Maureen Hunt told us about her grandfather, William Smith.
William was born around 1883 in Wirksworth, Derbyshire and worked as a bath attendant at Matlock before the war. He volunteered early in the war and possibly joined the High Peak Rifles (later 6th battalion, Sherwood Foresters). He recounted to his family the horrors of war, having fought at the Battle of Ypres. Later in life he complained of chest pains as a result of having been gassed in the trenches.
He was taken prisoner by the Germans on 21 March 1918, during the German Spring Offensive. He did not return to England until 1919. Gardening became a favourite pastime, helping him to cope with the mental and physical scars of war.
William died in 1962 at almost 80 years of age.
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Submitted by Paul Elliott. George was a Great Uncle, the younger brother of my paternal Grandmother. I had no knowledge of his existence until recently. He lived in Church Street, Rothwell, Leeds, was married in December 1914 to Jane Ann Ambler and worked as a miner. He joined the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (regimental number 25522) in September 1915 at Pontefract. He was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps (35672) in December 1915 and went to France in May 1916 with the 40th Company. He is one of the people whose Full Service Record survives. It shows that he had two sons, Alan born in 1915, and George born in March 1917. He died of wounds in April 1918 having served in France and Belgium. He is not commemorated on the Rothwell War Memorial. He was buried at Outtersteene Communal Cemetery Extension, Bailleul. His wife received a pension of 25 shillings and 3 pence a week and inherited £1- 6s with a gratuity of £11-10s. He appeared on the Yorkshire Evening Post Roll of Honour on 4th May 1918, described as a driver and having died of wounds.
In October 1915 Geoffrey Howard Smith was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 5th Battalion from being a member of the ranks of the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps (O.T.C.). At that time he was probably based at the O.T.C. training camp at Berkhamsted Common Hertfordshire. In August 1916 he is listed as wounded in France. He recovers from his wounds but in June 1918 he is listed as missing then confirmed as a prisoner of war in September 1918. Smith remained in captivity until his release and return to England in January 1919. This event is recognised by a letter sent to him from King George V.
Fiona Hall, Communications and Retail Manager at the Green Howards Museum submitted this story about one of the most important women of the First World War (in fact of any) era. I’m intrigued by this local hero – a complex character. There’s not enough space here to describe the many achievements of Gertrude Bell, and that’s not the point of this entry. Although I do recommend you take some time to acquaint yourself with her if you are not already familiar with this fascinating woman – archaeologist, mountaineer, one of the first women to gain a degree at Oxford (a First in History) but an anti-suffrage campaigner, the first to work for British military intelligence, colleague of TE Lawrence, and also the first to write a government white paper. She was born in 1868 into the sixth richest family in England, the granddaughter of the industrialist Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell, and lived in Redcar. When war broke out her request for a government posting to the Middle East was denied. Instead she volunteered with the Red Cross, taking charge of the missing and wounded office in Boulogne. Meanwhile her brother, Maurice, a career soldier and Boer War veteran was commanding the 4th Bn The Yorkshire Regiment on the western front. Imagine working in the environment Gertrude was working in- with the very possible chance she may have to ‘process’ information about the fate of her own brother. Maurice was in fact invalided home in 1916 and died in 1944. In…