Private Samuel Middleton Scaife

A white circle with a glove crossing it's fingers and the words: Made Possible with Heritage Fund.This man is a candidate for addition to Keighley's Supplementary Volume under the proposal to add further names in 2024, the centenary of the original roll of honour.
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Supported by the National Lottery's Heritage Fund, our project intends to submit about 120 names for peer review to add them to the book which is kept at Keighley Library. The unveiling of the book with it's new names is planned for November 2024, 100 years after the unveiling of the original war memorial.


Private, Royal Army Medical Corps, 1st West Riding Field Ambulance (Territorial). Service no: 146.

Private Samuel Middleton ScaifeEarly life:

Early life

Samuel was born on 31st May, 1882, the son of Joseph and Mary Scaife. His father was a timber merchant and they were living at Woodfield House, Keighley.
(The site of Woodfield House and sawmill is currently occupied by Keighley Timber)
Samuel was baptised on 28th June, at St Peter's Church, Keighley.
Aged 8 in 1891 he was living at 54, South Street (Keighley (Woodfield House) with his grandparents, parents and his cousins.
He started at Keighley Trade and Grammar School in this year and left in 1897. Shortly after this he attended Giggleswick Grammar School.
In 1901, aged 18 years, he was living at 54, South Street (Keighley (Woodfield House) with his parents, brothers and sisters and working as a timber merchant and trader.
By 28 in 1911, he was still living at 54, South Street (Keighley (Woodfield House) with Parents, brother and sisters and he was also still working in the timber trade with his father at their business in South Street Sawmills, Keighley.

War service:

Shortly after the outbreak of the war, on 16th September 1914 at the age of 32, he enlisted with the 1st (Territorial) West Riding Field Ambulance at Leeds and signed the Territorial Force declaration form for overseas service on the same day. Samuel left York by train and embarked from Southampton on the 13th April 1915 in two ships, the SS Courtfield and the SS Monas Queen. They disembarked at Le Havre in France the next day.
The 1/1st West Riding Field Ambulance served at MERVILLE, then BAC St. MAUR, ESTAIRES, From July 1915 they were at PROVEN, followed by a long stay at POPERINGHE until the end of the year. During the time at POPERINGHE Samuel was granted a leave of absence from 17th to 21st July in the field.
In January 1916 they moved to HOUTKERQUE and then several places including ESQUELBECQ and on to HEDAUVILLE, SEPTENVILLE, ESBART and VIGNACOURT then to SEPTANCOURT again and HEDAUVILLE and on to ENGLEBELMER on 2nd July where Samuel was killed in action on 3rd July 1916, just three days after the start of the Battle of the Somme.

WO-95/2788/2 War diary for the 1/1st West Riding Field Ambulance for July 1916:

2.45 pm, 3rd July 1916 at ENGLEBELMER.
Two men killed and 7 men wounded at Q.30.b.1.5. (men's dugout blown in by shell fire.)

Commonwealth War Graves Commission:

The two men killed were:
No. 146, Private Samuel Middleton Scaife, aged 34. Son of Joseph and Mary Scaife, of Keighley
No. 2007, Private Leonard Jacques Lawcock, aged 23. Son of George and Esther Ann Lawcock, of 147, Steade Rd., Sheffield.
Their graves were exhumed and moved to Serre Road Cemetery after the war. They are quite close to one another.

The Keighley News, Saturday 15th July 1916, page 3:

FORMER GRAMMAR SCHOOL BOY KILLED.
Private Samuel Middleton Scaife (34), R.A.M.C., Eldest son of Mr and Mrs Joseph Scaife, Marfleet House, Bingley, and formerly of South Street, Sawmills, Keighley, has been killed in action. The sad news was received from Lieutenant Anderson, of the R.A.M.C., who, writing on July 3, said: I am very greatly distressed to have to inform you that your son Private S. Scaife was killed this morning. A shell entered his dugout and killed him instantaneously. Your son had won the highest regard of all the members of the ambulance, and we all feel his death most keenly. His comrades in his section who were out on duty at the time were terribly upset, and his death has cast a gloom over all the ambulance. You have at least the consolation of knowing that your son did his duty, and did it bravely and willingly. Please accept the deepest sympathy of all his officers and comrades.
Private Scaife formerly attended the Keighley Trade and Grammar School and the Gigggleswick Grammar School. He joined the R.A.M.C. at the commencement of the war, and had been abroad since April, 1915. He was a single young man, and prior to his enlistment he was in business with his father at the South Street Sawmills, Keighley.

'Keighlian' magazine obituary:

SAMUEL SCAIFE. PRIVATE, R.A.M.C.
Private Samuel Scaife, the eldest son of Mr Joseph Scaife, Timber Merchant, was a pupil from 1891 to 1897, when he left to enter Giggleswick Grammar School. He was afterwards engaged in the timber trade and entered the Army immediately after the outbreak of war. He went to France in March, 1915, and was killed instantaneously by the bursting of a shell on July 3rd, 1916. Mr Scaife was 34 years of age and unmarried.

A paper war memorial with names in four columns. It is made from paper and coloured inks.

Samuel is buried in Plot XXIV, Row N, Grave 4, of Serre Road Cemetery No.2. He had served for 1 year and 292 days.
He is remembered on the St Peter's Church War Memorial; the Giggleswick Grammar School war memorial and the Keighlian Magazine Roll of Honour for Keighley Trade and Grammar School. He is also named on the Bingley war memorial, where his parents were living before the end of the war.
He is not remembered in the Keighley Borough Roll of Honour book in Keighley Library, despite having been born, lived, schooled and worked in Keighley.

Samuel was awarded the 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal for his war service. These were sent to his father Joseph in March 1921. He also received Samuel's war memorial plaque and King's certificate in July 1919.

Joseph also received Samuel's remaining Army pay. This was for £3 1s. 0d and was paid to him on 13th October 1916.
A war gratuity of £8 was also paid on 1st October 1919.

Source information:

England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910
1891 England Census
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920
British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919
Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929
1921 Census Of England & Wales
Keighley News archives at Keighley Library
Keighlian Magazine (Andy Wade personal collection)
National Archives War diaries WO-95/2788/2
Giggleswick Grammar School war memorial
St. Peter's Church War Memorial
Bingley War Memorial

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