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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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.’
Arthur was born at Smeaton Hall , Great Smeaton, Northallerton, Yorkshire on the 9th September 1877. He was the son of Colonel A. F. Godman. He was educated at Rugby School and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, Yorkshire Regiment in May 1898. Whilst serving in India he wrote two articles for The Green Howrads Gazette. One was about ‘G’ Company’s donkey! Apparently awarded an Army Temperance Medal despite having a taste for alcohol! Advancing to Lieutenant in November 1900 he saw service in Somaliland. Promoted Captain in January 1906 and, after a posting in South Africa, returned to the UK to serve as Adjutant for the University of London Officer Training Corps. He was appointed Staff Captain attached to the 21st Infantry Brigade in 1914. Severely wounded at Ypres on the 30th October 1914, on recovery he was posted to the General Staff in France. Promoted Major in August 1915 he was attached to the 4th Brigade, Royal Flying Corps. He served as Brigade Major during the Battle of the Somme and advanced to Temporary Lieutenant Colonel, Assistant Adjutant General, on the RFC staff from July 1917. By the end of the war he was a Brigadier-General and was confirmed as a Wing Commander in August 1919. The following month he was posted as Assistant Commander, RAF Cranwell. He was posted to RAF HQ India at Simla being promoted to Group Captain in June 1923. Returning the following year to the UK he served consecutively as: Officer Commanding, School of Technical…
Vicki Walker of Little Crakehall called into the museum to show us a photograph of Duncan Harvie, her grandfather. The photo is a postcard addressed to ‘Mary and Sam’, sent on 3 April 1916 and shows a group of Signallers on board HMS Laconia. Duncan Harvie (5th South African Regiment) is sat at the front of the group with crossed legs. The ship’s log shows the Laconia (an armed merchant cruiser) to be anchored at Zanzibar on that date, on it’s way to British East Africa (now Kenya). The ship was used in the early part of the war to patrol the South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean, but in April 1915 her role changed and she was used as a headquarters ship to aid in the fight in German East Africa. Following her return to to Cunard, the Laconia was sunk by U-50 160 miles northwest of Fastnet while returning form the United States on 25th February 1917. Twelve people were killed following a double torpedo strike.