Betty was born on the 3rd September 1896 in Clifton in the Bootham area of York. She came from a well off middle class background and was educated at home until she was 14 whereby she was despatched to boarding school at St Georges Wood in Haslemere Surrey. From school she went to Brussels to study music. In 1913 the family moved to Harrogate where Betty’s father, Arthur, established himself as a leading estate agent. Betty had a younger brother born in 1901, James Arthur Radford, in which in her letters referred to him as JARS.
Both Betty’s parents were active supporters of the YMCA. Her mother Catherine served throughout the war as chair of the YMCA’s Women’s Auxiliary. Betty appears to have acquired early in her life a high sense of civic duty. Betty and her parents were part of the group that travelled to London to help with the Belgium Relief Fund after the outbreak of WW1. They would be involved in the transferring of refugee families to the Harrogate area from their encampment at Alexandra Palace.
In January 1916 one of Betty’s aunts went to France to manage a YMCA canteen and Betty was determined to join her. She set off on February 11th, aged 19, to join her in the St Denis Hut outside Paris. She completed her time at St Denis, took some home leave and returned to France to become a driver at Etaples in April 1917. Betty was extremely young at the time to be a driver, and her main duties involved transporting people to YMCA events such as lectures and convert parties, delivering stores, and taking relatives to visit their wounded family in hospitals and to attend funerals. Driving conditions at the time were exhausting, terrible roads, open topped vehicles in all weathers, and could be close to the front line.
The German spring offensive on 1918 had seen Etaples come under constant threat from air raids. During one such raid on the 30th May Betty was killed. She had been driving back from a train station with other workers and even though they had taken shelter under a bank a bomb would take her life. Betty was posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre and is buried at the military cemetery in Etaples. She was just 21 years old.
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Walter Gorner Barker was born in Richmond on 2 August 1889. For a time he lived with his family at 71 Frenchgate. He worked as a footman for Sir Mark Sykes at the family seat, Sledmere House near Driffield. Sykes was Commanding Officer of the 5th (Territorial) Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment before the war. It seems that Walter may have served as a territorial soldier before the war (he has a low early regimental number 2274 which is then revised later to 240643). He enlisted at Scarborough and became a Private in the 5th battalion. Walter died on 27 May 1918, south of Craonnne. Prior to this, the battalion war diary records several days as ‘day quiet in trenches’ before the ominous entry for 26th May – ‘”Stood to” at night owing to information received that enemy attack was to be delivered on morning of 27th May’. The diary records that the bombardment began at 1 am with the enemy attacking at 4.30am. The battle lasted for four days. Walter Gorner Barker is commemorated on the Soissons Memorial in France.
Ernest Pigg was the son of James and Maria Louise Pigg of 7 Langley Avenue, Thornaby on Tees. He enlisted in late 1914 and was posted to the 8th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. The 8th Battalion left for France in late August 1915 and took over trenches in the area of La Rolanderie and Bois-Greniers. Having been in France for only one month 11605 Private Ernest Pigg is reported to have died of wounds on 28th September. He was buried at Sailly-sur-la-Lys Canadian Cemetery in the Pas-de-Calais. He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His effects, which were left to his father James, constituted £2-2s and a gratuity of £3-10s.
John Lionel Calvert Booth – research by John Broom Born in Catterick Village in 1876, he worked as a farmer and then became a 2nd Lieutenant in the Yorkshire Regiment 1897. He was the son of John Bainbridge and Margaret Alice who in 1881 were living at Killerby Hall, Killerby, Yorkshire. He had served 15 years as captain with the Yorkshire Regiment.He also appears to have been the editor of a book called ‘Sporting Rhymes and Pictures’ in 1898. Booth married in 1905. His two sons were born in 1906 and 1909. During the Boer and the Balkan Wars between Bulgaria and Turkey (1904 and 1909) he served as a war correspondent and artist, representing ‘The Graphic’ in the latter. In 1909 he was severely wounded at Constantinople. He also contributed to ‘Punch’, the satirical magazine and was author and illustrator of ‘Trouble in the Balkans’. In 1912 he began farming in Australia and later became a Boy Scout troop leader. At the time of his enlistment into the AIF he lived with his wife Margaret Caroline at The Cottage, Serpentine Road, Albany, New South Wales. He embarked from Freemantle on H.M.A.T. A7 Medic on the 2nd November 1914 for the Mediterranean. He was wounded in action near the Dardanelles on the 25th April 1915. On 1st May he died of his wounds while bound for Malta on Hospital Ship “Mashroba” and was buried at sea. He was Mentioned in Despatches.