This story was submitted by Mr Johnson of Richmond, he is the grandson of John Ramsden.
John was born in East Ardsley, Leeds. He was called up in 1917 and trained at Chelmsford. He was posted with the 6th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry as 78916 Pte J Ramsden. John kept a diary during his time away from home. On 6th February 1918 at Passchendale Ridge he recorded “Shells are whistling menacingly overhead, I hope my God will give me the strength to withstand the trials that beset me!”
21st March 1918 saw the last big German attempt to win the war. John’s diary reads, “Found a fellow I’ve seen very often laid out of the trench – grim and bloody – ah, yes but smiling in death”.
John was wounded on 28th March and was evacuated to Rouen with other casualties. On 31st March he wrote, “The Doc prodding my head with an instrument much like a pair of sugar tongs. Eventually succeeds in extracting a small piece (but quite big) of the product of Essen”.
After recovering, John was sent back into the line in late May. Again he was hospitalised, this time in an American hospital, taking a serious wound to the hand. The family always believed that the different approach taken by American surgeons saved John’s hand from amputation.
John survived the war and moved to Barnsley, running the local cinema and writing a column for the Barnsley Chronicle.
Explore more memories from the ribbon
Photograph discovered in the archives of the Green Howards Museum by Stuart Hodgson, with information from Nottinghamshire County Council’s website. Second Lieutenant Oliver Ball was born in 1891 in Daybrook, Nottinghamshire. Both he and his brother, Walter were to die serving with the 10th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment, which must have been a huge blow to his parents Alfred and Emma. After attending school in Nottingham where he joined the OTC, Oliver was employed at the Nottingham head office of the Union of London and Smith’s Bank. On 28th September 1916 the 10th Battalion were in the trenches near Fricourt consolidating the ground they had recently gained. German shells fell on the positions on a continuous basis. At about 8pm the shelling became much heavier ont the front line positions and as a result 2nd Lieut Oliver Ball was killed by shrapnel. He is buried at Guards’ Cemetery, Lesboeufs.
Phyllis was born in Dowlais, Glamorganshire, Wales in 1892, the daughter of Margaret Jane and David Thomas Jenkins. She joined the British Red Cross on the 21st of January 1918. Subsequently, she was stationed as a Voluntary Aid Detachment Nurse in the Other Empire Force, British Red Cross, Catterick Camp. Surviving photographs imply that Phyllis was part of the dental team stationed at Catterick. Phyllis volunteered at Catterick Camp until the 14th February 1919.
This is 65038 Private Samuel Revel Staite, born in 1878, a native of Leeds and self-employed house painter. He joined the army in Leeds on 11th December 1915, at the age of 37. He saw service with the Royal Engineers and the Northumberland Fusiliers. He served with the 6th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment in North Russia 1918-1919. After the war he returned to his job as a painter. His own son intended to enlist when the Second World War broke out, however, he was employed in a reserved occupation, so Samuel did not have to see him off to war. Samuel died in 1944. Members of the family still live in Leeds. Samuel’s grand daughters Philippa and Deborah brought their treasured family possessions into the museum for us to take care of. Their items relate to his service in Russia in 1918 and 1919, and will help us add to our collections of items from this less well known period of Green Howards history.