Percy Raworth was Judith Farrar’s grandfather’s cousin, she visited the museum to tell us his story.
Percy Raworth was born in 1890 and attended Elmfield College in York. His father William ran a local building firm, and later became a local Councillor in Harrogate. By 1911 Percy was a Joiners’ apprentice and well on the way to joining the family firm. His career seems to have taken a side track as he was working as a ‘Stock Keeper’ at his brother-in-laws leather warehouse at Rushden, Northamptonshire when he enlisted.
Originally a member of the Machine Gun Corps, Percy went on to serve with the Tank Corps, specifically, ‘D’ Brigade and win the Military Medal. The Rushden Echo of 10th November 1916 notes that he:
Has been in action several times with the ‘Tanks’, once he was four hours under fire digging the ‘Tank’ out of a German dug-out into which it has sunk. On another occasion the ‘Tank’ caught fire, and Private Raworth and his driver got the military medal.’
Percy died on 23rd September 1917 of wounds he received during a German air raid. It seems that his tank again became grounded and whilst Percy was digging it out German aircraft attacked.
Capt. F. A. Robinson wrote to Percy’s father:
‘…he was struck by an enemy bomb. He was made as comfortable as humanly possible under the circumstances, and you will doubtless find some consolation in the knowledge that he did not appear to feel very much pain……our experiences of war were gained together. With opportunities like these of weighing up a man, one naturally sees him as he really is, and we were all glad to count Percy as our chum.’
Percy lies in Gwalia Cemetery near Ypres.
Explore more memories from the ribbon
Gerald Burnett visited the museum to relate the story of his grandfather Ernest Wyatt Burnett. My Grandfather, Ernest Wyatt Burnett was born in Chudleigh, Devonshire, in 1886. After minimal schooling and several agricultural jobs, Ernest moved to London and became a chauffeur with various employers including Thomas Tilling. He spent the pre-war years driving around Great Britain with American tourists and contemporary industrialists such as Tommy Lipton of tea fame. Ernest enlisted with the Royal Army Service Corps, Mechanical Transport Branch, in April 1915 and became a Staff Car driver. In 1915, the Government appointed five official Western Front War Correspondents, Philip Gibbs, Percival Phillips, H. Perry Robinson, W. Beach Thomas and Herbert Russell. Ernest was assigned to be their driver, a position he held until the end of the war. Ernest was transferred to the Reserve in February 1919. Alongside his ‘Pip, Squeak and Wilfred’ decorations he was awarded a Silver Medal for Merit by Nicholas I, King of Montenegro. During WW2, Ernest served with the Home Guard at Balcombe Place, his Sussex home, where he was chauffeur to Lady Gertrude Denman who was President of the Women’s Institute and Honorary Director of The Women’s Land Army. My Grandfather was one of the lucky ones. He served his country, survived two World Wars, and lived a full and interesting life.
The story of Private Arthur Bateman was compiled by Margeret Sparke, his granddaughter. Arthur was born in 1879 – the son of William and Mary Bateman of Battersea. He worked as a labourer and married Emily Jackman in September of 1903. After the outbreak of war Arthur joined the Yorkshire Regiment, enlisting at Kingston-on-Thames. His service was quite unusually as he was posted to a total of 4 battalions. He served with the 4th, 7th, 6th and 2nd battalions of the Yorkshire Regiment. He has two regimental numbers (9166/235033) – the earlier number suggests that he may have served with the 4th battalion before the war as a Territorial soldier. He died on 6th November 1918, just before the Armistice came into force and is buried in Bettrechies Communal Cemetery in France. Tragically, with Arthur’s death being so close to the end of the war, his widow Emily only found out that he had been killed in action while taking part in an Armistice street party.
Anthea Dunne dropped into the museum with a photo of her father (pictured in the centre of the group), and after a little research she has managed to piece together the story of his service during the First World War. William George Samuel Padden was my father from Pontnewydd, near Newport, Monmouthshire, he volunteered and enlisted at Carmarthen in west Wales on 9th October 1914, as part of The Pembrokeshire Yeomanry, the Territorial Force. As a Private in the Pembroke Yeomanry, he was given the regimental number 4390. Although not compelled to, he signed up as willing to serve overseas. He was transfered to 210 Company of the Machine Gun Corps (part of the 4th Dismounted Brigade) on 22nd October 1916 and given the new regimental number 74792. Initially a private in the Machine Gun Corps, he later became a corporal (29th May 1918). In April 1916 he sailed for Alexandria as part of the 4th Dismounted Brigade, fought in Egypt, stationed at Wadi El Natrun for 2 years. By 1917 this brigade had become part of The Welsh Regiment. By May 1918 he was fighting on the Western front in France. He was wounded on September 25th 1918 and sent home to a military hospital in Reading with a fractured right femur. He was finally discharged from hospital on May 3rd 1919 with a 40% degree of disablement and a pension of 12 shillings a week [with a temporary bonus of 20%]. He received a Silver War Badge in…