John was born in 1896 in Leyburn North Yorkshire. In 1900 the family moved to Burtersett near Hawes where John’s father Jeremiah worked as a stonemason at the local quarry. John had two younger brothers, Anthony and George. On leaving school John also worked at the quarry. In February 1916 he had married a local girl, Jane Ann Dinsdale.
By the time of his wedding John was with the 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, having enlisted at Askrigg in October 1915. John embarked for France in April 1916. The Battalion would not take part in the Somme offensive until September 15th with the eventual plan for the 26th was for the Battalion to attack and capture German trenches running from Flers. It was during the German counter attack that the Battalion suffered heavy casualties, one of which was John. His body was never found and it wasn’t until early 1917 that his wife Jane was officially notified that her husband had been killed. By the time of his death Jane had given birth to a child.
Private John William Horn’s name is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
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Joseph (third from left) was born around 1884 in Ainderby Steeple near Northallerton in North Yorkshire. He was the eldest of five children to Thomas and Amelia. He would eventually end up living at East Witton where he worked on the Jervaulx estate. He married Agnes Kendray and they would have three children. Joseph was a fine athlete as witnessed on Coronation Day June 22nd 1911. In the fell race to the top of Witton Fell and back Joseph came first. His exploits were published in the parish magazine. Joseph enlisted at Middleham joining the 7th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. The Battalion embarked for France on the 13th July 1915. It was during operations in February 1917 in an area of the Somme that heavy German artillery would take a heavy toll. A shell destroyed a cellar being used to house stretcher cases killing most of the men. One of those reported missing was Private Joseph Allen. His body was never found. Joseph’s name is commemorating on the Thiepval Memorial. A service was held at East Witton Church on the 3rd March. Tragically, one month after the service, Joseph’s widow Agnes died, aged 33, leaving three young orphans.
Deborah Hutchinson sent us this information about her Great Uncle, 459480 Driver James McAndrew, 450th Field Company, Royal Engineers. James was the oldest boy in a family of 9 – 3 girls and 6 boys much admired by his brothers and sisters, especially by his youngest sister Kitty – her grandmother. Born 1898 in Chester-le-Street, James moved with his family to 11 Mary Agnes Street, Coxlodge, Newcastle upon Tyne in 1901. When he left school he worked as a coal miner in Regent’s Pit, Gosforth along with most of the community. In 1914 he enlisted and joined the Royal Engineers as a driver. He was part of the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force. He was one of the many non-battle casualties in the area due to the extreme weather and unhygienic conditions. He died of yellow fever on 10th October 1918 at the age of 22 – just a month and a day before the Armistice – it was also his mother’s birthday. He is buried in Amara War Cemetery in Baghdad, Iraq. His name appears on the War memorial in St Charles RC Church, Gosforth. His parents, Thomas and Liza, had been active fund raisers to build this church when they arrived in the area in 1901.
Gerald Burnett visited the museum to relate the story of his grandfather Ernest Wyatt Burnett. My Grandfather, Ernest Wyatt Burnett was born in Chudleigh, Devonshire, in 1886. After minimal schooling and several agricultural jobs, Ernest moved to London and became a chauffeur with various employers including Thomas Tilling. He spent the pre-war years driving around Great Britain with American tourists and contemporary industrialists such as Tommy Lipton of tea fame. Ernest enlisted with the Royal Army Service Corps, Mechanical Transport Branch, in April 1915 and became a Staff Car driver. In 1915, the Government appointed five official Western Front War Correspondents, Philip Gibbs, Percival Phillips, H. Perry Robinson, W. Beach Thomas and Herbert Russell. Ernest was assigned to be their driver, a position he held until the end of the war. Ernest was transferred to the Reserve in February 1919. Alongside his ‘Pip, Squeak and Wilfred’ decorations he was awarded a Silver Medal for Merit by Nicholas I, King of Montenegro. During WW2, Ernest served with the Home Guard at Balcombe Place, his Sussex home, where he was chauffeur to Lady Gertrude Denman who was President of the Women’s Institute and Honorary Director of The Women’s Land Army. My Grandfather was one of the lucky ones. He served his country, survived two World Wars, and lived a full and interesting life.