From time to time, as an unexpected consequence of our work researching local men who served in the Great War, we have found that some were not commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
These omissions often turned out to be a simple misspelling of his name or a transcription error, and after further searching we usually found our man who in some cases had actually served under a different name.
However, some men were actually missing when they should have been commemorated.
In the case of Private Herbert Moore of Oakworth, we found that he died over a year after being invalided out of the Army with kidney disease. This disease had been described in his Army service papers as 'war attributable' and was caused by exposure and trench fever that he suffered from whilst serving at the front.
He is remembered on the Oakworth War Memorial.
From his death certificate we discovered that he had died of 'kidney failure' and this matched the reason for his discharge, so with help from members of the 'In From The Cold Project' we submitted his name for consideration to be included in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Perpetual Roll of Honour, as one who died as a result of the Great War. His headstone was installed in July 2015 and a service of dedication was held on 22nd November 2015 to remember him, attended by his family and supported by the Deputy Lieutenant Richard Clough, Lord Mayor of Bradford Councillor Joanne Dodds, Kris Hopkins M.P. Keighley Mayor, many local councillors, along with many local people who wished to pay their respects. See our picture gallery of this event.
We also remembered Private Sam Rainford who could not be submitted for consideration, because we were unable to prove a causal link between his Army service and his death from tuberculosis in 1921. He is remembered on three separate Haworth War Memorials, but this would not be accepted as proof that his Army service caused his death.
In the case of Private Ivor Tempest Greenwood, we found he had died in hospital in 1914 whilst serving in the Duke of Wellington's Regiment. Although he had only been in the Army for three weeks since enlistment but still died in service, he was eligible for addition to the Commonwealth war Graves Commission's Perpetual Roll of Honour.
Ivor's CWGC headstone was installed on his grave in Utley Cemetery, Keighley in February 2017 and we held a service of dedication for him on 9th July 2017.
We submitted a third man, Private Arthur Peel but he has not been accepted for inclusion (December 2016).
We recently investigated the credentials of another Keighley man, Gunner Gilbert Hardy Midgley of the Royal Garrison Artillery, and we submitted him to the CWGC for inclusion in January 2017. We await a decision on his case.
Gilbert arrived at Great Yarmouth on 23rd March 1916 and was issued with his uniform. According to witness statements, the next day he parcelled off his civilian clothes home to Keighley from Great Yarmouth and walked back to the barracks at night. In newspaper reports of the inquest, witnesses also stated that because of the blackout and his unfamiliarity with the area, he probably took a wrong turn towards the fish quay and simply walked over the edge into the River Yare at 21:50. The Army court-martialled him a month later as he was still marked as absent without leave and a list was produced of his missing kit, this was everything a soldier would have been wearing, including his great coat. If he was wearing that as well then he wouldn't have stood a chance in the water at night. The 31st May coroner's inquest into his death recorded: "accidentally drowned through falling into river" and this was recorded on his death certificate, as was his occupation: Gunner, R.G.A.
We believe Gilbert's is a clear cut case as he died whilst in service and that he deserves to be added to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's 'Perpetual Roll of Honour'. His grave is unmarked at Utley Cemetery in Keighley, West Yorkshire. His mother Jane Midgley is also buried in the same plot.
Gilbert's father was Alderman John William Midgley O.B.E., one-time Mayor of Keighley whose ashes are scattered elsewhere. A stone remembering John is laid on the grave but it does not mention Jane or Gilbert.
Update on January 29, 2018:
We have been contacted today with the news that Gilbert Hardy Midgley has been accepted by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as a casualty of the Great War:
Gunner MIDGLEY, GILBERT HARDY
Service Number 72696
Died 24/03/1916 Aged 26
No. 4 Depot Royal Garrison Artillery
Son of John William Midgley of Keighley, Yorks. Commemorated at UNITED KINGDOM BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE
Location: Berkshire, United Kingdom Number of casualties: 312
United Kingdom Book of Remembrance