Alfred Myers came from a large family in East Cleveland and before the war worked with two of his brothers in the ironstone mines. A member of the Independent Labour Party and a devout Wesleyan Methodist, he played a key role in his local community. He was a tenor in the Wesleyan Carlin How choir, a Sunday school superintendent and trustee of the local church.
Myer’s service record survives and records the process of his arrest and sentencing in cold, hard terms. One month after his posting he was arrested and court-martialled. Initially he was sentenced to death but this was commuted to 10 years imprisonment.
At his hearing for exemption from compulsory military service, Myers asserted his belief in an international brotherhood of man, and stated that he ‘could not conscientiously kill, nor assist in killing’. But like so many others he was only granted exemption from combatant service and was sent to the Non-Combatant Corps at Richmond Castle.
In the cells at Richmond, Myers’s tenor voice was put to good use. With two other conscientious objectors, Brocklesby and Gaudie, he sang the hymn ‘Nearer My God to Thee’ in three-part harmony. Myers’s performance wasn’t as perfect as the other prisoners hoped, however – they had to bang on the cell floor to keep him in time.
Following his ordeal with the rest of the Richmond Sixteen in France, Myers was sent first to Dyce Camp, near Aberdeen, and then Maidstone prison. Others of the Richmond Sixteen were also there, and Myers worked alongside Brocklesby in the laundry.
On his release, the effects of imprisonment were evident. Brocklesby described in his memoirs how on their journey home ‘poor old Alfred … was suffering from an emotional or nervous reaction and felt unable to go further alone’.
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Robin Snook provided this information about his great uncle, Robinson Tweedy. 3412/200048 Private Robinson Tweedy of the Yorkshire Regiment went to war with his younger brother, Charles from their home in Kirkby Fleetham. He was wounded in February 1916 near Ypres, receiving a gun shot wound to the abdomen. He was honourably discharged and returned home. he died on 14 December 1918 from his wound and laid to rest in Great Fencote’s churchyard.
Matthew Bell was born in West Scrafton, Coverdale on 21 October 1895. He served with the Yorkshire Regiment, initially joining before the war with the 4th Territorial Battalion, probably around 1912 according to his regimental number (3899). He later served with the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (235593) before returning to the Yorkshire Regiment later in the war. He went to France on the last day of September 1915 and survived the war, being awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his service. Matthew died aged only 40. Two of his children are still alive and living in Leyburn but they don’t remember him. His youngest child was born posthumously which must have been very hard for his widow.
Researched by John Mills. Born 27th of January 1880 Thomas was the son of Sergeant Valentine Goode also of the Yorkshire Regiment and his mother was called Helen. He was part of a large family; he had five brothers and two sisters. He enlisted in Richmond on the 27th of August 1897. Being a first rate rifle shot he devoted himself to musketry and became an instructor. He served throughout the whole of the Boer War with the 1st Battalion. He was awarded the Queen’s medal with 6 clasps and the King’s with 2. In 1905 he married Mary Agnes Grace Dobinson. In 1914 he was with the 1st Battalion in India, his campaign medals indicate he was in France some time after 1915. He became a 2nd lieutenant in the Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert’s). He survived the war and retired with the rank of Captain on the 8th of June 1920. He was awarded the M.B.E. on the 3rd of June 1919 for his services in connection with the war in India. He must have returned to the army to serve in World War 2 because he has campaign medals (World War 2 service medal and war medal). Perhaps this might have been in some form of instructor role.