Richard Oliver was 22 years old when he enlisted at Cramlington in September 1914. He was from Esh Winning, Crook, Co. Durham and was a miner. He enlisted in the Northumberland Fusiliers but was posted to the Yorkshire Regiment. He served in the 9th and 10th Battalions and whilst with the 10th Battalion in 1915 he was awarded the Military Medal.
He served in France and Italy and became disabled due to the effects of gassing. He was discharged in March 1920 and was initially given a pension of 8 shillings a week, but this was subsequently withdrawn and his appeal rejected.
He left the army as a Corporal, he served in France from 1915 to 1917 and on the Italian Front from November 1917 until December 1918.
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John Sweeny was 22 years of age when he enlisted in the Yorkshire Regiment in late 1914. He was the son of John and Mary Sweeney of Washington Station, Co. Durham. The 8th Battalion arrived in France in late August 1915 and John is reported to have been wounded in that November. He was again wounded in December 1916 and was killed in action in August 1917. The only reported 8th Battalion casualties at this period were working as Yukon Pack Carriers, re-supplying the front line with munitions in the area of Ypres. He is commemorated on Panel 33 of the Menin Gate at Ypres, Belgium. 144466 Private John Sweeney of ‘A’ Company was awarded the 15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Diane Hawthorne sent in a request for us to look into her grandfather’s First World War service – this is what we managed to discover. Gosnay William Riley attested on 10th December 1915 into the 11th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment at Brighouse and was assigned the regimental number 27654. The 11th was a Home Service Battalion dealing with Drafts and Reinforcements. In September 1916 the 11th amalgamated with the 16th Durham Light Infantry as a Training Battalion thereby losing its distinct identity. At some time prior to this Gosnay transferred to the 10th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. He had been promoted to the rank of Corporal. Sometime thereafter he transferred to the 9th York and Lancaster Regiment. His Regimental number was 34441. On the 3rd March 1919 he became a reservist in the British Army with many thousands of others.
Henry Parker In October 2015 the Green Howards Museum was contacted by the Ministry of Defence’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC). Human remains had been found in a field to the north- east of the village of Martinpuich on the Somme. The JCCC wanted to know if we could do anything to help identify this unknown soldier. We looked at events around Martinpuich between 25 and 27 September 1916. 77 men were lost, whilst an additional 319 Officers and Other Ranks were either wounded, or listed as ‘missing’. The remains could have belonged to any one of a potential 396 men. Through a process of elimination using research and archive information, we produced a shortlist of 12. To get any further, science needed to play its part. The Forensic team from JCCC collected DNA from the femur of the remains. DNA was taken from the next of kin of our shortlisted missing soldiers who had agreed to take part in the process. The remains were positively identified as those of 3183 Private Henry Parker, born 29th September 1893 in Weavererthorpe, in the Yorkshire Wolds. He was killed in action, aged 22, during the Battle of the Somme on 26 September 1916. Shoulder badges, uniform buttons, a belt buckle and clip, bullet and cut throet razor were found with the remains of Private Henry Parker – these are now on display at the museum. He was reburied with full military honours in Warlencourt Cemetary in France on 17th May 2017….