Information submitted by Mrs Drury of Richmond.
Arthur Selwyn Morley MC was one of nine children of a Weardale hill farmer who sold up in 1894 and moved to Houghton-le-spring, County Durham. Arthur ran with the Houghton and District Harriers. When war broke out Arthur and three of his five brothers joined up. His regiment was the Durham Light Infantry and he did his training at Bullswater Camp, Woking, Surrey when he was a Lance Corporal in 1914, before he proceeded to the Flanders trenches. On one of his precious leaves he married in haste, as many soldiers did who had seen the countless deaths and injuries and knew their own chances of survival were not good.
On one occasion in the trenches Arthur took command of his company, being a temporary Second Lieutenant, when senior officers became casualties. He led several attacks on an enemy position and behaved with great coolness and courage until his battalion was relieved. For this conspicuous gallantry he was awarded the Military Cross, but only weeks later he was killed and never got the chance to see his daughter.
His name is on the Menin Gate. His elder brother William had a son soon after Arthur’s death and named that son for Arthur.
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Elizabeth Jane Griffiths known as Batchie Born in Llandingat, Carmarthenshire, in 1899. Batchie was enrolled with the Red Cross at the age of 18 and served as a VAD for just over a year. She was stationed at Catterick Military Hospital as a clerk. After her time at Catterick Camp, she returned to North Wales and married Emlyn James. Just before Christmas 1946, the British authorities relaxed the rules on contacts between British people and German prisoners of war. Emlyn and Batchie James were among the many British families who invited German prisoners to their home on Christmas day. From then on they invited two German prisoners from the camp at Castle Martin to their home in Pembroke every fortnight. Each time a prisoner was moved to a different camp, another would take his place, and so over time they got to know many Germans. Batchie and Emlyn received a letter from the Secretary of State for War refusing permission for two German prisoners of war, Helmut Grothe and Joachim Becker, to visit before returning to Germany. These two prisoners had been among those whom Emlyn and Batchie James had invited to their home in Pembroke. This information provided by Alathea Anderssohn (granddaughter of Batchie Griffiths) has been drawn from the Imperial War Museum’s ‘Lives of the First World War’ archive.
John was born on the 8th August 1855, the only son of Robert and Mary Lodge of ‘The Rookery’ Bishopdale near Aysgarth. He was educated at St. Peter’s School York and admitted to Gonville and Caius College Cambridge. He graduated MA in 1879 and called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1883. At 18 John joined the 5th West York Militia, which became the 3rd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment in 1881. He would serve with the Battalion in the 2nd Boer War (1899-1902). From 1906 until retirement in 1912 he would be the Battalion Commander. At the outbreak of the Great War John offered his services and returned to his old Battalion as Major, remaining with it until May 5th 1916 when he was appointed to the command of a Garrison Battalion. This he held until the time of his death. He had been associated with the Yorkshire Regiment for 43 years. As Squire of Bishopdale, Colonel Lodge was JP for the North Riding and was on the Yorkshire Fisheries Board. He was a skilled angler and marksman. John never married. He died after a short illness on the 23rd August 1917 aged 60. The house ‘The Rookery’ which the family had built in mid Victorian times was demolished in the 1920s.
Lieutenant Thomas Ginger. Signals Officer. 4th Battalion. Thomas Ginger was awarded the Military Cross as a result of his bravery during the German ‘Spring Offensive’ of March 1918. In the citation for his award it describes how ‘On the first day his senior Officers were killed and in numerous rear-guard actions he found himself in command of considerable bodies of men’. One such example is during the retreat across the River Somme near Brie, when Ginger was ordered to take his men and cover the retreat of the remains of the 50th Division. He took his tired men to the far bank and took up positions to hold the advancing Germans back. At the same Lt George Begg, 239/Field Company was wiring the bridge that the retreating men were crossing. As German troops started to appear on the horizon and the last of the Durham Light Infantry crossed the bridge, Begg primed the detonator and pressed the plunger home. Nothing happened. This was repreated three times. When the bridge did blow, Begg looked across the river to see Ginger and his men still focusing fire on their foe. Eventually Ginger managed to construct a rudimentary footbridge, allowing his men to cross to safety.