Submitted by Paul Elliott.
George was a Great Uncle, the younger brother of my paternal Grandmother. I had no knowledge of his existence until recently. He lived in Church Street, Rothwell, Leeds, was married in December 1914 to Jane Ann Ambler and worked as a miner.
He joined the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (regimental number 25522) in September 1915 at Pontefract. He was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps (35672) in December 1915 and went to France in May 1916 with the 40th Company. He is one of the people whose Full Service Record survives. It shows that he had two sons, Alan born in 1915, and George born in March 1917. He died of wounds in April 1918 having served in France and Belgium. He is not commemorated on the Rothwell War Memorial. He was buried at Outtersteene Communal Cemetery Extension, Bailleul.
His wife received a pension of 25 shillings and 3 pence a week and inherited £1- 6s with a gratuity of £11-10s. He appeared on the Yorkshire Evening Post Roll of Honour on 4th May 1918, described as a driver and having died of wounds.
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Edmund was born around 1885. Little is known of Edmund’s early life. In 1901 the sixteen year old Edmund was living at Park House, the Gayle home of a local solicitor called Simon Willan. Edmund worked there as an office boy. By the beginning of the war Edmund was married to Agnes Waggett and had a son, William, and a daughter, Nora. By then Edmund was employed in helping to run Strands Farm at Simonstone near Hardraw. Edmund enlisted at Leyburn joining the 9th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. Private Edmund Staveley was killed on the 9th June 1917 during The Battle of Messines. He was 32 years old. He is buried in the Military Cemetery at Poperinge. Edmund’s brother, Lister, had already been killed the previous year during the Somme offensive.
Vicki Walker of Little Crakehall called into the museum to show us a photograph of Duncan Harvie, her grandfather. The photo is a postcard addressed to ‘Mary and Sam’, sent on 3 April 1916 and shows a group of Signallers on board HMS Laconia. Duncan Harvie (5th South African Regiment) is sat at the front of the group with crossed legs. The ship’s log shows the Laconia (an armed merchant cruiser) to be anchored at Zanzibar on that date, on it’s way to British East Africa (now Kenya). The ship was used in the early part of the war to patrol the South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean, but in April 1915 her role changed and she was used as a headquarters ship to aid in the fight in German East Africa. Following her return to to Cunard, the Laconia was sunk by U-50 160 miles northwest of Fastnet while returning form the United States on 25th February 1917. Twelve people were killed following a double torpedo strike.
Born in Church Fenton, Yorkshire in 1889, Leonard Yorke’s life was to come to a tragic conclusion ten years after the First World War came to an end. In his early years, Leonard lived in Castleford, the son of a Station Master with the NER. He moved to London to become an Electrical Engineer and following the outbreak of war was gazetted as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 4th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment. By May he was in Belgium where on 24th and 25th the 4th Battalion were involved in heavy fighting. 2nd Lt Yorke was pulled out of the line due to being a vicitm of the first gas attack of the war, not returning to front line duties until August 1915. In late 1916 he was promoted to Lieutenant and by June 1917 he had attained the rank of Captain. His Military Cross citation of 28th September 1918 states that he “displayed great courage in the leading of his platoon at a time of exceptional difficulty and danger…..He was seriously wounded during the action”. The Yorkshire Post of 11 October 1918 reported “Capt. Leonard James Yorke, Yorkshire Regiment, son of Mr James Yorke, 19 South End Avenue, Darlington, has been wounded and is in hospital abroad”. After two years in hospital, Yorke was invalided out of the army. Leonard Yorke returned to London after leaving the army, but couldn’t cope following the stresses of war. On May 2nd 1929, Yorke shot himself on Hampstead Heath. At the inquest his…