Submitted by Zoe Johnson at the Richmondshire Museum.
Geoffrey Stapleton Rowe Roper
2nd Lieutenant Alexandra Princess of Wales Own, Yorkshire Regiment.
His Canadian service records show that Geoffrey served as a private in Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Imperial Army from which he was discharged on the 15th October 1915 to join the Yorkshire Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant.
He was awarded a Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry in action on the 25th of August 1916 when ‘he held his platoon with great dash in the assault, and afterwards crawled back to the trenches to make a report. He then returned to his platoon being under close and heavy fire’, this extract was taken from the London Gazette.
Serving with the 7th battalion during the Arras offensive of 1917 on May 9th, 2nd Lt Roper and his men were moved into the line in trenches north of the river Scarpe. The battalion were involved in a bitter fighting around Curly and Cupid trenches and had gone into the line with 18 Officers and 436 other ranks and when they came out on May 15th there were only 5 Officers and 228 men left.
2nd Lt G S R Roper MC was killed in this action on May 12th 1917 aged 27. He is remembered on the Cabaret-Rouge British cemetery, Souchez, 7 miles north of Arras.
He was the son of George and Elizabeth Roper of The Lodge, Gilling West, Richmond; his Father being a local magistrate and county Alderman, holding the position of Mayor of Richmond 1881-84 and 1890-91.
He had a sister Miss Ruth G Roper who was Mayor of Richmond 1935-38.
An exhibition about Geoffrey Roper is on display at the Richmondshire Museum.
This image shows the memorial plaque in Gilling West church
Explore more memories from the ribbon
Vicki Walker of Little Crakehall called into the museum to show us a photograph of Duncan Harvie, her grandfather. The photo is a postcard addressed to ‘Mary and Sam’, sent on 3 April 1916 and shows a group of Signallers on board HMS Laconia. Duncan Harvie (5th South African Regiment) is sat at the front of the group with crossed legs. The ship’s log shows the Laconia (an armed merchant cruiser) to be anchored at Zanzibar on that date, on it’s way to British East Africa (now Kenya). The ship was used in the early part of the war to patrol the South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean, but in April 1915 her role changed and she was used as a headquarters ship to aid in the fight in German East Africa. Following her return to to Cunard, the Laconia was sunk by U-50 160 miles northwest of Fastnet while returning form the United States on 25th February 1917. Twelve people were killed following a double torpedo strike.
The Outhwaite family came to live in Stalling Busk in the Raydaleside area near Bainbridge in the 1730s to farm the land. Thomas’s father William had married Eleanor Pickard, a girl from Newbiggin near Aysgarth. They later lived for a time at Ingleton in the Dales where Thomas was born in 1880. Thomas would be one of 6 children. Shortly after 1880 they moved back to Stalling Busk. Thomas’s father eventually became the gamekeeper on the estate of Colonel Percy Williams, MP, of Raydale Grange. In 1905 Thomas’s brother William took over the Rope works in Hawes, which still operates today under the Outhwaite name. By now Thomas had married Gertrude Sherrington, a girl from Tunstall near Catterick and was working with his father on the Raydale Estate. Thomas enlisted in 1915 joining the 9th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. It was during The Battle of Messines in June 1917 that on the 19th Private Thomas Pickard Outhwaite was wounded, he died of his wounds later that day. He is buried at the Military Cemetery in Poperinge.
Information submitted by Mark Tovey, William Buckle is Mark’s wife’s great uncle. William Buckle was born in Middlesbrough. In 1914 he was a 21-year-old clerk working for a well-known Middlesbrough steel company. The war was 4 weeks old when he, like many other young men from North Yorkshire, went to Northallerton to join their local Territorial Army Battalion – 4th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (4th Green Howards). On 16 April 1915, 4th Green Howards were ordered to Belgium. On 22nd April the German Fourth Army attacked the Allied front line in the North of the Ypres Salient and, using poison gas for the first time, threatened Ypres itself. This was a crisis and, despite their inexperience, 4th Green Howards went straight to the fight. For the next month the Yorkshiremen were in almost continual action, suffering many casualties. Private William Buckle was one of the Battalion’s 200 casualties. He had been shot twice, in the right shoulder and hip. He spent the next 2 months recovering before, as a corporal, training Green Howard recruits in Northallerton. Surprisingly, after his wounds healed, he volunteered for one of the most dangerous jobs in the Army – as a platoon commander. After a 4½ month course at an Officer Cadet Battalion at Denham, Buckinghamshire, Buckle was granted a commission as a Temporary Second Lieutenant in July 1916. The following month he was posted to 8th Green Howards. Buckle served on the Somme through the fierce battles of that summer and autumn until his…