Private Richard Horsfall

This is one of a series of posts about local men named on the Keighley Union Workhouse roll of honour.
Richard Horsfall was in the Clarendon Street Children's home which was attached to the Keighley workhouse in 1911. He would certainly have known Charles Horner and Richard Horner (who were unrelated) and Fred Firth who was there at the same time.

Private Richard Horsfall. 6th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment. Service number 2092.

Early life
Richard Horsfall was born towards the end of 1896 in Keighley to parents Willie (a general labourer) and Rose Ann Horsfall née Narey. They also had a daughter Mary Ivy, born April 22, 1901.

In the 1901 census the family lived what appears to have been quite a difficult life at 7, Reed Street, off Lawkholme Lane in Keighley. Willie was sentenced at Keighley Borough Court on October 31, 1907 for cruelty to the children and served three months in prison with hard labour. He was released on January 30, 1908.

By 1911 Richard was 13 years old and living at 18, Clarendon Street, Keighley which was a children's home under the care of the Keighley Guardians and he was working as a frame doffer at a worsted mill. There were five other boys of similar age living in this house. The head of the household was their foster mother Ellen Uttley aged 47. Richard's mother was a patient in the workhouse hospital at the same time and we think Mary may have been at St Saviours home near Leeds:

Richard's sister Mary may have been the Mary Horsfall of Keighley who was a resident at St. Saviours School in 1911, situated to the South East of Leeds in the West Riding of Yorkshire. This was an establishment set up to take children from broken homes. Her age is slightly out as she is recorded as 13 in the census and our Mary would have been nearer to 10, possibly 11 years old. However, no other 1911 census record has been found for her at this point in time.
If this was her, then this St. Saviour's Home webpage gives more information about life at the school.
The location is also marked on this map from the National Library of Scotland archives:

NLS map extract showing where St Saviours home was located near Leeds.

War service
Back to Richard's story. On March 23, 1914 he joined the 6th Territorial Battalion West Riding Regiment aged 17 years and five months and his home address was 110 Emily Street. He was working as a labourer for Samuel Wells at the time. He attended training camp at Marske that summer and on August 5, he was embodied for active service. He was a Private and his service number was 2092. He signed for overseas service on November 5, 1914 and his name and number appears in the Keighley Town Clerk's list of early enlistments.
On January 11, 1915 he absented himself from Skipton and a court of enquiry was held on May 11 at Doncaster which judged him to be a deserter with all his Army kit missing, and he was struck off strength. His record states he went abroad on April 14, 1915 but this may be a clerical error as there are no medal records to back this up and his name is absent from the nominal roll of West Riding Regiment soldiers who embarked from Folkestone to Boulogne on that date. His service record also has no further documents showing possible service abroad, although they could have been lost in the Arnside street fire during WW2.

Remembering him
Despite this his name still appears in Keighley's Gallant Sons record of early volunteers in the war and he is named on the Roll of Honour for St. Barnabas Church District of the Great European War, which is displayed at the church on Calton Road at Thwaites Brow.

Records show that his death occurred in Keighley early in 1923, when he would have been just 27 years old.
His father Willie died aged 60 in 1932, his mother Rose Ann died aged 59 in 1934 and it's possible that his sister Mary may have lived a very long life and died in 1998 aged 97.

Source information:

England and Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920
Keighley News archives at Keighley Library
Keighley Union Workhouse roll of honour held at Cliffe Castle Museum, Keighley.
National Library of Scotland mapping website
St Saviour's Home - East Leeds memories webpage

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