Diane Hawthorne sent in a request for us to look into her grandfather’s First World War service – this is what we managed to discover.
Gosnay William Riley attested on 10th December 1915 into the 11th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment at Brighouse and was assigned the regimental number 27654.
The 11th was a Home Service Battalion dealing with Drafts and Reinforcements. In September 1916 the 11th amalgamated with the 16th Durham Light Infantry as a Training Battalion thereby losing its distinct identity. At some time prior to this Gosnay transferred to the 10th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. He had been promoted to the rank of Corporal.
Sometime thereafter he transferred to the 9th York and Lancaster Regiment. His Regimental number was 34441.
On the 3rd March 1919 he became a reservist in the British Army with many thousands of others.
Explore more memories from the ribbon
Judith Farrah told us about her great-grandfather James Allen, who’s joinery business contributed to the war effort on the Home Front. “James Allen was born in 1855 in Newbiggin, Richmond. He was originally called James Thistlethwaite but changed his name to Allen, which was his stepfathers name. He apprenticed with William Raworth, learning to be a joiner, and married his daughter Matilda. By 1901 he had set up his own joinery business known as James Allen & Son Ltd and worked on the Kursaal (later known as The Royal Hall) in Harrogate.” During the First World War, James did not join the armed forces but used his joinery business to create boxes for munitions. Static trench warfare required huge numbers of shells; the First World War became a war of production. Hundreds of manufacturing companies, including James’, were commandeered for munitions production. As men were sent to the trenches, women moved into the factories. Some factories’ workforce was almost entirely female, and this was true for James’ business.
Vicky Hurwood visited the museum recently, amongst her stories was one about her grandfather Henry (Harry) Manning. 165485 Gunner Henry Manning enlisted on 6 September 1916. From his Service Record, he served with the Royal Army Service Corps for a year and 160 days and with the Royal Field Artillery for two years and 335 days. His service was undertaken in Salonica, but his record also indicates 75 days in South Russia, as part of the British force involved in the Russian Civil War (Britain aimed to thwart the Bolshevik revolution and was keen to control the oil reserves at Baku). Harry left Russia due to suffering from malaria. Vicky recounts that her grandfather was once wounded in the leg, recovered and was sent back to the front, here he found that his goat (which he kept for milk) had been eaten by his mates! He told stories of the wet and mud and fungi growing on his clothing. Also of great sacrifice. By luck his unit were camped on the top af a ravine, when the rains came hard. By morning the ravine had filled up and men, horses, gun carriages were all being swept away by the torrent. This all just seemed just like a story to Vicky at the time he told her this. For his service Harry was awarded the British War medal and Victory medal.
William was the son of William and Mary Rutley of 8 Mabal Street, Middlesbrough. He enlisted in late 1914 and was posted to the 8th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. The 8th Battalion left for France in late August 1915 and occupied trenches in the La Rolanderie and Bois-Greniers districts throughout October, November and December. William is reported to have died of wounds on December 16th. He was 22 years of age. He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He was buried at Sailly-sur-la Lys Canadian Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais.