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”.
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Researched by Katy Douthwaite Cecil Christian Jervelund was born in 1891, the son of a Danish Merchant, Albert Neilson Jervelund, becoming a naturalised British citizen in 1889. Before joining the army, he worked as a Clerk at the local Iron and Steel Works. Charles, his elder brother was a regular Officer in the Yorkshire Regiment and served in India, South Africa and Bermuda. Cecil had been an Officer with the 4th Yorks since 1913 and went to France with them on 18th April 1915. On May 24th, at Hooge, the Germans launched a devastating gas attack, in which 30 Green Howards were killed in action, 70 were wounded and 98 were missing. The heavy toll included Cecil, who was taken to hospital suffering from the effects of gas. After recovering and returning to his unit, Cecil was promoted to Captain on 16th February 1916. He survived the War and appears again in October 1920 when he was once more made a Captain in the 4th Yorks Battalion after they reformed as part of the new Territorial Army. He married Marguerite D Mangin in Ripon, Yorks in 1918 and died in 1942 at Middlesbrough.
Judith Farrah told us about her great-grandfather James Allen, who’s joinery business contributed to the war effort on the Home Front. “James Allen was born in 1855 in Newbiggin, Richmond. He was originally called James Thistlethwaite but changed his name to Allen, which was his stepfathers name. He apprenticed with William Raworth, learning to be a joiner, and married his daughter Matilda. By 1901 he had set up his own joinery business known as James Allen & Son Ltd and worked on the Kursaal (later known as The Royal Hall) in Harrogate.” During the First World War, James did not join the armed forces but used his joinery business to create boxes for munitions. Static trench warfare required huge numbers of shells; the First World War became a war of production. Hundreds of manufacturing companies, including James’, were commandeered for munitions production. As men were sent to the trenches, women moved into the factories. Some factories’ workforce was almost entirely female, and this was true for James’ business.
Submitted by Glennis Robson. John Albert Lancaster was my uncle, he was my mother’s elder brother (13 years older). My mother spoke of much loved brother who was a source of goodness and “spoilt” his baby sister. On receiving the news of his death my grandmother picked my mother up from school. They made their way home down the back lanes to hide their tears from passers by. “Jack”,as he was known, was killed on the 16th of October 1917 at hill 60 in Flanders aged 19 after only a few months at the front. He enlisted in the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) regiment on the 6th of December 1916 in Newcastle. His father William, a farrier, also joined up declaring that if his son was prepared to fight so was he. Unlike his son he survived the war. Having no known grave his name is on the Menin Gate. In 1988 my husband Keith and I visited the Western Front to see his name and the battlefield where he died. Since then “our Jack” has been in the consciousness of the wider family. Every November we place a poppy cross by my mother’s grave-stone in St Mary’s churchyard.