Here is a round-up of this week’s 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. And, as ever, the spelling and punctuation matches that of the newspaper.
The paper carried a couple of reports about absentee soldiers, as follows:
Batley Court – Wednesday
Four soldiers – Privates Patrick Cassidy, 3rd/4th Duke of Wellington’s, Hume Street, Batley; John Thomas McMahon, 16th West Yorkshires, Jail Road, White Lee; Thomas Prendergast, 19th West Yorkshires; and Parker Holmes, 3rd K.O.Y.L.I., Knowles Hill, Batley – all admitted being absentees. —Ordered to await escorts.1
And from Friday’s court:
Private James Fitzpatrick, 13, Back Jacob Street, Batley, was accused at Batley Court yesterday of being an absentee from the 3rd/4th K.O.Y.L.I., since the 24th inst. He was arrested on Wednesday night, and told the Bench he applied for an extension, being ill after inoculation, but had not received a reply. —Mr. J. S. Newsome: You ought to have got a certificate and sent it off in good time. —Remanded for an escort.
After news of the death of Colour-Sergeant Grimshaw in last week’s newspaper, this week’s edition carried the report of his funeral.
MILITARY FUNERAL IN BATLEY
Honours for a Patriot of 60 Who Rejoined the Army.
Military honours were accorded the funeral of Colour-Sergt. Grimshaw, Richmond Street, Cross Bank, Batley, whose death was reported in last week’s “News.” This Batley notability served 29 years in the Army, and possessed medals for two campaigns. Although 60 years old, he proferred [sic] his services to the authorities soon after the present war broke out, and he was accepted as an instructor – a post he filled with success for many years in the old Batley Volunteers.
By the permission of Major Smith a band from the K.O.Y.L.I. depot at Pontefract was in attendance; and a company of soldiers, mostly 1st/4th K.O.Y.L.I. men back from the Front, were present in command of Second-Lieutenant Winkworth, accompanied by Sergeant-Major Band. The musicians were under the direction of Bandmaster Graham, 1st York and Lancaster Regiment, and whilst heading the procession to the Cemetery gave an impressive rendering of Chopin’s “Funeral March.” The muffled sounds of the draped drums and the subdued notes of the reed instruments added to the solemnity of the proceedings; and many heads were bared reverently as the cortège passed along.
The coffin, of polished oak, was draped with the Union Jack, and six men in khaki were the bearers. A large crowd awaited the arrival of the procession at the Cemetery, and the coffin was borne straight to the grave. Father Lea conducted the last rites. At the conclusion a volley was fired over the grave by the firing-party; and amidst an impressive silence the “Last Post” was sounded.
The mourners included the widow, Mrs. Rhoide (mother-in-law), Mr. Wm. Grimshaw (brother), Mr Harry Grimshaw (nephew), Mr. and Mrs. Schofield (nephew and niece), Miss Mary Rhoide (sister-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. Dennison (Bradford), and Sergeant and Mrs. Barry (Dewsbury).
Wreathes placed upon the grave were from— His sorrowing wife, the Sergeants of the 51st and 65th R.D., West End Hotel, and Mr. and Mrs. Brawn.
Messers. Will Akeroyd and Sons, Wards Hill, Batley, were the undertakers.
The death notices column had one relevant to St Mary’s, as follows:
MOLINEUX. —On the 23rd inst., aged 54 years, Joseph Molineux, Staincliffe Institution Infirmary.
Finally for this week’s newspaper round-up, news was received about Richard Carroll Walsh and his brother Stephen.
PATRIOTIC BROWNHILL BROTHERS
Seaman Who Was at Antwerp and First Landing in Gallipoli
Young Brother Reported Missing, but Says He Is Well
(Exclusive to the “News”)
Mr. Thos. Graily, of Birstall, has received intelligence concerning two well-known Brownhill warriors, one of whom, Seaman Carroll Walsh, provided the “News” with a vivid account of the bombardment of Antwerp, and was amongst the prize-winners in our News Competition a year ago.
Seaman Walsh enlisted seven weeks only before the attack on the Belgian city, so that he soon took part in one of the fiercest conflicts of the long campaign. He is now fighting in the Dardanelles, and was one of the first landing party. He is, as his title suggests, attached to the Naval Brigade, and in a recent letter home he thanks God for still being alive after miraculous escapes, and expresses a longing for news of his brother Stephen.
Carroll is 19 years old, and enlisted last September, while Stephen must be one of the youngest soldiers in the British Army, being only 17 years old. He has been in the firing line in Belgium since January, after enlisting last November. He has been reported missing, but a letter just received gives the glad news that he is well and in the land of the living. He is in the R.F.A.
1. Whilst John Thomas McMahon is from the Heckmondwike Catholic community, I have not yet identified which parish Thomas Prendergast was associated with. There is a possibility he may have been St Mary’s, but for now I have not included him.