Wilfred Wood, an employee of the North Eastern Railway before the outbreak of war, served with the 5th battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment.
His commanding officer, 2nd Lt G H Smith wrote the following to his father:
“Dear Mr Wood – It is with deep regret that I inform you of the death in action of your son, Pte. W. Wood. He was instantaneously killed on the morning of the 19th instant by a whizz-bang shell, which dropped into the trench he was in; he was buried behind the line on the 20th, and a good cross is being erected to his memory. Words cannot express how deeply I feel for you in your great loss. He was a good soldier, and always kept up bright spirits. The men of my platoon join me in the deepest sympathy for you”
240637 Private W Wood died on 19 July 1917 and is buried at Heninel Communal Cemetery Extension.
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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…
Submitted by Michael Kent. Joseph Hatton was my dad. I only recently learnt about his early life. Dad never spoke about the First World War. He was born 20 February 1896 in Bradford and had three sisters and two brothers. My dad never told me that grandad was a train driver in the 1890’s, or that I had a half brother born in 1915, that he lost his father in 1919 and his wife, when he was in his early twenties. I do not know what happened or where he went from 1922 until 1950 when he was living in London where I was born thirty years later, in 1952. 10724 Private Joseph Hatton was recruited in Yorkshire in August 1914 and served in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (3rd West Riding) as a Reserve. After training in England he was sent to the Western Front in 1915. In May of that year he was poisoned by gas. My dad didn’t die, unlike so many around him who suffered this cruel death, but he was evacuated via Boulogne to Manchester Western General Hospital to recover. He was posted again in December 1915. In March 1916 he was then posted to the 9th Battalion and embarked for France again in April. He had a few days leave in Etaples and then returned to the front. He was wounded in July 1916 by a shell explosion killing many men. Dad lost his hand. He was put on a train back to England….
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…