Salvation Army Keighley

Keighley, Salvation Army Citadel, Brass Plate - 9 names from WW1

The Keighley Citadel Comrades
Great War memorial plaque for Keighley Salvation Army.

Location:- High St, near the junction of the A 629 (Bridge St) & the B6143 (Oakworth Rd) N.G.R.:- SE 050410
Unveiled :- late November 1922 by Capt F.L. Smith of Keighley
Description : - Brass tablet approx 2ft x 18ins on an oak background

In Memory of The Keighley Citadel Comrades Who were killed in The Great War 1914 - 1918

Harold Bell May 3rd 1915
John Lythe May 4th 1916
William J. Jakeway July 29th 1916
John Lilley 1916
John Powis September 28th 1916
Walter Whitaker November 5th 1916
Stanley Williamson April 28th 1917
William Kilbey 1917
Albert Midgley October 11th 1918

Between the words "Keighley" and "Citadel" is the badge of the Salvation Army, and at the side of the names , left side "saved" and "Suffered", and on the right "Sacrificed and "Triumphed"

Notes on the dates above:
It's possible these dates were transcribed from an earlier roll of honour and mistakes made at the time.
Harold Bell actually died on 5th May 1915, not 3rd May 1915.
John Lyth actually died 7th May 1915, not 4th May 1916.
William James Jakeway did die on 29th July 1916.
John Lilley actually died 12th November 1915, not 1916.
John Thomas Powis died on 29th September 1916, not the day before, although this is a minor error.
Walter Whitaker did die on 5th November 1916.
Stanley Williamson did die on or about April 28th 1917.
William Kilbey 1917 - We cannot confirm this man locally.
Albert Midgley did die on October 11th 1918.

Ref Keighley News, Sat Nov 25th 1922
...........eight of these were at one time members of the corps band

The tablet was originally in the Salvation Army premises in Cooke Lane, and was moved to the present new building, we think around 1922 to 1923.


We have also found a newspaper item about a second roll of honour replacing the first one:

Keighley News 12th October 1918:
SALVATION ARMY ROLL OF HONOUR.
An impressive ceremony took place in the Salvation Army Hall, Keighley, on Sunday afternoon, when a new roll of honour bearing the names of all the men connected with that institution who had answered their country's call, was unveiled.
At the commencement, Mr. Jakeway remarked that their first roll had been filled with names, and it had become necessary to provide a larger one. In unveiling the new roll of honour, which was draped with the Union Jack, the flags of the band and corps floating at the sides, Mrs. Smith (Steeton) said she was glad to have the honour of unveiling the "roll" as the precious men had gone forward to defend the cause of right against might. The names of forty were inscribed, eight of these men having made the supreme sacrifice. The speaker urged the mothers, wives and sweethearts to cheer up as the silver lining would appear. Peace, righteousness and victory were ahead as God was for us, and we could trust Him. At the conclusion the band played the National Anthem. There was a good attendance.

We do not know where this roll of honour is located, but hope it has been kept safe somewhere.


As part of our research we will investigate the stories of each of these men and post them as individual biographies below:

Private Harold Mozart Bell, 2nd Battalion, Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment. Service number 14159.

Harold was born in Oldham in 1893 and his birth was registered there in the first quarter of that year. His parents were Christopher and Sarah Bell (née Tong)
By the time of the 1901 census they had been Salvation Army officers for a number of years, Christopher was a Captain and they had moved to Oldham from Chelsea in London (where they were in the 1891 census, before Harold was born.) Harold had two older sisters, Lily and Violet and they were living at 5, Marsden Villas - St Peter's Grove in Canterbury.
By 1911 Harold was 18. His family had moved to 11, Cromwell Terrace in Halifax, in the West Riding of Yorkshire and he was living there with his parents and his maternal grandmother Jane Tong who was a widow. Harold was working as a shop porter for a boot shop and his parents were still Salvation Army officers and Harold was a member of the band.
Sometime after this they moved to Keighley where Harold was working as porter for an outfitters and a Band member at the Keighley Salvation Army Citadel.

Harold enlisted at the age of 21, very soon after the outbreak of war and because of his number, probably on the 29th September 1914. He entered training with the Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment. According to his medal records, he entered France on 15th April 1915.
We do not think he was one of the 14 'other ranks' who joined the 2nd Battalion on 26th April, which was then in reserve for the 82nd Brigade at HOOGE which later moved to Divisional reserve at Potize which was further to the North as part of a brigade of weak battalions, which had lost many men early that month in the intense fighting around Hill 60 and the Caterpillar, when the British mines had been blown. Two days later they moved to reserve positions at KRUISSTRAAT.
On 2nd May the battalion was strengthened by a large draft of 280 other ranks who joined the battalion and we think it's likely that Harold was one of these men.
On the 5th May 1916 the 2nd Battalion were in the front line trenches near Hill 60, having come in from KRUISSTRAAT on that date to relieve the Devonshire Regiment, which was completed by 3.30 am.
At 8.00 am the Germans released chlorine gas from their front line, which drifted over the French and the British trenches, catching them unawares. The vast majority of the British trenches were vacated to escape from the gas although large numbers of men were affecting and many were killed.
In the available records, Harold's death was described as 'died of wounds' and 'died of gas poisoning' rather than 'killed in action' which suggests he was evacuated to the RAMC's advanced dressing station which was located somewhere near Ypres and probably where he died on 5th May 1915. It is very unlikely he was evacuated as far back as 15 Field Ambulance at Reninghelst because he would have been buried in Reningelst Churchyard if that was the case. There is no record of what happened to his body which may have been buried in a grave at the time, but not found after the war. Harold therefore, has no known grave and is remembered on panel 20 of the Menin Gate war memorial at Ypres.


Keighley News 5th June 1915 page 3:
Private Harold Bell of the 3rd West Riding Regiment, died from gas poisoning on May 5. Private Bell was the younger son of Adjutant C. Bell, a former Keighley Salvation Army officer, and before the war he was employed by a firm of outfitters in Changegate, Keighley. He was a member of the Salvation Army Band, and for some time of the Salvation Army Band at Halifax, in which town he had resided.

On the same Keighley News page:
MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR SOLDIERS.
A service was conducted by the members of the Keighley Salvation Army band and Corps on Sunday last, in memory of two soldiers, Private Harold Bell and J. Lyth, who died in France as a result of gas poisoning, and who prior to joining the Army were members of the Salvation Army band.
The members of the corps assembled outside the house of Private J. Lyth's parents, and the band played the Dead March in "Saul," and later, forming into procession, marched to the Barracks in Market Street. The Salvation Army uniforms and instruments of the dead men were carried in the procession on a board draped with white muslin. A memorial service was held in the Barracks, and references were made by a number of fellow bandsmen. It was mentioned during the service that a number of the members of the band were serving with the colours.


If our assessment of the war diary entries is correct, then Harold had been in front line service for just three days before being killed as a result of the German Army's chlorine gas attacks.
Apart from his name being on The Menin Gar war memorial at Ypres, Harold is also remembered in Keighley's Great War roll of honour book, which is on permanent public display at Keighley Library.
He is also named on the Keighley Citadel Salvation Army roll of honour, which is on the wall in the Salvation Army building on Oakworth Road in Keighley.
After the war his parents were living at 6, Granby Villas, Hedon Rd., Marfleet, Hull.

He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his war service.

Source information:
Birth, Marriage and Death records.
1901 Census.
1911 Census.
Army medal records and rolls.
Soldier's Effects records.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission database.
Keighley News archives at Keighley Library.
The National Archives, war diary for 2nd Battalion West Riding Regiment - WO-95-1552-1_1.
The National Archives, war diary for The Assistant Director Medical Services of the 5th Division, May 1915 - WO-95-1525-1_2.
The National Archives, war diary for 15 Field Ambulance, May 1915 - WO-95-1541-1_1.

Private John Lyth, 2nd Battalion, Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment. Service number 14100.

John was born in Cropton, North Yorkshire in 1874 and his birth was registered in Pickering in the second quarter of the year. His parents were John and Jane Lyth and his father John was a shepherd and farm labourer. John and Jane had five children in all, in the 1881 census they were Louisa, age 11; Honour age 9; John age 6; Hannah age 4; and Margaret age 2. They were all living in Cropton village.
By 1891 John was 17 and was working as a farm servant at Beadlam Grange for the Scoby family. This is about 8 miles East of Thirsk and about 10 miles West from Cropton village, where he was born.
In 1899 he married Sarah Ann Rees, registered at Stockton in the third quarter of the year.
In 1901 they were living in the village of Thornton Watlass, about three miles North East of Masham in North Yorkshire. John was a horseman at Village Farm and they appear to be living at the Buck Inn in the village, although it's possible the inn had a number of small cottages connected to it, as indicated on the map of the time. They had a son John William, aged just 10 months at the time.
By 1911 John and Sarah (both aged 36) had moved again and were living with their son John William at 133, Westgate in Pickering and John was working as a Farm labourer.
They must have moved to Keighley by 1912 as their second son Ernest was born here on 10th August. Little is known of their time here before John enlisted in the Army but we know John was one of the band members at Keighley Citadel Salvation Army.
They were living at 170, Oakworth Road at the time he enlisted as his name is recorded in 'Keighley's Gallant Sons', a list of early volunteers in the war. He probably joined up at the end of September, 1914.
He is recorded as joining the 3rd Battalion, Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment with the service number 14100 but was later transferred to the 2nd Battalion and because of his number, he probably enlisted on the 29th September 1914.
There are no Army service records available but from his medal records we know he disembarked in France on 29th April 1915 and would almost certainly have been one of the draft of 280 'other ranks' who joined the 2nd Battalion West Riding Regiment in the field at KRUISSTRAAT whilst the battalion was in divisional reserve there.
John died of gas poisoning on May 7th, 1915 probably as a result of the 5th May gas attack by the Germans whilst the 2nd Battalion was in the front line trenches near Hill 60. He was 40 years old.
In the absence of any Army service records, we think John survived for a while after being gassed and was evacuated all the way to No. 13 General Hospital at Boulogne, where he died on the 7th May. He is buried in the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, plot VIII, Row C, Grave 12. Sarah had the following inscription engraved on his Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone:
'MY THOUGHTS OF YOU, MY DEAR HUSBAND, SHALL NEVER FADE.'


Keighley News 29th May 1915 page 3:
A KEIGHLEY SOLDIER POISONED.
Official intimation has been received of the death in hospital at Boulogne, from gas poisoning, of Private John Lyth, of the 2nd West Riding Regiment, whose home is in Oakworth Road, Keighley. He had only been in action two days. Private Lyth was well known as a member of the Keighley Salvation Army Band.

Keighley News 5th June 1915 page 3:
MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR SOLDIERS.
A service was conducted by the members of the Keighley Salvation Army band and Corps on Sunday last, in memory of two soldiers, Private Harold Bell and J. Lyth, who died in France as a result of gas poisoning, and who prior to joining the Army were members of the Salvation Army band.
The members of the corps assembled outside the house of Private J. Lyth's parents, and the band played the Dead March in "Saul," and later, forming into procession, marched to the Barracks in Market Street. The Salvation Army uniforms and instruments of the dead men were carried in the procession on a board draped with white muslin. A memorial service was held in the Barracks, and references were made by a number of fellow bandsmen. It was mentioned during the service that a number of the members of the band were serving with the colours.


He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his war service.
John is also remembered in Keighley's Great War roll of honour book in Keighley Library and on The Keighley Citadel Salvation Army roll of honour, at the Salvation Army Citadel on Oakworth Road.

Source information:
Birth, Marriage and Death records.
1891 Census.
1901 Census.
1911 Census.
Army medal records and rolls.
Soldier's Effects records.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission database.
Keighley News archives at Keighley Library.
The National Archives, war diary for 2nd Battalion West Riding Regiment - WO-95-1552-1_1.
The National Archives, war diary for The Assistant Director Medical Services of the 5th Division, May 1915 - WO-95-1525-1_2.
The National Archives, war diary for 15 Field Ambulance, May 1915 - WO-95-1541-1_1.

Private William James Jakeway, 10th Bn. Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment) Service Number 14080.

Private William James Jakeway.

William was born in Aberdare, Glamorgan in Wales in late 1895 or early 1896, his birth registered in Merthyr Tydfil in the first quarter of 1896.
In the 1901 census he was five years old and living at 6, Eboracum Street in Keighley with his parents William and Elizabeth Jakeway at Keighley who had six children in all. They were Elizabeth (10) Beatrice (8) Albert (7) William (5) Gertrude (4) and Leonard (1). Father William was a house painter.
By 1911 William was 15 and working as a doffer at a worsted spinning mill. His father William was now a machine painter for a textile machine manufacturer. Several of the older family members were connected with the textile trade in one way or another. William and Elizabeth had moved their family to 39, Cartmel Road in Keighley. This was a larger 'end terrace' property which they needed, because they now had eight children in total with the new additions of Victor, aged nine and Eveline who was five.
William enlisted with the West Riding Regiment in September 1914 when he would have been 19 years old. His address was 22, Granville Street in Keighley and he was working for Messrs. George Hattersley and Son's Limited. Later on in the war they were involved in the weaving of webbing straps for the Army.
William was a member of Keighley's Salvation Army band and had been with the SA for several years before enlistment.
William would have been billeted at Branmshott Military camp, part of the Aldershot command when the 10th battalion received orders on 23rd August 1915 to move to France. They entrained for Le Havre and Folkestone in groups in the next few days and William would have been with the Folkestone group as he disembarked in Boulogne in France on 29th August. He served with the battalion foir almost a year until July 1916 when he was involved in an attack on German lines near Becourt Wood and Contalmaison.
William died of his wounds on 29th July 1916, probably at a dressing station or field ambulance unit and was buried at Contalmaison Chateau Cemetery.

10th Battalion Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment war diary entry for this period:
Bécourt.
27th July.
Still in BÉCOURT WOOD. Received orders to move into front line system of trenches through CONTALMAISON.
28th July. (the date of William's letter)
Arrived in front line system of trenches as ordered. We sustained some casualties.
29th July.
The enemy was shelling the main road through village and was very near to doing some serious damage.
[As will be seen by the enclosed copy of operations marked 'D' the battalion was soon again in action.] We sustained somewhat severe casualties which read as under: -
2 Officers killed, 31 OR's killed.
4 Officers wounded, 124 OR's wounded. (one of which was William)
1 Officer missing, 13 OR's suffering from shell shock, 30 missing.

William was wounded on the 29th July and probably evacuated to the Advanced Dressing Station at Contalmaison, where he died of his wounds. He was 21 years old and was buried nearby, in a spot which is now part of the Contalmaison Chateau Cemetery.

Keighley News August 12, 1916 page 3:
KEIGHLEY SALVATION ARMY BANDSMAN KILLED.
Private W. J. Jakeway, of the West Riding Regiment, and of 22, Granville Street, Keighley, was killed in action on July 29. He formerly worked at Messrs. George Hattersley & Sons, Limited, Keighley, and enlisted in September, 1914, going out to France in Agust, 1915. He was also a member of the Keighley Salvation Army Band, and had been connected with the "Army" all his life. In a letter home, dated July 28, the day before he was killed, he says: "I haven't much news this time, but you will be glad to know I'm still all right and in the best of health. We are fairly giving the hun a good smashing up, and as far as I know every battalion of the Duke's has had a go at them. I expect John ------- will be telling you all the news, how we captured the village and a few hundred prisoners. I think the Germans are proper cowards, for they fight like tigers and kill as many of our fellows as they can, and when they find themselves beaten they throw their arms up and say "Mercy, Kamerad!" but we Yorkshire lads give them plenty of cold steel, which they don't like. We had a rather stiff job on at one place, for we were up against the Prussian Guard; but we gave them "guards," and they will never forget it."

Keighley News August 19, 1916:
KEIGHLEY MEMORIAL SERVICE.
A service in memory of Bandsman W. J. Jakeway, who was killed in action on July 29 last, was conducted by Adjutant and Mrs. Cox at the Salvation Army headquarters on Sunday evening last. Other members of the Army, the deceased soldier's fellow bandsmen, and the Songsters all paid a high tribute to the sterling qualities of Bansdman Jakeway. On Monday evening one of Jakeway's comrades (Private John Shone) who was out in France with him, said he never swerved from his Christian principles, even under the trying circumstances of soldier life.

William was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his war service.
He is remembered on the Keighley Citadel Salvation Army war memorial and was probably named on the now lost war memorial for George Hattersley & Sons Ltd.
He is also named in Keighley's Great war roll of honour book in Keighley Library.
His parents were resident at 43, Ashleigh Street in the Showfield area of Keighley after the war.

Source information:
Birth, Marriage and Death records.
1901 Census.
1911 Census.
Army medal records and rolls.
Soldier's Effects records.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission database.
Keighley News archives at Keighley Library.
The National Archives, war diary for 10th Battalion West Riding Regiment - WO-95-2184-1.
The National Archives, war diary for The Assistant Director Medical Services of the 23rd Division, July 1916 - WO-95-2172-3.

Private John Lilley, 8th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment. Service number 14101.

Private John Lilley.

John was born on 29th May 1888 in Keighley. He was baptised at St. Andrew's Parish Church on 11th July of the same year. His family were living at 15, Albion Square in Keighley. His parents were Isaac Lilly (sic) and Hannah Maria Lilly. Father Isaac was a general labourer. In the 1891 census John was not present at the family home although he would have been almost two years of age at the time. His elder brother Jacob was there aged eight and there was also an infant of nine months named George.
In 1901 their father Isaac died at the relatively young age of 39 and his death was registered at Keighley in the first quarter of the year. Not long after this tragic event, the 1901 census records that John was living with his widowed mother and was employed as a 12 year old worsted mill spinner. He had an older brother Jacob and three younger sisters Sara aged eight, Grace aged six and Isabella aged four. No mention of George.
In 1907 John was a 19 year old engine tenter living at 12, Wellington Street, Keighley when he married 24 year old weaver Ada Carling of 12, Martin Street, Keighley. Their marriage took place on 27th July at St Andrew's Church in Keighley.
By 1911 John and Ada were living at 18, Mount Street in Keighley with Ada's parents and John was working as a stationery steam engine and boiler tenter at a worsted yarn spinning mill. By now John was 23 years old and they had a daughter Clara aged three. At some point John and probably his whole family started to attend Christian services at the Keighley Salvation Army Citadel at Brittania Hall in Keighley, where John became a band member.

Based on his Army service number we think John enlisted with other members of the band on 29th September 1914 and because he was an early volunteer in the war his name is recorded in the 'Keighley's Gallant Sons' list as serving with the 9th Battalion West Riding Regiment, and a home address of 23, Brittania Street in Keighley.

Private John Lilley disembarked in the Gallipoli war theatre on 29th September 1915 (possibly at Imbros) where further training would have taken place. He may actually have been part of a draft of 89 'rank and file' soldiers, who reported for duty with the 8th Battalion West Riding Regiment at 'Reserve Area A' at Suvla Bay on 11th October 1915. If this was the case, he was not there long before he contracted dysentery, as he was evacuated and placed on a hospital ship and transferred to Malta. John died of dysentery on 12th November 1915, at Imtarfa Military Hospital in Malta and he was buried in Pieta Military Cemetery on plot D, row VI, grave 1. He was 27 years of age. His widow Ada had the following inscription added to his war grave headstone: 'SAFE IN THE ARMS OF JESUS.'


Keighley News , 25th December 1915, page 3:
LOCAL WAR CASUALITES.
KEIGHLEY SOLDIER'S DEATH FROM DYSENTERY AT MALTA.

Private John Lilley, of the 8th West Riding Regiment, and of 8, West Leeds Street, Keighley, died on November 12 at Malta from dysentery contracted at the Dardanelles. Lilley, who leaves a widow and three children, enlisted in Lord Kitchener's army shortly after the outbreak of war, and took part in the first landing at Suvla Bay. He was a member of the Salvation Army band, and a good worker for the cause, and was well known in the town. Previous to his enlistment he was employed by Messrs. Harry Smith & Son, paper tube makers, of Keighley.

Writing from Imtarfa Military Hospital, Malta to Mrs. Lilley informing her that her husband had been admitted to the hospital suffering from dysentery, Sister Barugh said: "Your husband has been admitted to this hospital in a very dangerous condition suffering from dysentery. He is quiet now and inclined to sleep and may be decidedly better in the morning if he has a good night. They are always upset their first day by their journey from the hospital ship. You can rest assured that everything will be done for him that is possible." - Writing two days later, Sister Barugh said: "I am very sorry to have to write you the sad news about your husband, who died this afternoon at 3 o'clock. We all worked for all we were worth to save him, but all in vain. He took his nourishment so well that I had great hopes. We got him champagne, too, and though he didn't like it, he was such a good chap and drank it always. He was very ill when he came in. Don't lose heart, but believe he has left all the suffering behind, and you have the comfort of knowing that he died doing his bit."

The Rev. H. T. Wheeler, chaplain to the forces, writing from the hospital to Private Lilley's mother, of 12, Wellington Street, said, "I much regret to inform you of the death of your son from dysentery on Friday last. I was with him about an hour before he died, and had a prayer with him. He told me he had been a Christian for seven years and felt no fear in passing into the great life beyond. He was buried with full military honours in the Pieta Cemetery on Sunday, November 14th."

A memorial service was held at the Brittania Hall of the Salvation Army, Keighley, on Sunday evening last. [19th December] A short procession, headed by the Salvation Army Band, which played "Lead, Kindly Light," started at the house of the deceased and marched to the Hall. The songsters sang the hymn "The Atonement," the deceased's favourite piece. Adjutant Gallant took for his text, "In my father's house are many mansions." There was a good congregation.


John's widow Ada was living at 8, West Leeds Street after the war, having remarried in July 1919 to Albert Smith. Ada's war widow pension details also mention their three children, Clara, Herbert and John Edward.

John was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his war service.
He is remembered locally in Keighley's Great War roll of honour book held on permanent display at Keighley Library and on the Keighley Citadel Salvation Army roll of honour at Oakworth Road, Keighley.

Source information:
Birth, Marriage and Death records.
1901 Census.
1911 Census.
Army medal records and rolls.
Soldier's Effects records.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission database.
Keighley News archives at Keighley Library.
The National Archives, war diary for 8th Battalion West Riding Regiment - WO-95-1809/1.

Private John Thomas Powis, 8th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment. Service number 13944.

Private John Thomas Powis.

John was born in 1887 at Higham in Barnsley to parents Reuben and Jane Powis. They had eleven children in all, two of which later died. His father Reuben was a coal miner. At the age of three in 1891 he was living at 53, Gawber Road, in Barnsley with his parents, five sisters and two brothers.
In 1901 he was thirteen years old, living at Howle, Lynesack and Softley, near Bishop Auckland, with his parents, two sisters and two brothers. His father was working as a coal miner and hewer, probably at the nearby Butterknowle coal mine, and John was working as a labourer, probably also at the mine.

Howle village and Butterknowle coal mine. Image courtesy of the National Library of Scotland

At the age of twenty one in 1911, John was living at 6, Parson Street, Keighley, with his parents, two sisters, one brother and two nephews. By this time he was employed as a labourer/porter at the railway goods yard.
John was working for the Rustless Iron Company in Keighley before he enlisted some time around October 1915, shortly after the outbreak of war. This meant that as a volunteer he was added to the roll of 'Keighley's Gallant Sons', compiled in 1915 as a tribute to all those who had voluntarily enlisted before the introduction of conscription under the Military Service Act.
He served with the 8th Battalion West Riding Regiment for the whole of his army career and arrived in the Balkans on the 24th November 1915, he would have fought throughout the campaign until the British Army withdrew from Gallipoli to serve in Egypt.
Later the battalion was sent to France in 1916. They sailed on the SS Ionian and disembarked at Marseilles on the first of July before entraining to Fleurs and then taking up their post as Brigade reserve in the Agny defences. They took part in the Battle of the Somme and were in the front line trenches for the first two weeks in August and then back to reserves after suffering light casualties. This pattern continued, with them supporting the front line, spending some time in training and then moving forwards to serve in the front lines again.
On 28th and 29th September 1916, a successful attack by the 32nd Brigade between the villages of Thiepval and Courcelette saw the 6th Yorkshire and 9th West Yorkshire Regiments move to take the German trenches at Zollern Redoubt (map square 27 below). The 8th West Riding Regiment (including John) was in support of 6th Yorks and 9th West Yorks. During these attacks John was killed, but his body was never found. As with so many others, it was probably lost without trace during subsequent artillery bombardments.

Section of Trench map showing German positions the day before the attacks of 28 and 29 September 1916.
Image courtesy of the National Archives.


Keighley News 28th October 1916:
News has come to light that Private J. T. Powis, 6, Parsons Street, Keighley, and of the West Riding Regiment, was killed in action “somewhere in France” on September 29. The deceased soldier, who was formerly in the employ of the Rustless Iron Company, had been in France a year, having enlisted two years ago.


His mother Jane Powis, as sole legatee received a payment of £3 17s 7d on 20th March 1917 and a later payment of his war gratuity of £8 and 10 shillings on 11th September 1919. By request from the Imperial War Graves Commission, his details were completed by his sister, Mrs. Jane Hannah Lilley of 1, Wren St., Keighley.
He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal for his war service.
He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, Somme, France; in Keighley's Great War Roll of Honour book in Keighley Library; and on the Salvation Army War Memorial panel at Keighley Citadel in High Street/Oakworth Road.

Source information:
Birth, Marriage and Death records.
1901 Census.
1911 Census.
Army medal records and rolls.
Soldier's Effects records.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission database.
Keighley News archives at Keighley Library.
The National Archives, war diary for 8th Battalion West Riding Regiment - WO-95-1809/1.
The National Archives, war diary for 32 Infantry Brigade September 1916 - WO-95-1806/2.
The National Library of Scotland mapping service.

Private Walter Whitaker. 1/8th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry. Service number 6175.

Private Walter Whitaker.

Walter was born in Keighley around 1889. His parents were Elizah and May Whitaker. Father Elizah was a general labourer.
In the 1891 census Walter was two years old and living at 196 Oakworth Road in Keighley with his parents and brother Willie age five. They also had several boarders living there at the time.
By 1901 Walter was 12 and working as a cotton spinner. He was living at 5, Carlisle Road in Keighley with his parents and brothers. Walter and his older brother Willie aged 15 now had a younger brother Edgar aged four. Their father was now a fettler for the Rustless Iron Company in Keighley. (Which still exists as a company under the name TRICO)
On 1st February 1911, 21 year old Walter married 18 year old Mary Bella Holmes at St. Mary's Church, Eastwood in Keighley. At the time Mary was living at 24, Victoria Terrace and Walter was at 21, Rylstone Street. He was employed as an iron worker along with his father who was a foreman at the Rustless Iron Company in Keighley. Walter and Mary were living with his parents at 21, Rylstone Street in the census in April of that year. Walter was a member of Keighley Salvation Army and was one of their bandsman.
They had three sons, Bramwell who was born on 20th April 1911, Edgar, born on 11th April 1914 and Albert who was born on 10th November 1915.

As a married man with children, Walter would have been called up later under the Military Service Act after single men. However, he was eventually called up in June 1916 and would have trained for about four months, possibly with the Northumberland Fusiliers before embarking for France. At some point he seems to have been attached to the Durham Light Infantry and he was serving with their 1/8th Battalion when he died on 5th November 1916 during an attack on the German lines near the Butte de Warlencourt which was highly regarded as a vantage point by both sides during the war as it stood over 100 feet above the surrounding land.


The Keighley News, 16th December 1916, page 3:
KEIGHLEY. FORMER SALVATION ARMY BANDSMAN KILLED
Official news was received on Monday last by Mrs. Whitaker, of 37, Bingley Street, Keighley, that her husband, Private Walter Whitaker, attached to the Durham Light Infantry, had been killed in action.
The following letter was received a few weeks ago from Lieutenant B. R. Williams, who said: "I have to inform you of your husband's death on November 5 whilst attacking the German line. His comrade who was with him when he was hit informs me that death was instantaneous and caused by a bullet from a machine gun. I can assure you that he was a man who always did his bit cheerfully and well. His work was always appreciated and he died a noble death."
Private Whitaker, who was 28 years of age, was called up for service in June last, and after about four months' training he was sent to France. In all probability he was killed in his first engagement. In civil life he was employed by the Rustless Iron Company, Keighley, and had been for some years associated with the Keighley Corps of the Salvation Army. At one time he was a bandsman, but owing to ill-health he had to relinquish the position. He is survived by a widow and three little children.


War diary entry for 1/8 Battalion, Durham Light Infantry:
5th November. Sunday. In SNAG TRENCH.
Companies and raiding parties moved up into the front line and formed up for the attack. The strength in the front line was then approx Officer 14, Other ranks 480.
The attack was opened by the Artillery about 9.5 am. The barrage was reported to have been distinctly poor, many of the shells falling short. Two white lights were fired in quick succession (signal to lengthen range) without effect. The enemy put up a barrage in front of the SNAG TRENCH but it was not intense.
Hostile machine gun fire was opened on the first wave as they left the trench and men began falling at once. This machine gun fire came from both the right and left.
The Australians on our right appeared to suffer very heavily from their own artillery fire which also caught several of our own men. Their artillery barrage was put up 70 yards in rear of their own front line and their one lead machine gun fire was striking our parapet as well as their own. Their attack was consequently a failure on the immediate right.
As far as could be ascertained, there was no visible sign of an attack on our immediate left.
The travelling over no mans land was very heavy but what was left of our waves reached a point within 10 yards of the BUTTE TRENCH which was strongly held with men wearing postman's hat with yellow band, others were wearing shrapnel helmets.
Our Stokes guns were, as our heavy artillery, falling short and a Lewis gun was completely knocked out by a Stokes gun.
Owing to the intensity of the enemy machine gun fire and the trouble with our own heavy artillery, it was found impossible to progress with the attack with the few men left. A withdrawal was then ordered by the senior company commander.
On the extreme left the 9th Durham Light Infantry completely surprised the garrison of the BUTTE de WARLENCOURT and were successful in capturing same but the enemy heavily counter attacked in the evening and our troops withdrew to their original line.
During the operations our casualties were very heavy.
On completion of the withdrawal there were about 5 officers and 120 other ranks of the Battalion in the SNAG TRENCH together with a company of 5th Border Regiment which had moved up when the Battalion attacked.
During the evening the Battalion was relieved by 5th Border Regiment and moved into close support but was immediately relieved by 4th Northumberland Fusiliers and moved into reserve in the FLERS LINE. The 5th Border Regiment had received orders to attack the following morning but owing to the situation on the left having altered the attack was postponed.
Patrols reconnoitred the front at night and assisted a number of wounded men in.


Walter was buried in a battlefield grave near to where he fell and his body was exhumed after the war, along with several other men to Warlencourt British Cemetery in summer 1920. He was buried in grave 23 of row C, in plot VIII and Mary had the personal inscription 'Until the Day Breaks' added to his headstone.

As Walter's next of kin, Mary Bella Whitaker received his remaining back pay and a war gratuity, plus a widow's pension of 26 shillings and 3 pence per week from 11th June 1917 and she was living at 1, Harden Road, Long Lee in Keighley after the war. She appears not to have remarried as she was still recorded as 'widowed' in the 1939 Register, when she was living at Low Fold Farm, Keighley with their son Edgar and John W. Feather who were both recorded as 'Poultry and Stock' farmers.

Walter was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his war service. He is remembered locally in Keighley's Great War roll of honour book in Keighley Library and on the Keighley Citadel Salvation Army roll of honour and the Salvation Army building on Oakworth Road in Keighley.

Source information:
Birth, Marriage and Death records.
1901 Census.
1911 Census.
1939 Register.
Army medal records and rolls.
Soldier's Effects records.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission database.
Keighley News archives at Keighley Library.
The National Archives, war diary for 1/8th Battalion Durham Light Infantry - WO-95-2841/4.
The National Library of Scotland mapping service.
TRICO - The Rustless Iron COmpany, based at Bingley, West Yorkshire.

Private Stanley Williamson. Royal Marine light Infantry. Service number PO/1389 (S)

Private Stanley Williamson.

Stanley was born on 25th September 1897 and his birth was registered at Keighley. His parents were Henry and Alice Ann Williamson and living at Hey Top (2, Intake Laithe) which was just down the road a little from Oldfield, Oakworth. Stanley was baptised at Christ Church in Oakworth on the 14th November of the same year. His father Henry was employed as a quarryman at various local stone quarries and the work must have been relatively short term as the family moved house eight times between Stanley's birth and his enlistment in 1916.
They were at 2, Intake Laithe in Oldfield until 1900 but for the 1901 census when Stanley was three, and the family (including his younger brother James Reuben aged one) they had already moved to Far Deanfield Farm, which was higher up the hillside from Hey Top and closer to the Dean Edge Quarries where their father Henry may have been working. They also had a 14 year old boarder, worsted spinner Martha Elizabeth Waddington. They were at Deanfield for five years and moved to Stanbury for a three years before moving to Hebden Road in Haworth and then to Green Street followed by a move to 10 Wood Street by the time of the 1911 census. It's likely they had moved into Haworth for Henry to work as a delver at one of the many local quarries with the nearest one being Bank Quarry which is now used as a car parking area for the many tourists who visit Haworth nowadays. There was also Dimples quarry and Penistone quarry, both situated on the moor above the village. At this time, Stanley was thirteen, James was eleven and they now had two younger sisters, Marion aged nine and Norah Mary aged five. Stanley was now working as a doffer at a local spinning mill and they were very close to Ivy Bank Mill and Bridgehouse Mill further down the hill.

Stanley joined the Royal Marines on 7th February 1916 aged 18 and was based for six months at the Royal Marine Barracks at Deal in Portsmouth between 7th February and 1st August 1916. He was then with Victory Battalion until 21st November 1916 and then posted to the draft for the 2nd Royal Marines Battalion which was part of the British Expeditionary Force on 21st November 1916, being part of the Royal Naval Division.
He served overseas until 29th April 1917 when he was serving with 'C' Company, 10th Platoon and was killed in action having served five months in the war theatre from a total service of one year and three months.


Keighley News 16th June 1917 page 5:
Private Stanley Williamson (19), Royal Marine Light Infantry. is officially reported missing. He was formerly employed by Messrs. Scarr, Ironmongers, Low Street, Keighley, and any information will be gratefully received at his home at 7, Stoney Street, High Utley, Keighley.

Keighley News 15th December 1917 page3:
Private Stanley Williamson, of the Royal Marine Light Infantry, who was reported missing on April 28 last, is now officially assumed killed in action on that date. His home was at 7, Stoney Street, High Utley, Keighley.


Stanley was initially reported missing in action and this was later changed on 4th December 1917, to 'Assumed killed, or died as a direct result of enemy action' and this was announced in the newspapers on 15th December 1917. His body was never found or identified and he is remembered on panel 20 of the Arras Memorial.

He is remembered locally in Keighley's Great War roll of honour book in Keighley Library.
Stanley was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his war service.

On the anniversary of his death, the following messages appeared in the 'In Memoriam' section of the Keighley News:


Keighley News 27th April 1918 page 8:
IN MEMORIAM:
WILLIAMSON - In loving memory of a dear son and brother, Private Stanley Williamson, R.M.L.I., killed in action April 28th, 1917.
He fought for his King and country,
Likewise for the King of Kings,
He laid his life down like a hero,
Then soared to his home on wings.
We had thought of his safe returning,
To clasp us each one by the hand,
But death intervened, so we're waiting
To meet in the better land.
From his loving Mother, Father, Sisters and Brother.

WILLIAMSON - In loving memory of Private Stanley Williamson, R.M.L.I., killed in action April 28th, 1917.
In the warfare against sin and strife,
Together as boys we fought,
Telling others that there was still joy in life,
Provided they set sin at naught.
Since then the bugle has sounded,
For others you have laid down your life,
So goodbye, we'll meet in the morning,
In that land so free from strife.
From his friend and companion, W. T. Cooke, 1, Oak Street, Keighley.

WILLIAMSON - In loving memory of a dear pal, Private Stanley Williamson, R.M.L.I., killed in action April 28th, 1917.
My pal in life, not forgotten in death.
From his pal, Fred, in France.


Stanley Williamson is remembered locally in Keighley's Great War roll of honour book at Keighley Library and on the Keighley Citadel Salvation Army roll of honour at the Salvation Army Citadel on Oakworth Road in Keighley.

Source information:
Birth, Marriage and Death records.
1901 Census.
1911 Census.
West Yorkshire Electoral Rolls.
Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972.
Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919.
WW1 Naval Casualties records.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission database.
Keighley News archives at Keighley Library.

The only William Kilbey we've found information on seems to have been from London and we cannot connect him with Keighley. We would welcome any further information to identify this man.
His Commonwealth War Graves Commission webpage is here:

William Kilbey

Serjeant Albert Midgley. 1st/6th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment). Service Number: 266534.

Sergeant Albert Midgley.

Albert was born in Keighley in 1895, his parents Major Midgley and Sarah Elizabeth Burrows were married in Keighley three years earlier in 1892 and were living at 25, Lustre Street when Albert was born. Major was a teamster and Sarah was a worsted weaver.
By 1901 they had moved to 63, Orleans Street and Albert was five years old. He had an older brother Harold aged 8 years and a younger brother Walter aged just three months.
By 1911 they had moved a couple of doors away to 67, Orleans Street and two more children had been added to the family, they were Edith aged 8 and Morris aged 5. Albert was now 15 and working as a doffer in a worsted yarn spinning mill.
He married Annie Stephenson on 20th September 1913 and their daughter Lily was born a month later on 15th October 1913. Sadly Lily died aged just one year in the first half of 1915.
Albert was working as a borer and living at 33, Lustre Street when he enlisted with the 10th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment at Keighley, on 22nd September 1914. His service number at that time was 13837 and he trained at Frensham Camp from 23rd September to 30th November, then for a few weeks to North Camp, Aldershot until he was discharged on 24th December, having served just 94 days. His service papers say he was discharged under King's Regulation Paragraph 392, Section (III, c) which means: 'Not likely to become an efficient soldier - Recruit within three months of enlistment, considered unfit for service.'
There is no specific reason given for his discharge such as illness or medical problems and he was not underage and his character was described as 'good', so we are at a loss to explain the reason for it. He re-enlisted with the West Riding Regiment at Skipton although we don't know when this was.
Their second daughter Violet was born in 1916, registered in Keighley in the second quarter of the year.
Albert was serving in France with the 1/6th Battalion West Riding Regiment, when he won the Military Medal and also the French Croix de Guerre which was listed in the London Gazette on 16th August 1918 His Military Medal award was listed in the London Gazette on 4th October 1918.
Albert was killed in action on 11th October 1918.


1/6th Battalion, West Riding Regiment war diary for October 1918:
10th Oct.
SAILLY.
Battalion marched to ESCAUDOEUVRES - Sheet 51A.S19c and took up positions in Chateaux grounds at about 4 pm. Tea was served and all battle kit issued.
11th Oct.
ESCAUDOEUVRES.
00.15.
Battalion moved off and marched across country north of NAVES and took up position on line of Railway, East of NAVES in T17c & d (Ref sheet 51A).
09.00.
NAVES.
49 division attacked enemy's postions on high ground in U7 & U13c with 2nd Canadian Division on the left and 24 British Division XVII Corps, 3rd Army in the night, 49 Division 22 Corps being the night division of 1st Army.
In action East of NAVES.
The attack by 49 Division was launched with 2 Brigade in line, 147 on the right 146 Brigade on the left, with 148 Brigade in reserve.
The Battalion was the reserve battalion of 147 Brigade.
The Battalion moved off, in rear of attacking battalions, in artillery formation, in following order A, B, C, D.
Attack started very well, with the high ground being very quickly taken, with about 200 prisoners. All ranks showed the very greatest keenness and the Battalion could hardly be prevented from closing up on the front line.
10.15.
Enemy launched a powerful counterattack, supported by tanks and succeeded in pressing back our line. The Battalion did not withdraw and was soon in the front line. Lewis gun fire was opened on the tanks, which turned about and went back, but not before the Battalion had suffered heavy casualties, including 3 officers killed. Captain T. Coulthurst, 2 Lieuts - R. Rycroft and R. Oughton. [also 25 'other ranks' were killed in this action] As a result of severe fighting, the high ground, so successfully taken earlier in the day was retained and the line was finally established roughly on the line of the Sunken Road in U8.d & b. The Battalion reorganised during the night in this line.
12th. The Brigade was in line as above by daylight, with the Battalion as right front battalion 4th Dukes of Wellington's being on the left and 7th Battalion in Brigade reserve.


Keighley News 9th November 1918 page 3:
Sergeant A. Midgley, of the West Riding Regiment, whose house is at 8, Mount Street, Keighley, has been killed in action. He joined the Army in September, 1914, proceeding to France the following January. Since that time he has been awarded the Military Medal and Croix de Guerre for gallantry in action. He leaves a widow and one child.


Albert was buried in grave 12, row F, plot IV of Wellington Cemetery, Rieux en Cambresis, France. 2nd Lt. Rycroft mentioned in the war diary above, is buried next to him.

Annie Midgley received Albert's back pay of just under £11 in early 1918 and a war gratuity of £20 in late 1919. She and Violet received a weekly pension of 22 shillings and 11 pence after the war, which for Violet expired on her 16th birthday in 1932. They were living at 8, Mount Street in Keighley.

Albert was awarded the Military Medal and the French Croix de Guerre for gallantry in the field, and the British War Medal and Victory Medal for his war service.

Source information:
Birth, Marriage and Death records.
1901 Census.
1911 Census.
West Yorkshire Electoral Rolls.
British Army - Medal cards and rolls.
British Army - Pension records.
British Army - soldier's effects records.
British Army - Pension cards - Western Front Association.
London Gazette.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission database.
Keighley News archives at Keighley Library.

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