John Francis Allan (pictured here as a child) was Vicky Hurwood’s great uncle. He was born in Richmond on 7 December 1886, the fifth son of Leonard and Mary Allan. During the First World War he served as Stoker Petty Officer J F Allan K/89 aboard HMS Formidable.
Following the outbreak of World War I, the ship was part of the 5th Battle Squadron which conducted operations in the English Channel. The ship and her men were was based at Portland and then Sheerness to guard against a possible German invasion. Despite reports of submarine activity, early in the morning of 1 January 1915, whilst on exercise in the English Channel, Formidable sank after being hit by two torpedoes from U-24. The loss of life amounted to 35 officers (including the Captain) and 512 men from a compliment of 780. She was the second British battleship to be sunk by enemy action during the First World War.
Stoker PO John Allan has no known grave and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial and Richmond War Memorial.
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Horace Stoney was born on 7th December 1897. He was baptised in February 1898 at the Free Methodist Chapel, in Leeds close to where they were living at the time. At the age of 13 he was working as an office boy for an engineer and living at home with his parents in Leeds. On 10th December 1915, three days after he turned 18 Horace went to Leeds, joined the Royal Army Service Corp (RASC) and was posted to the Army Reserve. His service record includes the statement: “Transferred to Learners’ Section” on 10th October 1916. A contract survives, signed by Horace the day previous, declaring that he joined the RASC with a view to be trained as a Motor Transport Driver. Success would guarantee him an additional 1 shilling per day in pay, and provide him with a skill to use after the war. The RASC ensured that ammunition, food and equipment was delivered forming a complex supply network. Horace survived the war, although he contracted malaria, and was discharged in 1919. The 1939 Register lists him as living with his parents, John and Sarah, and his aunt Harriet, at his childhood home in Leeds. He was working as a Clerk Store Highway Constable and although he is listed married, his wife is not mentioned on the record.
Canon John Purvis OBE (1890-1968) Canon John Purvis was an extremely talented artist and photographer. He is best remembered however for his historical and literary achievements. His translation of the original York Mystery Plays into modern English were central to their revival during the Festival of Britain in 1951. This work, along with his initiation of the Borthwick Institute for Archives in York, lead to his OBE in 1958. Purvis was born in Bridlington 1890. After studying at Cambridge University he worked at Cranleigh School as a history teacher, a role to which he would return after the First World War. He enlisted with the Yorkshire Regiment, serving with the 5th Battalion from early 1916. Purvis was wounded during the Battle of the Somme on the first occasion he went ‘over the top’. On that day, 15th September 1916, he had recorded history’s first tank attack in pen and ink in the early light of dawn. Two well known war poems, ‘High Wood’ and ‘Chance Memory’, originally published under the pseudonym Philip Johns(t)one are now known to have been written by Purvis.
Sergeant William James Denton Milson 7813 D.C.M. 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. This story was submitted by Andrew Hume Voegeli. Serjeant Milson was the brother of his maternal grandmother Lily Muriel Boyes (nee Milson) born in Beverley in 1896. William James Denton Milson was born on the 1st of February 1890 in the Parish of St Mary’s Beverley Yorkshire. He was the eldest of 6 children, his father was William Carr Milson and his mother was Ann Maria Milson, nee Cooper. His father was a boot maker but did serve in several regiments including the Yorkshire Regiment. Young William enlisted in the Yorkshire Regiment aged 14 years and 7 months on the 24th of August 1904 as a drummer boy. He was 4 feet 11 inches tall, had a fair complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair. He was working as a message boy at that time. Before the outbreak of World War 1 he served in India. On the 6th of October 1914 he landed at Zeebrugge and took part in the 1st Battle of Ypres. By 1915 his leadership skills led to his promotion to Serjeant. On the 15th of March 1915 he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (D.C.M.) for leading a rescue party for men trapped under continuous sniper fire. The Yorkshire regiment gazette recorded this as follows: “D.C.M.s have been awarded to Sergt Milsom, Cpl Wilson and Pte Howard for their work when the Boche’s mine was exploded at Givenchy on the 29th of November. The…