'A' Company, 10th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regt.) Service no. 29369.
Norman was born in April 1897 and his birth was registered in Keighley. His parents were Henry and Emily Wright and in the 1901 census they were living at 1, Staveley Road at Ingrow in Keighley. Henry was a family butcher's assistant. Norman was four years old. Henry and Emily had another son, Allen who was born in 1903.
By 1911 Norman was 14 years old and apparently still at school, which would have been Keighley Boy's Grammar School, which he first attended in 1908 and left in 1912. He now had two brothers, Allen and Irving, and their father Henry was working as a butcher on his own account.
Norman had attested with the 3rd Reserve Battalion, Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment under the Derby Scheme on 11th December 1915 when he was 18 years and 8 months old and then he entered the Army reserve until he was called up.
However, he did not enlist until his mobilisation on 5th September 1916 by which time he would have been 19 years and four months old. His medical shows he was 5 feet 5 inches tall with a 37 inch chest. His civilian occupation was 'butcher,' as he was working for his father.
He went to Halifax for induction on 5th and 6th September 1916 and then to training.
He may already have been appointed to Lance Corporal when he embarked at Folkestone on 5th July 1917 and landed at Boulogne, then he was transferred to the 2nd Battalion West Riding Regiment at Etaples, all in the same day.
Norman was posted to the 34th Infantry Base Department and the 10th Battalion West Riding Regiment on 22nd July and then to his unit on 23rd July.
He was reported wounded in action 'in the field' on 19th September 1917. He was also posted missing on the same date.
Battalion war diary information:
On the night of 17-19 September it seems they were in the line at THE BUTTE and they were relieved on the night of 19-20th September by the 12th Battalion Durham Light Infantry and moved to ZILLEBEKE BUND & RAILWAY DUGOUTS.
However, it seems a group of men in the front line were hit by a shell, killing several and wounding others, one of these being Norman. Shortly afterwards another shell hit the wounded and nobody survived, including the stretcher bearers, this information comes from the Keighley News which reported information from other soldiers, which was presumably sent to his parents:
Keighley News 6th July 1918, page 3:
LOCAL WAR CASUALTIES. KEIGHLEY.
Lance-Corporal Norman Wright, of the West Riding Regiment, eldest son of Mr. & Mrs. H. Wright, 1, Staveley Road, Ingrow, who was officially reported wounded and missing from September 19, 1917, has now been officially reported by the War Office to have been killed in action, or died of wounds on that date.
Information received from other soldiers, however, explains that he along with other officers and N.C.O.'s was sent up the trenches in advance, to see that all was in readiness for the battle which was to commence early on the following morning. Whilst on that duty a shell came over killing some and wounding others. He was amongst the latter, but unable to move away himself. One comrade not so seriously injured reports having left him in the hands of R.A.M.C. stretcher bearers. Later it appears another shell came which killed all the remaining survivors, bearers included. Lance-Corporal Wright was 19 years of age, and had been in the Army about twelve months, and three months in France. He was an old boy of the Keighley Trade and Grammar School, and on leaving assisted his father in the business of butcher at Ingrow. He was of a cheerful and kindly disposition, and many friends and acquaintances will mourn his loss.
Keighlian Magazine - Obituary from their November 1918 issue:
NORMAN WRIGHT. Lance-Corporal. West Riding Regt.
Norman Wright was a pupil from 1908 to 1912. He was the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. H. Wright, of Staveley Road, Ingrow. On leaving School he assisted his father in business, up to the time of joining the Army. Lance-Corpl. Wright was 20 years of age, and had been in the Army about twelve months, and three months in France. He was officially reported wounded and missing from 19th September, 1917, and has now unfortunately been officially reported to have been killed in action or died of wounds on that date. Information received from other soldiers, however, explains that he, along with other officers and N.C.O.’s, was sent up the trenches in advance, to see that all was in readiness for the battle, which was to commence early on the following morning. Whilst on that duty a shell came over, killing some and wounding others. He was amongst the latter in the first instance, but was unable to move himself away. One comrade not so seriously injured reports having left him in the hands of the R.A.M.C. stretcher-bearers. Later it appears another shell came which killed all the remaining survivors, bearers included. Norman Wright is remembered at School as being of a kindly and cheerful disposition, and we tender our sincere sympathy with his parents and brothers, both of whom are now at School.
Sadly, Norman has no known grave and is remembered on the Tyne Cot memorial panel 82-85 in Belgium.
Locally he is remembered in the Keighley Roll of Honour Book at Keighley Library, also on the Ingrow War Memorial by St John's Church, plus the Ingrow Council School memorial which is on display at Ingrow Primary School. He is also named in the Keighlian Magazine roll of honour and although this is not a published list, all the names of old boys who served are in the Keighley Boy's Grammar School magazine from 1918.
His family did not forget him either, their family grave in Oakworth Cemetery has an inscription dedicated to Norman. Since he has no known grave, even if they visited France, they would not have had a grave to visit, so this inscription would serve as a memorial which they could visit whenever they wished.
Norman's family headstone inscription reads:
In Affectionate Remembrance of Henry Wright and Emily Wright, of Holly Bank Oxenhope and formerly of Ingrow...
Also of their dearly loved son Norman who was killed in the Great War, September 19th 1917, Aged 20 years.
Norman's parents were his next of kin and they received his personal effects which were a wallet, letters, cards and photos, also his cap badge, identity disc and his cigarette case.
A small war pension of 12 shillings and six pence per week was paid to them from 21st May 1918 and they received his remaining back pay of £1 5s. 11d on 28th August 1918. A war gratuity of £3 10s. 0d. was also paid to Herbert on 31st October 1919.
In 1920/21 his medals and his Great War memorial plaque were sent to his parents. The medals were the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919
British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929
World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923
Obituary from the Keighlian Magazine, November 1918 issue
Oakworth cemetery - Family Headstone inscription - Photo by Andy Wade
National Archives - War Diary WO95/2184/1 of the 10th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment
Keighley Library Archives.