The German invasion through Belgium at the outset of WW1, as part of the infamous Shleiffen plan, resulted in the inevitable refugees. Of these refugees it is estimated that about 250,000 would end up spread throughout the British Isles. One of these families would arrive at Hawes station and take up residence in nearby Gayle: the family Marlein.
Charles Marlein was from Ostend and was a sailor on the mail steam ships that crossed the channel between Ostend and Dover. During his spare time in Ostend he led an accordion band and would even entertain the passengers who travelled on the ships. As war gripped Belgium the family travelled to the safety of England. Charles, his wife Natalie and children Emmerance, Margaret, Elvier, Madeleine, Theophiel (Phil) and Francis eventually settled in Gayle. Their eldest son, Auguste, was fighting in the Belgium Army and would later die for his country.
The family was billeted at Clint’s House, Gayle. The local people rallied round to support them by supplying them with furniture, bedding, crockery and the like. It was a kindness they never forgot. Two of their daughters found work with a local tailor called Martland. Sadly, their youngest son Francis died from tuberculosis and was buried at Hawes.
In early 1919 the Marlein family returned to Belgium but Phil could not settle. He returned to the Dales and worked for a farmer at Swathgill Farm. He married a local girl and settled in Gayle where Phil worked delivering animal meal to local farmers. Their children, Charles, Elvier and Madeleine were born at Gayle.
Interestingly, when Belgium was occupied by the Germans in 1940, Phil’s sister Madaleine and her family once again ended up as refugees and arrived back in Gayle. Her husband would join the British Army whilst Phil became a sergeant in the Hawes Home Front.
The Marlein family were not unique in being housed in the Yorkshire Dales. A family called Vander Bosch had also settled in Gayle, while Adolf and Clemence Schaepherders and their family settled at Castle Bolton. Little is known though of their stories.
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Fiona Hall, Communications and Retail Manager at the Green Howards Museum submitted this story about one of the most important women of the First World War (in fact of any) era. I’m intrigued by this local hero – a complex character. There’s not enough space here to describe the many achievements of Gertrude Bell, and that’s not the point of this entry. Although I do recommend you take some time to acquaint yourself with her if you are not already familiar with this fascinating woman – archaeologist, mountaineer, one of the first women to gain a degree at Oxford (a First in History) but an anti-suffrage campaigner, the first to work for British military intelligence, colleague of TE Lawrence, and also the first to write a government white paper. She was born in 1868 into the sixth richest family in England, the granddaughter of the industrialist Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell, and lived in Redcar. When war broke out her request for a government posting to the Middle East was denied. Instead she volunteered with the Red Cross, taking charge of the missing and wounded office in Boulogne. Meanwhile her brother, Maurice, a career soldier and Boer War veteran was commanding the 4th Bn The Yorkshire Regiment on the western front. Imagine working in the environment Gertrude was working in- with the very possible chance she may have to ‘process’ information about the fate of her own brother. Maurice was in fact invalided home in 1916 and died in 1944. In…
Robert Codling was the son of John and Elizabeth Codling of 13 Revesby Street, Tyne Dock, South Shields. At the outbreak of war he enlisted in the Yorkshire Regiment and was posted to the 8th Battalion. 19873 Private Codling arrived in France in September 1915 and was in and out of the lines in October, November and December. The 8th Battalion relieved the 10th West Riding Regiment in trenches at La Rolanderie on the 18th December. Robert was awarded the DCM for his actions on the 21st. His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry near Rue du Bois on 21st December 1915, when under heavy fire and in the face of rifle grenades, he returned to a wounded comrade and brought him in. Later in the day he joined a patrol and searched under heavy fire for his platoon officer who had failed to return”. On 13th October 1916, at the age of 21, he died of wounds. The battalion had been serving in the area of Contalmaison and had suffered a number of casualties. He is buried at Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension in the Somme.
Bulfin was born in Woodtown Park, Rathfarnham, Co Dublin in 1862. Although he attended Trinity College, Dublin, he did not take a degree, choosing a military career instead.He was commissioned into the Princess of Wales’s Own (Yorkshire Regiment) in 1884. After 30 years of service he became Colonel of the Regiment in 1914. As Colonel, Bulfin wanted the Regiment to stand out in the Army Lists with a more unique name. He pushed for the traditional nickname of ‘The Green Howards’ to be made official to differentiate between all the other ‘Yorkshire’ Regiments. He was finally successful in 1921, and the name lasted for the next 85 years.