Sgt. Ernest Brooke was born in Brighthouse, Yorkshire in 1886. In civilian life Ernest worked a railway signalman.
Ernest’s medal records show he was entitled to the 1914 Star indicating that he was an ‘Old Contemptible’, part of the original British Expeditionary Force that fought in France and Belgium from August 1914.
Ernest served with the 2nd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment until his death on 4th January 1918.
The New Year 1918 that at 11pm (German midnight) on the 31st December 1917, ‘…all guns of artillery fired one round each, whilst machine guns fired two belts of ammunition each ‘to usher in the new year’.
The following day, the 2nd Battalion were relieved from the front line and relocated to ‘Hedge Street Tunnels’. On the night of the 4th of January, a fire broke out in the area of the tunnel being occupied by the Battalion, resulting the loss of a further 20 lives from the 2nd Battalion – one of those lives being Ernest Brookes’.
In accordance with his wishes, Ernest’s outstanding pay and War Gratuity, totalling £29, 7shillings and 19d to his mother, Hannah.
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Steven Shackleton told us about his great uncle, Thomas Edwards from Ironbridge. During the First World War, Tommy Edwards was a Corporal in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. Prior to the war he had served as 86589 Pte T Edwards with the Territorial Reserve Battalion. He served with the 10th KOYLI and then transfered to the 2nd KOYLI before he was killed in action on 30th September 1918, aged 19. He is buried at Bellicourt British Cemetery in France. His mother was Mrs Francis Edwards of Hoylake, Cheshire and had the following inscription added to the bottom of his headstone: ‘Peace, perfect peace’.
Major Harold Carey Matthews was born in 1879, son of F W W Matthews, he went on to join the 4th Battalion Green Howards where he acted as subaltern during the Second Boer War. After retiring from the military he worked for Barclays Bank at Leyburn, where his father also worked. When World War One broke out he re-enlisted with the Green Howards and was promoted to Major, on 29th August 1914. He was killed in action on the 25th April 1915 near Ypres and is buried at Sanctuary Wood Cemetery, Belgium.
Three members of the same family served with the Lincolnshire Regiment. Seth William George Howson served with the regiment and received both the Queens South Africa and the Kings South Africa medals for his service during the South African Wars 1899-1902. He survived and is listed as living in Lincoln in 1911 along with his wife Elizabeth and his two sons George William and Arthur Balfour. Both his sons served with the Lincolnshire Regiment during the First World War. Sgt George William Howson, the elder son, worked as a labourer and painter prior to joining the war effort. He served with C Coy of the 1st and 4th Battalions of the Lincolnshire Regiment. Sadly he was killed on 13th October 1915. He was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal posthumously and his effects were left to a Miss Sarah Ann Petty. We do not know how Miss Petty and George were related; was she a family relation or a future wife? CSM Arthur Balfour Howson MM survived the war and was awarded a Military Medal and a silver war badge in addition to the First World War medal trio. The Military Medal was awarded for bravery in battle, but no citation survives to describe the specific action for which Arthur received his. Aged 23, Arthur married Emma Eliza Stanford in 1916 in Lincoln. He worked in the manufacturing sector after the war, and is listed as in charge of Stationery & Mailing depots on the 1939 Register….