John was born in October 1876, the eldest son of Warrin and Ellen Mitton of Hawes. His father Warrin was both a joiner and a farmer. John married a girl from the Leyburn area, Mary Teresa, in July 1905 and had two daughters. Before joining the Army he spent four years as a postman in Raydaleside and previous to that, for about 14 years, a rural postman at Finghall near Leyburn. It was while he was there he got married. On leaving Finghall the people on his round presented him with a marble clock, pipe and a pouch containing some money. Needless to say he was a very well liked postman!
He played for Hawes football team for many years, and for two years the club secretary. He was a fine billiards player and a member of Hawes Church choir. John was described as a cheery likeable chap.
John enlisted at Leyburn joining the 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment and embarked for France at the end of July 1916. On April 7th 1917 the Battalion readied itself for the Arras Offensive which was due to start on the 9th. Private John Mitton was killed on that opening day. He was 40 years old.
John is buried in the Neuville-Vitasse Road Cemetary, SE of Arras.
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Margaret Carrigan visited the museum on a recent drop-in day, to tell the story of her father, 38026 Private George W Kidson of C Company, 9th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. He enlisted in Richmond in May 1916 – but was told to return home until his call up papers arrived, which they duly did on 5th September 1916. George spent two weeks at the Depot in Richmond and then went to Hartlepool for training. One memorable incident during the night of 29th November occurred when George was on guard duty – a German Zeppelin was brought down. The war really began for George when he arrived at Canada Trench near Ypres – he recalled, “In the trenches each night we were told what to do, I was told to stand on the Fire Step. While I was there at night about 7 Germans walked past me, so near they could have picked me up, if they had seen me. I said to the Serg, “should I fire?”, he said no – not to give the position away.” Later in the year he saw action at Polygon Wood. “On Sunday 30th September we were rushed back, where a German prisoner gave himself up. He told us that the Germans were coming the next day – October 1st. I shall always remember Polygon Wood. Come they did on the Monday. Our Platoon were firing for all they were worth. My rifle was muddy, and the bolt would not work, so I took out…
265990 Private Albert Norris served in the Yorkshire Regiment, joining up sometime after January 1915. For his service during the First World War he was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal. He was transferred to the Royal Munster Fusiliers and served at the garrison in Cork. Following the war, he ran a Draper’s shop in Tonbridge, Kent. In 1924 He married Myra Donovan. Albert’s step granddaughter is Dame Kelly Holmes, double Olympic Champion.
Arthur John Buchanan Richardson Arthur was born in Guisborough North Yorkshire in the first quarter 1895. He was the eldest son of Colonel William Richardson, a solicitor of Guisborough and his wife Averil Mary, daughter of Arthur Buchannan, also a solicitor of Guisborough. Arthur entered Rugby Public School, Warwickshire, in 1909 and left in 1913. In August 1913 he entered as an Articled Clerk in the firm of Solicitors founded by his great grandfather and carried on by his grandfather. He received his Commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 4th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment in June, 1913, and went to camp with them in August, 1913. He was again in camp in August 1914, at Colwyn Bay, when War broke out. The Regiment was recalled into training at Darlington, when he was given the command and a new Company of Signallers. He next went with the Battalion to Newcastle on Tyne, on coastal defence. Arthur would not die leading his men over no-man’s-land or in some heroic fighting. He would die of meningitis, contracted on service, in his billet at Newcastle on 4th January 1915. Three months later, the Battalion went out to France. Arthur was just 19 years old. A local newspaper report, headed “Cleveland Mourns the Death of a Gallant Officer”, provides details of a military funeral at Guisborough Church attended by local dignitaries: ‘The coffin was borne by men of the 4th Battalion, with fellow Officers Colonel Bell, Captain Charlton and Lts Williams and Jervelund present….