Canon John Purvis OBE (1890-1968)
Canon John Purvis was an extremely talented artist and photographer. He is best remembered however for his historical and literary achievements. His translation of the original York Mystery Plays into modern English were central to their revival during the Festival of Britain in 1951. This work, along with his initiation of the Borthwick Institute for Archives in York, lead to his OBE in 1958.
Purvis was born in Bridlington 1890. After studying at Cambridge University he worked at Cranleigh School as a history teacher, a role to which he would return after the First World War. He enlisted with the Yorkshire Regiment, serving with the 5th Battalion from early 1916. Purvis was wounded during the Battle of the Somme on the first occasion he went ‘over the top’. On that day, 15th September 1916, he had recorded history’s first tank attack in pen and ink in the early light of dawn. Two well known war poems, ‘High Wood’ and ‘Chance Memory’, originally published under the pseudonym Philip Johns(t)one are now known to have been written by Purvis.
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Captain Thomas Ernest Dufty 5th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment Captain Dufty was born in on the 30th of June 1880. His father was Arthur Richard Sykes Dufty and his mother was called Katie. He was educated at Pocklington Grammar School. He joined the 5th Battalion in 1912 and became a lieutenant in June 1913. Prior to this his profession was as a banker and manager of the Bridlington branch of the London Joint Stock Bank. Dufty was promoted to Captain on the 18th of April 1915. He was reported as killed in action on or about the 19th of May 1915 (killed by a shell). His Battalion had been deployed to Sanctuary Wood (1.9 miles east of Ypres). He left a widow, Beatrice, and a 4-year-old son Arthur Richard. He is buried at the Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery in Belgium and commemorated at the Manor Road Cemetery Scarborough.
John was born on the 4th January 1890 at East Witton in North Yorkshire and was the eldest son of John and Annie Maughan. They lived at Abbey Hill, a large house overlooking Jervaulx Abbey near Middleham, North Yorkshire. John senior was the agent for the Jervaulx estate. John was educated at Marlborough College. He was gazetted to a commission in the 4th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment in 1909 and was promoted Captain on the 3rd November 1914. John went to France in April 1915 and was in action at the 2nd Battle of Ypres just a few days later. His distinguished service during this action resulted in him being ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’ by Sir John French. On the 12th February 1916 the Battalion occupied trenches around Hill 60 near Ypres. Work was ongoing repairing trenches when on the 14th February the Germans began to bombard them. The enemy also exploded a mine which killed thirteen men. On the 17th February, ironically regarded as a relatively quiet day, some minor shelling resulted in John being hit and killed by shrapnel. Captain John Maughan was buried in Poperinghe New Military Cemetery. John’s name is commemorated on the War Memorial at East Witton.
Paul Goad of Frenchgate told us about his Great-Uncle, Henry Jesse Richardson. Henry was born in March 1889 in Hailsham, East Sussex, where he lived prior to enlistment. In the 1911 census he gave his profession as Mat Making, his Father William, being a Mat Weaver at that time. Hailsham had a vibrant string, twine and rope based industry at the time from which they gained their employment. Henry enlisted in 1916 at Purfleet and joined the 13th London Regiment (Princess Louise’s Kensington Battalion). Henry’s Service medal and Award Rolls show that he served on the Western Front from September 1st 1916 until his death on August 16th 1917 at the Battle of Langemarck. During his time in theatre Henry’s Battalion were in action at the Battles of Ginchy, Flers-Courcelette and Morval in 1916 and the Second Battle of Arras in 1917. Henry’s burial spot is at Ypres, Arrondissement Ieper, West Flanders Belgium. He is also remembered on the roll of Hailsham War Memorial.