Story submitted by Mrs Drury, a resident of Richmond.
Nancy Bainbridge was born in Weardale, County Durham in May 1894. She was one of eight children whose parents were hardy hill farmers. Nancy was a very practical person and joined Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service in 1914.
Nancy served at a military hospital in East Anglia where the nurses received casualties straight from the Somme. Her upbringing on a farm had afforded her some preparation for the ensuing, distressing sights and sounds. She described how the men arrived with mud and tufts of grass in their wounds. The nurses found out the hard way that soldiers’ skin, subjected to the mustard gas attacks in the trenches, could not be washed with water as that inflicted pain. Nancy received many deathbed requests.
After the war Nancy worked as a private nurse in families with disabled soldiers and patients with other conditions. She married Captain Jack (John Adam) Bell.
Nancy had a brother William, also a hill farmer and ten years older. He joined the Northumberland Fusiliers, but saw little service because, when detailed to chop an officer some sticks, a splinter blinded him in one eye.
Another sibling, Violet, worked in Barnard Castle’s recruiting office. Her soldier husband Harry Raine was awarded the Military Cross. The medal was presented to the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle.
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Submitted by Robert Amis. Captain Henry Amis (Robert’s grandfather) was commissioned into the 5th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant on 12 March 1915, Henry Amis transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. Family legend has it that 2Lt Amis was prone to crashing, which may account for his transfer back to the Yorkshire Regiment. The then Captain Amis was again serving with the 5th Battalion when on 28 October 1917 he was wounded and evacuated, suffering from the effects of mustard gas. Once he had recovered, he returned to the front line where he faced Germany’s final throw of the dice, the so called ‘Kaiser’s battle’ which was unleashed on 21 March 1918. Henry and the 5th battalion were in the thick of the fighting; trying to hold back the German advance. On 27 May 1918 he, along with 24 other officers and 638 Other Ranks, was declared missing. Amongst the papers donated to the museum by Robert is the diary of Captain Amis’ girlfriend, Dorothy Beckton. On 10 June 1918 she wrote… ‘Telegram saying my H G missing. I felt a sort of stunned at first…A horrible time of despondency, but there is really no need. I think my darling boy is almost sure to be a prisoner in Germany. It is rather heavy waiting but as soon as I can hear that he is safe, will be alright. And we shall be able to make up afterwards. I hope they will treat the dear old…
John was born in 1896 in Leyburn North Yorkshire. In 1900 the family moved to Burtersett near Hawes where John’s father Jeremiah worked as a stonemason at the local quarry. John had two younger brothers, Anthony and George. On leaving school John also worked at the quarry. In February 1916 he had married a local girl, Jane Ann Dinsdale. By the time of his wedding John was with the 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, having enlisted at Askrigg in October 1915. John embarked for France in April 1916. The Battalion would not take part in the Somme offensive until September 15th with the eventual plan for the 26th was for the Battalion to attack and capture German trenches running from Flers. It was during the German counter attack that the Battalion suffered heavy casualties, one of which was John. His body was never found and it wasn’t until early 1917 that his wife Jane was officially notified that her husband had been killed. By the time of his death Jane had given birth to a child. Private John William Horn’s name is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
Researched by John Mills. Arnold was born on the 19th January 1896 in Harrogate Yorkshire. His Army career started with the 5th Lancers with which he went to France in August 1914. He was present at the Battles of the Aisne, Ypres, Somme 1916 and Arras 1917. He transferred to the Yorkshire Regiment on the 26th September 1917 and having gained a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant and joined the 2nd Battalion on the 18th January 1918. He was promoted Lieutenant 26th March 1919, Captain 16th November 1929, Major 1st August 1938 and Lieutenant Colonel 27th December 1943. He also served in Waziristan 1913-25 and with the Shanghai Defence Force 1930-31. Between 1933 and 1936 while serving in India he played 1st class cricket for the ‘Europeans’ team. During the Second World War he commanded the 1st Battalion, The Green Howards, 1941-43 and received a DSO on the 8th November 1943. He retired from the Army as Honorary Brigadier on the 30th December 1943. He had married Constance Smith on the 6th October 1917 when they were both just 21. On the 27th January 1949 they set sail from London on the P&O liner SS Matiana for a life in Kenya where Arnold joined the Nairobi police force. He was made Assistant Superintendant of Police on the 6th January 1950, becoming Senior Superintendant on the 1st January 1956. He was there during the early years of the Mau-Mau Rebellion. He died at Malton Yorkshire on the 13th November 1972.