1916, 6 May – Batley News

Here is this week’s round-up of 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.

A letter from Joseph Gavaghan was published. He served with the 17th Battalion, (2nd Leeds) The Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire Regiment), a bantam battalion. These bantam battalions were made up of men who were under the army regulation size of over 5’3”, but otherwise fit for service.

Saw Jack Tindall’s Grave.
Batleyite and the Coal Supply.

In a letter of Mr. C. Wilkinson, hairdresser, Wellington Street, Batley, Sergt. J. Gavaghan, a Woodwell soldier at the Front with a Yorkshire regiment, writes:-

I got wet though going into the trenches last time, but, of course, I had to stick it; but while we were in we had some fine weather. I have had toothache ever since, but I got “it” pulled out at one of our Red Cross stations. Allow me to say here that it is a credit to walk inside one of these places, and see how nice and clean and tidy they are kept. It was the first I had ever been in, and I cannot give too much praise for the way I was treated. There are a lot of them out here, and they are needed, too. I got the “News” while I was in the trenches.

We see air-fights here every other day, and it is quite exciting to watch aeroplanes shelled.

Our Battalion has made a name for itself. A lot of people thought we should never be able to do any fighting, but we have held our own up to now, and have just as much to do as the “big fellows.” I might also say that the big fellows out here treat us with great respect, and I never came across better-hearted fellows. Of course we cannot be anything else to one another, as we are all out for the same thing, and that is to win freedom for the Old Country.

When the war is over I shall have a real good time, because every lad who is out here will deserve at least a month’s holiday. Although England is a free country, it should in future be closed for ever against all Germans. If all the English people could see this country, and what the Germans have done, they would be of the same opinion.

I have been very close to where Jack Tindall is buried – just behind the firing line;1 in fact, so near that one could see his name quite plainly from the fire-step,

Perhaps some of the boys at home will be uncomfortable now that they are forced to join. I think it is a great shame that such a thing should come to pass in England. It’s all very well men making excuses, but look how many thousands there are out here who have left good homes and situations, to do what was required, instead of being forced.

Before I enlisted we had a promise of 10s. per week from a firm, and coal free; but now the 10s. is stopped and also the coal, and I feel it very much. I have read in the “News” how scarce and dear coal is, and I think the very least to do would be to let the women have coal at colliery prices. I have never complained before, but when one thinks that he is doing his bit, and those at home have difficulty about getting a fire, it makes one a bit sore. I am not complaining about being out here.

I read a suggestion that the V.T.C.2 should do something towards helping the people to get coal, and some have got their backs up, saying it was a dirty job. If they knew what dirty work was, they would not grumble. They ought to come out here for a few weeks for dirty work. There are no exceptions out here, and I think there are as good men out here as in the V.T.C.

There was one death notice of relevance with a Batley Cemetery burial conducted by one of the parish priests:

LYNCH. —On the 29th ult, aged 36 years, James Lynch, 9, Back Upton Street.

A case involving parishioners featured in the police news:


Two Cobden Street fratchers, Patrick Cooney, miner, and Annie Prendergast (wife of Thomas Prendergast)) were defendant and complainant respectively in an assault case. She said he knocked her down, and threatened to smash here head with a coal grate; but his explanation was that the woman first got the grate, and he took it from her. —Defendant had to pay 10s. fine and 8s. witnesses’ expenses.

1. Jack Tindall was a Batley rugby league player.
2. Volunteer Training Corps, a voluntary home defence militia during the war.