The Stansfeld family have many connections with the regiment. Both Thomas and his brother older brother ‘Jock’ served with the regiment in 1880s and 1890s. Thomas’ son and nephew also joined the regiment and both saw action in the Second World War.
Thomas Wolryche Stansfeld was born in Leeds in 1877. He joined the regiment in 1897 and quickly rose to the rank of Captain. Stansfeld fought in the War in South Africa including the Battle of Paardeberg. Stansfeld was a skilled rider and joined the regiment’s Mounted Infantry Battalion. He was involved in many actions against the Boers, including the capture of the Elandsfontein railway station near Johannesburg. He narrowly escaped death when a bullet smashed into his cigarette case, leaving him unharmed.
Stansfeld’s battlefield experiences were a major asset to the regiment in the First World War. During the First Battle of Ypres he ordered his company to rapidly fire at different intervals; fooling the Germans into believing that they were facing a nest of machine guns. Stansfeld survived the battle and fought throughout the First World War.
After the war Stansfeld held a number of senior posts, including Commandant of the Small Arms School at Hythe. He retired from the Army in 1929 and died on the 23rd February 1935.
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Jane Metcalfe visited the museum and outlined the story of her father, John Smith. He was born in Dundee, Forfar in 1883. After working as a boilermaker, he joined the Royal Engineers on 1 September 1909 and remained in military service until 31 January 1930. He spent time at Catterick Camp one hundred years ago at the time of the garrison’s founding. During the First World War John served in Egypt, before being transferred to the British Expeditionary Force in France. He became a Lance Corporal, and was promoted to Sergeant in April 1917. His record was ‘Exemplary’, and he was described as ‘Extremely honest, sober and reliable. A good organiser and very good in charge of men.’ 1852361 Sergeant John smith was awarded the 1914 Star, the British War medal, the Victory medal, the General Service medal and the Long Service and Good Conduct medal.
Carol Sheard of Richmond shared these details with us about her grandfather. Henry Tissiman was born on 10 July 1892. Aged 22, he enlisted on 12th April 1915 at Scarborough as L/12208 Driver H Tissiman with the Royal Field Artillery. He was posted to ‘C’ Battery, 161 Brigade. He went to France on 30th December 1915 from Liverpool and landed at le Havre. He suffered the effects of gas and was briefly hospitalised on 28th February 1916. His service record details that he was granted leave to return home 17th September 1918 until the 1st October during which time he married Emily Guest. This photograph was taken on their wedding day, 21st October 1918. He died on 30th July 1992 at Harrogate.
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…