Fred was the youngest son of Joseph Shields, a Castle Bolton plumber and tinsmith. He was born around 1897. The 1911 census shows the family as having 3 children, Alice, 28, Joseph, 26, and Fred, 14, with his wife Elizabeth. They lived in a section of Bolton Castle, acting as caretakers, with Elizabeth providing refreshments for visitors. They also had a tinsmith’s shop in a building across from the castle making kettles and pans etc. which today is a storeroom.
Fred enlisted at Northallerton on the 7th December 1915 and joined the 8th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. Early in July 1917 Fred arrived with a detachment of men at Steenvoorde in northern France adjacent the Belgium border in the area west of Ypres. It was during the 3rd Battle of Ypres, better known as Passchendaele, that Private Fred Kilding Shields was killed. A shell burst in the trench where Fred and 3 others died, He was just 21 years old.
Fred is buried at Tyne Cot Cemetery.
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Bulfin was born in Woodtown Park, Rathfarnham, Co Dublin in 1862. Although he attended Trinity College, Dublin, he did not take a degree, choosing a military career instead.He was commissioned into the Princess of Wales’s Own (Yorkshire Regiment) in 1884. After 30 years of service he became Colonel of the Regiment in 1914. As Colonel, Bulfin wanted the Regiment to stand out in the Army Lists with a more unique name. He pushed for the traditional nickname of ‘The Green Howards’ to be made official to differentiate between all the other ‘Yorkshire’ Regiments. He was finally successful in 1921, and the name lasted for the next 85 years.
Herbert Webb was born in Richmond on 5th April 1882. He followed his father, James into the Green Howards. Joining as a boy in 1900, promotion soon followed and he attained the rank of Col Sergt Major by October of 1914. Attached to the 5th Battalion the Northumberland Fusiliers between May 1916 and October 1917 in order to improve disipline. Webb was present at the Battles of the Somme 1916, Arras 1917 and Ypres 1917. He was wounded at Armentieres on 11th April 1918 while acting as Adjutant to the 4th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment. Webbs was twice mentioned in dispatches and eventually promoted to a commission. After returning to the line Herbert was again wounded and taken prisoner at Chemin des Dames on 27th May 1918. German POW camp records show that he was moved by July to a camp at Limburg, to the West of Frankfurt and then via two others until by November 4th 1918 he was in a Camp, Kamstigall, on a spit of land far to the East just West of present day Kallingrad, in Russia. At that time it was in Poland and called Pillau, now Baltiysk. He survived his time in the German prison camps and retired in March 1920.
Submitted by Pam Reed – William was her first cousin once removed. William Billam was born Robert William Beckwith Earsdon in Jarrow on 17 September 1893. By 1906 his mother and stepfather Elizabeth and George Billam had moved to Hinderwell, 8 miles north of Whitby. In 1911 William was living with them and had taken his stepfather’s surname of Billam. In 1913 William married Ada Simpson and continued to live in the same village. On the outbreak of the First World War he enlisted on 15 August 1914 at Whitby as 12122 Private Billam in the 11th Reserve Cavalry Regiment. However on 1 November 1914 he was discharged as ‘being unlikely to make an efficient soldier’. Having failed to make the grade in the cavalry, he promptly volunteered for the infantry . At the end of 1914 he enlisted again at Whitby as 18687 Private Billam in the 2nd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. William was killed on 1st July 1916, first day of the Battle of the Somme. He was buried in the Dantzig Alley British Cemetary in Mametz along with 2052 other British soldiers. His name is on the Hinderwell War Memorial. He left a widow and 2 year old daughter. Extract from the Whitby Gazette Friday 18 August 1916 as follows:- Killed in action on July 1st. Private William Billam, aged 22 years. He was the first to enlist from Hinderwell on August 15th 1914. “His country called and he answered”