Gilbert Davison Pitt Eykyn was born at the France Lynch parsonage in Gloucestershire on the 22nd August 1881. He was baptised on the 29th September 1881. He was the only son of the late Reverend Pitt Eykyn. His father at the time of his death was Chaplain at Parel Bombay. Gilbert married Emily Constance on the 28th November 1902 and a son, Duncan Arthur, was born on the 11th August. The 1911 census shows that Duncan was born Poona in India. At some point after the family returned to England they moved to Northallerton in North Yorkshire.
Gilbert was a career soldier. He was also a gifted linguist, having passed Army exams in Russian, French and Hindustani. He received his first commission with the 3rd Loyal North Lancashire Regiment in 1899. He then joined the 4th Manchester Battalion in May 1901 and was promoted to Lieutenant on the 24th December 1901. He joined the Royal Scots on the 4th February 1905 attaining the rank of Captain on the 26th June 1913. On the 13th February 1913 he was appointed adjutant to the 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment in Northallerton. During his military career he had served in India and saw action in the 2nd Boer War (1899-1902).
Gilbert was with the 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment when they arrived in France just prior to the 2nd Ypres offensive. He was killed leading his men in the storming of St Julien on the 24th April 1915. He was 34 years old. Gilbert has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate.
In a letter to his wife his Colonel wrote: ‘You remember he trained the Battalion, and the General has personally thanked us for our behaviour at a critical moment. His is our credit.’
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Submitted by Michael Kent. Joseph Hatton was my dad. I only recently learnt about his early life. Dad never spoke about the First World War. He was born 20 February 1896 in Bradford and had three sisters and two brothers. My dad never told me that grandad was a train driver in the 1890’s, or that I had a half brother born in 1915, that he lost his father in 1919 and his wife, when he was in his early twenties. I do not know what happened or where he went from 1922 until 1950 when he was living in London where I was born thirty years later, in 1952. 10724 Private Joseph Hatton was recruited in Yorkshire in August 1914 and served in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (3rd West Riding) as a Reserve. After training in England he was sent to the Western Front in 1915. In May of that year he was poisoned by gas. My dad didn’t die, unlike so many around him who suffered this cruel death, but he was evacuated via Boulogne to Manchester Western General Hospital to recover. He was posted again in December 1915. In March 1916 he was then posted to the 9th Battalion and embarked for France again in April. He had a few days leave in Etaples and then returned to the front. He was wounded in July 1916 by a shell explosion killing many men. Dad lost his hand. He was put on a train back to England….
Maureen Hunt told us about her grandfather, William Smith. William was born around 1883 in Wirksworth, Derbyshire and worked as a bath attendant at Matlock before the war. He volunteered early in the war and possibly joined the High Peak Rifles (later 6th battalion, Sherwood Foresters). He recounted to his family the horrors of war, having fought at the Battle of Ypres. Later in life he complained of chest pains as a result of having been gassed in the trenches. He was taken prisoner by the Germans on 21 March 1918, during the German Spring Offensive. He did not return to England until 1919. Gardening became a favourite pastime, helping him to cope with the mental and physical scars of war. William died in 1962 at almost 80 years of age.
When Edward Pickard died in 1928 at the age of 56 he had given 36 years of his life to the Green Howards. Most of the town of Richmond turned out to his funeral on Friday July 21st with the mourners being headed by General Sir Edwin Bulfin, Colonel of the Regiment from 1914 to 1939. Edward Pickard enlisted as a Green Howard in 1891, and rapidly rose through the ranks. He was one of very few officers to fight with his unit throughout the First World War, during which he served as Quarter Master to the 2nd Battalion. Pickard was the first Green Howard to fire at the enemy in the First World War – shooting two Uhlans (German mounted lancers) while trying to allocate billets to his men in Ypres! His ‘batman’ or servant, Charles Porteous Hellings who was with Pickard for a total of 14 years survived the war and is pictured here with Pickard in the grounds of the Depot in Richmond.