Private Firby was born in 1883 and came from Richmond, living at 49 Newbiggin. He enlisted on 12th December 1914 at the age of 31. He was a ‘Commission Agent’. He was posted to the 6th battalion on 24th August 1915 and arrived in Gallipoli on 8th September. He was wounded by shrapnel on 25th October 1915 when, according to the Battalion War Diary, at 9.30 in the morning there was a ‘Fire display by the Turks along whole of the front. 8 men wounded by shrapnel.’ He returned home on 15th November 1915. He appears among the list of wounded in the December 1915 edition of The Green Howards Gazette.
On recovering from his wounds, Private Firby was transferred to the Labour Corps on 22nd May 1917 and he saw out the remainder of the war with the Labour Corps.
Private Firby was examined by a Medical Board on 9th March 1917 and was in The Royal Victoria Hospital, Edinburgh on 29th July 1918 when a copy of The New Testament was presented to him.
Private Firby was discharged from military service on 4th April 1919.
Private Firby was again examined in 1920 and 1921 and declared to have a 40% disability, the cause being listed as ‘Bronchitis’ and granted an award of 8 shillings per week.
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Researched by John Mills. Flora Sandes was the only woman to officially fight on the front line during WW1, having joined the Serbian Army. Flora was born on the 26th January 1876 in Nether Poppleton, near York, the youngest of eight children. From an early age she exhibited an adventurous nature, a real tomboy, somewhat surprising for the daughter of a vicar! At the aged of 9 the family moved to rural Suffolk. Even her middle class upbringing didn’t dull her desire for adventure. After school she trained as a stenographer in London and scrapped together all her money, and together with the proceeds of a legacy from an uncle she went off to see the world travelling to places like Egypt, Canada and America. Flora was 38 years old when WW1 broke out and was living in London at the time. She enlisted as an Ambulance Service Volunteer and just 8 days later she was on her way to Serbia with the first volunteer unit to leave Britain. She worked in Military Hospitals and by October 1915 was fluent in the Serbian language. She eventually enlisted in the Serbian Army, one of the few countries in the world that accepted female soldiers. She soon made a name for herself, rising through the ranks to Sergeant within a year. It wasn’t just soldiering that Flora matched her male counterparts. She could hold her own racing cars, shooting, smoking and drinking. She survived the front line fighting, received a terrible shrapnel…
Three members of the same family served with the Lincolnshire Regiment. Seth William George Howson served with the regiment and received both the Queens South Africa and the Kings South Africa medals for his service during the South African Wars 1899-1902. He survived and is listed as living in Lincoln in 1911 along with his wife Elizabeth and his two sons George William and Arthur Balfour. Both his sons served with the Lincolnshire Regiment during the First World War. Sgt George William Howson, the elder son, worked as a labourer and painter prior to joining the war effort. He served with C Coy of the 1st and 4th Battalions of the Lincolnshire Regiment. Sadly he was killed on 13th October 1915. He was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal posthumously and his effects were left to a Miss Sarah Ann Petty. We do not know how Miss Petty and George were related; was she a family relation or a future wife? CSM Arthur Balfour Howson MM survived the war and was awarded a Military Medal and a silver war badge in addition to the First World War medal trio. The Military Medal was awarded for bravery in battle, but no citation survives to describe the specific action for which Arthur received his. Aged 23, Arthur married Emma Eliza Stanford in 1916 in Lincoln. He worked in the manufacturing sector after the war, and is listed as in charge of Stationery & Mailing depots on the 1939 Register….
Information submitted by Mrs Audrey Grundy. Joseph Whitell Bainbridge was born in 1896, his family ran Bainbridge’s Drapers Shop in Richmond Marketplace. Which occupied the building where Penley’s stands today. He was a territorial solider with the 4th battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment prior to the outbreak of the First World War and appears to have rejoined as a volunteer with the same battalion after the conflict started. Joseph arrived in France with the 4th battalion on 18 April 1915. His territorial regimental number (2370) was later revised to 200533. His war service led to the award of the 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal. Joseph’s older brother, Thomas Lawrence Bainbridge (also of the Yorkshire Regiment) was killed during the Battle of Arras on 23 April 1917. He had been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field.