the Military.
“A SUICIDAL MATTER.”
Mr. Waugh, Myers’ uncle, said he had come a long way and it was a suicidal matter. (To Captain Hirst): You say 16 or 20 men were on the raft. Have you any idea what weight they will carry? — 40.
What precaution did you take if the men could not swim? —There was the lifebuoy.
What use was it if 15 or 16 of the men could not swim? It was a very big risk in my opinion going out with a lot of inexperienced young fellows.
Colonel Haselgrave: Was the raft made in accordance with the instructions laid down for raft building in the Book of Military Engineering?
Captain Hirst: I think so.
By Another Juror: Were there any instructions as to how many men you were to place on the raft? — No.
In reply to the foreman Captain Hirst said that there were other methods of raft building mentioned in the book of regulations, but the plan adopted would be quite as quick and useful as any of the others. He did not think there was any other mode of propelling a raft laid down except that of a punting pole.
In answer to other questions by the jury, Captain Hirst said he did not know the approximate depth of the water, and he had not made any enquiries respecting same.
The Foreman: Would you consider the spot a suitable water for such operations? — I cannot really answer that. It was the spot chosen for us.
A MOTHER’S GRIEF
A woman attired in black came forward at this juncture and said she was the mother of the lad Bruce. Could the Captain tell her how he died. What did he look like?
Captain Hirst replied that he did not see the body after it had been recovered.
Mrs. Bruce: I have worked very hard for the lad all my life and his end grieves me very much.
The Coroner: It grieves us all, Mrs. Bruce.
A Juror: Do you consider this a suitable water for military operations?
Captain Hirst: I cannot really answer that. The spot was chosen for us and it was for us to carry instructions out.
Was any attempt made to ascertain the depth of the water? — I do not know. It was not in my hands.
Sergt. H. Baines said that from what he could recollect the raft was constructed in accordance with what Captain Hirst had stated. As far as he could say, there would be perhaps 20 or 25 men on the raft; he could not say exactly; it would be guessing. The men had not gone on in any particular formation.
The Coroner: Was everything done to try to get the poor fellows out? — I think it was.
Was there any excitement? — I was in the water and hadn’t time to notice.
In your opinion was the raft upset by faulty construction or by movement of the men? — No, the raft appeared to be built all right, and the affair might have been caused by some movement.
Have you had any experience in constructing rafts before? — No.
Then you don’t know know, but in your opinion it was properly constructed? – Yes.
Colonel Haselgrave: What time elapsed after moving from the bank before you got the order to return? — At a rough estimate five minutes, certainly not more than ten.
A Juror: Had the men encumbrances or packs? — No; just fatigue dress without belts.
After leaving the shore for five minutes or more the raft carried you safely? — Yes.
The Coroner: Was there any larking or tom-foolery? — No, not at all.
Were 30 or 40 men on the raft? — At a rough guess I should say 20 or 25.
A STORY CORONER DID NOT BELIEVE.
A Juror: Where did you get the buoyancy from? — The hay and straw in the tarpaulins.
Where did you get the hay from? — It was there in bales.
The Coroner: You did not get it from a heap of wet rubbish in the field? — No.
The Coroner: I was told you did, but I scarcely believed it.
DEWSBURY SERGEANT WHO WAS ENJOYING THE RIDE.
Sergt. Hemmingway stated he was behind Captain Hirst on the right hand side of the raft. There was a little vibration of the raft when the men were getting on, and Captain Hirst gave the order for the men to “keep steady” just as a warning, and then when they had been on the water five or six minutes there was a slight movement on the part of some of the men. It started rocking and they were thrown into the water.
He could not estimate the number of men on the raft; he might say a little over 20, but not 30 or 40. He had had no previous experience in raft building, or on that particular pond. He did not hear anything said about the raft being a cockleshell or anyone not wanting to go on it. He did not know who gave the order to return. He only saw Crayton got out alive.
The raft carried three or four lengths from the shore quite safely. There was only one man working the pole and he could not say whether the others had to make room for him to work it.
“I CAN’T REACH THE BOTTOM.”
Lance-Corpl. Punyer, the soldier who had charge of the punting pole, told the Coroner that when the raft was only a yard from the bank it was impossible to touch the bottom of the pit with the pole. Witness knelt on the fore-part of the raft and put his arm in the water, to his elbow.
This story was confirmed by one of the gallant rescuers, Lance-Corpl. Chorley, a Leeds solicitor, who enlisted as a private and soon won many friends. He described how he watched the raft float off all right when pushed from the bank. He heard Punyer say “I can’t reach the bottom from here,” and there followed a slight movement among the men. One side then went under, and the men again moved, the result being that the raft tipped and the men were pitched into the water. Witness told the Coroner about the pluck shown in the rescue work, and specially mentioned Lance-Corporal Chappell and Private Barlow.
DECEASED MEN ALL LOOKED PEACEFUL.
Lieut. Matthews, of the R.A.M.C., gave evidence as to being called to the scene of the disaster. He saw all the bodies taken from the water and efforts at artificial respiration were made in the case of the first five bodies. He noticed that all the men’s watches had stopped at 12.7.
The mother of Bruce stepped forward, and addressing the lieutenant, said, “How did my lad look? What did he look like?”
The lieutenant evidently did not hear her question, which at his request she repeated.
The lieutenant answered, “He was wet, madam,” and turned towards the Coroner as though not comprehending the nature of the question.
The Coroner (to Mrs. Bruce): “I can answer that question. I saw all the bodies on the bank, and it was surprising how peaceful the men looked, just as if they were sleeping. You could hardly tell them from life.”
Lieut. Matthews: Oh! Yes, his appearance was just the same as life, perfectly natural.
Mrs. Bruce: Thank you; I am so pleased.
CORONER SURPRISED MORE WERE NOT DROWNED.
Mr. Gamble, in addressing the jury, remarked that the wonder to him was that more of the 25 men were not drowned. Afterwards everything seemed to have been done that could be done. Capt. Hirst said that it was the first time he and his men had been there. He (the Coroner) had been informed that it was not the first time this work had been done there, but he sincerely hoped it would be the last. A short time ago he told the officers of another battalion how very dangerous this pond was, as it was of unknown depth.
He could not understand why the ornamental water in Thonock Park, which was eminently suitable for the purpose, had not been utilised, as he knew that the opportunity of going to Thonock had been offered by Sir Hickman Bacon to the Brigadier-General.
To a simple civilian like himself if seemed astonishing that the pond should have been used for such a purpose. He knew nothing of the construction of rafts, but, unless he were compelled, he should hesitate to go on such a sheet of water in such a “cockle-shell” as this raft appeared to be, carrying such a number of men, and having only a 12ft. or 14ft. pole to get him back ashore.
It seemed extraordinary that work like that should take place upon such a pond. He could not say that the officer in charge could be in any way culpable. His duty was to carry out instructions, and no doubt Capt. Hirst’s superior officers were only doing what they had been instructed to do. If so, then something must be done to prevent any of those ponds being again used for similar purposes.
JURY AND “INADEQUATE SIZE’ OF RAFT.
The jury found a verdict of “Accidentally drowned,” and expressed regret that Capt. Hirst and his men were inexperienced in this raft-building. They considered the superficial area of the raft quite inadequate to carry the number of men, and also though the provision for life-saving was inadequate. They complimented Lance-Corpl. Chorley and others for their bravery in rescued work.
EXPRESSIONS OF SYMPATHY.
Mayor and Captain Talbot Condole.
The Mayor of Batley (Councillor Ben Turner) at Batley Education Committee on Monday, expressed the sympathy of the members with the bereaved families.
Captain C. H. Talbot (one of the officers of the 4th K.O.Y.L.I.), who was in Gainsborough on Friday, was at the officers’ quarters when D Company marched cheerfully to their pontoon work. Speaking on Saturday at Cross Bank Choir Musical Festival he said he was struck by the bearing of the men as they went out of Gainsborough. He also saw them on their mournful return – one man carrying two rifles and kit bags, whilst others were without. The doctor and his staff were out in good time and did their best. Captain Talbot expressed his sympathy with the bereaved.
Lance-Corporal Describes the Tragic Scenes.
Lance-Corporal George Sykes, “H” Company, 4th. Batt. K.O.Y.L.I., brother of Surgeon-Lieutenant Frank Sykes (who is in a hospital in France) writes to his parents, Dr. and Mrs. Walker, of Batley.
We went to learn pontoon building own a pond near the Trent. As luck would have it, our platoon did not help – we did section drill in the next field.
The two platoons got the bridge together, and about 40 men were on it when it started rocking, and all the lot went into the water. We were about 150 yards away at the time, and rushed up. I got my pack and my coat off, dived into the water and tried to save the poor chaps. It was awful! We could not tell who was drowning or who was wanting help, and we got two out only just in time, We had a job to get them round, but we succeeded after a time.
Many of the men looked like dead, but the two referred to are going on fine. Seven poor chaps had to be got out with grappling irons, and all the seven were dead. I had to leave about three o’clock, for I was getting bad with cramp through standing about in wet clothes. Seeing the chaps struggling in the water was awful. I pumped the chaps until I was simply fagged out, but we only got two round.
Thousands of Spectators.
The decision of the authorities to accord military honours to the funeral of the deceased soldiers was appreciated, and Batley people assembled in large crowds to pay tributes of respect to Private Baty on Tuesday afternoon, when the remains were laid to rest in Batley Cemetery. An hour before the cortege started from the house in New Street, where the body had lain since the previous afternoon, scores of people were assembled in the vicinity, and the number gradually increased, while there must have been some thousands in the cemetery.
Lieut. Fraser attended on behalf of Colonel Haselgrave (officer in command of the K.O.Y.L.I.’s at Gainsborough), and Second-Lieutenant J. Jubb had charge of some 60 men of the Batley Company, 2nd 4th Battalion K.O.Y.L.I., including a firing party with buglers, Surgeon-Capt. W. H. Hender-Bennett was also present in khaki.
From Upper Wellington Street the sight was especially impressive, as sturdy soldier-bearers – including some of deceased’s comrades from Gainsborough – carried the coffin, draped with the Union Jack and covered with wreaths, from the house to the hearse, which waited at the foot of the steep street. There the procession to the cemetery was formed. First marched the firing party, in charge of Sergt. Hirst, with their arms reversed, and after them came the rest of the military. The hearse was accompanied by the bearers, and behind it walked relatives and friends of the deceased.
Large numbers of people lined the route through Wellington Street, Clerk Green and Woodwell to the cemetery, and many signs of sympathy with the sorrowing relatives were witnessed.
“God bless him,” murmured a lonely old woman with tear-dimmed eyes, as the hearse passed her near the Fire Station. And her eyes were not the only ones that were tearful, for genuine grief was frequently exhibited.
There appeared a universal desire to be present at the graveside when the last rites were performed by Father Lea, and all roads were filled with throngs of folk, so that when the coffin was lowered the Catholic portion of the cemetery seemed like a sea of faces.
After the priestly offices had been discharged, the firing party fired three volleys over the grave, and the buglers sounded “The Last Post.”
The principal mourners included Mr. J. Baty (father), Misses N. and Ruth Baty (sisters), Mr. J. Fitzpatrick (step-brother), and Mrs. Fitzpatrick.
Impressive Scenes at Dewsbury.
Private Myers was accorded a military funeral at Dewsbury Cemetery on Tuesday afternoon, when the public took advantage of the Spring-like weather and turned out in thousands. At Savile Town there was a huge crowd, and all along Huddersfield Road to the Park dense throngs lined the route. At the Cemetery over a thousand people were present. Private Myers was known throughout the district, and much sympathy is felt for the bereaved parents.
The coffin, of pitch-pine with brass mountings, was draped with a large Union Jack and carried shoulder high from the hearse to the church by a party from the 4th (Reserve) Batt. K.O.Y.L.I. The wak at the Cemetery was lined by members of the 4th (Reserve) Batt. K.O.Y.L.I., stationed at Dewsbury, and the service in the church was conducted by the Rev. E. J. Martin, curate-in-charge of St Mary’s, Savile Town. At the graveside the last rites were performed by Mr. Martin and a firing party discharged three volleys over the grave. The “Last Post” concluded an impressive ceremony.
Lieut. Norman Lee was in charge of members of the Battalion. At the Cemetery were Major P. B. Walker, V.D., J.P. (Mayor of Dewsbury), and Lieut. the Rev. F. W. Butt-Thompson.
Floral tributes were sent by: – The sorrowing father, mother, brothers and sisters; Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Men of D Company, 4th Batt. K.O.Y.L.I.; Lieut-Colonel H. J. Haselgrave, Major and Mrs. Chadwick; Aunts; Cousins; Mrs. Spurr, Mrs. Asquith, and Mrs Thornes; Neighbours and friends at Savile Town; Friends at Dickenson Terrace; Mr. and Mrs. H. Tolson and family; Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Myers; Mr. and Mrs. J. Turton; Jimmy; and Dr. and Mrs. T. O. Halliwell.
Sympathetic Crowds at Morley and Other Towns.
Many hundreds of sympathetic people watched the funeral of Private T. W. Dent, of Churwell, at Morley Cemetery, on Tuesday afternoon.8 Sergt-Inst. J. Harper was in charge of the buglers and a firing party of the Leeds Rifles, and about 70 of the private’s comrades from Gainsborough. Service was conducted by Rev. Frank Boynton, Wesleyan minister, and amongst those present was the Deputy-Mayor (Alderman W. L. Ingle).
Private Bruce was interred at Harrogate, Lieut. Thompson representing the 4th K.O.Y.L.I. from Gainsborough.
About 2,000 people were present at the last rites in St. Michael’s Churchyard, East Ardsley, where Private Fred Cooke was buried.
A large contingent of the 4th (R.), K.O.Y.L.I. attended the interment of Privates Cockell and Atheron at Wakefield Cemetery.
Dewsbury and Batley Men’s Heroic Work.
Batley Carr Soldier’s Tribute to the Dead.
Private Ewart W. Mann (Batley Carr), writes to the “News”:— In my letter last week I said that there were happy times in store for us with the sports. Little did we think that such a disaster was to take place, and that we should have to lose some of our best comrades. And we have lost some of the best, too. Private Baty was a real friend of mine, and a very good-hearted lad, too – so quiet, modest, and true, and a soldier! My heart, as well as those of my comrades, goes out to the parents of those who have departed this life under such terrible circumstances.
When the raft tipped I was about 50 yards away. We did not think the water was so very deep. We ran to the water edge, but all we could do was to give a hand out to those who had swum to the side, and throw poles out to those in distress.
Swimmers jumped in, and more lives would have been lost had it not been for the promptitude of the men there, belonging to D Company. I should like to make special mention of the following men:-
Lance-Corporal Chorley, of Leeds, a solicitor, who bravely dived into the water time after time, rescuing man after man, until he himself was almost exhausted.
Private Walter Gatenby, of Batley, who saved about three lives, and just missed a fourth as he dived under water.
Private W. Barber, of Dewsbury, who saved two from drowning, bravely swimming into the middle of the water at great risk to himself.9
Special mention must also be made of Private Jim Howgate, of Dewsbury, and Private Sam Hough, of Wakefield, for the assistance they gave in searching for the dead bodies of their comrades, working bravely for several hours.
We were all very badly upset, not one of us making a proper meal the rest of Friday.
We all regret the disaster. We all did our best and in deepest sorrow were reminded of the text: “In the middle of life, we are in death”! May they rest in peace.
It was an awful sight, and one we shall never forget as long as we live.
Batleyite Who Effected Two Rescues.
Private W. Barber, Caledonia Road, Batley, states in a letter: I was on the bank watching the raft, and saw the water was getting into the straw and though it would sink. I took off my coat and got ready to go into the water, but then the raft seemed to right itself, and I put my coat on again. Then the raft started to sink, and this time it went down. I took off my coat again and dived in and fetched out two men.
Other men who were present state that Barber rescued three men, but he can only remember two.
Private H. Broadhead, Healey, writes:- I was with my platoon and saw the disaster. It was a good job I did not go on the raft.
The death notices included that of Edmund Battye:
BATTYE. —On the 19th inst., aged 22 years, Edmund Battye (of 22, New Street).
There was more news from France, when Walter Hughes received another letter from his uncle who lived there.
Mr. James Kearney, of Senlis (north-west of Paris), writes to Mr. Walter Hughes, Coalpit Lane:- “We have not heard the cannon for the last few days, and that is a good sign. I think the French have got the enemy on the run, and the latter can’t fight when tackled. Of course, the weather has been so bad that it has stopped fighting practically, but you will see a ch[ange?].”10
1. Edmund Battye;
2. William Robinson Dent;
3. Ernest Cockell;
4. Frederick Cooke;
5. William Atheron;
6. Alfred Bruce;
7. This is incorrect, he did have brothers;
8. The initials are incorrect, his name was William Robinson Dent;
9. This should be of Batley, not Dewsbury – as is explained later in this news coverage and interviews relating to the tragedy.
10. The print is very blurred at this point.