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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Alyson Swift contacted us through our website to tell us about her great grandfather, John Mattison. John was from Richmond and was called up on 10th May 1917, joining the Royal Flying Corps. While he may look very smart in what is known as his ‘Maternity’ pattern tunic and side cap, Alyson wanted to draw a different aspect of his role in the First World War to our attention: “He was an entertainer in the the camp concert party. He and his party won a talent contest at the Croydon Empire Theatre. He sang ‘the Laddies who fought and won’ and ‘keep right on to the End of the Road’ for which they won 20 pound!!”
When Edward Pickard died in 1928 at the age of 56 he had given 36 years of his life to the Green Howards. Most of the town of Richmond turned out to his funeral on Friday July 21st with the mourners being headed by General Sir Edwin Bulfin, Colonel of the Regiment from 1914 to 1939. Edward Pickard enlisted as a Green Howard in 1891, and rapidly rose through the ranks. He was one of very few officers to fight with his unit throughout the First World War, during which he served as Quarter Master to the 2nd Battalion. Pickard was the first Green Howard to fire at the enemy in the First World War – shooting two Uhlans (German mounted lancers) while trying to allocate billets to his men in Ypres! His ‘batman’ or servant, Charles Porteous Hellings who was with Pickard for a total of 14 years survived the war and is pictured here with Pickard in the grounds of the Depot in Richmond.
Submitted by Pat Burgess. The Graham family were local to Barnard Castle, they lived on The Bank, where father John had a chemist and grocery business. John Austin was born on 2 March 1872. After his time at school from 1886 until 1889, he took a Electrical Engineering apprenticeship. Later he started an electrical business with his brother – Graham Brothers Electrical Engineers in Middlesbrough. He was secretary of the Saltburn R.N.L.I. and a gifted operatic singer. Serving as a territorial captain, Austin Graham was with the 4th battalion when war broke out in August of 1914. He landed with the battalion at Boulogne on April 18th 1915 when the battalion was almost straight away thrown into the 2nd battle of Ypres. On April 24th Captain Graham and his men had their first taste of action in fierce fighting during the Battle of St Julien. On Whit Monday 1915 the battalion were in trenches astride the Menin Road at Hooge and Austin Graham was badly gassed and hospitalised with his injuries. In early 1918 the battalion were back in the Ypres sector and when the German Spring Offensive opened on March 21st they were in a position close to Hancourt. There followed nine days of fighting on the retreat under the enemy onslaught. A brief rest at Bethune followed this and then on April 8th the battalion was moved up to take part in the Battle of the Lys. By now CO of the 4th battalion Major Austin Graham was…