1916, 5 August – Batley News

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

Two parishioners appeared before the magistrates on Monday:

Batley Court – Monday

With four previous convictions against her, Elizabeth Crayton, rag sorter, of New Street, Batley, was fined 12s. —Inspector Ripley said he saw her on the 8th of July in East Street, under the influence of drink and making use of very bad language.

Thomas Kelly, miner, of Ambler Street, Batley, pleaded guilty to being drunk and incapable on Sunday. —Constable Saycell said that about 2.45 a.m. he found the man lying on the causeway near Zion Chapel. He had been warned as recently as Saturday evening. Three previous convictions for drunkenness were reported, and defendant had to pay 10s.

In servicemen news another Thomas Kelly’s bravery was acknowledged this week:

Rescue of a Wounded Comrade
A “Soothill Trammer’s” Bravery Recognised

Private Thomas Kelly, who was a member of the popular “Soothill Trammers” when the local Workpeople’s Football Comptetitions were in vogue, has distinguished himself on the battlefield in France.

A wounded comrade was seen in “No Man’s Land” – between the British and German trenches – and although heavy fighting was in progress Private Kelly leaped over the parapet of his trench and rescued the fallen soldier.

An officer who saw the affair recommended Kelly for some mark of recognition.

Private Kelly is a brother of Gunner James Kelly (who went down in the “Queen Mary” in the Jutland Battle) a nephew of Private Jimmy Lyons (the Batley full-back), and a nephew of Mr. and Mrs Thos. Kilroy, Cobden Street, Batley. He is an old boy of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic School, and before the war he worked at Shaw Cross Colliery.

He is married and has two children,.

And of Thomas’ uncle Jimmy Lyons, the following news came in:

“Jimmy” Lyons’ Opinion of the Germans
Batley Full-Back Wounded and in Hospital

Private “Jimmy” Lyons, the well-known Batley full-back, who has been in France with the West Yorkshires, is wounded in the shoulder and in hospital at Lincoln. Writing to his brother, who lives in Ward’s Hill, when at a base hospital, he said:-

I got hit in the shoulder with a piece of shrapnel, but they did not hit me in the right place. I am marked for a hospital in England, but I don’t know which it will be. I will let you know as soon as I get there. We are having some nice weather over here just now, We are well cared for in this hospital, and the nurses will do anything they possibly can for us. We are giving the Germans something to go on with, and I think about another month just like this will about finish them off. We intend to keep them going now we have started with them. As soon as they see your bayonet they want taking prisoners and say “Mercy, comrade, mercy!”

Another parishioner, Thomas Cafferty, was also in hospital:

Private THOMAS CAFFERTY, of the K.O.Y.L.I., was wounded in an arm on July 5th, and is now in hospital in Norfolk. He is 28 years of age, and a married man with two children. He enlisted in January, 1915, and had been out in France since last November. Previous to the war he was employed at Shaw Cross Colliery.

War Office Casualty Lists included two St Mary’s men killed:

Batley – M. HOPKINS (866), K.O.Y.L.I.
Batley – M. HORAN (19681), York and Lancaster Regiment.

The newspaper had more about Michael Hopkins, along with his brothers Patrick Hopkins and John Hopkins:

One of Three Batley Soldier Brothers.

Pte. Michael Hopkins, K.O.Y.L.I., son of Mrs. Hopkins and the late Mr. Pat Hopkins, Cross Peel Street, Batley, who was killed in action on July 1st, was nearly 21 years of age, and before the war was employed as a deputy at Messrs. Critchley’s Batley Colliery, where he had worked five years. During the eight years he had lived in the district he had been connected with St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Cross Bank. When war broke out he was in training with the Militia for the fourth year, and was retained for immediate service, He went to the Front a month later, and since then he had been wounded in the hip and arm, and suffered from frost bite.

Deceased was one of three soldier brothers, two of whom are still at the Front and doing well. One is Sapper Patrick Hopkins, Royal Engineers, and the other is Driver John Hopkins, Motor Transport. The latter was mobilised with the Territorials, and went into training, but subsequently was transferred to his present unit.

Michael Hopkins

The Barber family, following the death of their son Edward Barber, now received news of the death of a second son, Willie Barber.

Two Sons Killed Within Seven Days.
Pte. Willie Barber Struck Down by Bomb.

Within seven days of receiving news of the death of their son, Pte. Edward Barber (18), Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Barber, Devon Street, Batley, have received an official intimation that their other son. Pte. Willie Barber, K.O.Y.L.I., was killed in action on July 22nd.

Pte. Willie Barber was 20 years old and a member of the Batley Territorials. Before being called up he was a pony driver at Messrs. Crithley’s West End Collieries, and was associated with St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church. He had been in the Territorials four years, and went into training with them immediately on the outbreak of hostilities. He was in the fateful raft affair at Gainsborough, and though not on the raft he dived in and rescued two soldiers, and was assisted in the saving of another. He went to the Front with the first batch of Territorials in 1915, and when on leave in April he looked in splendid health. Both Pte. Willie Barber and his brother Edward were actively associated with Batley Albion football team, and possessed medals for the 1912-13 and 1913-14 seasons.

The first intimation of Pte. Willie Barber’s death was received on Sunday, when an officer for whom deceased acted as servant, wrote the following: —“It is with deep regret that I have to inform you of the death of your son, Pte. W. Barber. Kindly accept my very deepest sympathy in your great loss. It may be some small consolation to know how very trustworthy and faithful I, on all occasions, found him as my servant. He met his death doing the highest duty a soldier can possibly do. The Germans were trying to affect an entrance into a trench captured from them, when he was struck down by a bomb and died immediately. He would have no pain. He was always an excellent bomber, and his fine qualities as such undoubtedly helped to stay the Germans. He is buried in a military cemetery in a little village behind the line, along with others of his comrades whose bravery has been beyond description.”

Another letter dated July 25th, has been received from a friend, Pte. George Jaggar, who writes:—“It is painful for me to have to acquaint you of the death of your son, who was killed instantly about three o’clock on Saturday morning. I regret the loss of him, as I knew him quite well before the war started, and for a long time now we have both been officers’ servants together, and have acted just like brothers. I saw him laid to rest in a graveyard just behind the firing line, alongside a lot of other comrades, and there is a small cross erected in memory of him, and a few flowers that we gathered round about.”

At the end of the letter are a number of signatures of officers’ servants who all beg to join in expressing their sympathy with the bereaved parents.