Joseph (third from left) was born around 1884 in Ainderby Steeple near Northallerton in North Yorkshire. He was the eldest of five children to Thomas and Amelia. He would eventually end up living at East Witton where he worked on the Jervaulx estate. He married Agnes Kendray and they would have three children. Joseph was a fine athlete as witnessed on Coronation Day June 22nd 1911. In the fell race to the top of Witton Fell and back Joseph came first. His exploits were published in the parish magazine.
Joseph enlisted at Middleham joining the 7th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. The Battalion embarked for France on the 13th July 1915. It was during operations in February 1917 in an area of the Somme that heavy German artillery would take a heavy toll. A shell destroyed a cellar being used to house stretcher cases killing most of the men. One of those reported missing was Private Joseph Allen. His body was never found. Joseph’s name is commemorating on the Thiepval Memorial.
A service was held at East Witton Church on the 3rd March. Tragically, one month after the service, Joseph’s widow Agnes died, aged 33, leaving three young orphans.
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The Stansfeld family have many connections with the regiment. Both Thomas and his brother older brother ‘Jock’ served with the regiment in 1880s and 1890s. Thomas’ son and nephew also joined the regiment and both saw action in the Second World War. Thomas Wolryche Stansfeld was born in Leeds in 1877. He joined the regiment in 1897 and quickly rose to the rank of Captain. Stansfeld fought in the War in South Africa including the Battle of Paardeberg. Stansfeld was a skilled rider and joined the regiment’s Mounted Infantry Battalion. He was involved in many actions against the Boers, including the capture of the Elandsfontein railway station near Johannesburg. He narrowly escaped death when a bullet smashed into his cigarette case, leaving him unharmed. Stansfeld’s battlefield experiences were a major asset to the regiment in the First World War. During the First Battle of Ypres he ordered his company to rapidly fire at different intervals; fooling the Germans into believing that they were facing a nest of machine guns. Stansfeld survived the battle and fought throughout the First World War. After the war Stansfeld held a number of senior posts, including Commandant of the Small Arms School at Hythe. He retired from the Army in 1929 and died on the 23rd February 1935.
Three members of the same family served with the Lincolnshire Regiment. Seth William George Howson served with the regiment and received both the Queens South Africa and the Kings South Africa medals for his service during the South African Wars 1899-1902. He survived and is listed as living in Lincoln in 1911 along with his wife Elizabeth and his two sons George William and Arthur Balfour. Both his sons served with the Lincolnshire Regiment during the First World War. Sgt George William Howson, the elder son, worked as a labourer and painter prior to joining the war effort. He served with C Coy of the 1st and 4th Battalions of the Lincolnshire Regiment. Sadly he was killed on 13th October 1915. He was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal posthumously and his effects were left to a Miss Sarah Ann Petty. We do not know how Miss Petty and George were related; was she a family relation or a future wife? CSM Arthur Balfour Howson MM survived the war and was awarded a Military Medal and a silver war badge in addition to the First World War medal trio. The Military Medal was awarded for bravery in battle, but no citation survives to describe the specific action for which Arthur received his. Aged 23, Arthur married Emma Eliza Stanford in 1916 in Lincoln. He worked in the manufacturing sector after the war, and is listed as in charge of Stationery & Mailing depots on the 1939 Register….
Samuel was born in 1894 at Askrigg. His mother, Frances, was 20 years old and single. However, 5 years later she married Wilfred Kirk, the likely father of Samuel though the 1911 census has Samuel down as a ‘stepson’. Wilfred was some 20 years senior to Frances and a farmer. They would have four more children, all girls. However, the 1911 census only shows two daughters as being listed. Samuel attended Hardraw School and worked on the family farm. Samuel enlisted at Leyburn in June 1916 joining the 6th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. The Battalion went to France later that year. On November 1st 1917 the Battalion was in the support line SE of Loos in northern France. Between the 4th and the 6th work was spent on improving the Battalion trenches. On the 9th Samuel and his colleagues were helping in the preparations for a raid, cutting wire and ladder placements. On the evening of the 9th during heavy shelling Samuel was badly wounded. He was taken to a Casualty Clearing Station near Bethune. On the night of the 12th November Private Samuel Kirk Lambert died. He is buried in Choques Military Cemetery.