George Frederick Gywn Rees and his younger brother Charles Bernard Russell Rees from Leicestershire both joined the Yorkshire Regiment during the First World War. Their parents, Sydney and Margaret Rees were relatively wealthy and they lived in Sheffield for much of their childhood. Sydney was a Church of England clergyman. Born only 1 year apart, George in 1895 and Charles in 1896, it would appear that they took similar paths through their early life. In the 1911 census they were both recorded as living at a boarding school in Workshop along with several hundred other boys.
George and Charles both joined the 5th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment in 1915. Unfortunately their service records do not appear to have survived but museum records track their military careers from 1915 to 1918. George was wounded twice, in November 1916 and in June 1917, but neither wound appears to have affected his career as he was promoted to acting Captain in July 1917. Charlie however appears to have made it through the war relatively unscathed. Other than various promotions he is not listed until June 1918 as missing, turning up as a Prisoner of War in September. He returned home in late 1918 to Scrayingham Rectory, Stamford Bridge, York.
Charles’ medal card records that he received the Victory Medal and the British War Medal. Both brothers survived the war but we do not know what happened to them later in life.
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Sergeant John (Jack) Charlton joined the Army as a Territorial in 1908 when he enlisted in the 4th Battalion, Alexandra, Princess of Wales’ Own Yorkshire Regiment (The Green Howards). He served on the Western Front from April 1915 where he had a distinguished career, earning a Distinguished Conduct Medal and being Mentioned in Despatches in 1917. One particular act stands out from his memoirs which earned him a commendation from his Commanding Officer was while serving at the Arras Front while he was in charge of Battalion communications. After heavy shelling cut phone lines he used a Lucas Day Light Signalling Lamp to request an artillery barrage to defend the HQ from German gas shells. This Lamp was donated to the Museum and can be seen on display. Jack also suffered injuries during his service, firstly in April 1915 when he was gassed at Zillibeck and another, more serious gas attack got him sent home towards the end of 1917 where he remained for the rest of the War. While on Leave in 1916 Jack got engaged to Phillis Blow but they didn’t get married until 1918 after we was sent home. During 1918 he attended various training courses including a Signals Course at the Armoury School near Dunstable but before he was able to finish the Armistice was signed and so he was demobbed at Hornsea.
Submitted by Mike Crisp. Private 85882 Frederick Crisp, from Beccles, served in 2 regiments initially the 5th Royal Irish Lancers and subsequently the 8th Battalion Kings Liverpool Regiment. His photograph was allegedly taken at the Currugh. The war diary for Fred is quite detailed and it appears that he died in an unsuccessful evening attack on the Canal du Nord on 11th September 1918. The diary includes handwritten and typed operational orders and a post attack report. During this attack the battalion suffered 16 killed, 70 wounded and 13 missing. Fred is buried in the Commonwealth War Graves at the village of Mouvre.
Howard Muckle a resident of Richmond for the last 50 years (via Corbridge and Newcastle) provided this story of his grandfather, Blackbird Baggott. Blackbird Baggott (named after his mother Jane Blackbird) joined the Hawke Battalion of the Royal Naval division in 1915 and served at Gallipoli as an infantryman between May and August that year. The British Royal Naval Division was made up of men from the Royal Navy and its reserve forces. These men, who were not needed at sea, fought on land alongside the Army during World War One. The records cover more than 50,000 officers and ratings who joined the Royal Naval Division or who passed through Crystal Palace, London when it was used as an initial training centre during the First World War. Blackbird was transferred to the Army Service Corps and then the Royal Flying Corps as a Fitter from 1916 to 1919. After being demobbed in 1920 he married and had two children but rejoined the RAF in 1923 (with service number 47402). He served with 1 Squadron, 55 Squadron in Iraq from 1926 – 28, and then 503 Squadron in the UK, with whom he was serving when he died in 1935. His death certificate stated Blackbird Baggott died of Malnutrition whilst based on a training camp at RAF Halton.