Molly Copland visited the Green Howards Museum to tell us about her uncle Arthur Edward Arnett.
Arthur Arnett was born in Wakefield on 3rd July 1896 and was educated at Sanda Elementary School and Leeds Central High School before working as a Junior Clerk at the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. He enlisted with the 2nd Battalion, York and Lancashire Regiment on 17th February 1916, serving with the British Expeditionary Force from 28th June. Following a transfer to the 5th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment Arthur was wounded at the Somme around 11th September 1916. He spent five weeks in hospital before being sent back to England, eventually returning to France with the 6th Yorks and Lancs on 18th March 1917. After transferring to the 10th Battalion following losses at the Battle of Loos, Arthur was killed in action at Gheluvelt on 28th September 1917 and is buried at Hooge Crater Cemetery in Belgium.
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Mary Wilkinson (née Marshall and usually known as Molly) died in Winchester in 1983 at the age of 90. Mary had originally enlisted in the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry in 1912. On the outbreak of the First World War she was initially refused permission by the British Authorities to go to Belgium and so it was under the jurisdiction of the Belgian Government that she made her way across the Channel. Her medals, testament to her work during the war, are displayed in the museum’s Medal Room alongside those of her husband, Captain Wilkinson. Few FANYs, let alone women, were decorated with the Military Medal, an award earned while she was based at the hospital at Marquise in the grounds of the 1st Aeroplane Supply Depot. This location saw the most devastating German aerial attack of the war on an aviation facility. The citation for her Military Medal states “For gallantry and coolness during a bombing raid by hostile aircraft….she displayed the utmost disregard of danger, attending many serious wound cases which required skilful and immediate assistance.”
Ruth Kendon came into the museum and told us the story of her father, Reginald Howes. Reginald Howes (1889-1977) attended the University of London Officer Training Corps (OTC) between 6 May 1915 and 20 July 1916 before being commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Yorkshire Regiment on 21 July 1916. He served with the 4th Battalion as temporary Adjutant and Intelligence Officer, and was wounded on 15 September 1916 at Kemmel, just south of Ypres. Ruth remembers him saying he was wounded on the day tanks were first used. Howes was awarded the Military Cross in March 1918, for “conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty” on the Somme, during the Kaiserschlacht offensive and promoted to Captain the following month. He was taken prisoner on 27 May 1918 and released on 14 December 1918. Ruth kindly donated a number of items which belonged to her father to the museum for safekeeping.
Thomas was born around 1883 to George and Margaret Coates. George was a farm worker. By 1901 the family was living at Marsett in Raydaleside where Thomas and his two brothers, George and Albert were born. The children attended Stalling Busk School. On leaving school Thomas worked in the Council Offices in Hawes. Thomas enlisted on the 6th October 1915 joining the 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. Thomas would gain the rank of Lance Corporal. On the 26th September 1916 during the latter part of the Somme offensive Thomas won the Military Medal for bravery in the field. However, he was severely wounded. On an attack of a German trench a soldier threw a stick bomb which exploded at Thomas’s feet whereby he received serious wounds to his leg and face. Despite this he still managed to dispatch the German soldier with his bayonet and in doing so saved a colleague. Thomas spent 11 weeks at a hospital at Rouen where he underwent four operations. Two more operations followed in England before he was discharged from the Army on the 14th July 1917. Thomas eventually went back to his old job until he married Elizabeth Watson in 1921. They then went to live at The Heugh, a large isolated house above Nappa Scar near Settle in the Yorkshire Dales. They ran it as a guest house, and it was here that their two daughters, Margaret and Mary, were born. On the 21st January 1925, after only three day’s illness, Thomas died…