Private Cain Rothera MM

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. 10th Bn. Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment) Service Number 24533.

Previously 3/6th Battalion, Service number 5882.

A black and white portrait photo of a man's head and shoulders. He is facing the camera and wearing an Army tunic.

Private Cain Rothera MM.

Early life:

Cain was born on 21st March 1894. His parents were Thomas Ackroyd and Margaret Rothera née Lund and they were living at Kirkgate in Silsden.
He was baptised on 13th May of the same year at St. James' Church in Silsden.
In the 1901 census he was aged seven and living with his parents at 253 West Lane in Keighley and his father Thomas was a 43 year old joiner and carpenter. His mother Margaret was 42.
His siblings were Fred, aged 14 and a doffer in a worsted mill; Frank aged eleven; Annie aged nine; Grace aged four and Joseph aged two.

By the time of the 1911 census the family had moved to 46, Surrey Street and Cain was aged 17 and employed as a shoemaker at a local factory. His father Thomas was 54 and a joiner at a spinning machine works and Margaret was 55. They had been married for 26 years and had eight children, two of whom had died. Apart from Cain, their surviving children was Fred, aged 24 and a machine fitter at a spinning machine works; Frank, aged 21 and a stoker at a spinning machiner works; Annie, aged 19 and a folder of worsted yarns at a spinning mill; Grace, aged 14 and a spinner of worsted yarns and a spinning mill. The youngest was Joseph, aged 12 and a doffer at a spinning mill. Given the close proximity most of them are likely to be employed at Aireworth (worsted spinning) Mills, part of which still exists today.

War service:

Cain enrolled for General Service and was accepted for the 3/6th West Riding Regiment on 10th July 1916 at Halifax with the service number 5882. He was 22 years and four months old and living at 13, Park Grove in Keighley and he stated that he preferred service with the Royal Garrison Artillery. His father Thomas was his next of kin, living at the same address. (later at Caledionian Road)
His personal details were as follows: five feet 6 inches height, 34 inches chest, 115 Lbs weight. He was of fair physical development. Religion: Church of England.
He was at 'Home' training from 10th July until 24th October and he embarked at Folkestone on 25th October 1916 and arrived at Boulogne the next day. He transferred on 16th November 1916 to the 10th Battalion, West Riding Regiment with the service number 24533.
He was admitted to field hospital on 28th December 1916 and then to 69, Field Ambulance with tonsilitis on the 30th. The next day he was placed on light duties. He was discharged to his unit on 6th January 1917.
He was confined to barracks' for seven days for having a dirty rifle and on 6th April 1917 he was confined to barracks for five days for dirty equipment, and on 6th May, three days confined for drinking from a water bottle without permission.
He was absent from parade on 15th August (3 days confined to barracks) and absent from camp on 5th october for which he got five days confined to barracks. Despite all of these disciplinary charges, he was was appointed to Lance Corporal (unpaid) on 17th November 1917.

He entrained for Italy on 8th November 1917.
Cain's mother Margaret died on 11th December 1917, of gallstones and colic syncope. She was 60 years of age and her address was 13, Caledonia Road, Keighley. Her funeral and burial was held on 15th December 1917 at Utley Cemetery.
Cain's name appeared in the London Gazette dated 17th December 1917, stating that he'd been awarded the Military Medal whilst serving with the 10th Battalion, West Riding Regiment, no. 24533. We could not find a citation for this award.
He was allowed leave to the United Kingdom from 18th February to 4th March 1918, rejoining his unit in the field the next day.


The Mayor of Keighley, F. W. L. Butterfield wrote a letter:
Town Hall, Keighley. 2nd March 1918.
Dear Sir, I have been requested by Lance Corporal Caine ROTHERA, No. 24533, 10th Battalion, West Riding Regiment, to apply for his Military Medal, which appears to have been awarded to him last year, the Certificates of Award (which he has produced to me) being dated the 22nd October 1917.
As Lance Corporal Rothera's leave expires, I understand, on Saturday, March 9th, it would be esteemed a favour if the Medal could reach Keighley before that date.
The arrangements for presentation at the War Hospital can be made by Lieutenant Colonel SCATTERTY to whom, in order to gain time, it would probably be better to forward the medal direct.
I am, Sir, Yours truly, (sgd) F.W.L. BUTTERFIELD, Mayor.
The Officer in Charge of Records, West Riding Regiment, YORK.

Very urgent.
No. 2 Infantry Record office,
YORK. 5.3.1918.
Headquarters, Northern Command, YORK.
May authority be given for the disposal of this Medal be given please?
This matter is very urgent as the man's leave expires in the 9th inst.
i/c No. 2 Infantry Records,

Very urgent.
No. 2 Infantry Record office,
YORK. 6.3.1918.
( Mayor of KEIGHLEY. )
Town Hall,
Sir, I have to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 2nd inst, and in reply, beg to inform you that I have forwarded the same to the General Officer Commanding in Chief, Northern Command, YORK, for his authority, for the disposal of this medal.
On receipt of his reply, steps will be immediately taken to forward his Medal in accordance with your request.
Yours faithfully,
i/c West Riding Records

On 10th June 1918 he was admitted to 70 Field Ambulance with PUO (pyrexia of unknown origin) He rejoined his unit on 15th June. Around this time at his unit, he was given two blue overseas chevrons which wound be sewn on the lower right sleeve of his uniform showing he'd served overseas for two full year.
He was deprived of his Lance Corporal stripe and reduced to the rank of private on 31st July 1918 after not complying with battalion orders on the wearing of his service dress cap before 6 pm.

On 21st October he was 'confined to barracks' for three days, for smoking on the march before first halt.

The 10th Battalion took part in the 'Passage of the Piave' from 23 October-4 November 1918, which was part of the final Battle of Vittorio-Veneto. The commonweath War Graves Commission records that 1 man died on 26th October, 27 men died on 27th October and three man died on the 28th October. Caine Rothera was one of the 27 men on the 27th and one of four who have no known grave. The battle history records that whilst crossing the Piave River, several men were drowned when the bridges were broken and whilst this is not proof it's possible that Cain was one of the men who were washed away and drowned in the river.

In his service record, he was reported 'wounded in action.' Shortly afterwards this was changed to 'killed in action' on 27th October 1918. He was 24 years old and he had served for two years and 109 days.

Keighley News November 3rd 1917 page 3:

Just his photo in this issue. The caption announces that he has won the Military Medal.

Keighley News December 14th 1918 page 5:

Private Cain Rothera, M.M., of 13, Park Grove, was killed in Italy on October 27. He had seen two years of service in France, and had been twelve months in Italy. Prior to enlistment he was a shoemaker.

Post war and Remembrance:

His personal effects were sent to his father Thomas on 26th April 1919 and they consisted of a wallet, photos and a silk card.
The War Memorial plaque request for address confirmation was returned on 19th June 1919. The Memorial Scroll arrived on 15th March 1920.
Caine was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal for his service and these were sent to his father on 1st February 1921 (British War Medal) and on 18th March 1921 (Victory Medal.)
Thoma also received Cain's remaining Army pay which amounted to £4 13s 10d and a war gratuity of £13, these arrived together in one payment of £17 13s 10d on 17th April 1919.

Cain has no known final resting place. He is named on the Giavera Memorial in Italy.
We are pretty sure he is the 'Rothera, C' named on the Keighley Sunday Circle war memorial, in storage with Cliffe Castle Museum

The Army form 5080 in his service records shows his family members as his father Thomas, widower; brother Joseph, aged 21; sisters Annie, aged 27; and Grace aged 12. All of them were living at 13, Caledonia Road in Keighley when the form was completed and signed on 19th June 1919 and countersigned by F. G. Foote, the Minister at the Holy Trinity Vicarage, Keighley.

The Army pension cards record that Thomas received a dependant's pension of 10s 6d per week, beginning on 27th May 1919.

In the 1921 census, widower Thomas was living at 13, Caledonia Road in Keighley. He was 63 years old and a boot and shoe repairer, of 105, Back Devonshire Street West. This appears to have been a lock-up shop on the junction of Devonshire Street West, and West Lane in Keighley.
His daughters Annie and Grace were still single and living in the family home. Annie was aged 29 and on home duties, and Grace was 24 and employed as a twister by the worsted manufacturers J. P. Heaton of Low Mills in Keighley.

Cain's father Thomas died in 1932 and his death was registered in Keighley in the third quarter of the year.

Information sources:

England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935
Keighley News archives at Keighley Library
Find a
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910
England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
UK, British Army World War I Service Records, 1914-1920
Britain, First World War Campaign Medals
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919
Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929
British Army Recipients of the Military Medal, 1914-1920
British Army World War I Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923
1921 Census Of England & Wales
England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007

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