Fiona Hall, Communications and Retail Manager at the Green Howards Museum submitted this story about one of the most important women of the First World War (in fact of any) era.
I’m intrigued by this local hero – a complex character.
There’s not enough space here to describe the many achievements of Gertrude Bell, and that’s not the point of this entry. Although I do recommend you take some time to acquaint yourself with her if you are not already familiar with this fascinating woman – archaeologist, mountaineer, one of the first women to gain a degree at Oxford (a First in History) but an anti-suffrage campaigner, the first to work for British military intelligence, colleague of TE Lawrence, and also the first to write a government white paper.
She was born in 1868 into the sixth richest family in England, the granddaughter of the industrialist Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell, and lived in Redcar.
When war broke out her request for a government posting to the Middle East was denied. Instead she volunteered with the Red Cross, taking charge of the missing and wounded office in Boulogne. Meanwhile her brother, Maurice, a career soldier and Boer War veteran was commanding the 4th Bn The Yorkshire Regiment on the western front. Imagine working in the environment Gertrude was working in- with the very possible chance she may have to ‘process’ information about the fate of her own brother. Maurice was in fact invalided home in 1916 and died in 1944.
In 1915 she hears of the death of the man she loves as part of casual conversation at a dinner party. A married man, Dick Doughty-Wylie was killed in the Gallipoli campaign.
Despite all this, she goes on to be a key player in the political administration of the time, writing a masterful report ‘self determination in Mesopotamia’ and is pictured in a publicity line up photo on board a camel with the pyramids in the background in an image featuring both Lawrence and Churchill at the 1921 Cairo Conference.
This resident of Redcar died from an overdose of sleeping pills in July 1926 and is buried in Baghdad. There is a stunning stained glass window in her memory in St Lawrence Church East Rounton. The family’s arts and crafts country home, Rounton Grange, wasdemolished in 1950. It was hoped at one stage her childhood home, Red Barns in Redcar might be converted into a museum but appears to be earmarked for redevelopment for housing.
Explore more memories from the ribbon
The Outhwaite family came to live in Stalling Busk in the Raydaleside area near Bainbridge in the 1730s to farm the land. Thomas’s father William had married Eleanor Pickard, a girl from Newbiggin near Aysgarth. They later lived for a time at Ingleton in the Dales where Thomas was born in 1880. Thomas would be one of 6 children. Shortly after 1880 they moved back to Stalling Busk. Thomas’s father eventually became the gamekeeper on the estate of Colonel Percy Williams, MP, of Raydale Grange. In 1905 Thomas’s brother William took over the Rope works in Hawes, which still operates today under the Outhwaite name. By now Thomas had married Gertrude Sherrington, a girl from Tunstall near Catterick and was working with his father on the Raydale Estate. Thomas enlisted in 1915 joining the 9th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. It was during The Battle of Messines in June 1917 that on the 19th Private Thomas Pickard Outhwaite was wounded, he died of his wounds later that day. He is buried at the Military Cemetery in Poperinge.
Kevin Robinson of Dalton on Tees visited the Green Howards museum to tell us about his great great grandfather, Sergeant Henry Robinson MM. Henry joined the Yorkshire Regiment (the Green Howards) as a very young man and soon left the UK to serve in the Boer War. Henry had several service numbers during his career with the earliest (and therefore a low number) being 421. On returning from the Boer war he then went to serve in the First World War both in France and Belgium, Henry and his division engaged in 2nd & 3rd Battle of Ypres, 1st & 2nd Battle of the Somme and the Battle of Arras to name a few. He is believed to have been a very accomplished horseman. His army career spanned some 4 decades as a Territorial reservist. During this time he picked up a proud chest-full of medals including the Military Medal awarded 10th October 1916. Adding a Bar to his MM in October 1918, other medals believed to be Queens South Africa Medal, 1914 Star, British War Medal, and Victory Medal with Oak Leaf (Mentioned in Despatches). Henry was also a Hero when not serving his country he was serving children with fun, Henry and his wife Elvira lived in a motor home at Derby Street / Cooper Street / Canon Street Common in Middlesbrough. They operated several fun fair rides which included swing boats and a roundabout. They continued to run the fun fair rides for several decades into the…
Submitted by David Taylor. Albert Victor Taylor was my great uncle. He was born in Middlesbrough in 1897, the son of Thomas and Margaret Taylor (nee Hill). At the age of 3 in 1901 he was living at 119, Barritt Street, Middlesbrough with his father, a steam engine fitter and his mother. By 1911 the family were living at 19, Haddon Street, Middlesbrough and Albert Victor’s Occupation was an errand boy for a leather merchant. Like many others in his age group Albert Victor Taylor followed the call to join the Colours. He became a private in 1/5th Battalion Alexandra Princess of Wales’s Own Yorkshire Regiment. His service number was 241492 and he was killed in action at Berny-en-Santerre in France on March 3rd 1917. His name is inscribed on the Thiepval Memorial.