Submitted by Paul Elliott.
My Great Uncle, Ernest Scriminger was born in Leeds in 1886. He was the eldest son in a family of 4 sons and 5 daughters. he worked as a grocer’s assistant before joining the 3rd Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment and serving in the Boer War.
He enlisted in the Green Howards in November 1904. he was almost 19 years of age, but was less than 5’4″ tall and only weighted 8 stone. The 2nd Battalion spent time in India and on garrison duty in South Africa before he transferred to the reserve.
He was recalled to the regiment on the outbreak of war in 1914 and went to Belgium in the October. He would have served in the 1st Battle of Ypres and at Estaires. 1st Ypres saw the 2nd Battalion reduced in strength from 1000 men to only 300, with 250 killed and many wounded and missing.
He was reported to be involved in the action at Neuve Chappelle on 12th March 1915, in which Corporal William Anderson won the Victoria Cross. Corporal Anderson lead a bombing unit of 9 men and succeeded in driving off the enemy with his bombs and those of his injured men. He is reported to have taken a large number of prisoners. He later died attempting a similar action.
Ernest was wounded and taken prisoner. He died in a prisoner of war camp at Nider Ochtenhausen a year later. Only a week after receiving a letter from him, requesting tobacco and pipes, his parents received a letter from a Lance Corporal Hambidge of the Wiltshire Regiment, informing them of his death. he died from erysipelas, St Anthony’ Fire, a bacterial skin infection. He was buried at Hamburg, “in a manner befitting a soldier”, with the other prisoners of war in attendance.
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Si Wheeler submitted the story of his great grandfather, Dixon Overfield, but it’s also a great example of the impact of war on all those connected to the soldier who served. “Dixon was married to Margaret and they had a daughter Madge, born in 1915. Dixon enlisted in Filey in September 1916. He originally joined the Royal Field Artillery but soon got transferred to the 6th Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment. He was sent to France and saw action at Arras, before being moved to Belgium. Dixon survived this fight, but twelve days later he too was killed in action at the Battle of Poelcappelle on the 9th of October 1917 when a shell burst just above himself and several comrades. Their bodies were never recovered. Dixon is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial. Dixon’s wife died in 1924, leaving my grandmother, Madge, aged 9, an orphan. Raised by two aunts, then entering service at 13, Madge was taken under the wing of her housekeeper boss, Lizzie Andrew and became part of her extended family. Aged 18, Madge moved to London to train as a nurse, working through the Blitz and marrying a Dunkirk evacuee soldier, my granddad, Harry Wheeler. Harry didn’t mind where they settled to start married life, so they moved to Swanland in East Yorkshire, where Lizzie lived. My parents live there to this day.”
Canon John Purvis OBE (1890-1968) Canon John Purvis was an extremely talented artist and photographer. He is best remembered however for his historical and literary achievements. His translation of the original York Mystery Plays into modern English were central to their revival during the Festival of Britain in 1951. This work, along with his initiation of the Borthwick Institute for Archives in York, lead to his OBE in 1958. Purvis was born in Bridlington 1890. After studying at Cambridge University he worked at Cranleigh School as a history teacher, a role to which he would return after the First World War. He enlisted with the Yorkshire Regiment, serving with the 5th Battalion from early 1916. Purvis was wounded during the Battle of the Somme on the first occasion he went ‘over the top’. On that day, 15th September 1916, he had recorded history’s first tank attack in pen and ink in the early light of dawn. Two well known war poems, ‘High Wood’ and ‘Chance Memory’, originally published under the pseudonym Philip Johns(t)one are now known to have been written by Purvis.
William Lincoln Robinson was born in 1897, the son of a farmer. By the time of the 1911 census his mother had died and he was living with his father, and sister in Scorton, near Richmond. Robinson enlisted in 1915. At the time he was working at Kirkbank, Middleton Tyas as a gardener. He served with the 2nd and 6th Battalions of the Green Howards as a Lewis Gunner. He survived the war and was discharged from the army on the 15th February 1919. At the moment we don’t know what happened to Robinson after he left the Army. Can you help? Robinson died aged 77 in 1975.