Passchendaele 6

Back to page 5 of the Passchendaele series.

The next two men weren't part of the Third Ypres battles as they were serving in the Royal Navy but we have included them here as their stories are contemporary with Keighley's story around this time:


Ordinary Seaman John Clark
Ordinary Seaman John Clark, son of Mrs Clark, 4, Chapel Street, Silsden, is reported missing and believed to be drowned. Mrs Liversedge, of 38, Landguard Road, Portsmouth, in a letter to Mrs Clark, states: "I think you ought to know that the ship your boy went out on has gone under, but some of the men are saved. I am sorry to say that John is not one of them, but it is stated that some got away on a raft, so they must have been picked up and taken to another port. They are however, in God's hands, and He knows best. If we hear anything further we will let you know at once. I feel very deeply for you, as John was always so willing and pleasant. . . Bear up as well as you can, and rest assured your boy nobly did his duty. I know what a terrible anxiety it must be for you, as I am proud to say I am both a sailor's wife and mother." Writing from Portsmouth, his wife also states that her husband is missing. She had not received official information from the War Office, but from one of the survivors who had arrived at the Portsmouth Barracks. Ordinary Seaman Clark, who was 25 years of age, joined the Navy in February last. He served his apprenticeship with Messrs Smith and Pickles, painters and decorators, Kirkgate, Silsden, and prior to enlisting was employed by Mr C. Carter, painter and decorator, of Ilkley. He formerly attended the Silsden Primitive Methodist Church and Sunday School.


Gunner Willie Atkinson
Official information was received from the Admiralty on Monday morning last that Gunner Willie Atkinson, of a collier transport, son of Mrs Atkinson, 30, Skipton Road, Silsden, was drowned on September 10 through a collision at sea. Gunner Atkinson enlisted about twelve months ago in the Royal Naval Volunteers, After a period of training he was drafted as a gunner in a vessel which went down. He was 19 years of age, and formerly attended the Silsden Wesleyan Church and Sunday School. Mrs Atkinson has another son in the forces - Private Tom Atkinson, who is in the Welsh Guards.

Private John Brear

Private John Brear, of the West Riding Regiment, and son of Mrs Brear, Hothfield Street North, Silsden, is suffering from trench fever, and is at present in hospital at Birmingham. He is 27 years of age and enlisted in May, 1915, going out to France in February last. In one of his recent letters home, he told about going over the parapet at censored on the occasion of his birthday, He was formerly employed at Silsden Dyeworks, and was associated with the Silsden Wesleyan Church and Sunday School.

Lance Corporal A. E.Broadhead

News has been received from the war Office that Lance-Corporal A. E. Broadhead, of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, son of Mr and Mrs Enos Broadhead, 9, Daisy Hill, Silsden, who has been posted as missing since September 25, 1916, was killed on that date. Lance-Corporal Broadhead, who was 21 years of age, enlisted in January, 1916, and had only been out in France two or three months. He was formerly a goods porter at the Steeton and Silsden Railway Station. Mr and Mrs Broadhead have another son, private Willie Broadhead, of the West Riding Regiment, who has been out in France since the early days of the war. Lance-Corporal Broadhead formerly attended Silsden Primitive Methodist Church and Sunday School. [Son of Mrs. Maria Broadhead, of 9, Daisy Hill, Silsden, he is remembered on the Thiepval memorial]

Saturday, October 6, 1917 page 3:


Private J. Sunderland
Many people in Keighley will regret to hear that Private John Sunderland, of the South African Forces, was killed in action on September 20 last. The son of Mr Jonas Sunderland, of Ingrow, he served his apprenticeship as a grocer with the Keighley Co-operative Society, and attained to the position of branch manager. Fifteen years ago he relinquished that position to go to South Africa, and after some movement he settled near Johannesburg. It was here that he heard his country's call in the early part of this year. The South African brigade in France had suffered and required men. Although over military age Mr Sunderland at once volunteered. He was in Keighley last July for his final leave, and shortly afterwards proceeded to France. In a recent letter he stated he had been selected as one of those to go over "the top." Private Sunderland was a good specimen of the Anglo-African - hardy, cheery and full of patriotism. Asked on his last visit to Keighley why he, a man beyond the military age, should have come thousands of miles to endure the hardships and risk the dangers of the battlefields of France, he cheerily made reply: "Oh I am a Britisher, and we in Africa don't think much of a man who won't fight for his country." Twenty years ago Mr John Sunderland was a dashing figure in the social life of Keighley. [Son of Jonas Sunderland, of Ingrow, he is remembered on the Menin Gate memorial]

Private J. E. Armstrong

Private J. E. Armstrong (19), of Keighley, was killed in action on August 26. He enlisted in the Northumberland Fusiliers about two years ago, but on going to France was transferred to the Suffolk Regiment. His sister has received a letter from Private Armstrong's sergeant, who says: "Your brother was killed outright and suffered no pain. It was a loss to me, and he was liked by all the boys in the platoon. He was a brave fellow and died a man's death." Private Armstrong was formerly employed by Messrs Heaton & Co., Low Mills.
[He is buried in grave 24, row C, plot I of Hargicourt British cemetery, Aisne, France]

Signaller J. H. M. Keighley

Signaller J. H. Manby Keighley, of the Cheshire Regiment, has been rather severely wounded in the left leg by shrapnel, and is now in hospital in Etaples, France. The elder son of Mr W. Keighley, Whin Knowle, Keighley, he joined the Bradford "Pals" in February, 1916, and was later transferred to the Cheshire Regiment. He went through the battle of Messines Ridge and many other important engagements, and was wounded in the recent "push" whilst in the machine gun section of the Cheshire. He was educated at Salt Schools, Shipley, and Skipton Grammar School, and previous to enlistment was in Barclays Bank and Newport, Mon.

Private R. Ellison

Private R. Ellison, West Riding Regiment, and Private Henry Ellison, West Yorkshire Regiment, sons of Mr Ellison, 23, Alma Street, Keighley, have both been wounded, the former seriously in the neck and chest, and the latter in the ankle. Both enlisted upon the outbreak of hostilities, prior to which they were employed in Keighley factories. Another brother is also serving with the colours, and he, too, has been wounded.

Signaller Horace Dewis

Mrs Dewis, of 34, Spencer Street, has received a letter from a lieutenant in the West Riding Regiment stating that her son, Corporal Horace Dewis, has been wounded in the eye whilst signalling a very urgent message under heavy fire, and has been recommended for the Military Medal for his good work. Prior to enlisting in September, 1914, Corporal Dewis was employed as a fitter by Messrs Prince Smith & Son.

Signaller George Appleyard

Signaller George Appleyard, West Riding Regiment, of 104, Park Lane, Keighley, has been wounded a third time. He has also been in hospital suffering from injuries received in a motor-lorry accident. He has been at the front about twenty-seven months, and was formerly employed by Messrs _. T. Sutcliffe, Walk Mills, Keighley.

Private Harold Baker, West Yorkshire Regiment, _, Crown Street, Keighley, has been wounded in the legs and is in hospital abroad. He was formerly employed by Messrs George Hattersley & Sons, and was connected with the Oakworth Road Mission.

Private S. W. Sharp

Private S. W. Sharp, (19), Royal Scots, of 32, Eric Street, Keighley, has died of wounds in hospital abroad, He was formerly employed by the Keighley Printers, Limited, and had been in the Army about twelve months.
[Son of Mary Ann and the late Frank Sharp, of 32, Erie Street, Keighley. He is buried in grave 3, row E, plot I of Nine Elms British Cemetery]

Private Fred Binns

Private Fred Binns, (20), of the Canadians, whose home address was Argyle Street, Keighley, has been killed in action. Twenty years of age, he was formerly employed by Mr Thomas Dickinson, draper, High Street, Keighley.
[Son of Alfred and Caroline J. Binns, of 5, Foswell St., West Toronto. He is remembered on the Vimy memorial]

Rifleman William Johnson

Rifleman William Johnson, West Riding Regiment, of 67, Emily Street, Keighley, has been admitted to hospital suffering from wounds in the leg. This is the second time he has been wounded. Before enlistment in 1914, he was employed as a carter.

STANBURY. - Amongst the wounded announced this week are Private John William Bentham, of the West Riding Regiment, and Gunner Jim Whitaker, of the Royal Field Artillery, whose homes are in Stanbury and Buckley farm respectively. The latter is in hospital in Huddersfield suffering from trench fever. Bentham is wounded in the eye.

Private Fred Davis

HAWORTH. - Mrs Fred Davis, of Hill Street, Haworth, has received word that her husband, Private Fred Davis, Tyneside Scottish, has been killed by a piece of shell while sitting in the trench. Private Davis joined the Army in August, 1916, and went out to France last December. He was formerly coachman to Mrs Whitaker, of Sowdens, Haworth.
[Son of Alfred and Caroline J. Binns, of 5, Foswell St., West Toronto. He is remembered on the Vimy memorial and the Haworth memorial]

Private Albert E. Wilson

Private Albert E. Wilson, of 3, Ivy Street, Haworth, has been wounded in both legs, and is in hospital in France. Private Wilson was in the West Riding Regiment. He joined in September, 1916 and went out to France in January, 1917. Prior to joining the forces he was employed by Mr Tom Hey, cab proprietor, Haworth.


Private George Oscar Rothwell
Private George Oscar Rothwell, of the York and Lancaster Regiment, husband of Mrs Rothwell, Daisy Mount, Howden Road, Silsden, has been wounded in the left side, and is in the Morton Banks Hospital. He undoubtedly owes his life to a body shield which he was wearing at the time he was struck by a piece of shrapnel. The shrapnel pierced the body shield, but apparently its force was checked, and its course diverted. Private Rothwell, who is 36 years of age enlisted in March last, and went out to France in June. Prior to joining the colours he was employed as a plumber, by Messrs Smith & Pickles, Kirkgate, Silsden. He was connected with the Silsden Wesleyan Church and Sunday School, and was also a member of the Silsden Conservative Club. He was wounded in the recent heavy fighting around Ypres.

Perilously muddy conditions: Slipping off the duckboards could often be deadly with unfortunate soldiers frequently drowning in mud under the weight of their own equipment.

The following quote vividly illustrates the conditions:

"A party of men passing up to the front line found a man bogged to above the knees. The united efforts of four of them with rifles under his armpits made not the slightest impression, and to dig, even if shovels had been available, was impossible for there was no foothold. Duty compelled them to move on up to the line, and when two days later they passed down that way the wretched man was still there; but only his head was visible and he was raving mad."
Reagan, G. (1992). Military Anecdotes. London: Guinness Publishing. ISBN 978-0-85112-519-0


Private Ernest Byram

Private E, Byram, Royal Scots, formerly of Oakworth, has been killed in action. He enlisted in October, 1916, and had been in France about three months. Prior to enlistment he was employed as a woolsorter by a Bradford firm. A chaplain in his regiment, writing to his wife, says: " May God comfort you in your bereavement, and sustain you by the thought that he did not die in vain, that he, like the Saviour, laid down his life that others might live." Private Byram leaves a widow and four children.
[Ernest is buried in grave 22, row E, plot I of Ypres reservoir Cemetery. The son of William Henry and Mary A. Byram, of Oakworth, he is remembered on the Oakworth war memorial and on the Oakworth Wesleyan roll of honour in Oakworth Methodist Church. Ernest left behind his wife Mary Ann (née Elliott) and their four children, Harry, Luke, Gladys and Kathleen]

First Oasschendaele October 12, 1917

146 Brigade War diary extrac for October 10th, 1917

146 Brigade War diary extract for October 9th - 10th, 1917

Saturday, October 13, 1917 page 3:


Second Lieutenant Harry Tillotson

Second-Lieutenant Harry Tillotson, machine gun section and son of Mr and Mrs H. Tillotson, 8, Highfield Lane, Keighley, has been admitted to a London hospital suffering from a wound in the right arm. Writing home, he says: " I was just going into the front line trenches - from which the following day I would have had to go over the top with my section of guns - and was passing an artillery dump, when a German shell landed about eight yards away, and piece hit me in the right arm. The dump blew up and me with it. My servant carried me down to the dressing station, from which I went in slow stages to the base."
Second-Lieutenant Harry Tillotson, along with his brother, Second-Lieutenant J. E. Tillotson, enlisted shortly after the outbreak of hostilities as privates, the former being granted a commission in October, 1916, and the latter in July last. Both have now been wounded. Prior to joining the forces, Lieutenant H. Tillotson was a clerk in the Keighley branch of the Yorkshire Penny Bank, whilst his brother was employed in the offices of the Midland Railway Company at Keighley. Both are "old boys" of the Keighley Trade and Grammar School. Lieutenant H. Tillotson has been awarded the certificate of merit for having distinguished himself on the field on June 17, 1917."


Private W. Tillotson

Private W. Tillotson, West Riding Regiment, son of Mr and Mrs Edwin Tillotson, Beech Cliffe, Keighley, is reported as missing since August 8. Writing to the parents, Captain B. G. Buxton says: "I regret to have to inform you that your son did not return after his section had made a most brilliant bombing attack on the German lines. We have repeatedly patrolled No Man's Land without success. All ranks of D Company join me in expressing our deep sympathy with you in your anxiety, and we hope that you will hear that he is still alive, though a prisoner. He has done most excellent service, and will be greatly missed by his friends out here." Twenty-one years of age, Private Tillotson enlisted two years ago last April, and in July of last year suffered from shell shock. He is a cousin of Harry Tillotson, who has been wounded, and formerly was employed by his uncle, Herbert Tillotson, 8, Highfield Lane, Keighley, as a painter.

Private G. H. Foster, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, youngest son of Mr and Mrs W. Foster, 5, Buxton Street, Dalton Lane, Keighley, was admitted into hospital in France on September 23 suffering from gas poisoning. He joined the colours in February last, and went to France in August. He was previously employed by Messrs Prince Smith and Son, Keighley. His brother, Pioneer F. L. Foster, of the Royal Engineers, 17, Compton Street, Keighley, has been wounded in the left arm, and is in hospital at Edmonton, London. He enlisted in June, 1916, and went to France in August the same year, and has taken part in most of the big battles since. There are three other brothers serving, two in France and one in Salonika. Prior to joining the colours, Pioneer Foster was a telegraph clerk at Keighley Midland Station.

Private Arthur Frederick Sykes

Private Arthur Frederick Sykes (21), of the Machine Gun Corps, son of ex-Police Inspector Sykes, of 18, Highfield Lane, Keighley, died on October 3 in a casualty clearing station in France from wounds received on the previous day. He joined the Army nearly two years ago, and had been at the front about fifteen months. He was invalided home last year, and on recovery went out again, and was later wounded, returning to duty when better. The deceased was and old Keighley Trade and Grammar School boy, and before joining the Army was employed as a clerk by Mr C. N. Jennings, worsted spinner, Keighley.
[Son of Fred and Ada Sykes, of 18, Highfield Lane, Keighley. He is buried in grave 17, row C, plot II of Toncourt New British Cemetery. He was 21 years of age]

Private Ernest Newell

Mrs Ernest Newell, of Rock Street East, Woodhouse, Keighley, has received news from the War Office and also from the chaplain - who read the final burial service over him - that her husband, Private Ernest Newell, West Yorkshire Regiment, was killed in action in France on September 24. Thirty-two years of age, he was the youngest son of Mr Robert Newell, of the firm of Mr J. L. Crabtree, printer and stationer, Changegate, Keighley, and before enlistment was in the employ of the late Mr Eli Thompson, painter and decorator, South Street, Keighley.
[Son of Robert and the late M. A. Newell, of Keighley; husband of Florence Newell, of 18, Rock St. East, Woodhouse, Keighley. He is buried in grave 12, row G, plot II of St Patrick's Cemetery, Loos and remembered on the Ingrow memorial]

Lance Corporal Ted Saxton

Lance-Corporal Ted Saxton, Northumberland Fusiliers, of 73, Turkey Street, Keighley, has been wounded in the head by shrapnel. He had served at the front over two years and was "gassed" last December. He was formerly employed by Messrs G. Hattersley & Sons, Limited, Keighley.

Private John Hope

Private John Gilbert Hope, of the West Yorkshire Regiment, whose home is at 90, Ingrow Lane, Keighley, has been admitted to the 5th Southern General Hospital, Milton, Portsmouth, suffering from a rather large wound in the abdomen. Fortunately there has been no penetration. He was wounded in the chest on May 3 last, and previously was brought to Bradford, suffering from trench feet. He enlisted in June, 1916, and was formerly employed by Messrs George Hattersley & Sons, Keighley.

Private Harry Graham

Private Harry Graham, Royal West Kent Regiment, 122, Devonshire Street, Keighley, has been wounded and is in hospital abroad. This is the third time he has been in hospital since going to the front about two years ago. He enlisted in September, 1914, and was formerly employed as a guard by the Midland Railway Company.

Private Frank Scott

Mrs Scott, of 280, Fell Lane, Keighley, has received news of the death of her son, Private Frank Scott, in hospital at Southampton. He had been at the front about ten months, and before enlistment in the Northumberland Fusiliers in July, 1916, was employed by Messrs Dean, Smith and Grace, Ltd, machine tool makers, Keighley.
[Son of Edwin Scott, of 280, Fell Lane, Keighley, Yorks. He is buried in Netley Military Cemetery and remembered on a special memorial panel there. He was 31]

Private Albert Maxwell

Private Albert Maxwell, whose home is at Low Spring Cottages, Keighley, is in hospital at Manchester, suffering from wounds in the side and arm. He has been wounded on a previous occasion and has also been home with trench fever. He enlisted in August, 1916, and formerly he assisted his father, who carries on business as painter and decorator in Dalton Lane, Keighley.

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