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
Percy Raworth was Judith Farrar’s grandfather’s cousin, she visited the museum to tell us his story. Percy Raworth was born in 1890 and attended Elmfield College in York. His father William ran a local building firm, and later became a local Councillor in Harrogate. By 1911 Percy was a Joiners’ apprentice and well on the way to joining the family firm. His career seems to have taken a side track as he was working as a ‘Stock Keeper’ at his brother-in-laws leather warehouse at Rushden, Northamptonshire when he enlisted. Originally a member of the Machine Gun Corps, Percy went on to serve with the Tank Corps, specifically, ‘D’ Brigade and win the Military Medal. The Rushden Echo of 10th November 1916 notes that he: Has been in action several times with the ‘Tanks’, once he was four hours under fire digging the ‘Tank’ out of a German dug-out into which it has sunk. On another occasion the ‘Tank’ caught fire, and Private Raworth and his driver got the military medal.’ Percy died on 23rd September 1917 of wounds he received during a German air raid. It seems that his tank again became grounded and whilst Percy was digging it out German aircraft attacked. Capt. F. A. Robinson wrote to Percy’s father: ‘…he was struck by an enemy bomb. He was made as comfortable as humanly possible under the circumstances, and you will doubtless find some consolation in the knowledge that he did not appear to feel very much pain……our experiences…
Sergeant John (Jack) Charlton joined the Army as a Territorial in 1908 when he enlisted in the 4th Battalion, Alexandra, Princess of Wales’ Own Yorkshire Regiment (The Green Howards). He served on the Western Front from April 1915 where he had a distinguished career, earning a Distinguished Conduct Medal and being Mentioned in Despatches in 1917. One particular act stands out from his memoirs which earned him a commendation from his Commanding Officer was while serving at the Arras Front while he was in charge of Battalion communications. After heavy shelling cut phone lines he used a Lucas Day Light Signalling Lamp to request an artillery barrage to defend the HQ from German gas shells. This Lamp was donated to the Museum and can be seen on display. Jack also suffered injuries during his service, firstly in April 1915 when he was gassed at Zillibeck and another, more serious gas attack got him sent home towards the end of 1917 where he remained for the rest of the War. While on Leave in 1916 Jack got engaged to Phillis Blow but they didn’t get married until 1918 after we was sent home. During 1918 he attended various training courses including a Signals Course at the Armoury School near Dunstable but before he was able to finish the Armistice was signed and so he was demobbed at Hornsea.
Jane Metcalfe visited the museum and outlined the story of her father, John Smith. He was born in Dundee, Forfar in 1883. After working as a boilermaker, he joined the Royal Engineers on 1 September 1909 and remained in military service until 31 January 1930. He spent time at Catterick Camp one hundred years ago at the time of the garrison’s founding. During the First World War John served in Egypt, before being transferred to the British Expeditionary Force in France. He became a Lance Corporal, and was promoted to Sergeant in April 1917. His record was ‘Exemplary’, and he was described as ‘Extremely honest, sober and reliable. A good organiser and very good in charge of men.’ 1852361 Sergeant John smith was awarded the 1914 Star, the British War medal, the Victory medal, the General Service medal and the Long Service and Good Conduct medal.