In 1930 St Mary’s Parish Church offered the Lady Chapel as a memorial chapel for the Green Howards. This gift recognised that for over a century St Mary’s had been the garrison church for the regiment. The church already held the Green Howard’s Book of Remembrance for those who had been killed in the First World War, the regiment’s old Colours (Regimental flags) and many individual memorials.
Fundraising began in 1931 but the economic depression made for a very challenging campaign. In August £386 had been raised but in September the regimental magazine noted, ‘Subscriptions to the Chapel fund have been most disappointing. In view of the present depressing state of the country this is not altogether surprising, but the Committee most earnestly appeal to all Green Howards to do their utmost to assist in completing the Chapel as a tribute to those whose memory it will perpetuate.’ The cry for assistance was heard and by the end of 1931 a date of Sunday, March 13th 1932 had been set for the dedication of the Chapel.
The dedication service was led by the Bishop of Ripon. In his sermon he praised the Green Howards for providing a, ‘special place of prayer. It was a reminder that the war has a spiritual and Godward side, and taught them, among other things, the hopelessness of materialism as a way of life.’
As well as housing the Book of Remembrance the chapel also includes a number of items given in memory of soldiers killed during the First World War. The sanctuary lamp was given in memory of Captain Ernest Scott Broun who was killed during the first Battle of Ypres on the October 30th 1914 and the altar rail was dedicated to Lieutenant G S Roper and Lieutenant W P Orde-Powlett. Roper was killed in 1917 and Orde-Powlett in 1915.
Explore more memories from the ribbon
Clement Rose was the son of John and Mary Rose of Monkwearmouth, Sunderland. His father was a mast-maker. He enlisted in the East Yorkshire Regiment in October 1914 at the age of 17. His elder brother was serving with the Yorkshire Regiment and claimed Clement for them. The 8th Battalion left for France in late August 1915 and on October 11th they relieved the 11th Sherwood Foresters Regiment in trenches at Rue Marles. 15734 Private Clement Rose was killed in action on the 13th, one of the 8th Battalions first casualties. He was buried at Desplanque Farm Cemetery, La Chapelle-D’Armentieres and left his effects to his mother, £2-10s and a gratuity of £3.
Sidonie van Eepoel died just a few months before the end of the First World War at the age of 40. Her family story is shared with a quarter of a million other Belgians, who fled to England to escape the invading German Army in 1914. Around 10,500 of these refugees ended up in Yorkshire, the biggest intake of any area outside London. For those who stepped off the train after up to a month of travelling there was both relief and exhaustion. It was after mid-September 1914 that were the first Belgian migrants started to arrive in Yorkshire. Sidonie’s family arrived in Richmond in November 1914, establishing their home at 10 Frenchgate. A total of 17 Belgians appear to have been made welcome in Richmond, with some also living at 10 Park Wynd. While Sidonie and her mother died during the war and were buried in Richmond in the town cemetery on Reeth Road, 15 of their friends and family returned to their native land when hostilities ceased. They were fit, safe and well thanks to the generosity and hospitality of the people of Richmond in their time of need. Photo submitted by Sara Cox.
Edith Purkiss wanted to tell us about her father’s war service. George Johnson Junior was a Richmond lad whose father, also called George had seen active service in Egypt with the West Yorkshire Regiment. The 1911 census shows George Jnr was working as a groom and living in Richmond at 20 Bargate along with his parents and siblings. George Jnr enlisted into the Yorkshire Regiment on 3rd September 1914. Having survived the First Battle of the Somme unscathed he was later injured at the Second Battle of the Somme in 1918. He lay in no man’s land for a considerable amount of time, wounded, until he was carried to safety by Mr Buchanan who later became manager of Timothy Whites & Taylors chemist shop (now Boots). George was severely wounded in his right leg and left arm, and was sent to a convalescent hospital in Sheffield to recover. His wounds were so severe that he was discharged, aged 24 years on 26th June 1918. Although he survived, George suffered from ill health due as a result of his wounds all his life. Ironically, he was finally granted a war pension of the day he died, 15th June 1959.