Thomas was born around 1883 to George and Margaret Coates. George was a farm worker. By 1901 the family was living at Marsett in Raydaleside where Thomas and his two brothers, George and Albert were born. The children attended Stalling Busk School. On leaving school Thomas worked in the Council Offices in Hawes.
Thomas enlisted on the 6th October 1915 joining the 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. Thomas would gain the rank of Lance Corporal. On the 26th September 1916 during the latter part of the Somme offensive Thomas won the Military Medal for bravery in the field. However, he was severely wounded. On an attack of a German trench a soldier threw a stick bomb which exploded at Thomas’s feet whereby he received serious wounds to his leg and face. Despite this he still managed to dispatch the German soldier with his bayonet and in doing so saved a colleague.
Thomas spent 11 weeks at a hospital at Rouen where he underwent four operations. Two more operations followed in England before he was discharged from the Army on the 14th July 1917.
Thomas eventually went back to his old job until he married Elizabeth Watson in 1921. They then went to live at The Heugh, a large isolated house above Nappa Scar near Settle in the Yorkshire Dales. They ran it as a guest house, and it was here that their two daughters, Margaret and Mary, were born.
On the 21st January 1925, after only three day’s illness, Thomas died from meningitis, partly attributed to the head wound he had sustained in the war. He was buried in Stalling Busk cemetery.
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Molly Copland visited the Green Howards Museum to tell us about her uncle Arthur Edward Arnett. Arthur Arnett was born in Wakefield on 3rd July 1896 and was educated at Sanda Elementary School and Leeds Central High School before working as a Junior Clerk at the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. He enlisted with the 2nd Battalion, York and Lancashire Regiment on 17th February 1916, serving with the British Expeditionary Force from 28th June. Following a transfer to the 5th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment Arthur was wounded at the Somme around 11th September 1916. He spent five weeks in hospital before being sent back to England, eventually returning to France with the 6th Yorks and Lancs on 18th March 1917. After transferring to the 10th Battalion following losses at the Battle of Loos, Arthur was killed in action at Gheluvelt on 28th September 1917 and is buried at Hooge Crater Cemetery in Belgium.
Mary Burn visited the Green Howards Museum to tell us about her father’s cousin, Thomas Holmes. Prior to the outbreak of the First World War, Thomas Holmes worked for Mr Gaffanney, a coal dealer in Leeds. As a reservist, he was called up on the outbreak of War to the 9th Battalion, the West Yorkshire Regiment while his brother served with the 1st Scots Guards. At only 19 years of age, Private Holmes was sent to Gallipoli. One of the thousands to die at Suvla Bay, he was killed on 29th October 1915 and is buried at Hill 10 cemetery along with 548 other casualties.
Joseph was born around 1897 in Aysgarth North Yorkshire. His father James was a cowman on a local farm. The 1911 census shows one other child, a son Simon. Before joining up Joseph was employed as a farm hand in West Burton. Joseph enlisted at Leyburn joining the 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. By September 1916 he was at the front. Joseph would prove to be a brave soldier, twice being recommended for distinction. He was finally rewarded at the end of April 1918 when he received the Military Medal for gallantry he had shown during the action in the St. Quentin area from March 21st to the 28th. Sadly one week later he was dead. On the 6th May the Battalion was in the Ypres Salient. During heavy engagements with the enemy he was killed on the 8th May. He was 21 years of age. His body was never recovered. Private Joseph Dixon Raw MM is commemorated at the Tyne Cot Cemetery.