Thomas Holman, great-grandfather of Carl Watts, the Green Howard Museum’s Learning Officer, worked as a boiler maker at the Wellington Foundry in Lincoln. At the outbreak of war the company which owned the foundry, Fosters, converted production from agricultural vehicles to war machinery. It was here that the first tanks were developed under the management of William Tritton.
Secrecy was of the utmost importance, and the original code name for the revolutionary new vehicle was ‘The water-carrier for Mesopotamia and Russia’. Bill Rigby, chief draughtsman and designer recounted in the mid-1980s that eventually a group of the boiler makers came to is office, fed up with the long winded code name. Their suggestion that it should just be referred to as ‘the bl**dy tank!’ has stuck with the vehicle and its successors ever since.
Thomas Holman is pictured with colleagues back row, third from the left in front of ‘Lurcher’ a Mark IV male tank in November 1917.
His brother George Edward Holman served with the 6th battalion Lincolnshire Regiment at Gallipoli, Egypt and France. The efforts of the brothers were combined on 15 September 1916, as 6th Lincs were at the Battle of Flers Courcelette – the first battle to see the use of the tank.
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John was born on the 8th August 1855, the only son of Robert and Mary Lodge of ‘The Rookery’ Bishopdale near Aysgarth. He was educated at St. Peter’s School York and admitted to Gonville and Caius College Cambridge. He graduated MA in 1879 and called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1883. At 18 John joined the 5th West York Militia, which became the 3rd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment in 1881. He would serve with the Battalion in the 2nd Boer War (1899-1902). From 1906 until retirement in 1912 he would be the Battalion Commander. At the outbreak of the Great War John offered his services and returned to his old Battalion as Major, remaining with it until May 5th 1916 when he was appointed to the command of a Garrison Battalion. This he held until the time of his death. He had been associated with the Yorkshire Regiment for 43 years. As Squire of Bishopdale, Colonel Lodge was JP for the North Riding and was on the Yorkshire Fisheries Board. He was a skilled angler and marksman. John never married. He died after a short illness on the 23rd August 1917 aged 60. The house ‘The Rookery’ which the family had built in mid Victorian times was demolished in the 1920s.
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…
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.