Private Clifford Baxandall, 18th Battalion, Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorkshire) Regiment [2nd Battalion, Bradford Pals]. Service no. 18/1537.
Clifford was born in Keighley in 1895, the sixth of eight children of John and Zillah Baxandall. The family was living at Holme House in Oakworth in 1901.
Sadly both John (50) and Zillah (48) died in 1902, leaving the eldest children to raise the rest of the family and so Clifford was an orphan at just 7 years of age. By 1911 they were living at 13, Griff View, Oakworth. Clifford was 16, and working as a plumber.
In 1915 he enlisted in the 18th (service) Battalion Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorkshire) Regiment (Second Bradford Pals) under the 31st Division. He would have trained at South Camp, Ripon and then gone to Hurdcott Camp near Salisbury. The division set sail for Alexandria in Egypt to defend the Suez Canal and disembarked in Egypt on 22nd December 1915. Three months later they left Port Said aboard HMT Briton bound for Marseilles in France, a journey which took 5 days, arriving in March 1916
They travelled by train to Pont Remy, a few miles south east of Abbeville and marched to Bertrancourt arriving on 29 March 1916. Their first taste of action was at Serre on the Somme where they suffered heavy casualties as the battle was launched.
In the same year, Clifford was reported wounded in the local newspaper:
Keighley News 8th July 1916, page 7:
Private Clifford Baxandall, of the West Yorkshire Regiment, and whose home is at Oakworth, has been wounded in action and is at present in hospital. Previous to enlistment he was apprenticed to Mr. John Harrison, plumber, South Street, Keighley.
At some point Clifford was transferred to the 12th (Service) Battalion, probably after returning back to a unit, after recovery from his wounds.
The next year he took part in the Battle of Arras in the spring of 1917, and during this time went 'missing presumed dead'. He was later declared 'killed in action' as of the 3rd May along with fifty-two other men from the 12th battalion who were killed on that day. He was 22 years old and has no known resting place.
Clifford is remembered on Bay 4 of the Arras Memorial and on the Oakworth War Memorial in Holden Park, Oakworth and on the Slack Lane Baptist Chapel war memorial at Oakworth Community Hall:
He is also remembered on the Baxandall family grave which is in Slack Lane Baptist Chapel Cemetery.
Clifford was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his services during the war. He left almost £350 in his will to his youngest sister Mary Ellen Waterhouse, the home address given was 37, Commercial Street, Oakworth.
His brothers also served, Foster with the Royal Field Artillery, and Frank with the Army Service Corps.
Keighley News of Saturday 11th May 1918:
BAXANDALL - In loving memory of my dear pal Clifford Baxandall, who died of wounds in France, May 3rd, 1917.
"The happy hours we once enjoyed, How sweet their memory clings."
My pal in life; not forgotten in death.
From Tom (wounded, in hospital).
We think this was written by Clifford's best pal Private Tom Binns who was in hospital at this time recovering from gassing and possibly wounded. He was wounded again in 1918 which invalided him out of the Army, and the war.
Clifford and Tom had their photograph taken together before setting off to war:
Birth, marriage and death records.
1901 and 1911 census.
WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920.
Keighley News archives, Keighley Library.
Photographs supplied by family.
Grave photo by Andy Wade.