In October 1915 Geoffrey Howard Smith was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 5th Battalion from being a member of the ranks of the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps (O.T.C.). At that time he was probably based at the O.T.C. training camp at Berkhamsted Common Hertfordshire.
In August 1916 he is listed as wounded in France. He recovers from his wounds but in June 1918 he is listed as missing then confirmed as a prisoner of war in September 1918.
Smith remained in captivity until his release and return to England in January 1919. This event is recognised by a letter sent to him from King George V.
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Henry Parker In October 2015 the Green Howards Museum was contacted by the Ministry of Defence’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC). Human remains had been found in a field to the north- east of the village of Martinpuich on the Somme. The JCCC wanted to know if we could do anything to help identify this unknown soldier. We looked at events around Martinpuich between 25 and 27 September 1916. 77 men were lost, whilst an additional 319 Officers and Other Ranks were either wounded, or listed as ‘missing’. The remains could have belonged to any one of a potential 396 men. Through a process of elimination using research and archive information, we produced a shortlist of 12. To get any further, science needed to play its part. The Forensic team from JCCC collected DNA from the femur of the remains. DNA was taken from the next of kin of our shortlisted missing soldiers who had agreed to take part in the process. The remains were positively identified as those of 3183 Private Henry Parker, born 29th September 1893 in Weavererthorpe, in the Yorkshire Wolds. He was killed in action, aged 22, during the Battle of the Somme on 26 September 1916. Shoulder badges, uniform buttons, a belt buckle and clip, bullet and cut throet razor were found with the remains of Private Henry Parker – these are now on display at the museum. He was reburied with full military honours in Warlencourt Cemetary in France on 17th May 2017….
Lorna Pound visited us on one of our drop-in days to share the story of her grandfather, 58755 Sapper Thomas Henry (Harry) Wright. Harry was born in Richmond on 18 October 1878. At just 14 years old he attempted to enlist with the West Yorkshire Regiment in York on the 2nd November 1892, claiming he was 18 years old. Eight days later he was discharged with a payment of £1. In the face of this set back he continued with his apprenticeship as a saddler with Mrs Rymer in Northallerton. It is likely that he re-enlisted again sometime after reaching the age of 18 years as a photograph taken in the early 1900s shows him in uniform as a Lance Corporal. In 1918 he married and was still employed as a saddler with H Myers in Richmond Market Place. On 26th December 1914 he presented himself for enlistment into the Royal Engineers. It is said within the family that he was told if he enlisted early he could keep his trade of saddler whilst serving. Sadly Sapper Wright’s papers did not survive the bombings of the Second World War and therefore it is not known which unit he originally served with but he was initially sent to Egypt on 7th August 1915. He certainly served in France for some time as numerous embroidered cards survive which he sent to his wife and children. By the end of the war in 1918 he was serving with 5 Corps Signals Company Royal…
John was born in 1896 in Leyburn North Yorkshire. In 1900 the family moved to Burtersett near Hawes where John’s father Jeremiah worked as a stonemason at the local quarry. John had two younger brothers, Anthony and George. On leaving school John also worked at the quarry. In February 1916 he had married a local girl, Jane Ann Dinsdale. By the time of his wedding John was with the 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, having enlisted at Askrigg in October 1915. John embarked for France in April 1916. The Battalion would not take part in the Somme offensive until September 15th with the eventual plan for the 26th was for the Battalion to attack and capture German trenches running from Flers. It was during the German counter attack that the Battalion suffered heavy casualties, one of which was John. His body was never found and it wasn’t until early 1917 that his wife Jane was officially notified that her husband had been killed. By the time of his death Jane had given birth to a child. Private John William Horn’s name is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.