Information submitted by John Holdsworth.
Edoardo Giovanoli was born in Samedan, Switzerland in April 1889, but by around 1907 he had moved to Filey in Yorkshire to work with a relative to learn the art of confectionery. Following the outbreak of the First World War, Edoardo decided to become a Naturalised British Citizen, which would allow him to fight for his adopted country.
He joined the 5th Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment as 3072 Lance Corporal E Giovanoli in 1915. On 20th September Edoardo was wounded while in the trenches outside of Armentieres, receiving gunshot wounds to the left arm and the neck. After hospitalisation and convalescence (during which time he met his newly born daughter, Dorothy) Edoardo returned to the front in 1916, attaining the rank of Corporal some time after this. Having spent most of the war in Belgium and France, it seems that Edoardo may have been used as an interpreter during the latter part of the conflict on the Italian-Austrian Front.
Following the war the family moved to Bradford, and Edoardo worked as a Master Baker for Clark’s High Class Confectioners on North Parade. He became ill in 1927 and was admitted to St Luke’s Hospital. He died on 13th August and his death certificate records that the war wounds sustained 12 years earlier were the cause of his death.
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Richard Oliver was 22 years old when he enlisted at Cramlington in September 1914. He was from Esh Winning, Crook, Co. Durham and was a miner. He enlisted in the Northumberland Fusiliers but was posted to the Yorkshire Regiment. He served in the 9th and 10th Battalions and whilst with the 10th Battalion in 1915 he was awarded the Military Medal. He served in France and Italy and became disabled due to the effects of gassing. He was discharged in March 1920 and was initially given a pension of 8 shillings a week, but this was subsequently withdrawn and his appeal rejected. He left the army as a Corporal, he served in France from 1915 to 1917 and on the Italian Front from November 1917 until December 1918.
Phyllis was born in Dowlais, Glamorganshire, Wales in 1892, the daughter of Margaret Jane and David Thomas Jenkins. She joined the British Red Cross on the 21st of January 1918. Subsequently, she was stationed as a Voluntary Aid Detachment Nurse in the Other Empire Force, British Red Cross, Catterick Camp. Surviving photographs imply that Phyllis was part of the dental team stationed at Catterick. Phyllis volunteered at Catterick Camp until the 14th February 1919.
Bert Brocklesby, a school teacher from Doncaster, applied for exemption from military service early in 1916 on religious grounds. Bert went before his local and appeal Tribunals in February and April 1916, and was given exemption from Combatant Service Only by both. To Bert, this was an unacceptable decision – joining the Army, even in a Non-Combatant role meant going against his deeply held conscientious belief that war in all forms was a crime. He was arrested as an absentee after refusing to obey the order to report to his nearby barracks to be enlisted into the Non Combatant Corps. Bert refused to compromise his principles in any way, and did not even take the step of signing his Army papers – denying the military authorities even this rudimentary control over his life. For making this stand, and for disobeying other orders, Bert was Court Martialled and would soon become one of a group of Absolutists (known as the ‘Richmond 16’) sent to France from Richmond Castle, Yorkshire, as military prisoners. It seems that Bert managed to drop a cleverly edited field service postcard out of the train while being transferred to France for further punishment. This postcard alerted Bert’s local MP (who sympathised with the principles behind Bert’s objection to military service) that men were being transferred to the combat zone, where, considered to be on active service, they could be sentenced to death for disobeying orders. Bert would find this out on arrival at Henriville Camp, Northern France….