Wilfred was born in March 1896 in Marske by the Sea near Redcar on the East coast. When he was young his family moved to Middlesbrough where his father worked in the steelworks. Wilfred was training as a draughtsman when war broke out. Wilfred was just 5’ 2’’ tall, an inch shorter that the regulation height. But due to the great manpower losses he eventually got his chance in early 1915 when recruitment standards were somewhat relaxed. He enlisted in the 4th Battalion.
It was in November of 1916 in the latter stages of the Somme offensive that the work party that Wilfred had volunteered for came under fire. On his way back to his own lines he was caught by a shell explosion. He was taken to a hospital at Abbeville where his left arm was amputated.
Back in England Wilfred had to adjust to life without a limb. He was classed as ‘incurably unemployable’ and found it impossible to get a job. He used his time to study employment law and became a ceaseless campaigner for better conditions of his fellow jobless war wounded. He would continue to do so even when after he eventually gained employment. He was instrumental in establishing one of the first branches of BLESMA (British Limbless Ex-Servicemen’s Association) in Teesside.
He married Elsie and his daughter Sylvia was born in 1932. However, his fifty cigarettes a day habit for most of his life would take their toll. He died of lung cancer in 1958, just 62 years old.
Wilfred recorded his military and civilian campaigns in a diary that spent years in the loft of his daughter’s home in Middlesbrough. His family edited the diary into a testimony of one man’s war experience and his fight against injustice and discrimination. The book is called ‘Wasted Effort: A Journal of the First World War’.
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Herbert Read served in the 2nd, 7th and 10th battalions of the Yorkshire Regiment from 1915 to 1918. During his time in service he was awarded the Military Cross for his actions in leading a trench raid, successfully securing a German prisoner for interrogation and a Distinguished Service Order for his role commanding the 2nd Battalion during the German Spring Offensive of March 1918. He published two volumes of war poetry during the conflict and is commemorated alongside Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey. He became a leading figure in the 20th Century, as curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum and Professor of Art at Edinburgh and Harvard Universities. He counted Picasso, Dali, Graham Greene, George Orwell, Peggy Guggenheim and Man Ray amongst his friends. A knighthood in 1953 (at the suggestion of Winston Churchill) came as a surprise to his circle of political associates. His headstone at St Gregory’s Minster near Helmsley reads ‘Knight, Poet, Anarchist’.
Harold Moore was born around 1898 at Mirkport near Hawes, with his twin sister Hilda. He was the second youngest of a family of ten children to Richard and Mary Moore. In 1901 they were living at Mirkpot Farm on the Hawes-Ingleton road where Richard was a farmer and stonemason. By 1914 they were living at Catriggs Farm near Hawes. Harold enlisted in Leyburn in May 1918 joining the 9th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. He arrived in France on October 11th, just one month from the Armistice and the cessation of hostilities. As Harold joined his Battalion, it had just come out of front line action in the Premont area between St. Quentin and Cambrai. A week later on the 24th October the Battalion was involved in capturing a machine gun post in a wooded area. During this action Harold, along with a number of other casualties, was severely wounded and later died. He had been in the war just 13 days. Private Harold Moore is buried in the Premont British Cemetery SE of Cambrai. He was just 20 years old.
Fred, the fourth child of five to Ned and Ann Shaw, was born around 1884 at Slaithwaite near Huddersfield. His father Ned was a railway signal man and part time photographer. Two of Fred’s brothers would emigrate to Canada before the Great War began. Fred trained as a journeyman tailor and travelled to seek employment. Whilst in the Hawes district he met and married a girl from Hawes, Mary Elizabeth Blades, in November 1909. Fred enlisted in Hawes in June 1916, joining the 9th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. Fred went to France in September 1916. Private Fred Shaw was killed on the first day of The Battle of Messines on the 7th June 1917 aged 33. Fred’s body was never found and his name is commemorated on the Menin Gate at Ypres. Sadly, just four and a half months after his father died, their son Jimmy died aged 5.