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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John Benson Lishman was nearly 47 when he was called up to join the London Electrical Engineers in February 1918 as a Pioneer. While his War Service was relatively brief and uneventful it was the work he did before enlisting that proved to be his enduring legacy. On April 10th 1915, Lishman set up the first meeting of the 8th Darlington Scout Group with 12 members. It was his idea to provide activities for young people while their fathers were away fighting. The first thing the boys did was set up a Drum & Fife band and played concerts in aid of the Red Cross. Some of examples of the 8th’s packed programme include camping, hiking, badge work and collecting materials for the war effort, most of which they still do today. It was a sad day when the Troop learned that their Scout Master was leaving them, as this excerpt from their Log Book tells: “The lads had collected a small pocket wallet & the Secretary presented it as a small – a very small token of love & respect for the work & time spent on us by the S.M.” Lishman returned to the Group in 1919 and after a “solemn handshake” it was back to normal. Submitted by the grateful Leaders and Members of the 8th Darlington Scout Group.
Bulfin was born in Woodtown Park, Rathfarnham, Co Dublin in 1862. Although he attended Trinity College, Dublin, he did not take a degree, choosing a military career instead.He was commissioned into the Princess of Wales’s Own (Yorkshire Regiment) in 1884. After 30 years of service he became Colonel of the Regiment in 1914. As Colonel, Bulfin wanted the Regiment to stand out in the Army Lists with a more unique name. He pushed for the traditional nickname of ‘The Green Howards’ to be made official to differentiate between all the other ‘Yorkshire’ Regiments. He was finally successful in 1921, and the name lasted for the next 85 years.
Submitted by Robert Amis. Captain Henry Amis (Robert’s grandfather) was commissioned into the 5th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant on 12 March 1915, Henry Amis transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. Family legend has it that 2Lt Amis was prone to crashing, which may account for his transfer back to the Yorkshire Regiment. The then Captain Amis was again serving with the 5th Battalion when on 28 October 1917 he was wounded and evacuated, suffering from the effects of mustard gas. Once he had recovered, he returned to the front line where he faced Germany’s final throw of the dice, the so called ‘Kaiser’s battle’ which was unleashed on 21 March 1918. Henry and the 5th battalion were in the thick of the fighting; trying to hold back the German advance. On 27 May 1918 he, along with 24 other officers and 638 Other Ranks, was declared missing. Amongst the papers donated to the museum by Robert is the diary of Captain Amis’ girlfriend, Dorothy Beckton. On 10 June 1918 she wrote… ‘Telegram saying my H G missing. I felt a sort of stunned at first…A horrible time of despondency, but there is really no need. I think my darling boy is almost sure to be a prisoner in Germany. It is rather heavy waiting but as soon as I can hear that he is safe, will be alright. And we shall be able to make up afterwards. I hope they will treat the dear old…