Sergeant William James Denton Milson 7813 D.C.M. 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment.
This story was submitted by Andrew Hume Voegeli. Serjeant Milson was the brother of his maternal grandmother Lily Muriel Boyes (nee Milson) born in Beverley in 1896. William James Denton Milson was born on the 1st of February 1890 in the Parish of St Mary’s Beverley Yorkshire. He was the eldest of 6 children, his father was William Carr Milson and his mother was Ann Maria Milson, nee Cooper.
His father was a boot maker but did serve in several regiments including the Yorkshire Regiment. Young William enlisted in the Yorkshire Regiment aged 14 years and 7 months on the 24th of August 1904 as a drummer boy. He was 4 feet 11 inches tall, had a fair complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair. He was working as a message boy at that time. Before the outbreak of World War 1 he served in India.
On the 6th of October 1914 he landed at Zeebrugge and took part in the 1st Battle of Ypres. By 1915 his leadership skills led to his promotion to Serjeant. On the 15th of March 1915 he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (D.C.M.) for leading a rescue party for men trapped under continuous sniper fire.
The Yorkshire regiment gazette recorded this as follows:
“D.C.M.s have been awarded to Sergt Milsom, Cpl Wilson and Pte Howard for their work when the Boche’s mine was exploded at Givenchy on the 29th of November. The Brigadier at a special parade congratulate and the battalion.” His surname was incorrectly spelt Milsom!
In 1916 he was deployed to the southern sector of the Somme, west of the village of Maricourt. After a week of heavy bombardment of the German lines, the 1st of July saw the beginning of the Somme offensive. Milson was badly injured and sent to the hospital at Corbie. On the 4th of July he died of his wounds aged 26. He is buried in the Corbie communal cemetery extension (plot 1, row B grave 23), his grave inscription reads “He gave his life freely for God and his country in his arms securely folded”.
Explore more memories from the ribbon
Marcia Howard submitted this photo of her father, Philip Baker (right) and her Uncle Leslie – both ready to defend King and Country in 1915. The story she has to tell connects the First and Second World Wars: “Philip my father and Uncle Leslie were the two youngest of the boys in their large family. With an ‘Army’ father in the Hampshire Regiment, it depended on his posting as to where each child was born. Uncle Leslie b.1907 was born in Bermuda, although by the time my dad arrived, they were back in England and he was born 1910 in Winchester. Older siblings had been born in various locations including County Cork, Aldershot and Hampshire. My grandfather Ernest Benjamin Baker was discovered to have haemophilia, a condition which eventually caused his demise, but with an Army Pension, was retained as an Army Messenger as far as I am aware. My grandfather, who died well before I was born, suffered a nose bleed after falling off his bike which caused him to bleed to death. From checking the National School Admission Register, Leslie went to St Thomas’s Higher Grade National/Service Church of England school in Winchester. I couldn’t find details of where my father Philip went to school, but I do recall him telling me during my early teenage years, that he had hated school, and one day had just walked out, never to return. It was a year before he was officially allowed to leave. Fortunately for him he was both…
Thomas was born around 1883 to George and Margaret Coates. George was a farm worker. By 1901 the family was living at Marsett in Raydaleside where Thomas and his two brothers, George and Albert were born. The children attended Stalling Busk School. On leaving school Thomas worked in the Council Offices in Hawes. Thomas enlisted on the 6th October 1915 joining the 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. Thomas would gain the rank of Lance Corporal. On the 26th September 1916 during the latter part of the Somme offensive Thomas won the Military Medal for bravery in the field. However, he was severely wounded. On an attack of a German trench a soldier threw a stick bomb which exploded at Thomas’s feet whereby he received serious wounds to his leg and face. Despite this he still managed to dispatch the German soldier with his bayonet and in doing so saved a colleague. Thomas spent 11 weeks at a hospital at Rouen where he underwent four operations. Two more operations followed in England before he was discharged from the Army on the 14th July 1917. Thomas eventually went back to his old job until he married Elizabeth Watson in 1921. They then went to live at The Heugh, a large isolated house above Nappa Scar near Settle in the Yorkshire Dales. They ran it as a guest house, and it was here that their two daughters, Margaret and Mary, were born. On the 21st January 1925, after only three day’s illness, Thomas died…
The Outhwaite family came to live in Stalling Busk in the Raydaleside area near Bainbridge in the 1730s to farm the land. Thomas’s father William had married Eleanor Pickard, a girl from Newbiggin near Aysgarth. They later lived for a time at Ingleton in the Dales where Thomas was born in 1880. Thomas would be one of 6 children. Shortly after 1880 they moved back to Stalling Busk. Thomas’s father eventually became the gamekeeper on the estate of Colonel Percy Williams, MP, of Raydale Grange. In 1905 Thomas’s brother William took over the Rope works in Hawes, which still operates today under the Outhwaite name. By now Thomas had married Gertrude Sherrington, a girl from Tunstall near Catterick and was working with his father on the Raydale Estate. Thomas enlisted in 1915 joining the 9th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. It was during The Battle of Messines in June 1917 that on the 19th Private Thomas Pickard Outhwaite was wounded, he died of his wounds later that day. He is buried at the Military Cemetery in Poperinge.