Tag Archives: WW2

St Mary of the Angels, Batley: One-Place Study Update – 1 to 31 December 2021 Additions

This is the latest update of the pages relating to my Batley St Mary’s one-place study, the details of which I announced here.

St Mary of the Angels Church, Batley

In the past month I have added four weekly newspaper pages for December 1915. I have accordingly updated the surname index to these During This Week newspaper pieces, so you can easily identify newspaper snippets relevant to your family.

More men who served and survived have been identified. I have updated that page accordingly. No new biographies for these men have been added this month. They will follow in due course.

I have written one new biography for a War Memorial man, that of Thomas Finneran.

Finally for this month, I have added a new name to the page relating to biographies of men associated with St Mary’s who died but who are not remembered on the War Memorial.

Below is the full list of pages to date. I have annotated the *NEW* ones, plus the *UPDATED* pages, so you can easily pick these out. Click on the link and it will take you straight to the relevant page.


1. About my St Mary of the Angels Catholic Church War Memorial One-Place Study;

Batley Descriptions – Directories etc.
2. 1914: Borough of Batley – Town Information from the Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health.

Biographies: Men Associated with St Mary’s Who Died but Who Are Not on the Memorial *UPDATED*
3. Reginald Roberts
4. William Frederick Townsend

Biographies: The War Memorial Men
5. Herbert Booth
6. Edmund Battye
7. Michael Brannan
8. John Brooks
9. Martin Carney
10. Thomas Curley
11. Thomas Donlan
12. Thomas Finneran *NEW*
13. Michael Flynn
14. Thomas Foley D.C.M.
15. Michael Groark (also known as Rourke)
16. James Griffin
17. Michael Horan
William McManus – See William Townsend below
18. Thomas McNamara
19. Patrick Naifsey
20. Austin Nolan
21. James Rush
22. Moses Stubley
23. William Townsend, also known as McManus

Biographies: Those who Served and Survived (this includes a list of those identified to date and who will later have dedicated biographical pages) *UPDATED*
24. James Delaney
25. Thomas Donlan (senior)
26. Michael Rush

Burials, Cemeteries, Headstones and MIs
27. Cemetery and Memorial Details
28. War Memorial Chronology of Deaths

During This Week
29. During This Week Newspaper Index *UPDATED*
30. 1914, 8 August – Batley News
31. 1914, 15 August – Batley News
32. 1914, 22 August – Batley News
33. 1914, 29 August – Batley News
34. 1914, 5 September – Batley News
35. 1914, 12 September – Batley News
36. 1914, 19 September – Batley News
37. 1914, 26 September – Batley News
38. 1914, 3 October – Batley News
39. 1914, 10 October – Batley News
40. 1914, 17 October – Batley News
41. 1914, 24 October – Batley News
42. 1914, 31 October – Batley News
43. 1914, 7 November – Batley News
44. 1914, 14 November – Batley News
45. 1914, 21 November – Batley News
46. 1914, 28 November – Batley News
47. 1914, 5 December – Batley News
48. 1914, 12 December – Batley News
49. 1914, 19 December – Batley News
50. 1914, 24 December – Batley News
51. 1915, 2 January – Batley News
52. 1915, 9 January – Batley News
53. 1915, 16 January – Batley News
54. 1915, 23 January – Batley News
55. 1915, 30 January – Batley News
56. 1915, 6 February – Batley News
57. 1915, 13 February – Batley News
58. 1915, 20 February – Batley News
59. 1915, 27 February – Batley News
60. 1915, 6 March – Batley News
61. 1915, 13 March – Batley News
62. 1915, 20 March – Batley News
63. 1915, 27 March – Batley News
64. 1915, 3 April – Batley News
65. 1915, 10 April – Batley News
66. 1915, 17 April – Batley News
67. 1915, 24 April – Batley News
68. 1915, 1 May – Batley News
69. 1915, 8 May – Batley News
70. 1915, 15 May – Batley News
71. 1915, 22 May – Batley News
72. 1915, 29 May – Batley News
73. 1915, 5 June – Batley News
74. 1915, 12 June – Batley News
75. 1915, 19 June – Batley News
76. 1915, 26 June – Batley News
77. 1915, 3 July – Batley News
78. 1915, 10 July – Batley News
79. 1915, 17 July – Batley News
80. 1915, 24 July – Batley News
81. 1915, 31 July – Batley News
82. 1915, 7 August – Batley News
83. 1915, 14 August – Batley News
84. 1915, 21 August – Batley News
85. 1915, 28 August – Batley News
86. 1915, 4 September – Batley News
87. 1915, 11 September – Batley News
88. 1915, 18 September – Batley News
89. 1915, 25 September – Batley News
90. 1915, 2 October – Batley News
91. 1915, 9 October – Batley News
92. 1915, 16 October – Batley News
93. 1915, 23 October – Batley News
94. 1915, 30 October – Batley News
95. 1915, 6 November – Batley News
96. 1915, 13 November – Batley News
97. 1915, 20 November – Batley News
98. 1915, 27 November – Batley News
99. 1915, 4 December – Batley News *NEW*
100. 1915, 11 December – Batley News *NEW*
101. 1915, 18 December – Batley News *NEW*
102. 1915, 23 December – Batley News *NEW*

Miscellany of Information
103. The Controversial Role Played by St Mary’s Schoolchildren in the 1907 Batley Pageant
104. The Great War: A Brief Overview of What Led Britain into the War
105. Willie and Edward Barber – Poems
106. A St Mary’s School Sensation

Occupations and Employment Information
107. Occupations: Rag Grinder
108. Limelight Operator

The Families
109. A Death in the Church

Population, Health, Mortality and Fertility
110. 1914: The Health of Batley School Children Generally, with a Particular Focus on St Mary’s School Children

World War Two
111. World War Two Chronology of Deaths
112. Michael Flatley

St Mary of the Angels, Batley: One-Place Study Update – 1 to 30 November 2021 Additions

This is the latest update of the pages relating to my Batley St Mary’s one-place study, the details of which I announced here.

St Mary of the Angels Church, Batley

In the past month I have added four weekly newspaper pages for November 1915. I have accordingly updated the surname index to these During This Week newspaper pieces, so you can easily identify newspaper snippets relevant to your family.

More men who served and survived have been identified. I have updated that page accordingly. No new biographies have been added this month. These will follow in due course.

Finally for this month the biography for Second World War man Michael Flatley had been updated to include a colour photograph.

Below is the full list of pages to date. I have annotated the *NEW* ones, plus the *UPDATED* pages, so you can easily pick these out. Click on the link and it will take you straight to the relevant page.


1. About my St Mary of the Angels Catholic Church War Memorial One-Place Study;

Batley Descriptions – Directories etc.
2. 1914: Borough of Batley – Town Information from the Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health.

Biographies: Men Associated with St Mary’s Who Died but Who Are Not on the Memorial 
3. Reginald Roberts
4. William Frederick Townsend

Biographies: The War Memorial Men
5. Herbert Booth
6. Edmund Battye
7. Michael Brannan
8. John Brooks
9. Martin Carney
10. Thomas Curley
11. Thomas Donlan
12. Michael Flynn
13. Thomas Foley D.C.M.
14. Michael Groark (also known as Rourke)
15. James Griffin
16. Michael Horan
William McManus – See William Townsend below
17. Thomas McNamara
18. Patrick Naifsey
19. Austin Nolan
20. James Rush
21. Moses Stubley
22. William Townsend, also known as McManus

Biographies: Those who Served and Survived (this includes a list of those identified to date and who will later have dedicated biographical pages) *UPDATED*
23. James Delaney
24. Thomas Donlan (senior)
25. Michael Rush

Burials, Cemeteries, Headstones and MIs
26. Cemetery and Memorial Details 
27. War Memorial Chronology of Deaths

During This Week
28. During This Week Newspaper Index *UPDATED*
29. 1914, 8 August – Batley News
30. 1914, 15 August – Batley News
31. 1914, 22 August – Batley News
32. 1914, 29 August – Batley News
33. 1914, 5 September – Batley News
34. 1914, 12 September – Batley News
35. 1914, 19 September – Batley News
36. 1914, 26 September – Batley News
37. 1914, 3 October – Batley News
38. 1914, 10 October – Batley News
39. 1914, 17 October – Batley News
40. 1914, 24 October – Batley News
41. 1914, 31 October – Batley News
42. 1914, 7 November – Batley News
43. 1914, 14 November – Batley News
44. 1914, 21 November – Batley News
45. 1914, 28 November – Batley News
46. 1914, 5 December – Batley News
47. 1914, 12 December – Batley News
48. 1914, 19 December – Batley News
49. 1914, 24 December – Batley News
50. 1915, 2 January – Batley News
51. 1915, 9 January – Batley News
52. 1915, 16 January – Batley News
53. 1915, 23 January – Batley News
54. 1915, 30 January – Batley News
55. 1915, 6 February – Batley News
56. 1915, 13 February – Batley News
57. 1915, 20 February – Batley News
58. 1915, 27 February – Batley News
59. 1915, 6 March – Batley News
60. 1915, 13 March – Batley News
61. 1915, 20 March – Batley News
62. 1915, 27 March – Batley News
63. 1915, 3 April – Batley News
64. 1915, 10 April – Batley News
65. 1915, 17 April – Batley News
66. 1915, 24 April – Batley News
67. 1915, 1 May – Batley News
68. 1915, 8 May – Batley News
69. 1915, 15 May – Batley News
70. 1915, 22 May – Batley News
71. 1915, 29 May – Batley News
72. 1915, 5 June – Batley News
73. 1915, 12 June – Batley News
74. 1915, 19 June – Batley News
75. 1915, 26 June – Batley News
76. 1915, 3 July – Batley News
77. 1915, 10 July – Batley News
78. 1915, 17 July – Batley News
79. 1915, 24 July – Batley News
80. 1915, 31 July – Batley News
81. 1915, 7 August – Batley News
82. 1915, 14 August – Batley News
83. 1915, 21 August – Batley News
84. 1915, 28 August – Batley News
85. 1915, 4 September – Batley News
86. 1915, 11 September – Batley News
87. 1915, 18 September – Batley News
88. 1915, 25 September – Batley News
89. 1915, 2 October – Batley News
90. 1915, 9 October – Batley News
91. 1915, 16 October – Batley News
92. 1915, 23 October – Batley News
93. 1915, 30 October – Batley News
94. 1915, 6 November – Batley News *NEW*
95. 1915, 13 November – Batley News *NEW*
96. 1915, 20 November – Batley News *NEW*
97. 1915, 27 November – Batley News *NEW*

Miscellany of Information
98. The Controversial Role Played by St Mary’s Schoolchildren in the 1907 Batley Pageant
99. The Great War: A Brief Overview of What Led Britain into the War
100. Willie and Edward Barber – Poems
101. A St Mary’s School Sensation

Occupations and Employment Information
102. Occupations: Rag Grinder
103. Limelight Operator

The Families
104. A Death in the Church

Population, Health, Mortality and Fertility
105. 1914: The Health of Batley School Children Generally, with a Particular Focus on St Mary’s School Children

World War Two
106. World War Two Chronology of Deaths
107. Michael Flatley *UPDATED*

St Mary of the Angels, Batley: One-Place Study Update – 1 to 31 October 2021 Additions

This is the latest update of the pages relating to my Batley St Mary’s one-place study, the details of which I announced here.

St Mary of the Angels Church, Batley

In the past month I have added seven new pages. These include five weekly newspaper summary pages for October 1915. I have accordingly updated the surname index to these During This Week newspaper pieces, so you can easily identify newspaper snippets relevant to your family.

There is one new War Memorial biography, that of James Rush.

More men who served and survived have been identified. I have updated that page accordingly. No new biographies have been added this month. These will follow in due course. However, the biography of Thomas Donlan (senior) has been updated, with additional information.

The final new page for this month is an occupational one, that of a limelight operator.

Below is the full list of pages to date. I have annotated the *NEW* ones, plus the *UPDATED* pages, so you can easily pick these out. Click on the link and it will take you straight to the relevant page.


1. About my St Mary of the Angels Catholic Church War Memorial One-Place Study;

Batley Descriptions – Directories etc.
2. 1914: Borough of Batley – Town Information from the Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health.

Biographies: Men Associated with St Mary’s Who Died but Who Are Not on the Memorial 
3. Reginald Roberts
4. William Frederick Townsend

Biographies: The War Memorial Men
5. Herbert Booth
6. Edmund Battye
7. Michael Brannan
8. John Brooks
9. Martin Carney
10. Thomas Curley
11. Thomas Donlan
12. Michael Flynn
13. Thomas Foley D.C.M.
14. Michael Groark (also known as Rourke)
15. James Griffin
16. Michael Horan
William McManus – See William Townsend below
17. Thomas McNamara
18. Patrick Naifsey
19. Austin Nolan
20. James Rush *NEW*
21. Moses Stubley
22. William Townsend, also known as McManus

Biographies: Those who Served and Survived (this includes a list of those identified to date and who will later have dedicated biographical pages) *UPDATED*
23. James Delaney
24. Thomas Donlan (senior) *UPDATED*
25. Michael Rush

Burials, Cemeteries, Headstones and MIs
26. Cemetery and Memorial Details
27. War Memorial Chronology of Deaths

During This Week
28. During This Week Newspaper Index *UPDATED*
29. 1914, 8 August – Batley News
30. 1914, 15 August – Batley News
31. 1914, 22 August – Batley News
32. 1914, 29 August – Batley News
33. 1914, 5 September – Batley News
34. 1914, 12 September – Batley News
35. 1914, 19 September – Batley News
36. 1914, 26 September – Batley News
37. 1914, 3 October – Batley News
38. 1914, 10 October – Batley News
39. 1914, 17 October – Batley News
40. 1914, 24 October – Batley News
41. 1914, 31 October – Batley News
42. 1914, 7 November – Batley News
43. 1914, 14 November – Batley News
44. 1914, 21 November – Batley News
45. 1914, 28 November – Batley News
46. 1914, 5 December – Batley News
47. 1914, 12 December – Batley News
48. 1914, 19 December – Batley News
49. 1914, 24 December – Batley News
50. 1915, 2 January – Batley News
51. 1915, 9 January – Batley News
52. 1915, 16 January – Batley News
53. 1915, 23 January – Batley News
54. 1915, 30 January – Batley News
55. 1915, 6 February – Batley News
56. 1915, 13 February – Batley News
57. 1915, 20 February – Batley News
58. 1915, 27 February – Batley News
59. 1915, 6 March – Batley News
60. 1915, 13 March – Batley News
61. 1915, 20 March – Batley News
62. 1915, 27 March – Batley News
63. 1915, 3 April – Batley News
64. 1915, 10 April – Batley News
65. 1915, 17 April – Batley News
66. 1915, 24 April – Batley News
67. 1915, 1 May – Batley News
68. 1915, 8 May – Batley News
69. 1915, 15 May – Batley News
70. 1915, 22 May – Batley News
71. 1915, 29 May – Batley News
72. 1915, 5 June – Batley News
73. 1915, 12 June – Batley News
74. 1915, 19 June – Batley News
75. 1915, 26 June – Batley News
76. 1915, 3 July – Batley News
77. 1915, 10 July – Batley News
78. 1915, 17 July – Batley News
79. 1915, 24 July – Batley News
80. 1915, 31 July – Batley News
81. 1915, 7 August – Batley News
82. 1915, 14 August – Batley News
83. 1915, 21 August – Batley News
84. 1915, 28 August – Batley News
85. 1915, 4 September – Batley News
86. 1915, 11 September – Batley News
87. 1915, 18 September – Batley News
88. 1915, 25 September – Batley News
89. 1915, 2 October – Batley News *NEW*
90. 1915, 9 October – Batley News *NEW*
91. 1915, 16 October – Batley News *NEW*
92. 1915, 23 October – Batley News *NEW*
93. 1915, 30 October – Batley News *NEW*

Miscellany of Information
94. The Controversial Role Played by St Mary’s Schoolchildren in the 1907 Batley Pageant
95. The Great War: A Brief Overview of What Led Britain into the War
96. Willie and Edward Barber – Poems
97. A St Mary’s School Sensation

Occupations and Employment Information
98. Occupations: Rag Grinder
99. Limelight Operator *NEW*

Population, Health, Mortality and Fertility
100. 1914: The Health of Batley School Children Generally, with a Particular Focus on St Mary’s School Children

The Families
101. A Death in the Church

World War Two
102. World War Two Chronology of Deaths
103. Michael Flatley

From Bread Making, to a Medieval Crypt and a Deadly Lancaster Bomber Crash

Confession time. I have a terrible habit. One that I’m finding impossible to kick. One that regularly annoys my family, and drives them to distraction. I do try to break it. Honest. But every year I lapse back into this irresistible vice.

Wherever I go on holiday it ends up becoming something akin to a field trip. If the location is not linked to family history, I look for other avenues to explore. And this includes spending some time finding out a little about the local history.

A holiday in October 2021, based in a cottage in the North Yorkshire hamlet of Spaunton, proved no different. Falling within the parish of Lastingham, a parish which is widely scattered across an expanse of moorland, in 2013 Spaunton had a population of 72.1 This is little changed from a century ago and its 1911 census population of 78. It is therefore tiny in terms of population, but big on history. The 1890 Bulmer’s Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, History, Topography & Directory described the Spaunton Township area as:

…comprising 1,540 acres, of which 1,287 are cultivated….Spaunton is the head of an extensive manor formerly held by a family which took its name from the place, and resided here in a castle, the foundations of which are still visible near Manor House….the hamlet consists of about half-a-dozen houses situated on the brow of a hill, half-a-mile from Lastingham.2

Ordnance Survey Map showing Spaunton and Lastingham – Six-inch England and Wales, 1842-1952, Yorkshire Sheets LXXIV
NE and SE, Revised: 1910, Published: 1914 – National Library of Scotland, under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC-BY-NC-SA) licence

I had no family history connections to the area. But, as usual, I did not let that stop me. I’m so glad I pursued it. Because who could have thought such a quiet, rural backwater, and its environs, could contain so much history? From medieval crypts and a crashed Lancaster Bomber, to a manorial history with a Court Leet still operating today, dealing with petty transgressions. The area is chock full of history. Even my husband got involved in finding out more. Especially as there ended up being a food interest!

And it really does have a long history. Pre-Norman conquest a manor and 6½ carucates at Spaunton were held by Gamel.3 Documented in the Domesday Book, with nine households and an annual value to the Lord of 10 shillings,4 the overlordship in 1086 was held by Bernegar de Toni. He gave six carucates to the abbey which had been removed from Lastingham and refounded outside York.5 More of Lastingham, and the York connection, later.

Taking a look around Spaunton, Woodman’s cottage, a Grade II Listed building, originally of Cruck Frame construction, has the year 1695 inscribed on its lintel, and is described as a “fine example of a 17th century yeoman’s house”.6

Woodman’s Cottage, with its date inscription

Another Listed building in the hamlet is the Grade II 18th century Hill Top Farmhouse. This was the farm neighbouring the one where our cottage was located, and is better known today as the home of Yorkshire Organic Millers.7

As an avid bread maker I brought home some of their milled bread flour for my next batch of loaves.

The Hill Top Farm product

The land in front of many of the properties is common land, with grazing and common rights still in existence.

Sheep grazing on the common land in Spaunton

Remnants of the court system of the Manor of Spaunton still operate, with the Court Leet still meeting annually in October to levy fines for those who breech grazing and access rights. The current Lord of the Manor is George Winn Darnley, and the manorial jurisdiction covers land in five parishes.8

A sign in neigbouring Hutton le Hole, showing the wide extent of Spaunton’s Court Leet jurisdiction

There is a restored Grade II pinfold, dating from probably the 18th century. This enclosure, also known as pound, was where stray animals were confined, with a fine payable by the owners to the pinder, a manor official, to release them.

Spaunton’s restored pinfold

The next piece of history associated with Spaunton came as a real surprise.

The 1939 Register shows farmer William Strickland, his Special Constable nephew George, also a farmer, and his niece Elizabeth Ann (Annie), living at Manor House farm at Spaunton.9

The Stricklands were an old, established farming family, residing at the Manor House. In fact the Strickland’s home was the venue for the annual Court Leet, referred to earlier. Prior to her elderly grandmother’s death in 1915 Annie had assisted her in providing the excellent meal in the Manor House, traditionally served after the court proceedings.10 So it was a family embedded in the community and history of Spaunton and its manor.

On 10 July 1940, less than a year after the Register entry, William Strickland died. This left George and his sister at Manor House farm. They were there, along with an evacuee girl, on the evening of 7 October 1943.

What was the Manor House farm as photographed on my visit in October 2021 – photo by Jane Roberts

That night Lancaster Bomber II D.S.724C took off from Linton-on-Ouse. It’s a RAF base with which I’m acquainted, having visited and flown from it (that’s another story). Part of Squadron 408 of the Royal Canadian Airforce it was bound for a bombing raid on Stuttgart. On board were Flight Sergeant John Douglas Harvey (Pilot), Sergeant Eric James Hurd (Navigator), Flying Officer Stephen William Dempsey (Bomb Aimer), Pilot Officer G.R. Butchart (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner), Sergeant Stanley Enos Campbell (Mid Upper Gunner), Sergeant K.L. Davison (Rear Gunner) and Sergeant H.J Branton (Flight Engineer).

This evening was the first of 408 Squadron’s operational flights since converting to Lancaster Bombers. The entry in 408 Squadron’s Air Operation Book on 7 October 1943 excitedly notes:

At last! the Squadron is back on Operations after almost two months at converting to Lancaster Mark II aircraft. Sixteen aircraft were prepared for Bombing Operations, but two were scrubbed. The remaining fourteen took off on time. Twelve aircraft were successful in reaching their objective…one aircraft made an early return due to the rear guns going u/s…11

That left one aircraft – the one piloted by R141147 Flight Sergeant J.D. Harvey. He had a total of 331 hours flying time at the time of the crash, but only 37 of his hours were on Lancasters. It was also his first operational flight in this aircraft type.12

The details of his aeroplane’s catastrophically short flight, as logged in the Squadron’s Air Operation Book, read as follows:

This aircraft took off from this base at 20.59 hours, but had to be abandoned at 21.08 hours due to controls jamming up. This aircraft crashed at Hutton Le Hall [sic], Yorks approximately 8 miles north of Thirsk. The crew of this aircraft managed a safe parachute descent. One member of the crew Sergeant Campbell, Stanley Enos (Mid Upper Gunner) dislocated his shoulder, fractured a few ribs and suffered pains and shocks, otherwise conditions was fair. The remainder of the crew were uninjured. One civilian Mr. George Strickland, (Farmer) from Manor Farm, Spraunton [sic], Yorkshire was killed by the explosion of a bomb. The inquest to this accident was held at 1600 hours on October 8th, 1943. This aircraft is now categorized E.2 (burnt).13

The aircraft, with its full load of bombs, is believed to have come down in the field adjoining the farm. The device which killed George Strickland was a 4,000lb High Capacity bomb,14 the blast from which apparently blew the heavy farmhouse door on top of him.15 It also did considerable damage to the house, and partly demolished the farm buildings.

RAF Bomber Command 1942-1945: Armourers show off bombs for a comparison in size at the bomb dump at Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire. In the front are 1,000-lb and 500-lb MC bombs, behind them a 2,000-lb HC Mark I, then a 4,000-lb HC Mark III or Mark IV ‘Cookie’. Finally, at the rear, is a 12,000-lb HC ‘Blockbuster’, essentially three 4,000-lb ‘Cookies’ bolted together with the addition of a six-finned ballistic tail. © IWM CH 12450, IWM Non-Commercial Licence.

The Malton Gazette and Malton Messenger of 15 October 1943 reported on the inquest, where a verdict of ‘death by misadventure’ was returned on 53-year-old George.16

As for the cause of the air accident, according to the wonderful Yorkshire Aircraft website, which covers air accidents in the county:

The post-crash investigation found that severe icing on the surfaces of the aircraft was considered to have been a factor in the control of the aircraft having been lost. However the main theory for control being lost almost immediately after take-off was suggested to have been down to the aircraft’s auto-pilot being accidently switched on prior to take-off and this went un-noticed.17

George Otterburn Strickland is buried in the churchyard of Lastingham St Mary’s.

George Otterburn Strickland’s headstone at Lastingham St Mary’s – photo by Jane Roberts

This leads nicely on to the next piece of history, at Lastingham St Mary the Virgin Parish Church, which is the location of a historically significant crypt.

St Mary’s Church, Lastingham – photo by Jane Roberts

As Kelly’s 1913 Directory describes:

This place was the site of a monastery founded in 648 by St. Cedd, a Saxon bishop, and brother of St. Chad, bishop of Lichfield; St Cedd was eventually buried in the stone church of St. Mary, erected some time after his decease, and the present church, if it does not incorporates portions of the early structure, at least occupies its site, and the very interesting crypt below the church confirms this view….the crypt, which extends under the whole church, with the exception of the western bay, is in fact an underground church, possibly of Early Norman construction, c.1078, and consists of apsidal chancel of two bays, and a nave and aisle of three bays, with a vaulted roof carried on massive piers and capitals enriched with interlaced arches and rude volutes; in the crypt are preserved some stone crosses carved with interlaced work; an altar, possibly Roman, 17 inches high by 14 inches wide, and a pre-Reformation bier; the windows, small and circular-headed, are deeply splayed….18

The Crypt beneath Lastingham St Mary’s Church – photo by Jane Roberts

It is thought the crypt was built possibly on or near the vicinity of the earlier 7th century St Cedd founded structure, with the crypt being part of a huge Benedictine Abbey planned, but never completed, by Abbot Stephen of Whitby. The project was abandoned in 1088 when Stephen and his monks moved to York, and built St Mary’s Abbey.

It really is well worth seeking out. As you descend the stairs to it, you are enveloped in a sense of peace and calm. The early crosses and bier, described in the Kelly’s Directory, are still in situ. I found it a wonderfully contemplative space. And, for the less religious, there’s a highly recommended pub across the road (sadly shut for refurbishment on our visit).

Finally, just over two miles down the road from Spaunton is the village of Hutton-le-Hole, with land which forms part of the Manor of Spaunton. This is yet another location within the Ancient Parish of Lastingham. The village is home to the impressive Ryedale Folk Museum.

An open-air site set amongst 6½ acres, it has more than 20 heritage buildings. From the thatched Manor House from Harome, to an Edwardian daylight photographic studio, a Medieval crofter’s cottage, the almost 500-years-old thatched longhouse from Stang End, Danby, furnished in the style of the early 18th century, and a Victorian thatched cottage, washhouse and dairy. There are also various workshops including that of the saddler, tinsmith, blacksmith, cobbler and carpenter. Then there’s the vintage chemist and village store, plus the undertakers. And, going back 4,000 years, there is an interpretation of an Iron Age dwelling. Think a North York Moors mini version of Beamish, with buildings from across the National Park dismantled and reassembled on the site.

You can learn about the farming year, and view the range of historic farming implements and machinery. There is also a variety of livestock – including the greedy Tamworth pigs.

This is only a small fraction of what is on site. It is a great place for all the family to spend a good couple of hours. If you’re into house history or family history, and wanting to find out more about your ancestors’ living conditions or village occupations, I’d say the museum is a must.

The Wests, the Spaunton cottage which was our home for a week

I stayed at The Wests, one of the cottages on Grange Farm. Whilst there, and finding out a little of the history of Spaunton, I must admit I did think it would make a fabulous one-place study. For a moment I felt really tempted. Really, really tempted. I even got as far as looking at the Manorial Documents Register…then reality kicked in. I’ve enough on already. But if someone else has any free time, and the inclination to embark on a fascinating piece of research, they wouldn’t go far wrong with Spaunton! And yes, there was a bread maker and bread mix in the cottage to bake a loaf!

Footnotes:
1. Appleton le Moors, Lastingham and Spaunton Parish Report, 2013: https://democracy.ryedale.gov.uk/documents/s17204/AppletonleMoorsLastinghamandSpauntonParishPlan.pdf. Accessed October 27, 2021;
2. History, Topography, and Directory of North Yorkshire: Comprising Its Ancient and Modern History ; a General View of Its Physical Features ; Its Agricultural, Mining & Manufacturing Industries ; Family History and Genealogical Descent ; Myths, Legends, Biographical Sketches, &c., &c. ; with a Map Prepared Expressly for the Work. Preston: T. Bulmer, 1890.
3. A carucate was an area of land used as a basis for tax assessment in the Domesday Book. It equated to the amount of land which could be ploughed in a year by one plough with an eight-ox team;
4. Powell-Smith, Anna. “Home: Domesday Book.” Home | Domesday Book. Accessed October 27, 2021. https://opendomesday.org/.
5. “Parishes: Lastingham.” British History Online. Accessed October 27, 2021. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/yorks/north/vol1/pp524-529.
6. Appleton le Moors, Lastingham and Spaunton Parish Report, 2013: https://democracy.ryedale.gov.uk/documents/s17204/AppletonleMoorsLastinghamandSpauntonParishPlan.pdf
7. Yorkshire Organic Millers. Accessed October 27, 2021. https://yorkshireorganicmillers.com/.
8. “Court Leet.” Hutton le Hole, March 27, 2019. https://huttonlehole.ryedaleconnect.org.uk/about/court-leet/.
9. 1939 Register, The National Archives (TNA), Reference: RG101/3279D/007/4 Letter Code: JHIJ – Relationships are not show, but these were established from additional research
10. Whitby Gazette, 24 October 1913
11. Operations Record Books, 408 Squadron RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) Records of Events: Y, 1 September to 31 October 1943, TNA Reference AIR 27/1797/17
12. Lancaster DS724 at Spaunton village, Yorkshire Aircraft. Accessed October 27, 2021. http://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk/aircraft/planes/43/ds724.html
13. Operations Record Books, 408 Squadron RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) Records of Events: Y, October 1943, TNA Reference AIR 27/1797/18
14. Operations Record Books, 408 Squadron RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) Records of Events: Y, 1 September to 31 October 1943, TNA Reference AIR 27/1797/17
15. Lancaster DS724 at Spaunton village, Yorkshire Aircraft. Accessed October 27, 2021. http://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk/aircraft/planes/43/ds724.html
16. The Gazette and Herald Online, 10 October 2012. Accessed October 27, 2021. https://www.gazetteherald.co.uk/news/9977266.from-the-malton-gazette-and-malton-messenger-friday-october-15-1943/
17. Lancaster DS724 at Spaunton village, Yorkshire Aircraft. Accessed October 27, 2021. http://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk/aircraft/planes/43/ds724.html
18. Kelly’s Directory of the North and East Ridings of Yorkshire, with the Cities of York and Hull, 1913. London, etc: Kelly, 1913.

Other Sources:
• England and Wales Censuses, 1841 to 1911;
• GRO Indexes;
• Imperial War Museum website;
• National Library of Scotland Maps;
• Probate Records;
• Ryedale Folk Museum. Accessed October 27, 2021. https://www.ryedalefolkmuseum.co.uk/
• St Mary’s Church, Lastingham. Accessed October 27, 2021. https://www.lastinghamparishchurch.org.uk/
• Spaunton Court Leet. Accessed October 27, 2021. https://www.spauntoncourtleet.co.uk/
• Yorkshire Air Accident website. Accessed October 27, 2021. http://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk/index.html

St Mary of the Angels, Batley: One-Place Study Update – 1 to 30 September 2021 Additions

This is the latest update of the pages relating to my Batley St Mary’s one-place study, the details of which I announced here.

St Mary of the Angels Church, Batley

In the past month I have added eight new pages, including a major news announcement for September. This is the extension of the study to include those from the parish who died in the Second World War.

Although the church has no War Memorial commemorating parishioners who died in World War Two, with the help of Batley’s Roll of Honour I am seeking to identify them and publish mini-biographies as part of this one-place study. These new pages include the background to the Second World War element of the study; a list of those identified to date; and the first of these biographies, Michael Flatley.

Turning to World War One, there are four weekly newspaper summary pages for September 1915. I have accordingly updated the surname index to these During This Week newspaper pieces, so you can easily identify newspaper snippets relevant to your family.

The biography of Thomas McNamara has been updated, with additional information.

More men who served and survived have been identified. I have updated that page accordingly. This month I have published a biography for one of these men, Michael Rush. He survived both the 2nd Boer War and the First World War. The biographies of other men in this section will follow in due course.

Below is the full list of pages to date. I have annotated the *NEW* ones, plus the *UPDATED* pages, so you can easily pick these out. Click on the link and it will take you straight to the relevant page.


1. About my St Mary of the Angels Catholic Church War Memorial One-Place Study;

Batley Descriptions – Directories etc.
2. 1914: Borough of Batley – Town Information from the Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health.

Biographies: Men Associated with St Mary’s Who Died but Who Are Not on the Memorial 
3. Reginald Roberts
4. William Frederick Townsend

Biographies: The War Memorial Men
5. Herbert Booth
6. Edmund Battye
7. Michael Brannan
8. John Brooks
9. Martin Carney
10. Thomas Curley
11. Thomas Donlan
12. Michael Flynn
13. Thomas Foley D.C.M.
14. Michael Groark (also known as Rourke)
15. James Griffin
16. Michael Horan
William McManus – See William Townsend below
17. Thomas McNamara *UPDATED*
18. Patrick Naifsey
19. Austin Nolan
20. Moses Stubley
21. William Townsend, also known as McManus

Biographies: Those who Served and Survived (this includes a list of those identified to date and who will later have dedicated biographical pages) *UPDATED*
22. James Delaney
23. Thomas Donlan (senior)
24. Michael Rush *NEW*

Burials, Cemeteries, Headstones and MIs
25. Cemetery and Memorial Details
26. War Memorial Chronology of Deaths

During This Week
27. During This Week Newspaper Index *UPDATED*
28. 1914, 8 August – Batley News
29. 1914, 15 August – Batley News
30. 1914, 22 August – Batley News
31. 1914, 29 August – Batley News
32. 1914, 5 September – Batley News
33. 1914, 12 September – Batley News
34. 1914, 19 September – Batley News
35. 1914, 26 September – Batley News
36. 1914, 3 October – Batley News
37. 1914, 10 October – Batley News
38. 1914, 17 October – Batley News
39. 1914, 24 October – Batley News
40. 1914, 31 October – Batley News
41. 1914, 7 November – Batley News
42. 1914, 14 November – Batley News
43. 1914, 21 November – Batley News
44. 1914, 28 November – Batley News
45. 1914, 5 December – Batley News
46. 1914, 12 December – Batley News
47. 1914, 19 December – Batley News
48. 1914, 24 December – Batley News
49. 1915, 2 January – Batley News
50. 1915, 9 January – Batley News
51. 1915, 16 January – Batley News
52. 1915, 23 January – Batley News
53. 1915, 30 January – Batley News
54. 1915, 6 February – Batley News
55. 1915, 13 February – Batley News
56. 1915, 20 February – Batley News
57. 1915, 27 February – Batley News
58. 1915, 6 March – Batley News
59. 1915, 13 March – Batley News
60. 1915, 20 March – Batley News
61. 1915, 27 March – Batley News
62. 1915, 3 April – Batley News
63. 1915, 10 April – Batley News
64. 1915, 17 April – Batley News
65. 1915, 24 April – Batley News
66. 1915, 1 May – Batley News
67. 1915, 8 May – Batley News
68. 1915, 15 May – Batley News
69. 1915, 22 May – Batley News
70. 1915, 29 May – Batley News
71. 1915, 5 June – Batley News
72. 1915, 12 June – Batley News
73. 1915, 19 June – Batley News
74. 1915, 26 June – Batley News
75. 1915, 3 July – Batley News
76. 1915, 10 July – Batley News
77. 1915, 17 July – Batley News
78. 1915, 24 July – Batley News
79. 1915, 31 July – Batley News
80. 1915, 7 August – Batley News
81. 1915, 14 August – Batley News
82. 1915, 21 August – Batley News
83. 1915, 28 August – Batley News
84. 1915, 4 September – Batley News *NEW*
85. 1915, 11 September – Batley News *NEW*
86. 1915, 18 September – Batley News *NEW*
87. 1915, 25 September – Batley News *NEW*

Miscellany of Information
88. The Controversial Role Played by St Mary’s Schoolchildren in the 1907 Batley Pageant
89. The Great War: A Brief Overview of What Led Britain into the War
90. Willie and Edward Barber – Poems
91. A St Mary’s School Sensation

Occupations and Employment Information
92. Occupations: Rag Grinder

Population, Health, Mortality and Fertility
93. 1914: The Health of Batley School Children Generally, with a Particular Focus on St Mary’s School Children

The Families
94. A Death in the Church

World War Two *NEW*
95. World War Two Chronology of Deaths *NEW*
96. Michael Flatley *NEW*

The Night the Luftwaffe Bombed Batley and Dewsbury

12 December 1940 had been a cold winter’s day. As darkness drew in, families across the Heavy Woollen District prepared to hunker down for their second wartime Christmas.

Money was tight – no change there for most. So no sacks full of Christmas presents for the children. Again no change for many. But people were making the best of it, continuing peacetime Christmas traditions. Like the Hartley family in Savile Town, making a Christmas cake with a neighbour that evening – a reminder of the ordinariness of preparations of past Christmases [1].

But this was far from a normal Christmas. The strangeness of separation from loved ones in this so-called season of goodwill, bundled up with anxiety for the safety of those absentees, bound lots of families together. Mrs Hill in Batley faced a difficult Christmas – her first as a young widow with four children under the age of six. Over in Dewsbury, the Callaghan family were getting ready to spend Christmas with their latest family addition, a seventh child born earlier that year. Their eldest, 15-year-old Jack, typical of many teenage lads, was caught up with the excitement of pretending to shoot German planes out of the Yorkshire skies from his open bedroom window, accompanied by his own ack-ack-ack sound effects. His Air Raid Protection (ARP) Warden father quickly dragged him away, ensuring the window was firmly shut and blacked out. Within four years Jack would be serving with the Royal Navy craft in the D-Day landings.

At around 7.30pm the blood-chilling wail of the air raid sirens sounded across the Batley and Dewsbury districts, ending that evening’s attempts to recreate the normal of Christmases past. This was their new wartime normal. The anti-aircraft guns, based in Caulms Wood and what is now hole number 2 of Hanging Heaton Golf Club, began firing.

View over Batley from Hanging Heaton going towards the golf course, site of the anti-aircraft Guns – Photo by Jane Roberts

Perhaps there was an air of calm as people made their way to various air raid shelters. After all, they’d experienced this before, and the alarms always proved thankfully false.

Various organisations had these bomb shelters – for example St Mary’s RC school’s log book notes shortly after the war declaration that air raid shelters were built. One was under construction at Batley hospital in March 1940 – I know because it cost my grandad his life. Some sheltered in the strongest part of their house – cellars, sculleries, or simply under kitchen tables.

Others had purpose-built Anderson shelters in their gardens, erected right from the early days of the war. My dad remembers his dad building one, which would’ve been in the very first months after war broke out. Many families kept theirs post-war, converted to garden storage. They were a common site for many a year after the war.

This Mortimer Street, Batley, Anderson shelter existed well into the 1980s – Photo by Pauline Hill

Communal shelters existed with wooden slatted seats inside, like the soil-covered brick built one at Staincliffe. There was also a communal shelter at Leeds Road, Dewsbury. The tunnel at the bottom of Primrose Hill, close to Lady Ann Road, was another example. Vera May recalls sheltering there as a child during the 12 December 1940 raid. Men who worked at Taylor’s mill were also there, and Vera remembers: ‘They were great with us children, singing with us so we would not be afraid[2]. For, unlike most nights, this was no false alarm. The Luftwaffe this time were not passing over Batley and Dewsbury on their way to/from bombing another unfortunate town or city. Tonight it was for real, the turn of the heart of the Heavy Woollen district with its rail lines and mills manufacturing cloth for the military to face Hitler’s wrath.

Following the failure of the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe were now targeting Britain’s industrial and military centres. Sheffield was the focus for Operation Crucible, with bombing during the nights of the 12 and 15 December 1940. The targets of the raids were the multiple steel and iron works, collieries, and coke ovens along the Don Valley. One theory is that the bombing of Batley and Dewsbury was a mis-targeting from this attack, rather than these two towns being the specific objectives. Whatever, the results were disastrous for many of the townsfolk.

The night sky over Batley and Dewsbury lit up with parachute flares and tracer fire, as baskets of incendiary bombs and parachute mines rained down. Houses shook, window frames rattled, glass shattered, masonry and roof slates tumbled to the ground, water spurted out from fractured taps and pipes, and plaster fell from ceilings. As the bombs hurtled earthwards they made terrifying whistling and screaming sounds. Those sheltering braced themselves for the next ‘hit’, hunched over with hands protecting heads, then after each blast ensuring all others in the shelter were still OK.

It was not a constant bombardment. In the quieter periods, when the drone of the planes died away, people emerged troglodyte-like from their places of safety to check the damage, try extinguish any lights, and bale water onto house fires. Then they darted back in at the launch of the next attack wave.

Geoffrey Whitehead, an eight-year-old Batley schoolboy, vividly recalls that terrifying night. His grandparents, Charles and Harriet Whitehead, ran the off-licence at 1 Bunkers Lane. They also lived ‘over the shop’, along with Geoffrey and his parents. When the sirens sounded, Geoffrey’s father, Austin, set off towards Mayman Lane for his voluntary Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) work. Normally the rest of the family would go to the brick-built communal shelter at the bottom of Common Road. But the planes were upon them too quickly. With bombs already raining down, there was simply not time to risk walking the short distance to Common Road. Instead the family made their way down to the beer cellar and sheltered under the table there. The cellar roof was reinforced with plaster-covered wooden planks. So great were the shock-waves from the bombs, in particular one huge blast, that white plaster flecks came away from the ceiling [3].

As time passed, the air became ever more thick with smoke and dust, flames engulfed buildings, while the stench of sulphur from the high explosive bombs weighed heavy. Throughout it all, the Civil Defence Services, stretched to the limit, worked valiantly. They were assisted by brave and alert householders who had buckets of sand and water at the ready. These AFS personnel (Austin Whitehead possibly amongst them), soldiers, police and ARP Wardens checked on sheltering householders, went into homes to extinguish fires left in grates, smothered incendiary bombs with sand, operated stirrup pumps to douse flames, entered burning buildings to ensure no-one was inside, retrieved valuables and carried furniture from homes impossible to save. Delayed action fuse bombs and unexploded devices posed further threats to the rescuers. Yet they carried on regardless in the face of unimaginable danger.

Numerous incidents were reported across Batley. Joe Shepley, a fruiterer and ARP Warden, and David Woodcock were injured by flying splinters. One housewife caught an incendiary bomb in a bucket of water as it ripped through her ceiling – fortunately little damage was done. The home of Albert Stevenson and his bride of three weeks, Edith (née Thewlis), had a similarly lucky escape when soldiers quickly extinguished an incendiary bomb which landed in their bedroom. Private Rutter risked his life by entering a blazing building in which he thought someone was trapped. Luckily no-one was inside, but the soldier had the presence of mind to bring out furniture. Soldiers saved a laundry from flames, as well as the Well Lane mineral water works, despite knowing there was an unexploded bomb near the latter.

In the same area of Well Lane, Superintendent Horace Horne, an ambulance driver, had been instructing a class of ambulance cadets when the first bombs fell. They assisted in the operations to save the St John Ambulance headquarters and a storage building opposite, removing to safety the ambulances and most of the first aid stores.

Others reported the AFS and ARP personnel ‘carrying an adult invalid from a dilapidated house’ and ‘searching beneath a mass of overhanging slates and splintered rafters for someone who might be trapped in debris[4].

A cinema was hit, but again escaped relatively unscathed. Bombs landed in fields – I wonder if this was the one which my dad remembers landing in Carter’s field? My uncle can also remember a massive depression at the bottom of Healey Lane which he believed was a result of bomb damage. Was it from this raid?

And the major blast which shook the cellar in which Geoffrey Whitehead sheltered, was the result of a huge bomb which landed in fields near what is now Manor Way. He visited the crater site the following day and recalls the hole being so huge you could fit a double decker bus in it. He also remembers collecting shrapnel from it, now long since lost [5].

The Purlwell area of Batley was particularly badly affected. St Andrew’s church was the first in the Wakefield Diocese to be damaged by air raids. In the immediate aftermath repair costs were put at £1,000. The £400 East Window was pitted with splinters. One wall was so unsafe, with the organ visible through a gaping crack in the masonry, that rebuilding was thought necessary. The only door not blown out was the stout, oak entrance door.

St Andrew’s Church, Purlwell, Batley – Photo by Jane Roberts

Houses round and about the church suffered significant bomb and blast damage. It was in this locality that Batley’s first air-raid fatality lost his life. Private Herbert Courtney Channon of the Royal Army Service Corps was in Purlwell Hall Road when he was struck in the neck by shrapnel and killed instantly. Some say he was decapitated. His friends, standing either side of him, had lucky escapes being flung to the ground by the blast. Private Channon’s body was returned to his family for burial in Chard, Somerset later that month [6].

Even with the departure of the German raiders in the early hours of the 13 December, the danger did not pass. As the all-clear rang out at around 1am, amidst air thick with smoke and fumes, the rubble of smouldering buildings, the danger of unstable masonry and the risk posed by unexploded and delayed action bombs, the civil defence volunteers and demolition squads continued to work. The presence of ‘live’ devices meant the temporary evacuation of many houses, swelling the ranks of those bombed out of their homes.

Around 400 Batley residents slept that night in a school refuge centre. They were given meals in two Sunday schools. Most of the displaced were thankfully able to return to their homes by the following nightfall. One Batley man whose house suffered bomb appreciatively stated:

Kindly folk spontaneously brought food for us, invited us to their houses for meals. Tradesman offered us anything we needed, and young ladies served hot tea to us during the salvage. [7]

According to the official statistics compiled from Intelligence Reports into enemy activity on British domestic soil, that night Batley suffered five casualties comprising one killed and four injured. In fact two people in the town died as a result of the German raid. In addition to soldier Herbert Courtney Channon, local mill hand Percy Ingham also lost his life.

Percy was born in Birstall on 24 April 1894, the son of Harry and Sarah Ann Ingham. He married Annie Phillips on 7 February 1920 at St Mary of the Angels RC Church in Batley.

St Mary of the Angels, Batley – Photo by Jane Roberts

On the night of the raid, Percy sustained injuries at his home at 61 Purlwell Hall Road, the same street where Private Channon was cut down. Percy was taken to Staincliffe hospital where, despite all efforts, he died on 16 December 1940. Part of the old hospital buildings (previously Dewsbury Union Workhouse and the workhouse infirmary, as well as a military hospital in the First World War) exist today.

Staincliffe Hospital, now known as Dewsbury District Hospital and part of the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust – Photo by Jane Roberts

Percy’s funeral, conducted by Catholic priest John J Burns, took place on 20 December 1940. He is interred in Batley cemetery and his resting place is marked with a headstone. He is also commemorated in the roll of Wold War Two civilian dead held at Westminster Abbey, and on the Commonwealth War Grave’s Commission (CWGC) database.

Batley Cemetery, Headstone of Percy Ingham – Photo by Jane Roberts

Neighbouring Dewsbury also suffered in the 12 December raid, with five people losing their lives.

Brenda Hartley, her mother Hilda and neighbour Nellie Naylor, abandoned their Christmas cake baking at 13 North View, Savile Town. Initially they went into their cellar, but as Nellie’s husband, Harry, was due home they made a hair-raising dash to the cellar in the Naylor house next door but one. It was a decision which saved their lives. Harry arrived 15 minutes later. Shortly afterwards a bomb landed on the house they had vacated only a short time ago.

Initially unconscious, the group soon came round to find they were now buried alive. Their terrifying ordeal lasted several hours. Brenda’s mother sustained severe injuries, unable to move under the debris. There was a fear at one point that Hilda would drown, when water used to put out the fires above seeped steadily into the cellar. Harry, thankfully, managed to alert the firemen before it was too late. Rescuers eventually managed to dig a hole the size of an oven door into the cellar, through which a plank was inserted. Then, one by one, those entombed were pulled out to safety. However, the family at 14 North View were not so lucky as Brenda’s father, Dennis, soon learned.

Dennis cycled home immediately after hearing about the Savile Town bombing. He had been working the night shift at Newsome’s mill in Batley Carr. He did not know if his wife and daughter had survived. When he finally got through the cordon protecting devastated North View from the general public, he had a heart-stopping moment when:

…the A.R.P. Men told him they had just found two bodies. They had walked over them thinking they were pillows, but they turned out to be Mrs Scott and her daughter Enid who lived next door to us. Mr Scott was working at his shop, he was a cobbler in Thornhill Lees… [8]

Mary Ann Scott (née Platts) was originally from Carlinghow, Batley. Born in 1879 [9], her 61st birthday was only days away. She married boot and shoe repairer Harry Scott at Carlinghow St John’s on 16 April 1906 [10]. Before her marriage she worked as a weaver at Carlinghow mills (at that stage owned by Brooke Wilford & Co.,) and was a prominent member of the Carlinghow church, teaching in its Sunday school. After her marriage the family settled at 14 North View, and this was their home when Enid, their only child, was born on 7 August 1908. Enid attended Savile Town St Mary’s School, and Wheelwright Girls’ Grammar School. Her working life was spent in office and company secretary roles in Ossett. She also was a volunteer at the Dewsbury ARP Report Centre.

Harry was working at his boot repairing business at Brewery Lane, Thornhill Lees, when the attack occurred. That saved his life. On Tuesday 17 December, after a double funeral service at Carlinghow St John’s, it was Harry’s sad duty to walk behind the coffins of his wife and daughter as they were carried to Batley cemetery for interment. No headstone marks their final resting place. But, like Percy Ingham, their names live on in the Westminster Abbey roll of honour and on the CWGC database.

That day marked three more burials – this time all in Dewsbury cemetery. All three men were members of the Dewsbury Home Guard and were employed in Messrs. Crawshaw and Warburton’s Shaw Cross Colliery. The men were in the colliery offices at the former Ridings colliery on Wakefield Road [11], which was wrecked by a parachute mine. A row of terrace houses on Wakefield Road (Sunny Bank, numbers 72 to 82) were also destroyed in the attack. Fortunately the residents there had taken to the communal shelter and all survived. But the Home Guard men were not so fortunate.

Extract of Six-inch OS Map: Yorkshire CCXLVII.NE; Revised 1938; Published 1948. Shows Dewsbury and location of bombed Crawshaw and Warburton Colliery Offices and North View, Savile Town

Section Leader Sidney Burridge, of 351 Victoria Terrace, Leeds Road, Dewsbury, was a 46-year-old married man. Employed as a colliery deputy at Shaw Cross colliery, it was the same type of job undertaken by his father. Born on 5 July 1894, the son of James Hartley Burridge and wife Jane Elizabeth, he was baptised at St Philip’s church, Dewsbury [12]. It started his lifelong association with the church. It was here, on 8 September 1914, that he married Sophia Squires [13]. And it was the vicar at St Philip’s who conducted his funeral service, with a Union Jack-draped coffin and a Home Guard escort signifying his Local Defence Volunteer role. Outside work, Sidney was a member of Eastborough Working Men’s Club and Dewsbury Rugby League Football Club, both associations represented at his funeral. He left a widow and two children.

The Headstone of Sidney Burridge, Dewsbury Cemetery – Photo by Jane Roberts

Section Commander Ernest Lodge was another of the Home Guard fatalities. He sold house coals and briquettes for Messrs. Crawshaw and Warbuton. Born on 15 November 1893, he was the son of weaver Harry Lodge of Lepton and his wife Elizabeth [14]. Ernest’s mother died around three years later, and on 29 September 1900 Harry re-married at Dewsbury, St Mark’s [15]. His new wife was Sarah Elizabeth Oddy.

Ernest married widow Alice Wilson (formerly Chatwood) at Moorlands Wesleyan Chapel, Dewsbury on 20 July 1929 [16]. The couple both sang with their choir and, at the time of Ernest’s death, lived at 12, Thirlmere Road, Dewsbury.

He too was accorded a funeral with the honour of a Union Jack-covered coffin. Members of the Home Guard lined the path to his grave, which Dewsbury cemetery staff had bordered with evergreen.

The Headstone of Ernest Lodge, Dewsbury Cemetery – Photo by Jane Roberts

Section Commander Wilfred King was the third Home Guard casualty that night. Born on 31 May 1905 at Commonside, Hanging Heaton, he was the son of George and Martha Ann King. A coal hewer at the Shaw Cross pit, he lived with his parents at 457, Leeds Road, Dewsbury.

In a particularly cruel twist of fate, his 28-year-old bride-to-be Mary Glover, of Thornton Street, instead of preparing for her wedding scheduled for later that week, now found herself attending her fiancé’s funeral. She addressed her floral tribute ‘from his broken-hearted and sorrowing sweetheart’. Wilfred’s funeral service was held at the Boothroyd Lane Providence Independent, prior to interment at Dewsbury Cemetery.

The Headstone of Wilfred King, Dewsbury Cemetery – Photo by Jane Roberts

But that did not mark the extent of local deaths in the bombing raid of the night of 12/13 December 1940. As I mentioned at the outset, the main focus of the bombing that night was the city of Sheffield with its vital steel and iron works. Arthur Brewer, a long-time resident of Ravensthorpe, was in Sheffield that night.

Arthur was born in Birstall on 30 July 1907. The son of Earl and Mary Brewer, he was baptised at the Mount Zion Chapel at White Lee on 1 September 1907 [17]. Some time after 1911 the family moved to Ravensthorpe, and after leaving school Arthur began a career as a musician, specialising in the drums.

He played regularly at the Town Hall in Mirfield and Dewsbury’s Majestic cinema. He then joined the renowned Paul Zaharoff in London, famed for his international band. Subsequently Arthur went on tour playing in numerous city hotels, including a 16-week stint in Jersey.

In 1935 Arthur married Mary Goddard. For the 18 months prior to his death Arthur was based in Sheffield playing with a band in hotels across the city. In down-times he supplemented his income with lorry driving. Initially Mary stayed with him: she is registered there in the 1939 register. But later she moved to the comparative safety of Dewsbury, and was living with her in-laws at Thornhill Street, in Savile Town. Also with her was her and Arthur’s two children, the youngest only three month’s old at the time of raid. Perhaps it was the birth of the baby which prompted the move.

It is a cruel irony that both Savile Town and Sheffield were simultaneously under a Luftwaffe siege: The security of both Mary and Arthur was at stake that December night.

At about 11.20pm Arthur was in the Marples Hotel in Sheffield with fellow-band member Donovan Russell. The seven-storey Marples Hotel and pub on Fitzalan Square had operated under several names since the 1870’s, initially starting out as the Wine and Spirit Commercial Hotel, and latterly the London Mart. But it was still known as The Marples. And it’s name was to be forever etched in history for the events of that night.

At 11.44pm, as over 70 people sheltered in its cellar, it took a direct hit from a 500lb German bomb. Arthur was believed to be amongst those sheltering. Donovan Russell had a lucky escape – he left Arthur there just 20 minutes before the bomb struck. The entire building collapsed.

It was not until 10am the following day that rescue attempts began, initial assessments being survival was impossible. Amazingly seven people were rescued. But that was all. It is estimated around seventy people died in the building, the biggest single loss of life during the Sheffield Blitz. Arthur was amongst that number. If there was any consolation, death was believed to be instantaneous.

Over the following weeks the site was cleared. 64 bodies were eventually recovered, and partial remains of a further six or seven people. Only 14 were visually identified. Personnal belongings were used in the process of formal identification for most of the others.

As of mid-January the only item belonging to Arthur which Mary recovered were the lenses of his glasses. When probate was granted on 12 March 1942, the entry confirmed identification of his body at the hotel. The entry read:

BREWER Arthur of 34 Thornhill-street Savile Town Dewsbury Yorkshire who is believed to have been killed through war operations on 12 December 1940 and whose dead body was found at Marples Hotel Fitzalan-square Sheffield Administration Wakefield 12 March to March Brewer widow.
Effects £161 5s [18]

I’ve planned this local history tale for some time. I wanted to publish it to coincide with the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Unfortunately, because of the current battle the world faces against the invisible coronavirus enemy, my research was prematurely curtailed. However, I wanted to go ahead with publication as a tribute to our ancestors of 80 years ago. Once some kind of research normality resumes I hope to update this post.

Finally, the Bombing Britain website, which draws together intelligence reports of enemy action on British domestic soil, records only this one direct air raid on Dewsbury. Batley had two recorded air raids. The evening of 12 December into the early hours of 13 December, and one on the night of 15/16 December 1940. This latter raid had no recorded casualties. If anyone does have any memories of these events, or life on the Home Front in Batley and Dewsbury generally, please do contact me.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
It appears the Bombing Britain site covering enemy action over British soil may under-report the bombs which landed over the Batley and Dewsbury area. West Yorkshire Archives produced an ARP Bomb Map for the night of 14/15 March 1941. It can be found at here and includes an unexploded bomb almost opposite what is now Healey Community Centre.

Notes:
[1] WW2 People’s War archive of wartime memories, bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar, Brenda Hartley, now Haley, Reference A2843750;
[2] Vera May – Batley History Group Facebook Page, Jane Roberts post 19 April 2020;
[3] Geoffrey Whitehead, retired Batley Boy’s High School deputy headmaster, in conversation with Jane Roberts dated 27 April 2020;
[4] Batley News, 21 December 1940;
[5] Geoffrey Whitehead, Ibid;
[6] Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 27 December 1940;
[7] Batley News, 21 December 1940;
[8] WW2 People’s War archive of wartime memories, bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar, Brenda Hartley, now Haley, Reference A2843750;
[9] Birstall St Peter’s baptism register, born on 23 December 1879 and baptised on 25 January 1880, accessed via Ancestry.co.uk West Yorkshire Church of England births and baptisms 1813-1910, original record at West Yorkshire Archive Services, Reference WDP5/1/2/9;
[10] Carlinghow St John’s marriage register, accessed via Ancestry.co.uk West Yorkshire Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935, original record at West Yorkshire Archive Services, Reference WDP132/1/2/2;
[11] England & Wales National Probate Calendar, Sidney Burridge, Probate Date 27 November 1941 gives the place of death. Accessed via Ancestry.co.uk;
[12] St Philip’s, Dewsbury, baptism register, accessed via Ancestry.co.uk West Yorkshire Church of England births and baptisms 1813-1910, original record at West Yorkshire Archive Services, Reference WDP9/439;
[13] St Philip’s, Dewsbury, marriage register, accessed via Ancestry.co.uk West Yorkshire Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935, original record at West Yorkshire Archive Services, Reference WDP9/443;
[14] Baptism of Earnest [sic] Lodge, Huddersfield Northumberland Street Methodist Circuit, accessed via Ancestry.co.uk West Yorkshire, Non-Conformist Records, 1646-1985, original record at West Yorkshire Archives Service, Reference KC295/3;
[15] St Mark’s, Dewsbury, marriage register, accessed via Ancestry.co.uk West Yorkshire Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935, original record at West Yorkshire Archive Services, Reference WDP228/1/2/2;
[16] Marriage register of Moorlands Wesleyan Chapel, Boothroyd Lane, Dewsbury, accessed via Ancestry.co.uk West Yorkshire, Non-Conformist Records, 1646-1985, original record at West Yorkshire Archives Service, Reference C111/207;
[17] Mount Zion, White Lee, Baptism register, accessed via Ancestry.co.uk West Yorkshire, Non-Conformist Records, 1646-1985, original record at West Yorkshire Archives Service, Reference C10/15/1/1/1;
[18] England & Wales National Probate Calendar, Arthur Brewer, Probate Date 12 March 1942; Accessed via Ancestry.co.uk

Sources:
1939 Register, accessed via Findmypast and Ancestry.co.uk;
Batley Cemetery Burial Records;
• Batley News, 14 and 21 December 1940 and 18 January 1941
;
• BBC WW2 People’s War
, bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar ;
• Bombing Britain website, TNA file series HO203, intelligence reports of enemy action on British domestic soil http://www.warstateandsociety.com/Bombing-Britain ;
• Chariots of Wrath, Sam Whitworth, published 2016
;
• Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, https://www.cwgc.org/
;
• England and Wales Censuses 1881-1911 (various);
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 27 December 1940;
Farnham Maltings website, The Marples Tragedy (Sheffield Blitzm 1940), https://farnhammaltings.com/newsmarples-tragedy/ ;
Hanging Heaton Golf Club website, https://www.hhgc.org/about-hhgc/
National Probate Calendar, Herbert Courtney Channon, Sidney Burridge, Arthur Brewer, Enid Scott, Ernest Lodge;
• OS Map is reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under a Creative Commons licence. https://maps.nls.uk/index.html
Parish Registers – various;
Sheffield History website, The Marples, https://www.sheffieldhistory.co.uk/forums/topic/98-the-marples/ ;
• The Chris Hobbs website, Marples Hotel, https://www.chrishobbs.com/marples1940.htm ;
• The History of Batley 1800 – 1974, Malcolm H Haigh, published 1985;
Sheffield Libraries blogspot, Sheffield Blitz: lost eyewitness account from Marples Hotel survivor comes to light in archives, http://shefflibraries.blogspot.com/2017/07/sheffield-blitz-lost-eyewitness-account.html ;
Western Times, 27 December 1940;
WW2 People’s War archive of wartime memories, bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar, Brenda Hartley, now Haley, Reference A2843750; Edward Lomax (Dewsbury), Reference A2875782; Ronald Tolson Schofield (Dewsbury), Reference A2843886; and Derrick Sharp (Batley), Reference A2339291;

UPDATE:
This has generated many memories and comments. There are the fantastic ones which have been posted in the WordPress comments section for this post below.
In addition there have been lots posted elsewhere on social media and I have gathered them together here.
• Brian Howgate on Facebook page Batley Photos Old and New wrote: My grandparents lived exactly opposite St Andrews Church in purlwell Hall Road. There house got serverly damaged when the bomb dropped on the church.
• On the same site Lesley Dyer wrote: My grandfather not only worked during the day but was also did his bit as a warden who had to go out and watch out for any incendries dropping which started fires and had to put them out before the German bomber’s came over, it went on for weeks, until one night another warden had told my grandfather that St. Andrews had been hit taking its roof, as a man stood in a shop doorway and the blast/shock wave blew him back into the shop, luckily he survived, the church roof & windows had gone altogether, along with homes in the area had also been damaged too.
• Also on that page Kevin Mcguire wrote: Our next door neighbour had a[n] Anderson shelter which he kept all his gardening gear they did not look that safe to me as a kid there were air aid shelters every where great for exploring and playing Japs and commanders with wooden guns.
• Again on the Batley Photos site Joan Chappell recalled: As a child I went to St. Andrews church. We were told that the reason it had chairs and not pews like most other churches was because it was bombed during the war.
• Also on Batley Photos Jack Dane wrote: ….when we lived on Purwell Crescent I have always had this memory of my mother leaving me outside our gate crying because it was pitch black she ran back into the house to fetch something she had forgotten when we were on our way to our neighbours air raid shelter, the date of the bombing puts me at 3 year old which seems about right if it was that particular night.
On the Shoddy Matters Facebook Page Christine Lawton wrote: My husband is named after Wilfred king he was a friend of there family.
• On the same page Ian Sewell said: I remember the bunkers up Caulms Wood with the huge stones.
• Also on Shoddy Matters David Wilby wrote: ….growing up [I] remember seeing where the bomb had dropped, up by the farm on Staincliffe hall road, near the top of Deighton Lane.
• And in another Shoddy Matters post Chrissie Chapman wrote: I have lived up Carters fields all my life and was told that the house I own had the gable wall blown down due to a bomb from the war. The wall was rebuilt and I now think, after reading this, it must have been from the bombs that fell on Carters Field . We often played, as children, in the air raid shelter that was on waste land next to the Parochial Hall.
• Linked to Chrissie’s post, on Dewsbury Pictures Old and New Facebook page David Riley said: My aunt Dorie’s gable end was blown up by the bomb in Carters Field had to move into my mum and dads in Northbank Rd near Mullins farm. David also said they lived in the last block of four [houses] facing Healey, Northbank fields by the top of the football pitch. Looking at the 1939 Register, the address for Doris Boden was 173 North Bank Road, Batley.
• Also on the Dewsbury page John Riley wrote: My auntie who lived down Robin Lane, used to find large lumps of shrapnel in the garden which she said came off the exploding AA shells fired from Caulms Wood.
• On Twitter Ghulam Nabi wrote: I attended Birkdale High School in 1974 and top half which was formerly the Girls Grammar school had air raid shelters all around the grounds.. Some of the lads found them and used to skip lessons by hiding in there. As an aside, the Girls Grammar School was Wheelwright, the former school of one of the air raid victims, Enid Scott.

Brothers-in-Arms 

Sometimes we overlook more recent family history, concentrating on the more distant past. Currently events of 100 years ago are dominating the news, with national commemoration events for Battles such as Jutland and The Somme, to more individual and personal remembrances for the centenary of the death of a family member.

But here I will focus on a more recent conflict, World War II. We are moving towards a time when this too will disappear from living memory. Sadly those in my family with direct knowledge of this tale are long gone.

This post concerns the fate of Albert Edward Hill, or Ned as he was known: My grandad’s cousin.

Finding out the circumstances surrounding death in conflict can be challenging: Which battle; location; precise cause of death; time; even date; and perhaps there is no known burial place. World War II in many ways presents a bigger challenge than its predecessor, with the public availability of records.

However in Ned’s case it’s all fairly straightforward. He is buried locally at St Paul’s churchyard, Hanging Heaton. His death is well documented. It was not caused by some battle injury. It was the result of a totally avoidably, foolishly tragic accident following a night out.

Ned was born on 2 February 1901, one of the seven children of Albert Hill and Sarah Ann Summerscales. These included Harry who died shortly after birth in 1890; Percy, Annie, Lilian, Doris and Arthur.

Ned never married. The 1939 Register, the population list compiled at on 29 September, as a result of the outbreak of war, shows him living at Wood Lane, Hanging Heaton. He is in the household of his brother-in-law Harry Robertshaw along with Harry’s two young sons. Harry’s wife, Ned’s sister Annie died that summer, her burial taking place at St Paul’s Hanging Heaton on 6 July 1939.

In the 1939 Register Ned is recorded as working as a willeyer in a woollen mill. This was someone who operated what was termed a willeying machine. Fibres were fed into this machine, which separated and combed them ready for carding. Newspaper reports at the time of his death, however, indicate prior to his army service he worked as a builder’s labourer, employed by Hanging Heaton-based building contactors George Kilburn and sons. 

I do suspect some confusion in the report though, and this occupation possibly applied to his brother Arthur. In the 1939 Register he was a public works contractor’s labourer. 

Whatever the true facts are war changed all this, and some two-and-a-half years before his death Ned joined the Army, as a Gunner.

Albert E Hill Batley News July 28 1945 8 (2)

Gunner Hill

 

His death came entirely out of the blue. Summer 1945, and war in Europe over, Ned returned home to Batley on leave. He finally managed to meet up with his younger brother Arthur, a driver with the RASC, similarly on leave. This was the first time they had seen each other since Ned’s military service. Arthur had been in the Army for four years at this point, serving in Germany, Belgium, France and Holland.

Things must have seemed hopeful. They had survived so far. All being well they would be home soon permanently. The past tragedy of the family would not repeat itself….

Little could they have envisaged that this meeting would be their last, and in three weeks Ned would be dead.

Leave over and Ned returned back to his Unit, the 397 Battery, 122 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment, stationed at Walberswick, near Southwold in Suffolk. This was part of the network of coastal defences, established in response to the threat of German invasion from May 1940 after their rapid victory in Western Europe. That German threat was now gone.

On 20 July 1945 he and another soldier from the same unit, Gunner Leonard Lomax, had evening leave. They left camp at 6pm that Friday for a night out in Southwold. The ferryman took them over the River Blyth and said he would return for them at 10-30-11.00pm.

An interesting aside is the ferry service from Walberswick had featured in Parliament only weeks earlier on 8 June 1945. There had been a seam steam-driven chain ferry which was discontinued in World War II, and it seems a rowing boat service replaced it. The ferry was privately owned and there had been problems in maintaining a regular service. Suffolk County Council was negotiating to acquire the ferry rights to ensure an adequate service.

Walberswick Ferry circa early 1940s Postcard, F Jenkins, Southwold

Ned and Leonard visited three public houses in Southwold and consumed about six pints of mixed beer. They left town at 10.15pm for the return ferry but there was no sign of the man with the boat. As they were debating whether to return to Southwold to catch the liberty truck to camp, a boat containing two soldiers came from the Walberswick side of the river.

These two soldiers, Lance Bombardier Edward Davis and Bombardier George Rennie were from another Battery. They heard shouts from the Southwold side of the river and thought some men from their Company were stranded as it appeared the ferry service had stopped. Despite having consumed three pints, or maybe because of it, seeing a boat moored in the water they decided to cross to collect their companions, but when they arrived found they were strangers. Nevertheless they offered Ned and Leonard a lift back. 

They clambered in the small boat, which turned out to be a yacht’s dingy and using the home-made paddles which were aboard the boat, Edward and George set about rowing back. About halfway across Leonard became aware of his feet feeling wet, water sloshing over the top of his shoes.

George and Edward were now having difficulty controlling the craft and stood up to paddle. They were about eight yards from the Walberswick side when the boat got into trouble with the tide and started to drift back towards Southwold and then seawards. The boat was filling up with water, either the result of a leak or overloading.  At this point Ned grabbed a paddle from Edward and the boat turned over throwing all four men into the river.

Leonard and George managed to get hold of a step ladder running down the harbour wall and climb ashore. They could not see the other two men, so made their way to Southwold to inform the police.

Meanwhile Edward, realising that Ned could not swim, tried to keep him up despite not being a strong swimmer himself. He managed to get them both to the concrete wall where Ned grabbed some weeds. Unfortunately they broke away. Edward continued to hold onto Ned but eventually became too exhausted and he had to let him go. Edward then managed to get hold of the ladder and escape.

In summing up the Coroner censured the boat’s occupants. The accident, he said, was the result of four “landlubbers” knowing nothing whatever about boating. The two soldiers should never have taken Leonard and Ned aboard because they overloaded the boat. There must have been some movement with the result that the boat capsized.

He went onto say that he hoped the tragedy would be a warning to others not to take boats without leave, and not to go on a swift running river like this one unless they were experienced persons who know how many a boat would take. “It is difficult to blame anyone because it is pure ignorance” he added.

A verdict of “Death through drowning through the upsetting of a boat” was recorded.

The Commanding Officer of the Battery wrote to Ned’s sister Doris extending his and the Battery’s sympathies as follows:

On behalf of the ranks of this battery wish to express to you our horror at this tragedy. Gunner Hill was a grand soldier and a man well-known and loved by the men of this unit”.

Ned’s body was brought back to Batley and he was buried in the church yard at St Paul’s, Hanging Heaton, just weeks before VJ Day and the war effectively ending.

Arthur survived the war. But Ned’s fate echoed that of another brother in another conflict, Percy. He died almost 29 years earlier in The Great War, during the Battle of the Somme.

Memories too of the newspaper “Roll of Honour In Memoriam” notices which the Hill family, including the then teenager Ned, placed in the papers all those decades before, mourning the loss of Percy.

Batley News – 5 October 1918
Hill – In sad but loving memory of our dear son and brother, 1736 Sergt Percy Hill, 1st-4th KOYLI (Batley Territorials) who died from wounds at Warloy Baillon, West of Albert, France, September 30th, 1916, aged 24 years.

When last we met, and fondly parted
Our hopes were high, our faith was strong,
We trusted that the separation
Though hard to bear would not be long 

We often sit and think of him when we are
all alone
This memory is the only thing we can call
our own;
Like ivy on the withered oak, when other
things decay
Our love for him will ever live, and never
fade away 

Ever remembered by his sorrowing mother, father, sisters and brothers, 92, Back Bromley Street, Hanging Heaton 

A family which had now lost a brother in both World Wars.Albert and Percy Hill Headstones

Sources:

We Will Remember Them: Contemporary Parish War Register Books

War Memorials can be found in churches, towns and villages the length and breadth of the country, inscribed with the names of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Years later researching those named can prove problematical, as all that exists on the Memorial is a name.  I know this only too well from my Batley St Mary’s research!

However some Parishes and Districts went a step further and, in addition to these Memorials, they produced registers and books containing more details about their war dead.

This Christmas my parents bought me a limited edition reproduction of one such book, the Upper District of Soothill War Register and Records of War Service 1914 to 1920.  Soothill War Book

The original was compiled by the Rev W.E. Cleworth, Vicar of St Paul’s, Hanging Heaton. Printed by E.F. Roberts in Batley, it was based on a War Service Register kept by the Vicar from the start of the war. The Soothill Upper War Memorial Committee subsequently assisted. When the war ended 1,000 Record Forms were printed, information inserted from the Manuscript Register and then these were distributed to households in the area for correction and additions. Over 900 were returned and these were used in the production of the book, which was truly a parish effort. Copies of the original book are held at St Paul’s Hanging Heaton and Batley library.

It is particularly noteworthy that this book contains the names of not only those who gave their lives in the course of the conflict; it includes information about all those from the District who served. So a wonderful record of those who came home and are all too often overlooked.

It contains addresses, Units, age when war service commenced, places served, promotions, distinctions and other points of interest about the service careers of those featured.

Details of the limited edition reproduction organised by Margaret Watson, including more about the original, can be found in October 2014 editions Batley & Birstall News. However I understand the reprint has now sold out. The book includes a number of men linked to my family tree, including Jesse Hill, so I am so pleased to now own a copy. And I am indebted to Margaret and all those who worked on putting the reprint together.

On a recent visit to Lavenham, Suffolk I popped into the local Parish Church of St Peter and Paul to look at their War Memorial. To my surprise and joy beneath their Memorial they too had a book.

Lavenham Church

Lavenham Parish Church – Jane Roberts

This one commemorated those who died in both World Wars. A handwritten Book of Remembrance dating from 1922, it was compiled with the specific intention that those who died would have more than their names remembered.

Lavenham War Memorial

Lavenham War Memorial – Jane Roberts

There appeared to be a page devoted to each man, giving name, age and address alongside service details and even extracts from letters informing families of their loss. A wonderful lasting legacy for generations to come.  Lavenham book of remembrance

These books are particularly poignant because of their “of the time” nature. I wonder how many more are out there? And how many are being reprinted to ensure these men’s memories are perpetuated?