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
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Submitted by Will Young. 1/6th (Perthshire) Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) Thomas Young (TEY), my grandfather, was born in 1874 and commissioned into 4th (Volunteer) Battalion, Black Watch in 1898. At the outbreak of the First World War, he commanded “F” (Auchterarder) Company, 1/6th Black Watch, and was mobilised on 5th August 1914 and went with them to their war station which was at North Queensferry on the north side of the River Forth close to the railway bridge. He did not accompany the battalion when it went overseas in May 1915, and until he did go to France he served with one of the reserve battalions at various locations in the UK. TEY re-joined the 1/6th near Arras on 9th July 1916. The battalion went south to the Somme and after their costly attack near High Wood the Officer commanding “C” Company was killed, he took over its command. The 1/6th was withdrawn from the battle area and moved north to Armentieres. They stayed in this area until early October and during this time spent 28 days in the trenches, sometime in a “Rest Camp” and the remainder of the time training or working, and one day at the Divisional Horse Show. The battalion moved back to the Somme and on the 13th November he was wounded at Beaumont Hamel, during the Battle of the Ancre. After treatment in a hospital in France he was evacuated to the UK. He did not return to the front and left the…
Submitted by Paul Elliott. My grandfather, Norton Elliott, was born in Rothwell, near Leeds, in 1890 and worked as a miner. In August 1914, at the outbreak of was, he joined the RAMC, but transferred to the RFC in July 1915. He became a mechanic and was promoted to Sergeant in August 1916 and to Flight Sergeant and Chief Mechanic in 1918. He subsequently became a specialist driver and served in the RAF until 1923. He married Evelyne Dobson in 1919. I know nothing of where he served or in which squadrons. At the outbreak of World War 2 he ran away from home to re-join the RAF at the age of 49. My grandmother was reputed to be something of a dragon. He again achieved the rank of Flight Sergeant and served until 1944. He died of cancer in 1970 at the age of 79.
Thomas was born around 1894 in Appleby Westmorland and settled in Hawes before the Great War. He married a local girl and had a family of 4 young children. He was a good footballer and played in goal for Hawes Football Club for many years in local leagues. He was also a member of the Hawes Conservative Club billiards team and secretary of the Hawes Brass Band. When he enlisted in 1914 Thomas was the first married man from Hawes to join up. Thomas joined the 6th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment and saw action in the latter stages of the 1915 Dardanelles campaign and in February 1916 they were in Egypt. The Battalion embarked for France arriving at Marseilles on July 1st and then travelled to billets in Arras taking over trenches at Agny. In September 1916 they were entrenched in Thiepval area where on the 14th they encountered severe fighting resulting in heavy losses for the 6th Battalion, five officers and 130 men dead. One of the dead was Thomas, killed instantly by shellfire. At the time of his death Thomas had the rank of Corporal. His body was recovered and he is buried at Lonsdale cemetery, just north of Albert.