Submitted by Jon Bemrose.
Private Fred Ward (50236) born 1898 in East Yorkshire. Working as a lad porter on the railway at Ampleforth before joining up.
Joined the Green Howards at Richmond, but he was transfered to the Northumberland Fusiliers.
Fred was in France, near Arras in early 1917 – Jon states:
“The fateful day was the Battle of Arras, Easter Monday 9th April. It must have been terrible, having heard and seen all the death and destruction that had occurred before they set off at around 9:00am.
My best guess is that they reached the “Blue” line, where they were hit by machinegun fire.
Whether initially buried by shell fire or his comrades, Fred was later found and finally burried at Orchard Dump Cemetery, Arleux en Gohelle.
I visited his grave in 2016, the first of the family to do so I am led to believe.”
Explore more memories from the ribbon
Submitted by Mavis Marwood a resident of Richmond for the last 10 years. Private Joseph Snowden Atkinson (204103) was my grandfather. He was born in Gainford and lived in Ravensworth. Like his father his occupation was as a stonemason. He served in France during the war and was one of the lucky soldiers to survive the conflict. One of the images is a handmade Christmas card that he sent from the front line to my mother when she was little girl. On his return to Ravensworth he went on to become a master stonemason.
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.”
Submitted by Christine Gayton Private Alfred Arthur Hibben was my great uncle Private Hibben served in his home regiment, The 1st Battalion, Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment (R.W.K.). He was born in Dartford Kent and enlisted on the 1st of April 1914 at Gravesend Kent. He was 5 foot 4 inches tall, weighed 109 pounds and worked as a plumber’s mate. His age was stated as 17 years, 248 days but in fact, he was only aged 16 having been born in the last 3 months of 1898! He was posted to France on the 31st of January 1915, which still made him under the 19 years minimum required to fight abroad ( in reality he was still only 17). On the 22nd of July 1916 the 1st R.W.K. attacked the south east corner of High Wood. No significant gains were made in this assault but the R.W.K. suffered 420 casualties, approximately 50% of those who went over the top. Private Alfred Arthur Hibben was one of these soldiers and was therefore presumed killed on the 22nd of July 1916 aged 18 years. His body was not recovered but he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 11C, France. The photograph shows Alfred aged 2 with his parents Arthur and Elizabeth and baby sister Ivy.