Margaret Carrigan visited the museum on a recent drop-in day, to tell the story of her father, 38026 Private George W Kidson of C Company, 9th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment.
He enlisted in Richmond in May 1916 – but was told to return home until his call up papers arrived, which they duly did on 5th September 1916. George spent two weeks at the Depot in Richmond and then went to Hartlepool for training. One memorable incident during the night of 29th November occurred when George was on guard duty – a German Zeppelin was brought down.
The war really began for George when he arrived at Canada Trench near Ypres – he recalled, “In the trenches each night we were told what to do, I was told to stand on the Fire Step. While I was there at night about 7 Germans walked past me, so near they could have picked me up, if they had seen me. I said to the Serg, “should I fire?”, he said no – not to give the position away.”
Later in the year he saw action at Polygon Wood. “On Sunday 30th September we were rushed back, where a German prisoner gave himself up. He told us that the Germans were coming the next day – October 1st. I shall always remember Polygon Wood. Come they did on the Monday. Our Platoon were firing for all they were worth. My rifle was muddy, and the bolt would not work, so I took out my oil bottle and passed it on. Man to man oil was passed each oiling their rifle bolts. We were then driven back with machine gun fire.”
After a spell in Italy, bolstering our allies against Austrian attacks, the 9th battalion were sent to the Somme to take part in the advance which eventually led to the signing of the Armistice. It was during this period that George was awarded the Military Medal following the rescue of Major Hunneybun. “I had to go out of the trench and crawl towards the Major. The bullets were flying so thick we could not stand so I put the Major on a groundsheet and me and my pal tried to drag him away. That chap got killed and I got a bullet through my coat collar which just missed the back of my head. I was very lucky.”
George Kidson died on 23rd December, 1995 aged 98 years.
Explore more memories from the ribbon
Marion Moverley, a Richmond resident, provided us with information about her grandmother, Evelyn Fletcher. My grandmother was called Evelyn Fletcher and born in 1898 in Halifax. She met my grandfather Tom Stocks who was born in 1897 in Bradford, and they married in 1920. They both played a part in the War. Tom joined up, Evelyn worked in munition factories. The photograph shows a munitions factory in the Bradford/Halifax district, with two figures picked out by ‘x’ marks in biro. The girl marked on the left appears to be Evelyn and the one on the right is probably her sister, Lizzie Fletcher.
Submitted by Andrew Fynn. William John Blore was my Great Grandfather and was born in Leeds in 1877. He enlisted in the Yorkshire Regiment as a private in July 1894. His initial service was in India with the 2nd Battalion, during which his daughter Louisa Doris tragically died. More tragedy ensued in 1906 as his wife died after giving birth to his daughter Kathleen at Richmond. He did re-marry and seems to have left the army prior to 1909 when he was known to be a postman. As his military record is lost it’s unclear how he came to be back in service so we assume he must have volunteered and became part of the 6th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (the Green Howards) in August 1914 as Company Sergeant-Major. On 3 July 1915, the 6th Battalion sailed from Liverpool on board the Aquitania, bound for the Dardanelles campaign. On 6 August 1915, the 6th Battalion embarked for Gallipoli and the landing and attack at Suvla Bay. At 23.00 hrs, following the landing at Suvla Bay, he was part of the attack on Lala Baba Hill, the first ‘Kitchener unit’ to be involved in a major offensive operation of the war. The attack eventually cleared the hill of the Turks but not before they inflicted serious casualties on the attackers which, unfortunately, included William, only hours into his first action. His body wasn’t found in the aftermath of the action and he is commemorated at the Helles memorial. His role at Gallipoli…
Information submitted by Mrs Drury of Richmond. Arthur Selwyn Morley MC was one of nine children of a Weardale hill farmer who sold up in 1894 and moved to Houghton-le-spring, County Durham. Arthur ran with the Houghton and District Harriers. When war broke out Arthur and three of his five brothers joined up. His regiment was the Durham Light Infantry and he did his training at Bullswater Camp, Woking, Surrey when he was a Lance Corporal in 1914, before he proceeded to the Flanders trenches. On one of his precious leaves he married in haste, as many soldiers did who had seen the countless deaths and injuries and knew their own chances of survival were not good. On one occasion in the trenches Arthur took command of his company, being a temporary Second Lieutenant, when senior officers became casualties. He led several attacks on an enemy position and behaved with great coolness and courage until his battalion was relieved. For this conspicuous gallantry he was awarded the Military Cross, but only weeks later he was killed and never got the chance to see his daughter. His name is on the Menin Gate. His elder brother William had a son soon after Arthur’s death and named that son for Arthur.