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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John was born in October 1876, the eldest son of Warrin and Ellen Mitton of Hawes. His father Warrin was both a joiner and a farmer. John married a girl from the Leyburn area, Mary Teresa, in July 1905 and had two daughters. Before joining the Army he spent four years as a postman in Raydaleside and previous to that, for about 14 years, a rural postman at Finghall near Leyburn. It was while he was there he got married. On leaving Finghall the people on his round presented him with a marble clock, pipe and a pouch containing some money. Needless to say he was a very well liked postman! He played for Hawes football team for many years, and for two years the club secretary. He was a fine billiards player and a member of Hawes Church choir. John was described as a cheery likeable chap. John enlisted at Leyburn joining the 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment and embarked for France at the end of July 1916. On April 7th 1917 the Battalion readied itself for the Arras Offensive which was due to start on the 9th. Private John Mitton was killed on that opening day. He was 40 years old. John is buried in the Neuville-Vitasse Road Cemetary, SE of Arras.
Submitted by Pauline Blewis. George was born in Old Malton and joined the Green Howards in around 1905. In the same year he married Annie Hemstock, a Richmond girl. Their family of three sons and a daughter were raised in the barracks, now the Garden Village. George served during the Boer War and during the First World War was transferred to the 13th Battalion (October 1915)- the battalion was made up of ‘Bantams’. George served through the war up to the Battle of Cambrai. On 23rd November 1917 he was sent up to the front line with his battalion with the aim of taking Bourlon Wood and village. Tanks were sent in with the infantry following up, eventually the village was taken after hand to hand fighting. George died during this advance and while his body was never found his name is inscribed on Panel 5 of the Cambrai Memorial. After his death the family were moved from the barracks into a house inside Richmond Castle.
Information submitted by John Holdsworth. Edoardo Giovanoli was born in Samedan, Switzerland in April 1889, but by around 1907 he had moved to Filey in Yorkshire to work with a relative to learn the art of confectionery. Following the outbreak of the First World War, Edoardo decided to become a Naturalised British Citizen, which would allow him to fight for his adopted country. He joined the 5th Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment as 3072 Lance Corporal E Giovanoli in 1915. On 20th September Edoardo was wounded while in the trenches outside of Armentieres, receiving gunshot wounds to the left arm and the neck. After hospitalisation and convalescence (during which time he met his newly born daughter, Dorothy) Edoardo returned to the front in 1916, attaining the rank of Corporal some time after this. Having spent most of the war in Belgium and France, it seems that Edoardo may have been used as an interpreter during the latter part of the conflict on the Italian-Austrian Front. Following the war the family moved to Bradford, and Edoardo worked as a Master Baker for Clark’s High Class Confectioners on North Parade. He became ill in 1927 and was admitted to St Luke’s Hospital. He died on 13th August and his death certificate records that the war wounds sustained 12 years earlier were the cause of his death. …