Sergeant John (Jack) Charlton joined the Army as a Territorial in 1908 when he enlisted in the 4th Battalion, Alexandra, Princess of Wales’ Own Yorkshire Regiment (The Green Howards). He served on the Western Front from April 1915 where he had a distinguished career, earning a Distinguished Conduct Medal and being Mentioned in Despatches in 1917.
One particular act stands out from his memoirs which earned him a commendation from his Commanding Officer was while serving at the Arras Front while he was in charge of Battalion communications. After heavy shelling cut phone lines he used a Lucas Day Light Signalling Lamp to request an artillery barrage to defend the HQ from German gas shells. This Lamp was donated to the Museum and can be seen on display.
Jack also suffered injuries during his service, firstly in April 1915 when he was gassed at Zillibeck and another, more serious gas attack got him sent home towards the end of 1917 where he remained for the rest of the War.
While on Leave in 1916 Jack got engaged to Phillis Blow but they didn’t get married until 1918 after we was sent home. During 1918 he attended various training courses including a Signals Course at the Armoury School near Dunstable but before he was able to finish the Armistice was signed and so he was demobbed at Hornsea.
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The site of Richmond Camp as it was first called was suggested by Robert Baden Powell while he was based at Richmond Castle as Inspector-General of Cavalry. The name quickly changed to Catterick Camp in order to avoid confusion with Richmond in Surrey. The Camp’s first troops occupied the area for training in 1915. Major-General Michael Frederick Rimington was the officer in charge. In 1915 the decision was made to expand the training camp. A new prisoner of war camp was established and eventually 5000 German prisoners of war were housed there. Initially German PoWs were not permitted to work and boredom became a major problem. The prisoners played sports and even set up an orchestra (with instruments they made themselves) to fill their time. A change of government policy meant that prisoners could be allowed out of the camp to work as labourers. As a result they were employed in constructing the road leading out of Richmond Station, via St. Martins and on to Catterick Camp (Rimington Road). Catterick Prisoner of War Camp became the administrative headquarters for all ‘working camps’ in the area. By the end of the war 89,937 prisoners who had served with the German army were interned in camps across the United Kingdom.
Submitted by John H Mills – who wanted to tell the story of his grandfather. Herbert Mills was born on 16th May 1879 in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, four months before his parents were married. Shortly after the marriage his mother and father separated his father got into trouble with the Law, abandoned them and departed for America. Herbert and his mother went to live with her parents. In 1891 he was still living with his grandparents and in 1911, age 31, he was living with his Aunt (his mother’s sister). He married in 1913 and had a son in 1914. His son went on to join the RASC in 1939. Herbert, age 35, volunteered in Lord Kitchener’s “Volunteer Army”. He had been married less than two years and had a one year old son. He was a Power Loom Weaver in a woollen mill. He enlisted in Huddersfield on 4th June 1915. His Attestation puts him in the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Mental Assistant and posted to RAMC 92nd Field Ambulance Unit, Crookham, Aldershot. He was posted to the, 15th Northumberland Fusiliers in August 1915. From August to September 1915 he was stationed at Hamersley, Physical Training Base Aldershot, and from September 1915 to March 1916 at Rugeley Camp, Cannock Chase. Rugeley Camp was a training camp which replicated the trenches in France and was used for training soldiers prior to embarking to the Front Line. He was promoted Corporal in November 1915. In March 1916 he was posted…
Thomas was born around 1894 in Appleby Westmorland and settled in Hawes before the Great War. He married a local girl and had a family of 4 young children. He was a good footballer and played in goal for Hawes Football Club for many years in local leagues. He was also a member of the Hawes Conservative Club billiards team and secretary of the Hawes Brass Band. When he enlisted in 1914 Thomas was the first married man from Hawes to join up. Thomas joined the 6th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment and saw action in the latter stages of the 1915 Dardanelles campaign and in February 1916 they were in Egypt. The Battalion embarked for France arriving at Marseilles on July 1st and then travelled to billets in Arras taking over trenches at Agny. In September 1916 they were entrenched in Thiepval area where on the 14th they encountered severe fighting resulting in heavy losses for the 6th Battalion, five officers and 130 men dead. One of the dead was Thomas, killed instantly by shellfire. At the time of his death Thomas had the rank of Corporal. His body was recovered and he is buried at Lonsdale cemetery, just north of Albert.