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. He was discharged as unfit for service in April 1917 having served for 2yrs and 250days. He received the Victory Medal, British War Medal, 1914/15 Star, Kings Certificate and War Badge.
Growing up, all I knew about Dad’s past was that he had been a Royal Arch Druid in the 59th Chapter and that he worked as a civil servant in London, in the social security or pensions department. He drove a car, we went on holidays, he liked a pint, smoked a pipe and was very sociable. How could he tell me of the horrors of war and his losses? Dad retired to Cambridge and died in 1973 when I was 20.
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Marion Moverley, a Richmond resident, provided us with information about her grandmother, Evelyn Fletcher. My grandmother was called Evelyn Fletcher and born in 1898 in Halifax. She met my grandfather Tom Stocks who was born in 1897 in Bradford, and they married in 1920. They both played a part in the War. Tom joined up, Evelyn worked in munition factories. The photograph shows a munitions factory in the Bradford/Halifax district, with two figures picked out by ‘x’ marks in biro. The girl marked on the left appears to be Evelyn and the one on the right is probably her sister, Lizzie Fletcher.
Diane Hawthorne sent in a request for us to look into her grandfather’s First World War service – this is what we managed to discover. Gosnay William Riley attested on 10th December 1915 into the 11th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment at Brighouse and was assigned the regimental number 27654. The 11th was a Home Service Battalion dealing with Drafts and Reinforcements. In September 1916 the 11th amalgamated with the 16th Durham Light Infantry as a Training Battalion thereby losing its distinct identity. At some time prior to this Gosnay transferred to the 10th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. He had been promoted to the rank of Corporal. Sometime thereafter he transferred to the 9th York and Lancaster Regiment. His Regimental number was 34441. On the 3rd March 1919 he became a reservist in the British Army with many thousands of others.
Information provided by Roger and Helen Raisbeck. Percy Charles Perry was born on 22 June 1886 to George and Selina Perry in Dorset, England. In 1902, at the age of 16, he joined the 5th Battalion of the Coldstream Guards at Yeovil (probably transferring to London before 1905). In 1905 he transferred to the army reserve (and enlisted again in 1914 service number 18562, Coldstream Guards). He fought at the Battle of Mons which was the first major action of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in the First World War. He was wounded in action and hospitalised. He sent a photograph postcard home to his wife, Lucy, simply saying “I am first on your left [in the picture], going alright, PP”. Unfortunately he was unable to return to action and was discharged on 7 October 1915. He qualified for the 1914 Star (also known as the Mons Star) on 13 August 1914 as well as being awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal. Percy had 5 brothers, 4 of which joined the navy. One of his younger brothers, Ernest Sydney Perry, was lost in the Battle of Coronel off the coast of Chile on board HMS Monmouth on 1 November 1914. A newspaper cutting calling the Perrys a “Family of Patriots”, shows Percy in the centre flanked on either side by his brothers. Percy returned to civilian life back in England after his discharge in 1915 and encouraged his daughter Edna May Perry to knit socks for soldiers…