Keighley’s Old Contemptibles

In 1925 the Old Contemptibles' Association was created by Captain John Patrick Danny and many of the men joined what would become hundreds of branches all over the country and even overseas. All prospective members had to have possession of the 1914 Star with Clasp and were required to prove their entitlement to this medal with the clasp on the ribbon and a small rose when just wearing the medal ribbons alone. This information appeared on their individual medal card and the medal rolls, which list the names of all the men who were entitled to wear this award.
On being accepted they would (eventually) be presented with an Old Contemptibles' Association badge which was individually numbered and records were kept of their issue. The badges remained the property of the Association and were supposed to be returned if a man left.

The British Expeditionary Force who went out at the start of the war had been referred to as a 'Contemptible Little Army' in newspapers of the day, although the precise origin of this disparaging name is unclear. It was attributed to the Kaiser but he apparently refuted this after the war and it may have even been propaganda by our own side to make people indignant enough to join the war effort.
However, these early British Expeditionary Force men who fought at the battles of Mons, Le Cateau, Marne and Aisne in the early days of the Great War, later took up the name of 'The Old Contemptibles' as a badge of honour.

Keighley branch Old Contemptibles' Association standard - after conservation work

The Keighley branch of the Old Contemptibles' Association was formed in 1938 and the group contained a large membership of local men who were in the war theatre between August 5th and November 22nd, 1914.

Blank version of the Old Contemptibles' Association membership form.

We have been very kindly allowed to take copies of membership forms, supplied by the son of one of these men who kept the records and this has enabled us to create a list of names here. Any names appearing in bold text link to a man's separate biography sheet.

Members of the Keighley branch of the Old Contemptibles' Association in 1938.

Name | OCA Badge no.

Atherton, George | -
Baker, Captain | 9475B
Birdsall, James | 647D
Boyes, Harry | 1570C
Bugler, George William | 9469B
Burnett, Ernest | -
Burnett, William George | 8812B
Capstick, John | -
Carroll, Charles | 8821B
Catterson, Cuthbert | 9473B
Cawston, Wallace | 644D
Chatten, Sandell Edward | 2049D
Cooper, John Willie | -
Cox, William | 8831B
Cunningham, William | -
Davis, John William | 9896
Daynes, John William | 292C
Derrick, Michael | 1576C
Dixon, William | 289C
Driver, Harold | 1567C
Duckett, Thomas | 8824B
Ellis, Olroyd | 2528C
Emery, Robert William Mayes | 8815B
Finan, John | 6572
Foy, Edward | 9467B
Gardner, Maurice Allen | 9877B
Geldard, Edward | 1573C
Goff, Charles | 294C
Gower, Frederick | 9874B
Graham, W | -
Grange, William | 8823B
Green, Jesse Townsley | -
Green, Joseph | 646D
Gunton, Charles | -
Hainsworth, Herbert | 9471B
Hardisty, Henry MM | 8827B
Hayes, Thomas Henry | 8830B
Henry, Thomas | 8826B
Hum, Benjamin | 645D

Name | OCA Badge no.

Ideson, Willie | 2526C
Jackson, Joseph | -
Jowett, Tom | 9873B
Joyce, J | -
Keenan, Alexander – Secretary | -
Kelly, Hugh | -
Kershaw, George MM – Chairman | 8828B
Langstaff, John Robert | 9472B
Langstaffe, George | 9476B
Laycock, Lewis MM | -
Liddimore, Albert Victor | 8817B
Longman, Walter | 293C
Martin, John | 9470B
Metcalfe Sam | 8820B
Moore, Percy | 9878B
Moorhouse, Iveson | 291C
Nixon, Arthur | 287C
Nobes, Charles | -
Normington, William | 1575C
Pryke, William | 8829B?
Pye, William Thomas | 8822B
Riley, Herbert | -
Silverwood, Christopher | 9468B
Smith, Albert | 2534C
Stephenson, Fred | 285C
Stewart, Harry | 1853B
Sugden, Frank | 8816B
Templeton, William | 2630C
Thomas, James | 2532C
Tighe, Albert E | 9062A
Tinkler, John Thomas | 8829B?
Walworth, Walter | 9880B
Whitaker, William | 1574C
Whitehall, Joseph | 619C
Whittemore, George | 2527C
Wilson, Arthur Parker | 286C
Winkley, John | 288C
Yeomans, Joseph | 4827B

'Before We Fade' - Part One, is a nominal roll of the Old Contemptibles' Association members, complied and published by Andrew Thornton. We would like to recommend this definitive work to anyone who is interested in reading the stories of these brave men and the Association to which they belonged after the war.

You can purchase this excellent book from Amazon here.

Andrew Thornton's book - 'Before We Fade.'

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