William Hird was nominated for the Ribbon of Remembrance by Dianne Evans, and his story illustrates a problem that can occur with records that are a century old.
Thanks to the original 1914-16 enlistment leger at the Green Howards Museum, we can say with some confidence that William enlisted on 10th December 1914 in the City of Durham and that he was posted to the 3rd Battalion, based at West Hartlepool on 18th January 1915.
According to his medal card 18390 Acting Lance Corporal William Hird served in France from 19th September 1915, and was entitled to the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
William is recorded on the ‘Soldiers died in the Great War 1914-1919’ database as having died on 29 September 1916 as a Private in the 7th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. This might have been the case, but on examining the battalion war diary, the 7th Battalion were away from the frontline in training and there are no records of any deaths that day. Of course soliders would often die from wounds days after an offensive, however the Green Howards Gazzette for December 1916 records that 18390 W Hird was Killed in Action – there is a separate list for those who Died of Wounds.
On further investigation, the Register of Soldier’s Effects lists William as being in the 6th Battalion when he was killed in action in France. The war diary of 6th battalion recounts the attempted assault on ‘Stuff Redoubt’ (27-30th September), a terrible fight in which both British and German troops occupied the same earthwork. Captain Archie White was to be awarded the Victoria Cross for his command during this action. A total of 381 ‘Other Ranks’ were killed or wounded during the fight at ‘Stuff Redoubt’ according to the battalion diary, making it much more likely (but not certain) that William died fighting with the 6th battalion, rather than in training with the 7th. His body was not found and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial – one of 72,000 names of soliders with no known grave.
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Researched by Will Young. Born on 20th July 1897 at Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada, Evan Kerruish was destined to be burried in distant Catterick at the age of 20. His parents were the Rev. Thomas and Mrs Maria Kerruish of Hamilton, Ontario. He enlisted into 153 (Wellington) Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 6th October 1915. He sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia on the sister ship of the Titanic, the SS Olympic on 29th April 1917 and landed at Liverpool on 7 May. Kerruish was commissioned into the Royal Naval Air Service on 9th October 1917, serving with Torpedo Squadron No 1. The cause of his death on 13th July 1918 and reason for burial at Catterick are unknown.
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 Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. He graduated MA in 1879 and was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple, London in 1883. At 18, John had 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). The Aysgarth parish magazine of June 1902 reported on his return from two years’ active service. “A large and enthusiastic crowd met him at the station, the West Burton Band playing appropriate airs. After much hand shaking and cheering, Mr Tomlinson in an admirable speech welcomed Colonel Lodge back to Wensleydale… After Colonel Lodge replied, giving a most interesting sketch of what he had had to do in South Africa, the band headed the procession from the station, Colonel Lodge riding in a wagonette with his sisters.” From 1906 until retirement in 1912 he would be the Battalion Commander. At the outbreak of the First World 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. As Squire of Bishopdale, Colonel Lodge was a Justice of the Peace for the North Riding and was on the Yorkshire Fisheries Board. He was a skilled angler…
John was born on the 4th January 1890 at East Witton in North Yorkshire and was the eldest son of John and Annie Maughan. They lived at Abbey Hill, a large house overlooking Jervaulx Abbey near Middleham, North Yorkshire. John senior was the agent for the Jervaulx estate. John was educated at Marlborough College. He was gazetted to a commission in the 4th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment in 1909 and was promoted Captain on the 3rd November 1914. John went to France in April 1915 and was in action at the 2nd Battle of Ypres just a few days later. His distinguished service during this action resulted in him being ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’ by Sir John French. On the 12th February 1916 the Battalion occupied trenches around Hill 60 near Ypres. Work was ongoing repairing trenches when on the 14th February the Germans began to bombard them. The enemy also exploded a mine which killed thirteen men. On the 17th February, ironically regarded as a relatively quiet day, some minor shelling resulted in John being hit and killed by shrapnel. Captain John Maughan was buried in Poperinghe New Military Cemetery. John’s name is commemorated on the War Memorial at East Witton.