Mrs Drury of Richmond visited the museum to tell us about Jack Morley, her great uncle.
Jack Morley was one of nine children of a hill farmer in Weardale, County Durham and a keen athlete. In 1914 he lived in Toronto, Canada whither he had emigrated and worked as a cabinet maker. When war broke out he returned to England, to his mother’s great joy, to join up in the Durham Light Infantry. One of his five brothers was Customs and Exciseman for Swaledale and Wensleydale, based in Richmond, near Catterick Camp where Jack did some training. Jack would ride over to Richmond to visit and would tie up his horse in the garden to the great delight of his nieces!
Jack served in the 1915-1917 Salonica Campaign in northern Greece, at the time that city was badly burned. Jack organized the transport of supplies, mainly by mules through the hills up to the Struma Front. His height was 6’3” and together with his high-heeled riding boots and his high officer’s helmet, he made a commanding figure in securing the co-operation of the locals! In his time off he enjoyed shooting in the nearby Vardar Estuary marshes and brought home fine striped woollen socks run through with silver thread. The stamps from the postcards he sent home are still in a family stamp collection.
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Submitted by Glennis Robson. John Albert Lancaster was my uncle, he was my mother’s elder brother (13 years older). My mother spoke of much loved brother who was a source of goodness and “spoilt” his baby sister. On receiving the news of his death my grandmother picked my mother up from school. They made their way home down the back lanes to hide their tears from passers by. “Jack”,as he was known, was killed on the 16th of October 1917 at hill 60 in Flanders aged 19 after only a few months at the front. He enlisted in the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) regiment on the 6th of December 1916 in Newcastle. His father William, a farrier, also joined up declaring that if his son was prepared to fight so was he. Unlike his son he survived the war. Having no known grave his name is on the Menin Gate. In 1988 my husband Keith and I visited the Western Front to see his name and the battlefield where he died. Since then “our Jack” has been in the consciousness of the wider family. Every November we place a poppy cross by my mother’s grave-stone in St Mary’s churchyard.
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.
Submitted by Pauline Blewis. George was born in Old Malton and joined the Green Howards in around 1905. In the same year he married Annie Hemstock, a Richmond girl. Their family of three sons and a daughter were raised in the barracks, now the Garden Village. George served during the Boer War and during the First World War was transferred to the 13th Battalion (October 1915)- the battalion was made up of ‘Bantams’. George served through the war up to the Battle of Cambrai. On 23rd November 1917 he was sent up to the front line with his battalion with the aim of taking Bourlon Wood and village. Tanks were sent in with the infantry following up, eventually the village was taken after hand to hand fighting. George died during this advance and while his body was never found his name is inscribed on Panel 5 of the Cambrai Memorial. After his death the family were moved from the barracks into a house inside Richmond Castle.