Passchendaele 3

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War diary extract for 10th Battalion West Riding Regiment for mid September 1917

Private William Denby, killed in action 20th September 1917

Private William Denby was killed on the first day of the battle of Menin Road. He had been wounded twice before and recovered, but this final one proved fatal.
William was born in Keighley in 1897 and lived at Burlington Street, then at 92, Turkey Street, Keighley, with his parents and siblings. He was a doffer at a worsted yarn spinning mill in the 1911 census. William joined the Army early in the war. He disembarked in France on August 26, 1915 and served for two years before his death on September 20, 1917.
For the month prior to the battle, William’s battalion the 10th West Riding, had been training near Wizernes. It was moved to the front and warned to prepare for an attack at the Menin Road. The 10th battalion assembled at Sanctuary Wood, waiting to advance to take the third and final objective. After the second objectives were secured, the 10th battalion was ordered to move forward, suffering considerable losses from artillery fire, and William met his death. He is remembered at Tyne Cot memorial and in Keighley's Great War Roll of honour.

Wounded men at the side of the Menin Road in 1917.
Photo by John Warwick Brooke.


Lance-Corporal Allen Crabtree (Machine Gun Corps and late of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry), of East Terrace, Lees, has been wounded in the left arm and is in hospital in France. Prior to enlistment in January 1915, he was a tailor in the employ of the Co-operative Wholesale Society at Pontefract. [Allen Crabtree survived the war, and is remembered on the Lees, Cross Roads and Bocking War Memorial as one of the local men who served and returned]

CROSS HILLS. - Former Art Master Wounded

Private Allan Smith of Crosshills
Miss Maggie Smith, of Milligan Fields, Cross Hills, has received information that her brother, Private Allan Smith, of the Worcestershire Regiment, has been wounded in action in France, and is now in Netley Hospital. Private Smith, who joined up in March, 1916, went out with his battalion after sixteen weeks' training in June, 1916. He was wounded in the heavy fighting on August 16, and in a letter to his sister he says that his regiment in attacking the German trenches got into a nest of German machine guns. The fighting was terrible, and when he received his wounds he lay down on the ground until darkness fell, and then managed to crawl to the dressing station where his wounds were attended to. He was wounded in the left shoulder by a bullet, which went in at the shoulder and came out in the middle of his back. He was also struck by a piece of shrapnel in the face, which hit his jaw bone, and at present he is unable to use his jaw. In private life Private Smith was an art master, and relinquished a good position in the south of England to join the forces. He is 29 years of age and well known and highly respected in the district. For a few years he and his sisters and mother resided in Keighley, and took an active interest in the work of Albert Street Baptist Church.

Mr. M. Hill of Bank Foot, Sutton, has received a number of letters of appreciation of the bravery of his son, Private Tom Hill, who was wounded on August 11. His officer (Captain Geoffrey M. Cowper) says that Private Hill worked continuously when the battalion was in the line this last time, carrying down wounded. Though tired out he carried on and received his wound when directing down some wounded men, being hit by a German sniper. In the last paragraph of the letter Captain Cowper says: "Your son did his duty and more, and I shall be only too glad to have him back with me again." Company Quartermaster-Sergeant T. Miles, in a long and interesting letter, states that Private Hill was the most popular man in the company. He was stretcher-bearing at the time he was wounded, and it was probable he would be recommended for devotion to duty. Two of Private Hill's chums have also written letters of appreciation to Mr. Hill. In one of them Private S. Kershaw says: "When Tom was wounded he was bringing in some of the boys who had been wounded in the heavy fighting. It was broad daylight and he was shot by a dirty German sniper, who hit him in the arm. The enemy were not supposed to fire on stretcher-bearers, but they would do any dirty trick. We are sorry to lose such a good chum. It is said that Private Hill has been recommended for the good work he has done. He deserves a medal, for whatever place they were in he was always off as soon as any got hit, no matter how great the risk to himself." Private Hill was wounded by a bullet which went through his right arm and entered his side, and came out at the back. No bones were broken, and his father, who went to see him at the Leicester War Hospital last week-end, states that he is progressing very favourably.

Mr. and Mrs. Francis Henry Moore, Eastfield Place, Sutton Hill, last week received a field post card from their son, Private Francis Henry Snowden Moore, informing them that he had been wounded. In a subsequent letter he said he was wounded at 4.30 on the morning of August 16. They were "going over the top" and he and a good few had got a few yards when the enemy put a shell right into their midst. He considered himself lucky to come out alive. He had a bad wound below the knee on his left leg, but not a scratch anywhere else, and after being fed like a lord for a day or two in hospital at Rouen he felt as well as ever. He did not think he would be long before he was in England, but he expected his soldiering days would be over, as he would want "a bit of a cork foot." But that was a mere trifle after what he had gone through. Private Moore enlisted in December, 1916, and was put in the Northumberland Fusiliers. He left for France in May last, and on arrival he was placed in the Norfolks, and afterwards transferred to the Essex Regiment. He has had one or two exciting experiences at the front. Just recently his company were sheltering in a barn when a bomb dropped on the barn, killing several men. Private Moore was at the far end, and escaped. He was a very popular lad in the district, being known by almost everyone, and at the time of his enlistment was employed by Messrs. James Driver & Son, Keighley, a firm whom he had worked for fourteen years.

Sapper Frank Shackleton - gassed

A well-known local lad, Private Frank Shackleton, of King Edward Street, Sutton Mill, is in the Bradford War Hospital suffering from gas poisoning and trench fever.

The following local men have all been killed in action in recent weeks: Sept 24 - Lance Corporal Charles Driver, Seaforth Highlanders; Sept 25 - Private George Wellman, King's Liverpool Regiment; and Sept 27/28 - Private Charles Stubbs, West Riding Regiment. All three men have no known grave.

Wounded at the side of the Menin Road in 1917. Photo by John Warwick Brooke


Battle of Polygon Wood - Sept 26 to Oct 3 1917

War diary extract for 8th Battalion West Riding Regiment, 26th to 29th August 1917

Private Charkes Edwin Stubbs of Oakworth

Private Charles Edwin Stubbs was born in North Ormsby near Middlesbrough in 1883, the son of house painter Leonard, and Ann Stubbs. They moved to Riddlesden whilst Charles was still very young. He apprenticed as a tailor and by 1916 he was a tailor-maker (journeyman) and just two months short of 33 years when he was conscripted under the Military Service Act on October 6, 1916. He had married Clara Stubbs née Spedding (a worsted cloth weaver on the July 16, 1912 at Alice Street Primitive Methodist Chapel (now Central Hall) and they were living at 16, Victoria Avenue, Keighley. They had a daughter Irene, born March 2, 1915 at Keighley.
Charles initially joined the 6th battalion West Riding Regt., but transferred to the 8th battalion West Riding on January 25, 1917. He served with them until he was posted as 'missing' on August 27 or 28. He was later reported as either 'killed in action' or 'died of wounds' on the same date. He had served for 326 days. His burial is reported to have taken place on November 4, 1917, which implies they took a while to recover his body. Despite the burial report, Charles has no marked resting place today and his named is listed on the Tyne Cot memorial panel. It's likely that his grave was lost due to subsequent bombardments which often led to the loss of any grave markers, making a later search impossible.
Many graves were moved to Tyne Cot Cemetery from battlefield cemeteries and small burial plots scattered throughout the local battlefields but understandably, considerable numbers of graves have been lost. Many of the graves at Tyne Cot Cemetery are dedicated to 'unknown soldier', so he may be in one of these graves. His name is inscribed on the war memorial regimental panels at Tyne Cot and his name also appears in Keighley Great War Roll of Honour Book in Keighley Library, and on the Roll of Honour for St. Barnabas Church District at Thwaites Brow. His wife Clara later received a war widows pension, for herself and Irene.

Battle of Broodseinde October 4 1917

War diary extract for 12th/13th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers - 4th October 1917

Private George Henry Binns, killed in action 4th October 1917

Private George Henry Binns of the 12th/13th Battalion
Northumberland Fusiliers was born in 1897 and lived at Hogholes, Glen Lee, Keighley. His father David was the Foreman in a stone quarry. George became a bobbin setter at a worsted mill and then a roller coverer.
He attested for the Army in October 1915 and after training he entered France with the 22nd Battalion Tyneside Scottish (Northumberland Fusiliers) in July 1916. George was killed in action aged 21 years on October 4 and has no known grave. He had been in France for about fifteen months and his battalion was engaged in an attack on the German lines at the time of his death.
Above and below this text are extracts of the battalion war diary detailing the attack. George is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial and locally, in Keighley's Great War Roll of Honour book, which is kept on display at Keighley Library.

War diary extract for 12th/13th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers for the second part of 4th October 1917

Saturday, September 8, 1917 page 3:


Second Lieutenant Raymond B. Scott
Second-Lieutenant Raymond B. Scott, machine gun officer, was involved in the taking of the Pilkem Ridge, where he was slightly gassed. He, however, remained on duty, but has since been admitted into hospital in France suffering from gastritis. Second Lieutenant Scott, who is 19 years of age, is the only son of Mr and Mrs Joseph Scott, Devonshire Street, Keighley. This is the second time he has been in hospital, the first occasion being while in training at Aldershot. While out riding he had the misfortune to strain himself severely, and had to undergo a painful operation. He is an old student of the Keighley Trade and Grammar School, and served his training with the Leeds University Cadet Corps, whence he was transferred to the Cambridge Officer's Training School. From there he went to Aldershot and Grantham, and was drafted to active service some three months ago, after training as an infantry and machine-gun officer.


During the week Mr Patrick Leonard, 89, Turkey Street, Keighley, has received information stating that two of his sons have been wounded.

Driver Thomas Leonard

Driver Thomas Leonard has been wounded in Egypt and is in hospital. He was called up as a Reservist at the outbreak of hostilities and had served two years and a week in France before going to Egypt.

Gunner Peter Leonard

Gunner, Peter Leonard, Royal Field Artillery, has written to his wife, who resides at 13, West Turkey Street, Keighley, simply saying that he has been wounded in the eye in the fighting near Ypres. He is now in hospital at Etaples, and the doctor hopes to restore sight to the injured eye. Called to the colours in ______ _____ he has been at the front for the last _____ months.
Another brother, Private Martin Leonard, was wounded in France a few months ago, and is still in hospital.


Private A. J. Carter

Private A. J. Carter, of the West Riding Regiment, son of Mr and Mrs A. Carter, of Carlisle Street, Keighley, is in the Royal Infirmary, Leicester, suffering from the effects of gas. Prior to enlistment, he was employed by Messrs. I. and I. Craven, #### Mills, Keighley, and was a member of the Keighley and District Harriers. In the season 1913-14, he won the eight miles championship of the club, and has shown good form since going out to France. His principal successes being the winning of ###### championship of the 147th Brigade and ##nth Division.

Mr Bryan Harrison, 9, George Street, Keighley, has received official notification that his son, Private ##### Harrison, Middlesex Regiment, has been wounded in the recent fighting near Ypres. He has been treated at Etaples for some time, and is now in hospital at Clacton on Sea. His injuries consist of gunshot wounds in the arm and ankle. He has been at the front since July. Two of his brothers - Corporal T Harrison (Yorkshire Regiment) and Private John Harrison (West Riding Regiment) are also at the front.

Gunner Charles Durkin

Mrs Durkin, of 23, Nightingale Street, Keighley, has received information that her son, Gunner Charles Durkin, R.F.A., was wounded recently near Ypres. After being a short time in hospital in Boulogne he was sent to the military hospital at Grantham. He enlisted in January, 1915 while only 17 years of age, and took part in the battles on the Somme last year. He has been in the thick of the fray since the commencement of the spring offensive.

Sapper Arthur Pickard

Sapper Arthur Pickard, Royal Engineers, has been severely wounded and is now in hospital in France. Enlisting two years ago, he went to France almost immediately. Before the war Sapper Pickard was employed by his late father, Mr E. Pickard, monumental masons, Cemetery Works, Keighley.

Private Joseph Simpson

Private J. Simpson, New Zealand Force, is posted wounded and missing, but a comrade writes that he has been killed. Private Simpson joined the Army at Wellington on November, 1916. Before leaving Keighley he was employed as a butcher by the Keighley Cooperative Society. [Joseph Simpson is remembered on the Messines Ridge Memorial, in the Keighley Roll of Honour book for the Great War which is held upstairs at Keighley Library, also named on the Oakworth Roll of Honour at Oakworth Community Hall and also named on his family's grave in Dockroyd Graveyard in Oakworth (he is not buried there.)

Private William Wademan, West Riding Regiment, of 1, Junction Street, Keighley, has been gassed. He has been at the front about eighteen months, and before enlistment was employed as an iron turner by George Hattersley, Limited, North Brook Works, Keighley.

Gunner W. Ramsden

Gunner W. Ramsden, Royal Field Artillery, of 8, Bronte Street, Keighley, who was formerly assistant manager at the Steeton Cooperative Society Grocery Department, has been wounded and gassed and is in a Birmingham hospital. [Wilfred entered France on November 26, 1915. He survived the war, being discharged wounded in February 1919 with a silver war badge. He married Jane Elizabeth Butterfield at Alice Street Methodist Chapel in 1921 and died in 1959, aged 66 years. Jane survived him by a further twenty years]

Rifleman T. W. Copperthwaite

Rifleman T. W. Copperthwaite, King's Royal Rifles, of Whinswood, Keighley, is in hospital in Sheffield suffering from wounds. Aged 30 years, he enlisted about two years ago, and in civil life was employed as a carter.

Lance-Corporal W. Hardy, King's Royal Rifles, and the son of Mrs Hardy, of 22, Daisy Street, Worth Village, Keighley, has been wounded for the second time, and is now in hospital at Hampstead.

Rifleman Walter Gastling, King's Royal Rifles, who before enlistment was employed as a winding overlooker by Mr Thos. Wilson, Keighley, has been gassed.

It has been officially announced during the past week that the following Keighley soldiers have been wounded: - Royal Army Medical Corps: Private H. Smith 106776. Linconshire Regiment: Private A. Carlton(?) 41523, and Private A. Powell, 41562. York and Lancaster Regiment: Private J. W. Brigg, ######. Royal Field Artillery: Gunner E. Dewhurst, 7###13. Sherwood Foresters: Private F. Howcroft, ###97.

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