Alfred Martlew was a member of the No-Conscription Fellowship and the Independent Labour Party. He was uncompromising in his stance against the war but despite his protestations he was ordered to join the Non-Combatant Corps. He was one of the 16 men sent from Richmond to France in May 1916.
After returning to England, Martlew was imprisoned at Winchester before being offered a place on the Home Office Scheme. This gave ‘genuine’ and ‘sincere’ conscientious objectors the opportunity to undertake civilian work under civilian control as an alternative to time in prison. Martlew worked in the quarry at Dyce Camp, spinning at Wakefield Work Centre, West Yorkshire, and tree felling in Dalswinton, Dumfries. But like many other conscientious objectors he questioned whether the work he was performing was still contributing, if indirectly, to the war effort.
In 1917 Martlew went missing from his Home Office Scheme post and travelled to York where, before the war, he had been a ledger clerk at Rowntrees Cocoa works. There he met his fiancée, Annie Leeman. He gave her his money, watch and other possessions, and told her he intended to hand himself in to the police authorities.
This was their last meeting. Just over a week later Martlew’s body was found in the River Ouse at Bishopthorpe. Although the inquest into his death returned the unresolved verdict of ‘found drowned’, the coroner thought it likely that he had taken his own life.
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Researched by John Mills. Arnold was born on the 19th January 1896 in Harrogate Yorkshire. His Army career started with the 5th Lancers with which he went to France in August 1914. He was present at the Battles of the Aisne, Ypres, Somme 1916 and Arras 1917. He transferred to the Yorkshire Regiment on the 26th September 1917 and having gained a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant and joined the 2nd Battalion on the 18th January 1918. He was promoted Lieutenant 26th March 1919, Captain 16th November 1929, Major 1st August 1938 and Lieutenant Colonel 27th December 1943. He also served in Waziristan 1913-25 and with the Shanghai Defence Force 1930-31. Between 1933 and 1936 while serving in India he played 1st class cricket for the ‘Europeans’ team. During the Second World War he commanded the 1st Battalion, The Green Howards, 1941-43 and received a DSO on the 8th November 1943. He retired from the Army as Honorary Brigadier on the 30th December 1943. He had married Constance Smith on the 6th October 1917 when they were both just 21. On the 27th January 1949 they set sail from London on the P&O liner SS Matiana for a life in Kenya where Arnold joined the Nairobi police force. He was made Assistant Superintendant of Police on the 6th January 1950, becoming Senior Superintendant on the 1st January 1956. He was there during the early years of the Mau-Mau Rebellion. He died at Malton Yorkshire on the 13th November 1972.
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.
Submitted by Paul Elliott. My Great Uncle, Ernest Scriminger was born in Leeds in 1886. He was the eldest son in a family of 4 sons and 5 daughters. he worked as a grocer’s assistant before joining the 3rd Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment and serving in the Boer War. He enlisted in the Green Howards in November 1904. he was almost 19 years of age, but was less than 5’4″ tall and only weighted 8 stone. The 2nd Battalion spent time in India and on garrison duty in South Africa before he transferred to the reserve. He was recalled to the regiment on the outbreak of war in 1914 and went to Belgium in the October. He would have served in the 1st Battle of Ypres and at Estaires. 1st Ypres saw the 2nd Battalion reduced in strength from 1000 men to only 300, with 250 killed and many wounded and missing. He was reported to be involved in the action at Neuve Chappelle on 12th March 1915, in which Corporal William Anderson won the Victoria Cross. Corporal Anderson lead a bombing unit of 9 men and succeeded in driving off the enemy with his bombs and those of his injured men. He is reported to have taken a large number of prisoners. He later died attempting a similar action. Ernest was wounded and taken prisoner. He died in a prisoner of war camp at Nider Ochtenhausen a year later. Only a week after receiving a letter from…