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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Submitted by Michael Kent. Joseph Hatton was my dad. I only recently learnt about his early life. Dad never spoke about the First World War. He was born 20 February 1896 in Bradford and had three sisters and two brothers. My dad never told me that grandad was a train driver in the 1890’s, or that I had a half brother born in 1915, that he lost his father in 1919 and his wife, when he was in his early twenties. I do not know what happened or where he went from 1922 until 1950 when he was living in London where I was born thirty years later, in 1952. 10724 Private Joseph Hatton was recruited in Yorkshire in August 1914 and served in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (3rd West Riding) as a Reserve. After training in England he was sent to the Western Front in 1915. In May of that year he was poisoned by gas. My dad didn’t die, unlike so many around him who suffered this cruel death, but he was evacuated via Boulogne to Manchester Western General Hospital to recover. He was posted again in December 1915. In March 1916 he was then posted to the 9th Battalion and embarked for France again in April. He had a few days leave in Etaples and then returned to the front. He was wounded in July 1916 by a shell explosion killing many men. Dad lost his hand. He was put on a train back to England….
Captain Frank Woodcock 5th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment Captain Woodcock, who was only 22 years of age, was the youngest son of John and Elizabeth Woodcock of Driffield Yorkshire. He was killed in action during an assault on the 15th of September 1916. Frank was one of 6 children having 2 brothers and 3 sisters, the family must have been “comfortably off” because the 1901 census records his father as “living on his own means” and they had a servant called Margaret. He was educated at Bridlington School, where he was in the Officer Training Corps (O.T.C.). He became a Second Lieutenant in a Territorial Battalion in December 1912. He was promoted Lieutenant in April 1914 and then to Captain in May 1915. The Regimental Gazette recorded his death as follows: “The death of Captain Woodcock deprives his battalion of a very capable Company Commander and a very popular Officer. Despite his youth, he very soon proved himself an Officer of much resource and dauntless courage. He was wounded when wiring in front of the trenches in July 1915, and returned to France in January 1916 when he succeeded to the command of a Company. It was in this capacity that he showed himself a cool and capable Commander with great initiative and pluck, always setting a fine example to his men when any dangerous work had to be performed. He was twice mentioned in despatches. Captain Woodcock is buried at Flatiron Copse cemetery in France.
Frank Walker joined the 4th (Territorial) Battalion East Yorks in Sept 1914. He served as a private in France until being commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in July 1916 with the 11th Battalion East Yorks (2nd Hull Pals). During the 1st Battle of Ypres in April 1915 the 4th Battalion East Yorks were mentioned in a dispatch from Major General Edward Bulfin (Yorkshire Regiment Green Howards) the Commander of the 28th Division. Also mentioned for ‘good service’ in the dispatch were the 8th Battalion Durham Light Infantry and the 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. Frank was promoted to temporary Lieutenant in January 1918 and acting Captain on the 14th October 1918. Frank would survive the war. In November 1917 the Battalion were based at Mont St. Eloi near Arras. It was here leading raiding party action that, in January 1918, Frank would be awarded Military Cross. The award appeared in the London Gazette on the 23th April 1918. The citation read: ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during a daylight raid. He led his party across a long open stretch of ground to the enemy second line. After clearing the enemy trenches and taking prisoners he successfully effected a difficult withdrawal under heavy fire.’