1916, 15 July – Batley News

Here is this week’s round-up of pieces from the Batley News relating to the parish of St Mary’s.

News from the France – and the Somme – was now coming in, with the lead headline on the front page proclaiming “HEAVY LOCAL CASUALTIES” and the sub-header going on to say “Lads Who Walked to Their Death as Though They Were Going to a Picnic.” However, at this early stage, there were few St Mary’s parishioners amongst the local casualties named in the paper.

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 news about John Thomas Kilbride:

Private JOHN THOMAS KILBRIDE, K.O.Y.L.I., son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Kilbride, Holland Street, Batley, is sick and in hospital, but is going on well. He went out with the first batch of Territorials, and has twice been wounded in the shoulder. Before the war he worked at Soothill Wood Colliery.

The Casualties reported by the War Office included amongst the wounded J. Lyons of Batley, of the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

The paper was attempting to compile a Roll of Honour for each of the local schools. They announced this as follows:


We are endeavouring to compile a complete list of boys from the schools of the Heavy Woollen District who have been killed, wounded, or captured during the war. The first instalment of names is given below, under the heading of each school, and a further list will appear next week. We hope the headmaster of each school not mentioned to-day will send us the names of his pupils (past and present) who have fallen, and that every master will AT ONCE advise us of any additions which should be made to the Roll of Honour.

The St Mary’s list read:

Batley Roman Catholic.

Captain Robert Randerson.
Private Thomas Foley, D.C.M.
Private Thomas O’Hara.
Private Michael Horan.
Private Thomas Redgwick.
Private John Wm. Chappell.
Private Michael Flynn.
Private Dominic Brannan.
Private Edmund Battye.
Private Austin Nolan.
Private Moses Stubley.
Private James Foley.
Private Thomas Donlan.
Private Martin Carney.
Seaman Joseph Dewes.
Private Michael Grook.1
Private James Rush.
Private Thomas Gavaghan.
Private Michael Brannan.
Gunner James Kelly (H.M.S. Queen Mary).

The accuracy of the above list is open to question. For example I have not traced any men named Thomas O’Hara and John William Chappell who had been killed at this point, yet this list all comes under that heading. Joseph Dewes may have attended St Mary’s school but there is no evidence he was a Catholic.

Away from the war, the boys of St Mary’s continued to uphold the school’s swimming honour:

St. Mary’s Boys’ School swimming team won the local contest on Tuesday at Batley Baths, and will have the honour of representing Batley at Huddersfield on July 17th in the races for the Yorkshire Schoolboys’ Squadron Championship.

Three parishioners were up in court. John Murray, of 48 Victoria Street, Batley, was one of several local parents fined under the Education Act for failing to send their children to school. The other two before the magistrates were:


For using obscene language, Mrs. Rose Ann McManus, Cobden Street, and Margaret McGuire, Cobden Street, had to pay 10s. each…

1. Groark on the St Mary’s War Memorial, and Rourke in other records.