Hugh Bernard (Bobby) Morkill
Hugh was born on the 1st October 1896 at Austhorpe Lodge, Whitkirk, Leeds. His father, John William Morkill, had married Hannah Shaw Hobson in Edinburgh in 1889 and they would have 4 children, Hugh being the third youngest.
Hugh, like his father, was educated at Radley College Oxford enrolling there in 1910. He was a keen sportsman, being part of the College cricket XI in 1915 and a member of the first ever Rugby XV in 1914. During 1915 he was a college prefect. After college he enrolled at Sandhurst and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in December 1915. On the 22nd December 1915 he joined the Yorkshire Regiment.
In 1916 he was in India with the 1st Battalion. However, becoming restless with the relative inactivity he joined the Royal Flying Corps. He was sent to the 20th Training Wing in Egypt completing his ground course in September 1917. He then completed his flying training and qualified as a pilot on the 13th October 1917. Hopes of active service were dashed when he was retained as an instructor. However, the 19th September 1918 would see his first air action against Turkish positions in Palestine. Apparently a pet ring-tailed lemur called Jimmy often accompanied Hugh on his flights!
In 1922 he returned to the Yorkshire Regiment, eventually rising to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in 1940. He died in May 1991.
Mike Senior, who knew Hugh Morkill in his later years recently visited the museum and recounted this tale. “I remember the Colonel (by which title he was universally and affectionately known in the village) telling me the following story:
He claimed that his belief in God was confirmed because of a flying incident when in Palestine. He had been on a patrol and was returning to his base when thick cloud cut out all visibility. In those days aeroplanes were not technically advanced and the pilot had to rely on eyesight. The Colonel was lost and had no idea where he was. He flew around for some time and eventually the fuel gauge showed empty. He said a fervent prayer asking for God’s help. The engine began to splutter and he prepared for a crash landing. Then suddenly a gap appeared in the mist and immediately below him was his landing strip. He just managed to get the aeroplane, and himself, down safely.”
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Researched by Will Young. Second Lieutenant Oakley Alsop Browning is burried in the cemetery in Catterick Village. He enlisted on 6th October 1915 as 9587 Private Browning, as a member of 12th Field Ambulance, Australian Imperial Force (Browning came from North Carlton, Victoria, Australia and was the son of Major Demby de Courcey Browning, Commanding Officer of Base Command, Keswick Barracks, Adelaide). He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the Royal Flying Corps on 17th March 1917. On 11th August 1917, while flying an Avro 504 at Catterick aerodrome he was in a collision with a BE12 flown by Lieutenant Errington Edward Castle. Browning died on the same day while Castle (who is also burried in Catterick) died of his injuries on 12th August.
Submitted by Paul Elliott. My grandfather, Norton Elliott, was born in Rothwell, near Leeds, in 1890 and worked as a miner. In August 1914, at the outbreak of was, he joined the RAMC, but transferred to the RFC in July 1915. He became a mechanic and was promoted to Sergeant in August 1916 and to Flight Sergeant and Chief Mechanic in 1918. He subsequently became a specialist driver and served in the RAF until 1923. He married Evelyne Dobson in 1919. I know nothing of where he served or in which squadrons. At the outbreak of World War 2 he ran away from home to re-join the RAF at the age of 49. My grandmother was reputed to be something of a dragon. He again achieved the rank of Flight Sergeant and served until 1944. He died of cancer in 1970 at the age of 79.
The German invasion through Belgium at the outset of WW1, as part of the infamous Shleiffen plan, resulted in the inevitable refugees. Of these refugees it is estimated that about 250,000 would end up spread throughout the British Isles. One of these families would arrive at Hawes station and take up residence in nearby Gayle: the family Marlein. Charles Marlein was from Ostend and was a sailor on the mail steam ships that crossed the channel between Ostend and Dover. During his spare time in Ostend he led an accordion band and would even entertain the passengers who travelled on the ships. As war gripped Belgium the family travelled to the safety of England. Charles, his wife Natalie and children Emmerance, Margaret, Elvier, Madeleine, Theophiel (Phil) and Francis eventually settled in Gayle. Their eldest son, Auguste, was fighting in the Belgium Army and would later die for his country. The family was billeted at Clint’s House, Gayle. The local people rallied round to support them by supplying them with furniture, bedding, crockery and the like. It was a kindness they never forgot. Two of their daughters found work with a local tailor called Martland. Sadly, their youngest son Francis died from tuberculosis and was buried at Hawes. In early 1919 the Marlein family returned to Belgium but Phil could not settle. He returned to the Dales and worked for a farmer at Swathgill Farm. He married a local girl and settled in Gayle where Phil worked delivering animal meal to…