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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Students at Hackforth and Hornby School researched this story for the Ribbon of Remembrance. Do you know the story of Major Robert Henry Edmund Hutton-Squire? He was a World War 1 Hero. A person from our area: a soldier in the British Army who fought for our freedom. Major Robert Hutton-Squire was born on the 10th October 1877, at Holtby Hall, his family home, in the Parish of Hornby, near Bedale. As a child, Robert grew up at Holtby Hall with his older siblings, John and Emmeline; his younger siblings, Lucy and Eleanor; his father, Robert, a magistrate and militia army officer and Catherine, his mother. Very sadly, Lucy died in 1903, before the outbreak of World War 1. She was buried at St Andrews Church in Great Fencote, near Holtby Hall. The family were looked after by their servants, including a housekeeper, a butler, a cook, a nursery maid and a gardener. Robert Hutton-Squire did not go to his local school (Hackforth & Hornby C of E Primary School). In 1891, he was a boarding scholar at Charterhouse School with his brother, John. He was at school, away from his family. After he left school, Robert trained as an engineer. In 1899, he was working in India, in Madras. In 1900, he joined the British Army in India, as an officer in the Royal Artillery. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1901. In 1906, his father died and was buried alongside his daughter in Great Fencote. In 1911, Lieutenant…
Alfred Myers came from a large family in East Cleveland and before the war worked with two of his brothers in the ironstone mines. A member of the Independent Labour Party and a devout Wesleyan Methodist, he played a key role in his local community. He was a tenor in the Wesleyan Carlin How choir, a Sunday school superintendent and trustee of the local church. Myer’s service record survives and records the process of his arrest and sentencing in cold, hard terms. One month after his posting he was arrested and court-martialled. Initially he was sentenced to death but this was commuted to 10 years imprisonment. At his hearing for exemption from compulsory military service, Myers asserted his belief in an international brotherhood of man, and stated that he ‘could not conscientiously kill, nor assist in killing’. But like so many others he was only granted exemption from combatant service and was sent to the Non-Combatant Corps at Richmond Castle. In the cells at Richmond, Myers’s tenor voice was put to good use. With two other conscientious objectors, Brocklesby and Gaudie, he sang the hymn ‘Nearer My God to Thee’ in three-part harmony. Myers’s performance wasn’t as perfect as the other prisoners hoped, however – they had to bang on the cell floor to keep him in time. Following his ordeal with the rest of the Richmond Sixteen in France, Myers was sent first to Dyce Camp, near Aberdeen, and then Maidstone prison. Others of the Richmond Sixteen were also…
Cradock was born at Hartforth, Richmond, North Yorkshire. After attending Richmond School, he entered the Royal Navy in 1875 he was promoted to rear-admiral in 1910. With the start of the First World War, in August 1914, Cradock, commanding the 4th Squadron of the Royal Navy and stationed at Stanley, had to deal with Admiral Maximilian von Spee’s East Asia Squadron. Cradock’s fleet was significantly weaker than Spee’s, consisting of mainly elderly vessels manned by largely inexperienced crews. The orders he received from the Admiralty were ambiguous, and Cradock interpreted them as instructing him to seek and engage the enemy forces; clarifying instructions were not issued until 3 November, by which time the battle had already been fought. Cradock found Spee’s force off Chile in the late afternoon of 1 November, and decided to engage, starting the Battle of Coronel. He tried to close the range to engage immediately, so that the enemy would have the setting sun in their eyes, but von Spee kept the range until dusk, when the British cruisers were silhouetted in the afterglow, while his ships were hidden by darkness. Cradock’s flagship HMS Good Hope and the HMS Monmouth were destroyed with the loss of all 1570 lives, including his own. A monument to Admiral Cradock was placed in York Minster. There is a monument and a stained glass window in Cradock’s memory in his parish church at Gilling West.