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.
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Jonathan Helm submitted this information about his Great Grandfather, Harold Surtees. Lance Corporal Surtees (2048/200407), was born in West Hartlepool and lived in Great Ayton. He volunteered for service in a local meeting on 2nd September 1914. Serving with the 1st/4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, he was posted to France as part of the 50th Northumbrian Division on 18th April 1915. Although little is known of his exact war record, his photograph indicates two wound stripes and the Whitby Gazette when reporting his death noted that he had been “three times wounded and gassed”. The only confirmed record of wounding is in the War Office Casualty List, which was printed in The Times on Wednesday 25th October 1916. This is likely to have occurred during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette (15th – 22nd September 1916) which was fought during the Battle of the Somme. He died on the 10th April 1918 (aged 26) from wounds sustained when the battalion fought at the Battle of Estaires in an attempt to stop the German advance. Harold is buried at the Haverskerque British Cemetery in France. He left behind his wife, Sarah, and their two children, Harold and Mary.
Alyson Swift contacted us through our website to tell us about her great grandfather, John Mattison. John was from Richmond and was called up on 10th May 1917, joining the Royal Flying Corps. While he may look very smart in what is known as his ‘Maternity’ pattern tunic and side cap, Alyson wanted to draw a different aspect of his role in the First World War to our attention: “He was an entertainer in the the camp concert party. He and his party won a talent contest at the Croydon Empire Theatre. He sang ‘the Laddies who fought and won’ and ‘keep right on to the End of the Road’ for which they won 20 pound!!”
Maud Florence Hoare Maud was living in Ashford in Middlesex when she enrolled as a VAD for the British Red Cross. She joined in January 1915 and was stationed at the Military Hospital Catterick Camp. Maud spent approximately a year at Catterick Camp. Stationed from 15th January 1918 until the 9th of February 1919. This information, provided by Alathea Anderssohn has been drawn from the Imperial War Museum’s ‘Lives of the First World War’ archive.