Rothwell Courier and Times. August – December 1914.
PARS ABOUT THE WAR. 8 August.
The Germans have arrested a Russian Grand Duke as a prisoner-of-war. The German cruiser Emden and the Russian cruiser Askold were reported to have been sunk, after a battle off Wei-Hai-Wei. Seventy-two members of the House of Commons have been called to the colours in some branch of His Majesty’s forces. It is stated that Germany has sent an ultimatum to Italy that if she does not support her allies, Austria-Hungary and Germany, war will be declared against her.
The Admiralty have accepted the Duke of Sutherland’s offer of Dunrobin Castle, which will be used as a central surgical base for the North Sea Fleet. News is forthcoming that a thousand West Riding Boy Scouts are to be selected to render the nation those services for which their training fits them.
The German mine-layer Koenigin Luise has been sunk off Harwich. The new destroyer Lance was the hero of Britain’s first naval engagement in the war. She only fired four shots, but they were all sufficient. The first destroyed the enemy’s bridge, and the third and fourth tore away the vessel’s stern. It is stated that the Koenigin Luise sank in six minutes. The British destroyer took the promptest measures to save those on board, and twenty-eight prisoners are now in Shotley Naval Barracks. None of the crew of the Lance received any injuries. The German vessel was caught in the very act of laying mines, about sixty miles from Harwick, off the Dutch coast.
Midshipman H.R.H. Prince Albert is serving in the line of battle. The boy was keen in doing his duty with his comrades, and there was no more delighted young sailor on the Collingwood when she left port. There was never any question of the young Prince being withdrawn, and the mothers who turn an anxious face to the sea have a sister in the Royal mother, who waits news as anxiously as they. Her Majesty learns no more of her son than any other mother, the wireless being employed only for official messages.
The German 7th Army Corps delivered a desperate attack on Liege on Wednesday, in which it is stated 40,000 German troops were engaged against 25,000 Belgians, and the Germans were beaten back at all points with heavy losses. The Belgians pushed home a successful counter-attack. An unofficial statement says the German losses were estimated at 8,000. The message adds “they had also many wounded.” It is also stated that the Belgians captured seven guns and made a number of prisoners. Another attack on the Belgian forts was made by the 10th German Army Corps at midnight on Wednesday night, and this is stated to have been repulsed with heavy losses.
WOODLESFORD. NOT GRANTED. 15 August.
When an application was made to the Skyrack magistrates on Tuesday by the licensee of the Boot and Shoe Inn, Woodlesford, for an occasional license to sell liquors in a tent at the festival of sports in aid of the Leeds Infirmary, The Chairman said that under ordinary circumstances the application would have been quite in order, but when so many of their brothers were away fighting people ought to abstain from such festivities, and the application would be refused.
CORRESPONDENCE. LORD HAREWOOD’S APPEAL. 15 August.
To the Editor. Sir, In the present crisis, money will be urgently needed to relieve the distress caused by the war. I would ask you, therefore, to give prominence in your columns to an appeal to the people of the West Riding for subscriptions for the following objects: (a) Relief of sick and wounded. (b) Relief of the families and dependants of all engaged in the war. (c) Provision, equipment, and personnel of hospitals and other medical services.
A Special Committee of the West Riding County Association had been already appointed to take charge of, and distribute the funds collected for these purposes, in order to have one central organization for distribution, and so avoid the confusion and over-lapping which took place during the South African war.
This committee, which has power to enlarge its numbers, is intended to cover the whole area of the West Riding, exclusive of any cities or large towns which may desire to have their own funds and organization. I am confident that The Lord Mayors and Mayors of the West Riding will work in harmony with our committee, so that cases of over-lapping, etc., may be avoided.
All subscriptions to the fund should be directed to West Riding War Fund, Messrs Beckett’s Bank, York, and inquiries addressed to the Secretary, West Riding War Fund, Territorial Headquarters, York, I am, sir, yours obediently, HAREWOOD, Lord Lieutenant, West Riding and of the City and County of York.
West Riding Territorial Headquarters, York, 8th August, 1914.
OULTON PEOPLE AND THE WAR. A PUBLIC MEETING. 15 August.
Oulton and Woodlesford are not slow in showing a patriotic spirit in regard to the war, and with a view to formulating plans as to the way in which they could best help the troops, a public meeting was held in the Harold Hall, Oulton, on Wednesday night. The best reaponse was made by the ladies, who turned up in large numbers, while there was a fairly large number of men. Mr J. Farrar, J.P., presided, and, after a few had expressed their ideas, the ladies and gentlemen separated – the ladies to obtain the names of those who were willing to help in the making of garments, etc., and the men to devise the means of raising the necessary funds to provide material for the ladies to work upon.
Later, when both sections met together again, Mr Farrar was able to announce that the ladies were guaranteed a sum of £25 to commence with, while further sums would be forthcoming. Supporting Mr Farrar were Major Simpson, Mr B. Wood Higgins, Mr C.F. Badeley, Mr Stamford, and Mr G.E. Stringer.
The proceedings commenced with the singing of “God Save the King,” after which Mr Farrar explained the objects of the gathering. The meeting, he said, was one of the most important ever held in the Hall. They had met there before many times – many happy times, but the present occasion was the saddest. They had met to assist the ladies, who were proposing to supply garments, etc., for those who were injured in the war. Nothing, he said, appealed more to the English people than to help their comrades in distress. (Applause).
Mr Stamford said the best thing would be for the ladies to form a committee. Major Simpson said in Oulton and Woodlesford they had two duties to perform. The first duty was to the nation and to their friends at home. It was in everyone’s power to do something for the nation, and what it required most was men. If the country was going to come out successfully in this war they must have men and those who had sons should send them to the Front. The King was appealing for 100,000 men. Everyone could assist, and the best way they could assist the men at the Front was by sending out others to help.
The second duty was in regard to the men at the Front. They could, first of all, look after the wives and children of the married men who had gone out, and they could administer to the comfort of the men who were fighting. It was not good for everyone to fight. It was vitally necessary that there should be sufficient men left to produce wealth. With regard to the first thing to be done, it was for them to look after the local women and children. Then the results of the wortk done ought to be distributed from a large centre, and the best way of carrying out the work of making garments would be for them to join some organization in Leeds. A national organization would collect from the big centres. He instanced the enormous waste that had taken place in previous wars owing to the small committees not linking up with some central organization.
Mr Capel Cure, who related what had taken place at the meeting convened by the Lady Mayoress at Leeds on Tuesday, said they had some difficulty in formulating plans, as they had no precedent to go by, but one thing was certain, that thousands of garments would be needed both for the sick and wounded and for the soldiers at the front. There was no need for anyone to say it was sectarian – it was the cause of the British Empire. (Applause).
The men then adjourned to form a committee, which was elected as follows, with poser to add to their numbers: – Messrs D.W. Hargreaves, A. Sharp, J.E. Davenport, G.E. Stringer, P.C. Higgins, C.F. Badeley, G.M. Abbey, F. Ellis, C. Riley, and H. Parkin. Mr A. Sharp was appointed treasurer, and Mr P.C. Higgins secretary. As previously stated, a subscription list was started, and the sum of £25 was raised among Major Simpson, Mr J. Farrar, Mr Stamford, Mr C.F. Badeley, and Mr G.E. Stringer. After the singing of “God Save the King,” the meeting closed.
WOODLESFORD COLLIERY COMPANY AND RESERVISTS. 15 August.
The annual meeting of Henry Briggs, Son, and Co., Ltd., colliery proprietors, was held at the Law Institute, Leeds, on Thursday afternoon. The Chairman, Mr W.G. Jackson, remarked that the war had upset everything. As long as it lasted they would have to be content with diminished profits, and, possibly, profits would disappear altogether. They had something like 150 or 100 men in the Reserves, and they were making arrangements to look after the families while the bread winners were away. (Applause).
They proposed to give 10s. a week with 2s. for each child to each reservist’s wife. This would cost about £100 a week. The directors had also received a telegram from the Prince of Wales asking if the firm could give a subscription to the fund. The directors had voted a sum of £1,000. The Chairman added that the profits were £10,000 less than those of last year. The dividend for the year was £2 5s. per each “A” share and £2 for each “B” share. The shareholders unanimously passed a special resolution confirming the action of the directors in voting the sum for the Prince of Wales’s Fund and supporting the families of their reservists.
OULTON. FOR THE SOLDIERS. 22 August.
The ladies of Oulton and Woodlesford have taken up the work of making garments for the soldiers and the wounded in an enthusiastic manner. On Monday a start was made in the Harold Hall when about fifty ladies were present.
OULTON CHURCH AND HALL. 29 August.
Oulton has not an old church, Rothwell is the parish centre, and the ancient church is there. A writer states: But if this predominant memorial of an old village is absent, our church, built 74 years ago, has its attractions in the in the graceful style of its architecture, its symmetrical proportions, and the picturesqueness of its graveyard, which is within the park, is studded with a variety of trees, and commands a view of some of the best park scenery. The church was built at the cost of the John Blayds of that day (obit. 1827, aged 74) – the patronymic Calverley has been resumed – who by his will bequeathed £12,000 for the erection of a church and parsonage, and £4,000 as an endowment fund. It consists of nave, north and south aisles, each divided from the nave by six arches, chancel, organ loft at the west end, and tower and spire, the tower containing one bell of sonorous tone. “The style is Early English, and effective, the tower and spire being picturesque, especially at a distance; the pinnacles at the angle of the tower are connected with the spire by small flying buttresses; all the windows are single lights; the eastern portion of the chancel is an octagon end in which are nine lancets, eight of which are filled with stained glass, one being a memorial window; the ninth, blocked by the vestry, is blank. The wall below the windows is covered by a series of arches in pairs, and on the face of the wall between is a diaper pattern, all worked in composition, as the inside of the church generally is. The whole has a clean and ornamental appearance, including the ceiling, which is groined in the same material.”
In recent years all the windows in the north and south walls of the aisles, and the two at each end of the aisles, have, at the expense of the Calverley family, been filled with stained glass, wrought in scriptural representations and other devices, and six of them are memorial windows to deceased members of the family. On the north side of the chancel there is a tablet in a recess recording the deaths of the founder and his wife, and on the wall of the same side a brass memorial plate to the late owner of the estate, John Selwyn Calverley (brother and immediate predecessor of the present owner, Captain Calverley), who died in 1900, aged 44, much lamented. There are only three or four intramural burials.
The church was designed by Thomas Rickman, a Birmingham architect, but a native of Maidenhead, who deserves further mention; he was in business successively chemist, grocer, confectioner, and insurance agent, but a natural aptitude for architecture, which he never ceased to foster, prevailed, and having sent in a successful design for a church in a Government competition he attained wide distinction, and many Gothic churches, chapels, and country houses were designed by him, as were also additions to St John’s College, Cambridge, and his book, “An attempt to Discriminate the styles of Architecture in England from the Conquest to the Reformation,” is still a standard authority.
A house in Calverley Road is interesting as one in which Dr. Richard Bentley was born (in the year 1622) and lived awhile. He was of yeoman parentage, was first educated at Wakefield Grammar School, whence, at the age of 14, he passed to St. John’s College, Cambridge, as subsizar, became Master of Trinity College and Regius Professor of Divinity, and attained great distinction as a classical scholar and polemic.
Another prominent literary name associated with our village is that of Charles Stuart Calverley, a member of the family of the Oulton Calverleys by both blood relationship and by marriage, who in his younger days was a visitor at the hall, and married his cousin, Miss Calverley, aunt of the present owner from there. A skating accident on one of the park ponds in 1866 made him practically an invalid for the remainder of his life, and was therefore remotely the cause of his death 17 years afterwards. I wonder how many of our villagers know of the high literary reputation and classical scholarship of this brilliant member of the Calverley family, “one of the most gifted men of his time, unrivalled as a humorist, whose work exhibits a singular combination of delicate insight, creative imagination, genial but trenchant satire, lightness of touch, and mastery of rhythm.” He is the subject of one of the memorial windows in the north aisle of the church.
The hall, standing on an eminence in the park, is a large and substantial mansion in the classic style built in 1851, in the place of the old hall which had been destroyed by fire. The park is an extensive range of undulating ground, rising in a regular acclivity towards Rothwell and southwardly towards Wakefield Road, and containing some fine trees and plantation preserves; and park and church together present a particularly pretty view as seen from the hill on the Leeds Road.
HUNSLET RURAL DISTRICT COUNCIL. 29 August.
The monthly meeting of the Hunslet Rural District Council was held at the Offices, Leek Street, Hunslet, yesterday (Thursday) afternoon, Mr T. Thomas (Chairman) presiding. Other members present were Messrs P.S. Marsden (vice-chairman), W. Verity, D.W. Hargreaves, with the Clerk (Mr W.P. Pindar), the sanitary inspectors (Messrs W. Whitehead and P.C. Higgins), and the surveyor (Mr Nuttall).
The medical officer of health, wrote apologising for his absence as he was away on holiday, and enclosing his report for the month. The report, he wrote, was very satisfactory for the time of year. During the four weeks there were seven cases of scarlet fever, but these covered a scattered district, and there was no epidemic. Fourteen births – seven in Oulton and Woodlesford, two in Templenewsam, and two in Middleton, were registered, while ten deaths – seven in Oulton and Woodlesford, two in Templenewsam, and on ein Middleton, had occurres. With regard to the cases of scarlet fever, five occurred in Oulton and Woodlesford, and two in Templenewsam. Unfortunately, the report said, the cases could not be removed to the hospital owing to the epidemic in the Rothwell area.
Mr Whitehead reported that the overcrowding at Woodlesford has now abated. The Clerk reported that since the last meeting, when the Council decided to raise the water-pipes at Rothwell Haigh 5ft. 6ins. In accordance with the request of the Rothwell Urban District Council so as to enable the houses at John O’Gaunt’s to have a better supply, he had been in conversation with Mr James Armitage, the chairman of the Water Committee, who had asked for the Hunslet Rural Council to raise the pipes even higher. It was decided to accede with the request.
A circular from the County Hall, Wakefield, sent to the West Riding Distress Committee was read by the Clerk, and it was decided that the rural district of Hunslet be formed into a sub-committee, and a public meeting is to be held at a later date. Mr D.W. Hargreaves described the fund which had been formed in the Oulton and Woodlesford district, and which is called the Oulton and Woodlesford War Fund. He asked if the forming of a sub-committee by the Council would affect the scheme which they had in hand.
The Clerk replied that the committee which had already been formed could be linked up with the remainder of the district. The idea was to make enquiries relating to any distress, etc., and to report to the sub-committee so that there should be no over-lapping.
ROTHWELL COUNCIL 29 August.
One of the Rothwell Councillors was on the warpath at the last meeting, and he condemned the efforts of ladies who are making shirts, etc., for soldiers when there are so many women and girls in the clothing factories out of employment. My sympathies are with him to a certain extent. It must, however, be remembered that some women who cannot give money desire to be associated with the movement, and the only way by which they can accomplish this is by sewing garments themselves, but, on the other hand, women who can afford to give money have no call to do sewing, and if they got garments made by paid workers they would be doing a double service – benefitting the soldiers and relieving distress.
OULTON. THE HALL. 5 September.
Major Calverley has offered Oulton Hall to the Government to use for any purpose they may think fit. It is not unlikely that the place will be used for the housing of Belgian refugees.
ROTHWELL & DISTRICT 5 September.
A former Oulton clergyman – Rev. E.H. Dykes, who was a noted footballer in his day – has no doubt about the duty of the nation at this time. He says that “if young Englishmen are led to prefer the honours of the football field to those of the battlefield, in order that they may stay at home and put money into the coffers of their respective clubs, then professional football will show itself accursed, and will forever stink in the nostrils of every honest and unsophisticated man and boy.” This is a question for the public, and if they refrain from supporting professional football just now, there will be no need for players to stay at home and earn shekels for club committees.
OULTON. BOY SCOUTS. 12 September.
A good hint for Distress Committees comes from Oulton. In obtaining funds collectors will not receive large donations in the great majority of cases, because the people cannot afford to give large sums, but if they are willing to undertake the work they may easily get weekly contributions, which will eventually mount up to a tidy sum. At Oulton, I am told, the Boy Scouts make collections, and they receive, it appears, sums of from 30s. upwards per week. This is something the scouts may do, and comparatively few would, I believe, give the hat a miss. At nearly all the local collieries and large works the men are subscribing to a weekly levy for the War Fund, and if a house-to-house collection were made in every village weekly excellent results would, I believe, be obtained.
THE MINERS’ BATTALION. 12 September.
Active progress is being made with the formation of the Miners’ Battalion, which the West Yorkshire Coal Owners’ Association have offered to provide as one of the regiments for Lord Kitchener’s Army. Col. J.R. Shaw, of Cantley Hall, Doncaster, has received authorisation from the War Office to proceed with the raising of the battalion, which is to consist of 1,200 healthy men between the ages of 19 and 35, enlisted under Lord Kitchener’s new army scheme for three years’ service or the duration of the war. Lord Kitchener has specially directed that the battalion shall be designated the “Pontefract Battalion of the King’s Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry).” It had been contemplated in the initial stages that it should be known as the Coal Trade or Miners’ Battalion, but this proposal has been over-ruled by the authorities.
OULTON DISTRICT EDUCATION COMMITTEE NO DISTRESS REPORTED. 19 September.
The monthly meeting of the Oulton Education Committee was held at the Y.M.C.A. Buildings, Albion Place, Leeds on Tuesday night, Mr G.M. Abbey (Chairman) presiding. Others present were Messrs B. Wood Higgins, J.H. Tomslinson, J.P. Allison, H.E. Catton, and S.H. Young, with the Clerk (Mr H.W. Powell).
The attendance returns for August were considered satisfactory. The average attendance for the whole district was 83.75 as compared with 79.21 for the same period last year. The returns for the various schools were as follows: Woodlesford Council (mixed), 91.34 as against 85.05 last year: Woodlesford Council (infants), 69.85 as against 77.21; Oulton St. John’s (infants), 87.5; Halton Council School (mixed), 84.25 as against 76.76; Halton Council School (infants), 62.5 as against 72.89; and Colton Council School (mixed) 81.36 as against 72.3.
The attendance at the Woodlesford Infants’ School was affected by chicken-pox, and that at Halton Infants and Colton (mixed) by measles.
Mr Higgins reported on his inspection of Mr Parkin’s house at Wooldesford with regard to a suggested alteration, and it was decided to forward the recommendation to West Riding County Council. With regard to the feeding of the school children, the Clerk said he had sent out circulars to each of the head-teachers at the schools in the district asking him to let him know when they learnt of any distress that might arise. So far he had heard nothing of any distress.
A letter was read from Mr W.B. Pindar, the Clerk to the Hunslet Rural District Council. asking the committee to nominate two representatives as members of the Distress Committee which had been formed for the Hunslet Rural District, and Messrs G.M. Abbey and B. Wood Higgins were appointed.
FOOTBALLERS AND THE WAR. 19 September.
Football in relation to the war was discussed at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Executive of the West Riding County Football Association. The President (Mr J. Connor) remarked that a large number of their players had already enlisted. There were certain cases where all the players of a club had joined, and where clubs had had to be disbanded on this account.
It was proposed, continues the President, to institute a roll of honour for those players and officials who had enlisted, which would be kept as a permanent record. The various associations must be prepared to lose something, but they knew that they were doing some good for the nation.
Mr C.J.H. Marsden (Bradford City) expressed the opinion that an injustice had been done to professional clubs by much of what had appeared in the Press. These clubs had great liabilities, and if it was decided to stop football they should be exonerated from these liabilities. He did not think it was the wish of the Government that football should cease, as they knew it would mean that numbers of men – who were not able to go to the front – not having football matches to go to, would have nothing to do but hang about the streets, or spend their time in public-houses, and would perhaps take more drink than they ought to.
It was decided to institute a roll of honour, on the lines mentioned by the President. A proposal by Mr E.T. Shearing, that steps be taken to register the Association as a limited liability company, or in some other way to insure the members of that body, as a council, from individual monetary liability, was deferred for a month.
A SERIOUS OULTON CHARGE. YOUNG MAN COMMITTED FOR TRIAL. 26 September.
On Tuesday at Leeds West Riding Petty Sessions, a well-dressed young man names Joseph McGee, described as a labourer, of no fixed abode, was charged with stealing 21s., the property of Sarah Ann Flockton, of Oulton.
Sarah Ann Flockton, of Bentley Square, Oulton, said that on Saturday, May 30th, prisoner came to lodge at her house. On the following Monday, June 1st, she placed 25s. in silver in a cupboard in the kitchen. In the course of the afternoon she was in the kitchen, and she thought there was no one in the house. She, however, heard someone moving about in a bedroom overhead, which was occupied by two lodgers names Mannion and Smith, who were at work. She at once went upstairs, and she saw prisoner with clothes belonging to other lodgers wrapped up. She asked him what he was doing, and he replied, “Nowt wrong.” She also asked what he was doing with clothes belonging to other lodgers, and she told him to go downstairs.
He went, and she followed him downstairs to the kitchen, where there was another lodger, who had come in. The latter went upstairs to see what defendant had been doing and she followed him. Prisoner was left in the kitchen, and when she returned he had gone. Afterwards she went to the cupboard, and discovered that the money stated was missing. Prisoner said he did not want to ask witness any questions. P.C. Abbott, of Woodlesford, said that when he charged the man with the offence, he made no reply. McGee was then charged with stealing a silver albert and a metal match box, which was valued at 25s., the property of James Mannion.
James Mannion, contractor, said he lodged with Mrs Flockton, and he was residing there on June 1st, on which date he placed a silver albert and match box in a waistcoat pocket in his bedroom. The match box was the shape of a fiddle. He returned to his lodgings about eight o’clock, and he found his box and dressing case broken open, and the albert and match-box were missing. He identified the match-box produced as his property.
Detective Sergeant Wallis, who stated prisoner was serving a sentence at Manchester for another offence, said that defendant made a confession relating to the present case which he took down in writing. The confession was produced. P.C. Abbott said that when he charged prisoner he replied “It is all right about the money, and I took the chain as well.” Prisoner was committed to take his trial on both charges at next Quarter Sessions.
LOFTHOUSE PARK FOR WAR PRISONERS. CONCERTS AND LION CAGES. A SUGGESTION. 26 September.
Since the announcement made a fortnight ago, that if found necessary the War Office would convert Lofthouse Park into a compound for German prisoners of war considerable activity has been noticed at the park. Men are busily employed clearing away the bushes in the gardens, and quantities of piping, wire, and other material have been taken to the spot.
The park, which is situated on the high road, near Rothwell, seems well adapted for the purpose of a compound. It is flat, with few trees around, and it is already served with water and electricity, and is connected by telephone. It possesses its own power house, and the buildings in the centre can house many men. The main building includes a large dancing hall and a skating rink below, and the present extensive cooking arrangements can easily be supplemented.
There is excellent seating accommodation around the band-stand, and no doubt (says a contemporary), concerts could be arranged – with military bands – for the benefit of prisoners who behave themselves. Refractory prisoners, on the other hand, could be accommodated in the open-air lion cages.
NURSING IN OULTON AND WOODLESFORD. CRITICISM OF A NEW PROPOSAL. 26 September.
The following appears in Oulton Church magazine: There is a movement, principally in Woodlesford, and worked now through the authority of our Education Committee to replace our present nurses and our Nursing Association by paid trained nurses under a County Council Committee to give maternity and surgical help in the parishes of Oulton and Woodlesford. Now there are one or two considerations that must be satisfactorily settled before this should be carried out. 1. Are our nurses not adequate to answer all the demands made? 2. Is there, or has there been any neglect of duty? 3. Has any request for a nurse been made and not granted?
Now we all know very well how to answer these questions. We have had years of experience of the nurses, and though there are a few reasons for the increased efficiency of a trained nursing staff those reasons can be quite as pointedly used in favour of our Association. It seems quite certain that no “trained paid nurse” under the County Council will undertake the household duties as ours do in maternity cases, and what can make up for this to a mother? Nurses in villages ought to be very much more than merely “efficient workers.” The question of “cost” is also an important one, and actual figures ought to be put before us as to the probable outlay or increase of rates for it. Also it is useless to think, as most of us see, of keeping both the County Council district nurse and our nurses working at the same time in parishes such as ours, and if ours are adequate and sufficient, why change them?
A CARLTON SOLDIER WOUNDED. A YORKSHIRE REGIMENT’S TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE. GERMANS WON’T FACE THE BAYONET. 3 October.
A Carlton lad – Private T. Wilson, of the 2nd K.O.Y.L.I., who is now in Stockhill Hospital, Glasgow, has been wounded whilst fighting for his country in France. Wilson is a native of Carlton, where his parents, who have now removed to Wakefield, resided for many years.
In a letter addressed to the “Courier and Times,” the gallant soldier states: “I dare say you will have read all about the battle at Mons where the British lost so heavily. It was an awful day for our regiment, the Yorkshire Light Infantry. We took up a position on Wednesday, August 26th, in well-dug trenches to check the advance of the Germans. About 6 o’clock firing commenced by our artillery. Perhaps they had been at it about an hour when a few shells began to fly, over our heads, at our own artillery behind us.
Matters began to get very hot for us round our trenches, but still we wouldn’t retire, although shells were bursting within five yards of us. We were under the awful fire of machine guns and big guns for over eight hours, waiting for help to come, but it never came. At last the officer in charge asked us which we would do – stay there in the trenches and be slaughtered, or run out, and retire to what seemed certain death. We all chose the latter, as we preferred death to being taken prisoners by our savage German enemies.
We jumped out of the trenches and ran for all we were worth under the most cruel fire that has ever been for a soldier to experience. “My lucky star was out that day. Bullets flew over my head and even under my arms, but none found its mark. A lot of my comrades were not so lucky, because when the roll call was called there were 681 men killed, wounded, and missing, and 12 officers killed, 3 wounded, and 2 missing. Such was the luck of a good old Yorkshire regiment at Mons. The enemy suffered terribly that day, although we retired. There were 75,000 British pitched against 250,000 Germans.
We went through a few more engagements without a scratch until the battle of the Marne, when we gave them a terrible thrashing, but I was unlucky that day and a German shell got in the way of my knee, and I am now out of action in Glasgow. In closing I will say this about the Germans. They will face the French women and children, but they won’t face a good old British bayonet charge.
AN OULTON DROWNING MYSTERY. THE INQUEST AND VERDICT. 3 October.
An inquest was conducted at the Oulton Institute on Tuesday by the West Riding Coroner (Mr P.P. Maitland) on the body of John William Myers (28), of Fleet Mills, Oulton, whose body was recovered form the Aire and Calder Canal early on Tuesday morning.
Evidence was given by Blanche Myers, of Fleet Mills , Oulton, who stated the deceased was her husband. On Monday he accompanied her to the Methley Railway Station, where she left him about 6 p.m. to go to Castleford. He was then in good spirits, cheerful and affectionate. She heard the following day that he was dead. The deceased, she said, was a strong man and enjoyed good health. So far as she knew he had had no trouble of any kind.
Joseph Harn, landlord of the United Kingdom Hotel, Methley, stated that about 6 p.m. on Monday the deceased came to his house and had tea with him, remaining until 11 p.m. Witness then went out with him and bade him “Good-night,” the deceased going away in the direction of the canal towing path, which was his nearest way home. He was quite sober when he left and seemed in good spirits.
James Derrick, boat hauler, living at Lemonroyd Farm, Methley, said that about 11.25 p.m. on Monday he was sitting in his home, which is situated near to the Aire and Calder Canal, when he heard someone come along the towing path singing “Love me, and the world is mine.” When the footsteps were about opposite his house witness heard a big splash. He at once ran out to the lock, which is about 100 yards away, and obtained a rope and a boat hook, and then proceeded to the towing path to where the sound had come from. He could see no sign of anyone in the water, and after searching with the boat hook and the drags, the body was recovered about 12.15 p.m. Myers was then quite dead.
Answering the Coroner, witness said that no one else was near at the time when he heard the splash. A verdict of “Accidentally drowned” was returned.
WOODLESFORD. GAMING. 3 October.
At the Leeds West Riding Petty Sessions on Tuesday Albert Jacques, Thomas Hardwick, Joseph Aveyard, and George Nash, miners, of Woodlesford, were summoned for gaming with cards. P.C. Abbott stated that about 11.45 p.m. on Saturday, September 19th, he was in Station Lane, Woodlesford, when he saw the four defendants, playing a game of cards called “banker,” under a street lamp. The cards were in separate lots on a newspaper which had been spread out on the footpath. Witness went towards them, and when about twenty yards away the defendants caught sight of him, and they ran away. He subsequently caught Jacques, who said when he was told that he would be reported, “It is just my luck. I wish I had never touched a card.” Aveyard when spoken to said “I had nowt to gamble with.” Nash said “It is hard luck; it is the first time I have played.” Each of the defendants was fined 1s. and costs.
MANUFACTURE OF EXPLOSIVES AT STOURTON. APPLICATION TO SKYRACK MAGISTRATES.A REFUSAL. WILL THE WAR OFFICE INTERVENE? 3 October.
A special sitting of justices for the Skyrack division of the West Riding was held in Leeds on Monday to consider an application by Messrs Brotherton and Co., ammonia and tar distillers, for a licence to manufacture explosives at the Stourton Chemical Works, Rothwell Haigh. A similar application was made in July of last year, but no decision was then arrived at, the application being eventually withdrawn.
Mr Arthur Willey now appeared to renew the application, and he was opposed by Mr C. Scriven (for the Yorkshire Copper Works, Limited), by Mr R.B. Hopkins (for the Aire and Calder Navigation Company), and by Mr Armitage, instructed by Mr Dodgson (for the Rothwell Urban Council).
Mr Willey said the applicants desired to manufacture picric acid. Since the case was last before the court national circumstances had changed, and it was now absolutely necessary that large quantities of this explosive should be made somewhere, and made at once.
Mr Scriven: You will prove this? Mr Willey: Oh, certainly. The War Office desire this material, and they must have it. A draft licence for this site has been issued by the Home Office, and if this application were refused the Home Office would hold an inquiry into whether the refusal was justified or not. I do not wish to intimidate or challenge this Bench in any way, but if leave is not now given the War Office say they will make this picric acid at Stourton under the charge of one of their own officials. And, of course, the War Office can do pretty well as they like in the present emergency. Mr Brotherton, however, would like to proceed, if possible, with the full concurrence of the local justices.
Mr Thomas Fairley, city analyst of Leeds, gave it as his opinion that the manufacture of picric acid could be carried out on the Stourton site without danger to the canal, copper works, or any other property near. Cross-examined by Mr Scriven, the witness said a wall would divide the dry from the wet picric acid. It was possible that with an explosion of the dry acid the wet would go as well. Picric acid in itself was an explosive, and the manufacture of picric acid in its wet state was already going on there. A year ago a sheet about two yards square was put down on the site of the proposed shed. It remained there a week, and of the deposit under one per cent consisted of copper.
Mr Hopkins, for the Aire and Calder Co., elicited from Mr Fairley the admission that an explosion of two thousand pounds of picric acid would be like the bursting of fifty bombs.
Evidence was given by Mr H. Pickard, engineer, of the Aire and Calder Navigation, and Mr W.F. Reid, consulting chemist, of London. Mr Pickard urged that an explosion might cause the banks of the adjoining canal to break, thus liberating water for a stretch of two miles and three furlongs. It would take fully six months to repair such a breach, and in the meantime Leeds would be cut off from water traffic altogether.
Mr Reid considered that the proposed sheds were too near the other buildings, that the site was dangerous because of the close proximity of the copper works, that deposits of copper and zinc might form oxidising agents, and that, in fact, the land on which the sheds would be built were very much charged with metallic oxides. There was also danger from the lime deposits on the site of the proposed sheds. Mr Scriven emphasised the damage would be wrought to the copper works in case of an explosion, and urged that the site was most unsuitable.
After a lengthy hearing, the Bench refused the application, on the ground that the site was dangerous. It is stated that the Home Office will now be asked to grant a licence. Should they refuse to do so, it is possible for the manufacture of picric acid to be carried on at Stourton, or anywhere else, by the sanction of the War Office, and under the superintendence of one of their own officials. The acid is used in the making of lyddite shells, and large quantities are required by the British Government and our Allies.
OULTON. LOCAL WAR FUND. 3 October.
The amount collected for the Oulton and Woodlesford War Fund totals up-to-date about £96.
A WOODLESFORD COMPANYS REPRESENTATIVE’S STORY. BELGIANS BURIED ALIVE BY GERMANS. 10 October.
Mr Leonard Lockwood, who for twelve years has lived in Brussels as the representative of Bentley’s Yorkshire Breweries, Woodlesford, has returned to this country after an exciting dash from Brussels to Ghent. On Friday morning last he left the Belgian capital armed only with an American passport – which, unfortunately for him, mentioned most emphatically that he was a British subject – and an identification certificate from the Burgomaster’s office. In a “growler,” which was one of a procession of sixteen, Mr Lockwood, with several strangers, began the journey by road from Brussels to Gramont. Scarcely had the conveyance left the city when the party was stopped by the first German patrol, which was watching the Charleroi Canal. Probably owing to the German sergeant’s ignorance of French, and also to the imposing American consulate heading to Mr Lockwood’s passport, difficulties here were overcome, but three times subsequently the carriage was stopped.
When nearing Ghent the luggage was searched, and then a little farther on the corporal in charge of a bridge refused to allow the party to proceed. It was now that Mr Lockwood found it necessary to adopt some less transparent scheme. Posing as the brother of a lady who was travelling in the same conveyance, and who said she was going to fetch her children from Ghent, he went back some distance and persuaded a sergeant to sign his passport. The journey to Ghent after that was comparatively simple, but of the sixteen coaches which set out from Brussels only four completed the thirty miles to Ghent.
Of his experiences in Brussels since the war began, Mr Lockwood is eloquent. He said that he is thoroughly convinced that the stories of atrocities by German soldiers are true. Thousands of refugees from the ruined villages have poured into Brussels during the last month, and he has talked with many of them. Some, he says, are too horrified to recount their sufferings. Others are glad to talk of the terrible happenings and to swear vengeance on the Germans.
“The worst case I know of,” said Mr Lockwood, “occurred in Schaffen, near Diest. There the Germans formed the villagers up in a circle, took two of the men and buried them alive, just leaving their hands sticking out of the ground. Then the soldiers stood round and watched until the hands ceased twitching and the pulses failed.”
In Anedenne, too, where the Germans fired on each other from different sides of the River Meuse, more German brutality was displayed. From every tenth house in the town the occupants were dragged, and taken to the Market Square. The men were placed on one side, and the women and children on the other. Then, before the eyes of their relatives, the men were shot.
Mr Lockwood is not at all sanguine about the fate of Brussels, since Burgomaster Max has been made prisoner. The Germans would be glad, he thinks, to provoke the people of Brussels, but until recently the Burgomaster had kept the populace well under control. Now that he had already gone, a different feeling is already making itself felt. “The people,” said Mr Lockwood, “gather in the Grande Place, looking for Max, and they are getting more and more excited because he is missing. There are hundreds of unemployed walking the streets, and when bad weather comes, and they feel the pinch, I am afraid they will act desperately.”
(Leonard Lockwood was born in 1881. He was the son of Walter Lockwood, a joiner and builder who was the organist at Woodlesford church. He married Alice Mary Smith at Rothwell church in December 1907. Born in 1885, she was the daughter of Frederick John Smith, the landlord of the John O’ Gaunt’s Inn. His father, George, had run the Midland Hotel when Frederick was a boy. From a diary kept by his father it’s believed Leonard joined the 46th Divisional Ammunition Column of the Royal Field Artillery as a gunner. The diary indicates he was in Y trench mortar battery which took part in the attack on Gommecourt on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916. The diary also suggests Leonard was promoted to be an acting corporal and he may have been a temporary officer. Before the war, whilst he was still based in Brussels, he was involved as a witness for the defence in the trial of London solicitor Bertrand Stewart, an “amateur” spy, who was caught by the Germans in 1911. Leonard and Alice Mary’s first child, Marguerite, was born in 1910, probably in Brussels. At some point after the war the family moved to Ealing in London where, in 1939, Leonard was a representative of the Art Metal Construction Company which made steel office equipment including shelves and filing cabinets.)
OULTON AND DISTRICT BILLIARD LEAGUE. DECISION TO GO ON WITH THE COMPETITION. 10 October.
The annual meeting of the Oulton and District Billiard League was held in the Rothwell Institute on Tuesday night – Mr T.P. Whiteley presiding. The statement of accounts was read, showing a deficit on the two years’ working of £3 13s. 9d. The question of continuing the League was discussed, and it was at length agreed that the League should be gone on with, and that the entrance fees be raised as follows: Senior League, from 5s. to 7s. 6d., and Junior League, from 4s. to 5s.
At present the following clubs constitute the Senior League: Rothwell Institute, Oulton Institute, Hopetown, and Carlton. The Junior League was joined by Rothwell Institute, Oulton Institute, Rothwell Working Man’s Club, Rothwell Temperance Hall, and Hopetown. It was decided to invite Rothwell Working Men’s Club and Methley to join the League. Each club promised to appoint its own officers and to see to the gathering in of subscriptions.
Major Calverley was re-elected President, Messrs A. Sharpe and G. Wilkinson were appointed hon. Secretaries, and Mr J.A. Batty treasurer, and Mr J.J. Veitch (Kippax) auditor. The prizes are to be as usual: Senior League 10s., and 5s. for the runners-up; Junior League 5s., and 2s. 6d. for the runners-up. There will also be four special prizes.
A METHLEY POSTMAN’S ORDEAL. “ACCOUNTED FOR A FEW GERMANS.” 10 October.
Albert Ellwood, who was prior to the war a postman at Methley, and is a private reservist in the 2nd Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, is now among the wounded in the 1st General Hospital in Brixton, London. He has written as follows to his brother, Mr Walter Ellwood, of Carlton Street, Castleford: “I received your letter and “fags,” but I could not manage to reply as we were in the thick of it at the time, and I got put out of action shortly after. I have been knocked about a bit, but I can’t grumble, it might have been worse.
“My left leg is fractured above the knee, my jaw is broken, and I have a bullet wound in the back on the left shoulder blade, so I suppose I shall be a few weeks before I am ready to go back. I think I accounted for a few Germans before I was put out of action. We are being well looked after in this hospital.
“I enjoyed the “fags” I can tell you – the first English smoke for a week or two, so you can guess how I enjoyed ‘em.”
WOODLESFORD. 10 October.
Mr H. Sheldon, of the Midland Hotel, Woodlesford, has given 10s. 6d. to the Leeds Lord Mayor’s Fund, and 10s. 6d. to the Belgian Relief Fund.
ARRIVAL OF REFUGEES. 10 October.
On Friday night the first party of Belgian refugees, five in number, arrived at Oulton, and were housed in their new quarters at the Hall, where special provision has been made for them, through the kindness of Major Calverley. The party were brought from Leeds in a waggonette. On Sunday morning they attended the Catholic Chapel in Joseph Street, Hunslet. Through some misunderstanding a number of people gained admission to the Park on Sunday afternoon with the hope of seeing the refugees. However, a notice has been posted up at the entrance to the Park stating that it is closed.
CLOTHING. 17 October.
The women of Oulton and Woodlesford are making articles of clothing, etc., for the young men attached to Baden-Powell Scouts, who are assisting the Admiralty by doing coastguard work.
WOODLESFORD HOMING SOCIETY. ANNUAL MEETING. 17 October.
On Saturday the annual meeting of Woodlesford and District Homing Society was held, and the prizes for the year were distributed. Mr E. Pritchard presided. The secretary (Mr T.W. Nettleton) presented his report as follows: As you are aware the racing season was brought to a close on account of the war, in which, as you all know, the society is represented by one of its members. From a financial point of view the season has been a fairly good one, the income being £21 0s. 21⁄2d., and the expenditure £13 1s. 1d., leaving a balance of £5 19s. 11⁄2d. to be distributed in prize-money. As regards racing, the club has sent 504 birds to race points, and Mr J. Newbould tops the club’s list with 2 firsts and 1 second, also winning the old bird average. Mr R. Carter wins the young bird average. Messrs Hall and Pritchard win the old and young bird average combined. The club has done well out of the Yorkshire Combine. Messrs Hall and Pritchard won the section prize for Rennes race; and Mr H. Dickinson and Mr W. Maundrill secured prizes in the Guernsey race. The following were elected officers for the ensuing season: – President, Mr S. Bayliss; secretary, Mr T.W. Nettleton; treasurer, Mr A. Bayliss; auditors, Messrs P.C. Higgins and W. Maundrill.
GERMAN PRISONERS FOR LOFTHOUSE PARK. ROTHWELL COUNCIL AND A WATER SUPPLY. ARRANGEMENTS FOR POSSIBLE TYPHOID CASES. GERMANS FROM TOGOLAND. 17 October.
The monthly meeting of the Rothwell Urban District Council was held at the Council Offices, Rothwell, on Monday night – Mr J. Hirst (Chairman) presiding.
With regard to the question of prisoners at Lofthouse Park, the Chairman read a letter from the military authorities dated October 9th, asking for information as to whether the supply of water by the Council would be in order for the week-end, as the prisoners were expected to arrive on the Saturday or Monday week, and the guard would arrive on Friday, while it had been decided to make water closets, Mr Hirst said he had replied to the letter and asked for the medical officer of the guard to meet the Council that evening.
A letter was read from the Royal Engineers’ Office at Sheffield stating that when a visit was paid to the engineers stationed at the Park on October 8th, the officers complained of a shortage of water, making it impossible for them to wash. The men themselves had had no breakfast, as making tea was out of the question. The surveyor, in stating the position in regard to the supply, said that at present the main was being scraped, and it would not be until a week on Wednesday that the work would be finished. The shortage referred to in the last letter could not be avoided.
Mr Chadwick asked why they could not arrange with Stanley to connect a main with Lofthouse Park, and so give them a separate supply. If the Council undertook to supply the Park from the present main, Lofthouse would have no water. Mr Armitage said he had no objection to the Council trying to arrange terms with Stanley providing they were reasonable.
At this stage Dr. Lowe, representing the military authorities, attended the meeting. His first question was as to whether the Rothwell Council would assure them of being able to take in any cases of typhoid into their isolation hospital should the necessity arise. Dr Stephenson said he had conferred with the Hospital Committee, and they were quite prepared to take in as many cases as they could. Dr. Lowe said the prisoners who were coming would be from the German Colonies – German Togoland. Each prisoner would be medically examined upon arrival.
With respect to the supply of water to the Park, Dr. Lowe was informed of the effort to get Stanley to fix up a main, and it was decided that the Council’s surveyor meet the doctor on the following day and inform him of the result. The Chairman assured the doctor of the Council’s desire to do their best for the military authorities. Dr. Lowe expressed his appreciation and thanks on behalf of the authorities.
LETTER FROM AN OULTON MAN. WOODLESFORD’S ROLL OF HONOUR. 24 October.
The Rev. W.R. Capel Cure (vicar of Oulton) and Mrs Capel Cure have interested themselves greatly in the welfare of the young men of Oulton who are in any way serving their country. A few weeks ago we published in our columns the names of those young men copied from a framed list which has been placed in the church. To each the vicar has communicated, and from the majority replies have been received.
The other day a letter was received from Pte. A. Tomlinson, who went out with the R.A.M.C. attached to the Expeditionary Force. The letter, which is dated October 11th, has been sent from the General Hospital with the Forces, and parts which were intended to give an idea as to the number of wounded and their condition have been blue pencilled by the Censor. The letter is addressed to the Rev. W.R. Capel-Cure, and is as follows: “I received your kind letter and was very pleased to hear from you. We are not in the firing line at present but we may be at any time. We have had (here the censor has made an excision) wounded to deal with, and some of the poor chaps are (here again the censor has used his pencil). We are having a little rest just now, which we have earned. We are expecting to move nearer the fighting line any time. I am pleased to know that our young men are doing their share for their country, and I should very much like to know some of their names. I hope you are enjoying better health than you were, and that Mrs Capel Cure is quite well. It is a long time now since I was in her class at Oulton School, but I still look back upon the good times we used to have. I was stationed at Tidworth, in Wiltshire, before we came out here. I will now conclude with the hope that I shall soon be back in Oulton again.”
The following is a list of those on active service from the parish of Woodlesford: Army – James Abbey, Frank Beevers, Ben Brummett, Arthur Benson, Herbert Birkin, William Blacker, Walter Carrington, John Flockton, William Harland, Joseph Higgins, Edward Irvin, John Jackson, Harry Jewett, William Jowrey, James Hughes, Sam Hudson, John Kirby, William Madeley, William Mitchell, Robert McCrone, Henry Mackman, Robert Metcalf, Morris Metcalfe, Colin Nicholson, William Palmer, Joseph Pennington, Clifford Simpson, Thomas Stokes, Percy Sykes, Robert Tannem, Arthur Tomlinson, Arthur Woodhall, Herbert Woodhall, Fred Woodhall, Ernest Webster, and William Whiteley. Navy – William Ellis, Arthur Jewett, and Rolf Taylor.
HUNSLET RURAL DISTRICT COUNCIL. LIGHTING AT TEMPLE NEWSAM AND OULTON. 24 October.
The monthly meeting of the Hunslet Rural District Council was held at the Council Offices, Leek Street, Hunslet, yesterday afternoon – Mr T. Thomas (Chairman) presiding. Others present were Messrs D.W. Hargreaves, W. Verity, and J. Flanagan, with the Clerk (Mr W.B. Pindar), the sanitary inspector (Mr W. Whitehead), and the surveyor (Mr J. Nuttall). The medical officer was not present and there was no report as to the health of the district.
The water inspector reported that the supply at Oulton and Woodlesford was satisfactory. At Middleton, however, the supply had not been quite so regular, there being a falling off between September 25th and October 9th. Since the latter date the supply had improved. It was also reported that the meter at Thorpe Lane was urgently in need of overhauling, and the inspector suggested that a man from the makers be asked to come down and make the repairs.
With regard to the street lighting at Oulton with Woodlesford, it was reported that the lamps, although somewhat better, were still causing trouble. Considerable time had to be spent each day in seeing to the burners, while, in addition, a number of mantles had been broken owing to the necessary removal when the burners were inspected. The inspector also reported that on Sunday, October 11th, a lamp on the Leeds Road had been knocked over by a motor car.
The Clerk said that after the last meeting of the Council he wrote to the Gas Company at Rothwell informing them of the complaints as to the gas at Oulton and Woodlesford, and he had received a reply stating that the matter was having their immediate attention, that Mr Steel had had an interview with the manager on the question, and that they trusted that the Council would have no further cause for complaint.
A FORMER OULTON VICAR AND THE WAR DEMOCRACY ON ITS TRIAL. RESPONSE OF THE WEST RIDING CONTEMPTIBLE. 7 November.
A former Oulton clergyman – the Rev. E.H. Dykes, vicar of Holy Trinity, Leeds – writes as follows in his magazine: As we read the accounts from the seat of war; talk with people whose relatives are fighting, or preparing to fight; read the long lists of killed, wounded, drowned and prisoners; or again, read the placards of the evening papers, such as one I have just seen, “Enornmous German Losses,” the words of Isaiah may well come to our minds, “Surely hell hath enlarged itself.”
And the end is not yet! The demon of war will demand still further holocausts of victims; weary months are destined to drag out their weary way; and more serious still, England, as a democratically-governed empire, is for the first time really on its trial. I want to insist on this. Hitherto the English Democracy has thought to hold its own and serve its time by much talk. Strikes and hardy insistence on “rights” have been regarded as all that was needed for the triumphant upward progress of an invincible Democracy.
In tens of thousands of homes “the right not to fight for one’s country” is still regarded as one of the most sacred possessions, and multitudes of Englishmen are refusing to answer their country’s call, and are choosing to pooh-pooh the danger. If we win through, let such people remember that it will be no thanks to them.
Let such as pratt about “Democracy,” and fail to recognise the duties of a Democracy, remember that if the country fails now, or is seriously crippled by the outcome of the war, that English Democracy will have shown itself incapable of ruling a great Empire, and it will have to give way to others more capable.
The heritage of British folk is a glorious one. Let us be honest about it. It has not been won by the British Democracy. Our present wide flung franchise only dates from 1867. Before that our Empire was governed by certain ruling classes, who, whatever else they were, were not lacking in determination or endurance.
It was the Barons of England, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who fought King John and won for us the “Magna Charter.” It was the enterprise of the merchant classes, and the boldness of individual adventurers, who laid the foundations and helped to build up the British Empire in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries.
Into this inheritance the Democracy of today has entered, and now the possession of its dominions, to say nothing of its own shores, is challenged by a nation ignorant of the very idea of Democracy – by a people who elect to be governed from above, by a highly centralised Military and Civil Bureaucracy, and who implicitly follow their lead. How are the people at large taking their responsibilities? I say deliberately that immense numbers, who ought to be in the ranks of the new army, are claiming the right not to fight for their country.
The response of the West Riding of Yorkshire is contemptible. The same tale comes from the country districts as well as from the towns. Men are not enlisting in adequate numbers. There was a most scathing letter from a Frenchman in the “Morning Post” of October 26th, setting forth the immense sacrifices the French were making, and asking us to play our part more magnanimously. France, with 34,000,000 of people, is putting some 2,600,000 men in the field.
We in England can only at present put 200,000 at the most in the fighting line, and men in thousands are refusing to enlist to make up the number for which Lord Kitchener is asking. In England there are some 7,000,000 men between the ages of 18 and 35.
It is always easy to make excuses for not doing our duty, and the right not to fight for one’s country is precious to all Englishmen. Let it be remembered, however, that although a soldier’s pay, etc., is very small, the German and the French soldiers get practically no pay at all. When as an excuse men point to the splendid way our men have fought, let them remember that this handful of men could not have withstood the German hosts for five minutes, had it not been for our Allies. The more men we can put into the field, the sooner the war will be at an end and the less ultimate loss of life.
I have written strongly; but when you see as I saw on Saturday a fortnight ago on my way to the military hospital, Headingley Lane, packed crowds of young men coming down from the Headingley Football Field, and in their midst perhaps three score young fellows belonging to one of the reserve battalions, returning from a route march, I own I felt that the contrast was not one which did us credit, or one on which it was pleasant to dwell.
OULTON AND ROTHWELL MEN AT COLSTERDALE. WITH THE LEEDS CITY PALS BATTALION. 7 November.
We have received a letter from the Colsterdale Camp, written by “One of the Pals,” as follows: -eing one of the ‘Pals’ in the Leeds City Battalion, I would much like to state that we are going on in the best of style, and would advise any man to enlist in same, not that I should call them the Feather Bed Battalion, but the work is only to the advantage of the men. We get plenty of Swedish drill and short runs every morning before breakfast, and then squad drill and skirmishing (weather permitting). When the weather is bad we take musketry inside the huts. We are told we are well to the front in every department.
The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress (Mrs Ratcliffe) were here on Friday and gave us every praise and wished us the best of luck. We rather disappointed the visitors on Saturday, as at 3 o’clock we started on a route march to Lord Masham’s estate, Swinton Park, a distance of about 9 miles, and when we arrived back at 6.15 it was time for the visitors to be going home, but, a lot of them were able to stay over night.
We have plenty of amusements, including running, football, boxing, etc. Joe Jones, a well-known Rothwell athlete, is the instructor in the ring and wrestling. Then we have Tom Lake, of Rothwell, representing the sports committee for D company. He was selected as a footballer, playing against the officers a week ago. The team included Lintott (Leeds City), Major Booth and Kilner (Yorkshire County).
OULTON. 14 November.
Oulton-with-Woodlesford Parish Distress Committee have sent £25 to the West Riding Distress Fund.
PROPOSED PICRIC ACID FACTORY AT STOURTON. HOME OFFICE INQUIRY. 14 November.
Major Cooper Kay, Chief Inspector of Explosives to the Home Office, held an inquiry at the Leeds Town Hall, on Friday, into the application of Messrs Brotherton and Co., chemical manufacturers, of Leeds and other places, for permission to manufacture picric acid at their works at Stourton. The subject of the application had been before the West Riding magistrates sitting in Leeds, but the magistrates declined to grant the necessary licence. Mr Arthur Willey appeared for the applicants, and opposing the application were Mr R.B. Hopkins for the Aire and Calder Navigation, Mr Charles Scriven for the Yorkshire Copper Works, and Mr Armitage for the Rothwell Urban District Council in whose area it is proposed to build the works.
The inspector said he had viewed the works that morning, and had read the shorthand notes of evidence at the magisterial inquiry. In the course of that inquiry it was stated that he and another officer had visited the works. As a matter of fact he had never been in Leeds before. He could not imagine how the statement came to be made, but possibly it might have arisen from the visit of some emissary of the War Office. One point that would arise was as to whether the proposed site was the best to be obtained. In laying down regulations, the authorities had to draw the line somewhere, but so long as a firm conformed to the requirements of a particular case it was entitled to its licence. Provided there was only 2,000lb. of picric acid in any one place or “risk” the Home Office considered that there was no chance of an explosion from picric acid itself. That quantity would burn away without exploding, but the Home Office required sprinklers to be fitted in all the buildings. There were no distance from adjacent buildings required by the statute. There was only one danger and that was that picric salts might be forced. If there was any strong probability of picrates being formed inside any of the buildings there was an automatic breach and no element of risk.
Mr Willey then made formal application for the licence. The firm were only anxious to conform with all the suggestions and requirements made by the department with regard to structure, fire precautions, and the clothing of the employees. He did not propose to call any evidence. Mr Hopkins said the building which was to be erected had never been before the justices, and the buildings which the Inspector has seen had never been before the local authority.
The Inspector said as long as they did not increase the amount of the explosive allowed in such compartment or the number of persons employed beyond that stipulated, he did not think it mattered a brass farthing what the building was.
Mr Hopkins said in the course of the previous magisterial inquiry the suggestion was made that the picric acid was needed by the War Office. He recognised that if the War Office wanted to make picric acid for national purposes they could do so without a licence from the Secretary of State, or any one else. Although this suggestion was made by Mr Willey, he was not challenged to give evidence on the point, and he did not do so. For that reason that application must be treated as purely a commercial application. He urged that the firm might have chosen a better and safer site than the one proposed which the West Riding Justices had said was in fact dangerous.
The Inspector: That might be said of any explosive factory in the world. A discussion then took place with regard to the distances of the canal, the copper works, and other places from the proposed factory. Mr Hopkins mentioned that 150 yards away were 20,000 gallons of benzol, and within 80 yards 2,600 tar barrels were stored. Mr Willey stated that the benzol was stored in tanks which were themselves in safety tanks, so that the spirit could not escape. After some expert evidence had been given, the Inspector intimated that his report would be made in due course.
WOODLESFORD PAROCHIAL GATHERING. MR LEONARD LOCKWOOD’S EXPERIENCES IN BELGIUM. 14 November.
The annual parish tea and concert in connection with All Saints’ Church, Woodlesford, took place on Tuesday. The tea, which was very well attended, was held in the Council Schools, Woodlesford. And the concert, which was carried out on patriotic lines, took place later in the evening in the Harold Hall, Oulton. Long before the time for commencing the hall was packed. A kindly suggestion had been carried out, and the Belgian Refugees who are staying at Oulton Hall were present, occupying the front seats.
The programme opened with the rendering of the Russian National Anthem, which was effectively sung by the choir of the church. Then followed the vicar’s address, in which he said they were met together under very exceptional circumstances, and he was glad to think that they were not only welcoming the members of the congregation and of the parish, but welcoming some of their friends who had until recently been at the other side of the water. He hoped they would give a hearty welcome to their Belgian friends, who were present that evening, and give them every hospitality they could possibly extend.
Every church, he said, had to be kept going even in times of war, and he dared say that when the next year came in they would still find themselves fighting for their existence as a church. However, he thought they would find themselves in a position to be careful of their expenditure. At the same time he believed that no requirement of the church would be found wanting. They had passed through a difficult year, but the church offertories had shown no perceptible diminution whatever, but rather an increase. They ought to be thankful that they had the great privilege of a church which remained intact, and while the churches of Belgium had been shattered and disfigured in every possible manner they still held St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. Although people could knock down a church they could not kill the religion of the church. One of the first things the Belgians asked when they came to this country was whether they would have the opportunity of carrying out their religion in all its forms, and he was glad to think that that opportunity had not been denied them. In conclusion, he said that they could help those who were fighting by not merely sending across the water sympathy, but by sending their most heartfelt and earnest prayers.
The contributors to the programme were a party of talented artistes, who gave their services gratuitously. Mr H. Broadly (Leeds), gave an excellent rendering of “A Sailor’s Grave,” while he was heard, along with Miss Woodhead, in “The Miserere” (Il Trovatore), and also in duet with Mr H. Taylor in “The Battle Eve.” Miss Mary Woodhead (Halifax), who has a pleasing voice, rendered “The Waking of Spring” and Tosti’s “Goodbye,” for which she was recalled, giving “Jest her way” for an encore. Mr Norman Malt, an alto singer, was in splendid form, and his singing was greatly enjoyed in “There’s a land,” “My Hero,” and “Somewhere a voice is calling,” the latter being an encore. Mr A. Tolley (tenor) gave “Nirvana” and “Mountain Lovers.” Mr T. Taylor (bass) also gave fine renderings of “Sound of the drum” and “The King’s Own.” Miss Kathleen Roberts’ interpretation of “When you come home” and “Spring’s awakening” were pleasing. The humour of the evening was supplied by Mr Harold Winstanley. The church choir sang “La Marseillaise” and the Belgian National Anthem. Mr W. Peters proved a skilful accompanist.
Mr Leonard Lockwood, of Oulton, related some of his experiences in Belgium. He confessed that he was like a gentleman whom he met in Leeds last week, having arrived in London from Belgium a few days before. He had imagined that his news would be first hand, but when he got hold of the “Times” he was disillusioned, finding that all he knew and had heard in Brussels was known in England. Before the war, he said, no great shakes was thought of the Belgian Army by the man in the street, but opinion was changed on mobilisation. To show how wide awake the authorities were, everything was being conducted as usual one day. At night war was declared, the next day men were served with papers, and the next day they received their uniforms and were ready for the front. Warehouses and shops were fitted up as hospitals. The way the Belgians were standing up to the Germans added to people’s surprise. The man in the street said he knew all along that the Belgians were great fighters, and he had always said so. Coming to the time when the Germans were approaching Brussels, Mr Lockwood said that one paper published the fact of the Germans’ approach, but the papers were immediately “scotched.” When the Germans at last arrived at Brussels they expected to see “war worn warriors,” who were tired of fighting, but they made a fine show. The Germans paid for all they got in Brussels, but it was like a burglar entering a house and laying his hands on all the money, eating the food and paying for it with his victims’ money – haggling meanwhile whether he should pay 1s. or 1s. 11⁄2d. Belgian doctors were later told they were not required and were cleared off from the hospitals. It was found out that several German officers were coming in wounded in the back; whether they had been shot by the enemy or fired on by their own men, no one could say. The fact of the Germans being in the town only appealed to the youngsters who dressed themselves up and went about the town beating tin pans and doing the “Goose step.” They wore bowler hats with a carrot stuck through the top to imitate the German helmet. This greatly amused the German soldiers. Mr Lockwood also stated the manner in which he got through the German patrols and made his way to England. A portion of the proceeds of the concert is to be given to the Prince of Wales’ Relief Fund.
A WOODLESFORD DROWNING CASE. ON THE WAY TO ASTLEY. 21 November.
An inquest was held at Woodlesford on Monday on Edward Hartley, the captain of a keel, who was drowned in the Woodlesford Lock of the Aire and Calder Canal on Sunday. The body was identified by Amelia Walsh, a married woman, who said she was living apart from her husband, and had lived with deceased for the past fourteen years at York Place, Water Hill, Skipton. She last saw deceased on November 11th, when he left about 8 a.m. Two days later she received a postcard from him stating that he expected to be home again on the 15th inst. That evening she was informed that he was dead.
John Pickles, a boatman living at Bingley, said he was mate on the boat “Duke,” owned by William Sugden, of Kildwick, and of which the deceased was the captain. He left Leeds about 9 a.m. on Sunday to go to Astley, and arrived at the Woodlesford Lock at 10.45 a.m. Witness was on the canal towing path in charge of the horse, while the deceased was steering. He (witness) emptied the sluice and was opening the lock gate when he noticed that Hartley was missing. He shouted but got no reply. The cap of deceased was seen floating in the water, and a moment later the body was discovered floating. A boat hook was obtained, and with this the body was recovered. Artificial respiration was tried but proved of no avail. A doctor was sent for but did not come.
A verdict of “Accidentally drowned” was returned. Pickles stated that he believed the deceased had been pushing the boat from the side of the lock when he slipped and fell, striking his head on the lock side in his fall.
OULTON LECTURE. 21 November.
At a meeting of the Oulton Literary Society held in the Harold Hall on Thursday evening an interesting lecture on Von Bernhardi’s book “Germany and the War,” was given by the Rev. H.T. Pattinson (curate). It was pointed out how extraordinary it was that, although the book was written in 1911, many of the ideas were prophetic in regard to the present war. Mr Pattinson gave one instance of how Von Bernhardi had miscalculated. In his forecast of the war he had stated that the British colonies would seek to take advantage of the mother country’s difficulty by breaking away from the Empire, but, as everyone knew, every part of the Empire was supporting Great Britain in the war.
OULTON. 5 December.
Two sisters, Ivy and Ethel Mitchell, attending Oulton St’ John’s School, have this week sent £1 to the Belgian Relief Fund. This is their second contribution. The money has been raised by the sale of coloured bows made by the two girls.
OULTON AND WOODLESFORD WAR FUND. 12 December.
The following is a list of things which have been made by the ladies of Oulton and Woodlesford Working Party and sent away: 20 flannel day shirts – one dozen were sent to Major Simpson for some of his men, and 8 went to the Lady Mayoress’ Committee. Sixty-nine pairs of socks – 21 pairs were sent to the Lady Mayoress’ Committee, 18 pairs to Major Simpson, and 30 pairs to Queen Mary’s Fund. Eighteen red flannel bedjackets, and 23 white nightshirts and 2 red flannel belts were sent to the Lady Mayoress’ Committee, ajnd 10 cloth dressing gowns for wounded soldiers to the General Infirmary. Fourteen flannel under shirts were given for Scouts to Sir Rt. Baden-Powell, and 26 garments for girls, 8 garments for boys, 2 for women, and 2 pairs white bed socks to the Lady Mayoress’ Committee; and 22 garments for women and girls to Oulton Hall for Belgian Refugees. To the Lady Mayoress’ Committee there were also sent 4 knitted body belts, 8 scarves, 2 helmets, 6 pairs mittens, 8 pairs socks, 4 flannel day shirts, and 2 women’s garments; while to Lady Jellicoe, for the sailors, were forwarded 12 pairs mittens, 14 flannel under shirts, and 6 scarves. Sheets, towels, and pillowcases were also made for Oulton Hall for the refugees, Major Calverley paying for the material.
A WOODLESFORD SOLDIER’S LETTER. HAD NOT HEARD OF HIS BROTHER’S DEATH. “NO NEED TO FEAR THE KAISER.” 12 December.
Writing to his sister, Mrs W. Hanks, Royds Lane, Rothwell, Gunner George William Nicholson, who is serving in the F. Battery of the Royal Horse Artillery with the Expeditionary Force in France, has a very cheerful outlook for the future – bidding his sister to “keep smiling.” Gunner Nicholson comes from a well-known Woodlesford family, who are referred to in a letter in our correspondence columns, and which also reports the death of one of the family, Colin, who was killed in action.
In the letter William alludes to his brother Colin as follows: I wrote to Colin a while back but have had no reply; but it may be as you say, that he may be a prisoner of war and cannot write. Far better it be like that than have gone altogether. There are a tremendous lot of their fellows among the missing, but if one trusts in God with a good spirit, I am sure that they will live to see the end. Anyhow you must not sit and brood over him, but trust and pray to providence, and everything will be all right in the end. I, myself, have been in some very warm places which I would not care to mention to you, but I have always kept up my spirits and fought with a good heart.
“This is a great war, and a great many Powers are involved in it, but the only thing that will stop it is the Almighty Power and nothing else. I don’t think that people in England have any need to fear the Kaiser and his army getting to England or even to Calais. The end is not far off, and the worse is over.
“We have been engaged in the big battle, of which you will have lately read so much in the papers. We were at it fourteen days. We have just about got the upper hand of them now, and he (the Kaiser) is a beaten man any time. At present we are having a rest, and I can assure you that it is a well-earned one too, and one that we appreciate. We got rigged out with new clothes, and everything that we wanted. I got a new pair of boots, and didn’t my feet swell when I took the old ones off – the first time for nearly eight weeks. I shall not give them a chance to swell any more as I shall not take them off again yet awhile.
“We have had some snow and plenty of rain and strong winds. The weather is very cold. The roads are very muddy, which makes it bad for transport purposes. We had a surprise on December 1st. The King and the Prince of Wales came to have a look at us. Well Xmas will soon be here, but I don’t expect we shall get home to dinner.”
SCENE AT A WOODLESFORD HOTEL. A MINER’S SEVERE PUNISHMENT. 16 December.
James Stephens, a miner, of Leeds, was charged at the Leeds West Riding Petty Sessions on Tuesday with having been drunk and refusing to quit licensed premises, and with doing wilful damage to a window at the Midland Hotel, Woodlesford, and also with assaulting P.C. Hutchinson. Mr A. Willey prosecuted on behalf of Mr H. Sheldon, the licensee of the Midland Hotel, Woodlesford.
Mr Sheldon stated that about 8.30 p.m. on Saturday the defendant, along with two other men, came into the house. Defendant had had too much beer, and he asked him to go out. Stephens refused to go, and whilst being taken towards the door, he picked up a lemonade bottle and threw it at the bar window, smashing it. As he did so, he threatened the witness saying “I will cut your —– eyes out.” After getting him to the door, Mr Sheldon sent for a policeman, and on the latter coming, defendant took off his coat and struck the officer on the left jaw with his fist. He afterwards struck the officer several times, and also kicked him. The damage done was valued at 12s. He did not know Stephens. Prisoner pleaded guilty, and said he was sorry for what had occurred. He asked the magistrates to be lenient on account of his wife and three children, and he promised to sign the pledge.
The Chairman (to Sheldon): Was the man blind drunk? Witness: He was mad drunk.
P.C. Hutchinson stated that about 8.40 on Saturday night he went to the Midland Hotel in consequence of a complaint he had received. He was in plain clothes, and he went up to Stephens and told him that he was a police constable. Stephens commenced using abusive language, saying “I have done for similar men like you.” He (Stephens) then took off his coat and closed with the officer; and another man who was with him drew a knife. Witness was struck and kicked by Stephens several times.
The defendant’s wife, who was in Court, also pleaded for leniency on behalf of her husband. The Chairman, in sending him to prison for one month with hard labour on the charge of refusing to quit, and also for two months for assaulting the police officer (the sentences to run concurrently), said he ought to think himself lucky to get off as he had done. Stephens was also ordered to pay the damage.
WOODLESFORD. THE BREWERIES. 19 December.
The twenty-third ordinary general meeting of Bentley’s Yorkshire Breweries, Ltd., was held at the Hotel Metropole, Leeds, on Wednesday, Col. T.G.Hawdon presiding. On the motion of the Chairman, seconded by Mr C.E. Charlesworth, the report and accounts were adopted. Mr J.F. Milne proposed, and Mr Bennett seconded, a resolution to the effect that a dividend at the rate of 6 per cent. on the Preference shares and 8 per cent. on the Ordinary shares (making 6 per cent. for the year) be paid. This was adopted. Colonel Hawdon and Mr G.T. Bottomley were re-elected directors and Messrs Beevors and Adgie were re-appointed auditors. A resolution of thanks to the directors and staff was heartily approved. The meeting was of a cordial nature, the only apprehension being as to the effect of the new war taxes.
OULTON. LIGHTING.19 December.
With regard to the street lighting at Oulton, the inspector reported that odd lamps had been found to be out at different times owing to the old trouble – naphthalene having got into the burners. The lamps in Fleet Lane had had to be taken down owing to their being broke by stone throwing. The Clerk reported that he had received an application signed by sixteen residents for two lamps in Armitage’s new row, Quarry Hill, Oulton. The inspector had reported that one lamp was certainly needed at the bottom of the row. It was resolved that one lamp be erected.
OULTON. 19 December.
A sum of £1 8s. from Oulton Tennis Club has been sent by Miss Ada Bell, hon. Sec., to the Belgian Relief Fund.
REFUGEES. 19 December.
On Friday last five of the Belgian refugees, who have been enjoying the hospitality of the Hall, took their departure. It is understood that they have gone to take up quarters in the neighbourhood of Hunslet Carr.