Erasmus Darwin was born on the 7th December 1881 in Cambridge and lived at ‘The Orchard’. He was the only son of Horace Darwin FRS (Fellow of the Royal Society) who was Chairman of the Cambridge Scientific Society. He was also the grandson of the famous naturalist Charles Darwin.
Erasmus was educated at Horris Hill School near Newbury and at Marlborough. He then went on to Trinity College, Cambridge University to study Mathematics. On leaving Cambridge he worked at Mather and Platts in Manchester, a hydraulics and pump engineering company. He then moved on to work for Bolckow, Vaughn & Co Ltd Iron and Steel in Middlesbrough, whereby, at the outbreak of the war he was Secretary of the Company. He lived at the time at Saltburn on the north east Yorkshire coast.
As soon as war broke out he joined up and was gazetted on the 12th September 1914 as a 2nd Lieutenant the 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. Apparently just before he left England he was summoned to the War Office and offered a Staff appointment at home in connection to munitions work. Though the work was important he opted to stay with his unit making the case that there were plenty of older men equally qualified for the work.
The 4th Battalion arrived in France on the 18th April 1915 and were straight away into the 2nd Ypres offensive which started on the 22nd April. The Battalion was involved in the Battle of St Julien in the heart of the Ypres Salient. During an attack at a location called Fortuin on the 24th Erasmus was killed. His commanding office, Colonel Bell, said of him: ‘Loyalty, courage and devotion to duty, he had them all. He died in an attack that gained many compliments to the Battalion. He was right at the front. It was a man’s death’.
Erasmus has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate. He was 33 years of age.
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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…
Thomas Holman, great-grandfather of Carl Watts, the Green Howard Museum’s Learning Officer, worked as a boiler maker at the Wellington Foundry in Lincoln. At the outbreak of war the company which owned the foundry, Fosters, converted production from agricultural vehicles to war machinery. It was here that the first tanks were developed under the management of William Tritton. Secrecy was of the utmost importance, and the original code name for the revolutionary new vehicle was ‘The water-carrier for Mesopotamia and Russia’. Bill Rigby, chief draughtsman and designer recounted in the mid-1980s that eventually a group of the boiler makers came to is office, fed up with the long winded code name. Their suggestion that it should just be referred to as ‘the bl**dy tank!’ has stuck with the vehicle and its successors ever since. Thomas Holman is pictured with colleagues back row, third from the left in front of ‘Lurcher’ a Mark IV male tank in November 1917. His brother George Edward Holman served with the 6th battalion Lincolnshire Regiment at Gallipoli, Egypt and France. The efforts of the brothers were combined on 15 September 1916, as 6th Lincs were at the Battle of Flers Courcelette – the first battle to see the use of the tank.
Wilfred Wood, an employee of the North Eastern Railway before the outbreak of war, served with the 5th battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. His commanding officer, 2nd Lt G H Smith wrote the following to his father: “Dear Mr Wood – It is with deep regret that I inform you of the death in action of your son, Pte. W. Wood. He was instantaneously killed on the morning of the 19th instant by a whizz-bang shell, which dropped into the trench he was in; he was buried behind the line on the 20th, and a good cross is being erected to his memory. Words cannot express how deeply I feel for you in your great loss. He was a good soldier, and always kept up bright spirits. The men of my platoon join me in the deepest sympathy for you” 240637 Private W Wood died on 19 July 1917 and is buried at Heninel Communal Cemetery Extension.