1916, 12 February – Batley News

This is a round-up of pieces from this week’s 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 death notices contained a parish-linked entry, which links to the son of St Mary’s War Memorial man Patrick Cafferty:

CAFFERTY. —On the 7th inst., aged 7 months, Patrick Cafferty, 10, Hume Street.

Baby Cafferty’s death was the subject of an inquest, reported on in the newspaper. It makes for uncomfortable reading:

No Need to “Thicken” Milk with Bread and Biscuits.
Comments at a Batley Inquest.

Coroner P. P. Maitland made some comments on the feeding of children, at an inquest on Monday on Patrick Cafferty, the seven-months-old child of Private Patrick Cafferty, 6th K.O.Y.L.I., and Mary Ann Cafferty, 10, Hume Street, Batley. The child died from a sudden convulsion due to commencing pneumonia; and whilst the Coroner agreed that its feeding had nothing to do with death, he pointed out that it was injudicious to feed a child of its age – as was admitted – on tea biscuits, and bread, in addition to milk. The milk, he said, would have been sufficient.

Mrs. Cafferty explained that she had had eight children, including Patrick, who was a healthy boy. For the last four months she fed him with tea biscuits and boiled milk and bread.

The Coroner: Who advised you to give him biscuits?

Witness: Well, they said they were a good thing for him.

Who said that? —Neighbours.

The Coroner: It was a very unwise thing to say.

Witness added that whilst she was working at Harrison’s leather works last week the boy was looked after by Mrs. Burgoyne, a neighbour. Witness was called from her work to the child on Friday afternoon, and found it “in fits” on Mrs. Burgoyne’s knee.

Mrs Burgoyne, No. 1 Yard, New Street, widow of a coffin-maker, told the Coroner she had one child a long time since, but “it’s gone to heaven.” Whilst she was nursing Mrs. Cafferty’s child on Friday afternoon it went into fits, and she called a neighbour.

Dr. H. Keighley explained that a post-mortem examination revealed that death was caused by a sudden convulsion, due to commencing pneumonia. There were signs of a rickety condition in the child.

The Coroner: The rickety condition would be due to improper feeding?

Witness: Yes.

You don’t agree with these biscuits and bread? —No.

It would have been better to have given the milk only. It is very bad? —It is not good to give starchy food to children at that age.

The Coroner: It sounded to me ridiculous.

The Doctor: A number of them do it. They think the milk is not sufficient, and they add food to thicken it, but it is not a proper way to feed babies.

Mr. Maitland: The child, being improperly fed, would be more liable to fall to an attack of this sort? —Possibly. The child was well nourished and developed, however.

The Coroner said there was no doubt whatever that the child was most improperly fed, but that did not appear to be connected with the death. The child contracted a chill, which developed into pneumonia and resulted in a sudden convulsion which caused death.

The jury returned a verdict of “Death from natural causes,” on accordance with medical evidence.

The Coroner remarked that the method of feeding was most injudicious.

In answer to the Coroner, Sergt. Tomlinson said Mrs. Cafferty had lost five of her eight children.

The Coroner: That does not sound as if her feeding ideas were correct.

In general Catholic religious news, which gives an indication of the state of the faith, the following report appeared:

LECTURE TO CATHOLICS. —Mr. G. Anstruther, organising secretary of the Catholic Truth Society, delivered a lecture on Monday at St. Paulinus’ School, Dewsbury, on “The Catholic Outlook in View of the European War.” Father Mitchell presided. The lecturer reviewed the state of Catholicism in Europe prior to the war, when, he said, anti-clericalism was strongly prevalent, especially in France. Then he reported on changes effected since the war began. He said a religious revival had occurred in France, while in England anti-Catholic prejudice had largely died down. From those points, he drew the conclusion, that everything was very hopeful from a religious – particularly a Catholic – point of view. The lecture was well attended, and among those present were Belgian priests now working in the district – Father Van de Pitte, Heckmondwike, and Father Kestelyn, Birstall.

Father Kestelyn moved to St Mary’s in June 1916.