1915, 9 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.

There was one death in the family notices column this week, as follows:

CARROLL. —On the 1st inst., aged 2 years, Ellen, daughter of John G. Carroll, 42, New Street.

The Rourke family (or Groark as the name is also recorded) were in the news. Three of the brothers – Henry, James and Michael – appear on the church Memorial.

A Batley Man Who Had to be Left Behind, Posted “Missing.”
(Exclusive to the “News.”)

Much sympathy will be expressed with Mr. Patrick Rourke, Fleming Square, Commercial Street, Batley, who, after giving all his four sons to the King’s Service, is now notified that two of them are wounded, one being also missing. Another who has been wounded is ready to return to the Front.

Private Michael Rourke, the eldest son, is married, his home being in North Street, Cross Bank, and it is he who is reported wounded and missing. According to news received from a comrade at the Front, Michael took part in a big attack some time ago when four lines of Germans trenches were captured. The Germans made a big counter-attack, however, recapturing two of the lost trenches, and a comrade (writing to Mrs. Rourke) says he saw her husband in the third line of trenches laid wounded, but so severe was the action that when the retreat came our men were unable to take their wounded back with them. Private Rourke is now officially posted “missing.”

The second son, Private James Rourke, of the York and Lancaster Regiment, received a wound in the thigh in an action on September 26th, and is now in hospital at Cambridge.

The third son, Private Henry Rourke, of the K.O.Y.L.I., is at the Front.

The youngest boy, Private Francis Rourke, also of the K.O.Y.L.I., has been in hospital at Hull for some time suffering from wounds received in action, but he has this week been passed again for service.

Another family in the parish were anxiously awaiting news of a loved one. Robert Hirst, although not a Catholic himself, was the husband of parishioner Winifred (née Coleman).

A Young Wife’s Anxiety.

Owing to Batley soldiers’ letters having been reported to contain sad news about Private Robt. Hirst, 6, New Street, Batley, and correspondence from him having stopped suddenly about three weeks ago, his wife is extremely anxious to hear about him, seeing that since joining the Army 13 months ago he had regularly written home. Efforts to trace the letters first referred to have proved unavailing, so that the distressed young woman, who has an infant in arms, would be glad to have tidings from anyone who can ease her feelings.

Private Hirst went abroad nine weeks ago, and in his last letter during September he asked for health salts, a leather wrist-band, dubbin, safety matches, flash-lamp, Oxo tablets, writing pads, and other articles useful to our gallants at the Front. A big parcel was accordingly sent.

The soldier’s mother lives in Wellington Street, near to the anxious wife, and is also naturally yearning for some news.

The final piece of news this week is the letter Bridget Hughes received from her brother living in France.

Kept Awake by the Roar for Cannon
German Aviator Burnt to Death
(Exclusive to the “News.”)

A thrilling letter has been received by Mrs. Hughes, of Carlinghow, from her brother, Mr. James Karney, who for many years has resided in the French town of Senlis, on the Aisne, behind the present firing line.

We are quite well at present (writes Mr. Karney), but we have to sleep with one eye open in case of danger. We still hear those awful cannon night and day, and it makes one feel so miserable to hear them roar. The nights are awful. We hardly get any sleep, and every day we see the wounded come by.

About three weeks ago I saw a fight in the air between a French and a German flying machine. The shells were bursting right over my house. The German was killed, and fell about two miles from my place. I went to see him, and he was burning in his machine. There was just about half of his body and his right arm left. I got a bit of his machine.

They came again the other day, but had to turn back and go for their lives, as ours were after them. They want to get Paris, but they will never do that.

How and when will it finish? Everything is going up in price, and looks like going higher, But worst of all will be the taxes after, for the poor people will surely have to suffer.

I see our men did some fine work last week. I hope they will be able to put those brutes out of France, for they have got nearly all our coal mines.