Researched by Paul Gayton.
Private Tempest was in the 2nd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment and he was killed on the 1st of July 1916 (the first day of the Battle of the Somme) aged only 16 years of age. We believe that he is the youngest army fatality commemorated on the memorial in Friary Gardens.
He was born in Richmond and his birth is registered in the 3rd quarter (July to September) 1900, so it is possible he may even have been 15 when he was killed.
His parents were Thomas and Emily Annie Tempest. He had 3 older sisters, Edith Rose, Florence Ruth and Emily Ann. Also he had an elder bother Frances William. The family lived in nearby Sleegill where his father worked as a paper maker. The paper making industry on the river Swale existed in Richmond from the 1700s but ended in 1931.
Charles Percy enlisted on the 22nd of August 1915 and was initially posted to the 3rd Battalion. In 1916 he transferred to the 2nd Battalion for active service in France. He is buried at Danzig Alley British cemetery at Mametz and his name is among the others that are commemorated in Friary Gardens.
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This is 65038 Private Samuel Revel Staite, born in 1878, a native of Leeds and self-employed house painter. He joined the army in Leeds on 11th December 1915, at the age of 37. He saw service with the Royal Engineers and the Northumberland Fusiliers. He served with the 6th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment in North Russia 1918-1919. After the war he returned to his job as a painter. His own son intended to enlist when the Second World War broke out, however, he was employed in a reserved occupation, so Samuel did not have to see him off to war. Samuel died in 1944. Members of the family still live in Leeds. Samuel’s grand daughters Philippa and Deborah brought their treasured family possessions into the museum for us to take care of. Their items relate to his service in Russia in 1918 and 1919, and will help us add to our collections of items from this less well known period of Green Howards history.
Submitted by Mike Crisp. Private 47165 George Laws was by trade a painter and decorator from the small market town of Beccles, Suffolk. He joined the 22nd Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (Tyneside Scottish) and served in France. On the opening day of Operation Michael, 21st March 1918 his battalion was in the front-line trenches around St Leger / Bullecourt where he was reported missing. His body was never recovered, and he is commemorated on the Arras memorial. According to the battalion diary they suffered 1,130 casualties on that day. George’s wife Gertrude, was heartbroken and never gave up hope of her husband being found, writing to the War Office on several occasions to try and gain more information. It was not until many months later friends of George visited her to relate that George was a member of a bombing party which went to a flank and were never seen again. Not only was Gertrude in mourning but also on the poverty line, forced to bring up 2 small children on her own. To help make ends meet she took in washing, sat with the dying, and laid out corpses for the local undertakers. Her son became the surrogate ‘man of the house’ and it was not until 1968 that he felt that he could leave his mother to get married himself. Gertrude died at the age of 97 in 1977.
265990 Private Albert Norris served in the Yorkshire Regiment, joining up sometime after January 1915. For his service during the First World War he was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal. He was transferred to the Royal Munster Fusiliers and served at the garrison in Cork. Following the war, he ran a Draper’s shop in Tonbridge, Kent. In 1924 He married Myra Donovan. Albert’s step granddaughter is Dame Kelly Holmes, double Olympic Champion.