Rothwell Courier and Times, 1917.
OULTON. 3 February.
Private C.F. Hullah, of Oulton (East Yorkshire Regiment), previously reported missing, is now reported to be a prisoner of war.
BOWERS ALLERTON. THE LATE MR R.W. BOWER. 3 February.
The death of Mr Robert William Bower took place on Sunday at his residence, Meanwood Park, Leeds. Mr Bower, who was in his 66th year, was a member of a well known family. As one of the principals in the firm of Messrs T. and R. W. Bower, colliery owners, he devoted much of his time to the management of the Allerton Main Colliery Company. A lover of horses, he was a prominent follower of the Bramham Moor Hunt, and was regularly to be seen in the field until a year ago. To his great regret he then had to give up the sport, but he retained his interest in the Bramham Pack, his name appearing amongst the subscribers. Apart from hunting his chief hobby was farming, and he made himself responsible for the management of a farm of about 200 acres adjoining Meanwood Park. He was a Churchman and a Conservative, and was unmarried. At one time he was a member of Tadcaster District Council and Board of Guardians.
WAR SAVINGS. 3 February.
Oulton and Woodlesford War Savings Association had a very successful month, over £400 being collected and invested in war savings certificates, bringing the total up-to-date to £800. A new association is being promoted at Water Haigh Colliery, with an interesting and simple scheme, and the executive anticipate great financial success in this undertaking.
CORRESPONDENCE. HONOURS FOR A WOODLESFORD MAN. 10 February.
To the Editor. Sir, I desire to bring to your notice and the readers of you paper and the people of Woodlesford the honours which have fallen to the lot of one of the Woodlesford men, namely, Corporal Metcalf, who has won the Military Medal and has just been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for bravery in the field. I am his platoon sergeant and can personally say he thoroughly deserves the two great honours that have fallen to him, and the N.C.O.s and men of his Company feel right proud of him. He enlisted in the first such of the war, and has served in the Miners’ Battalion of the King’s Own Yorkshire L.I. ever since with distinction and ability, both in Egypt and France, and, knowing him to be a very quiet, unassuming fellow, I think his people and fellow townsmen should know about his honour. I think they have every reason to be proud of him. —Yours, etc., Sergeant Brittlebank.
A ROTHWELL SOLDIER IN INDIA. WHAT HE SAYS ABOUT MISSIONARIES. 17 February.
A Rothwell lad – Private Johnson – who is in India, sends us a letter describing his life there. He says: We left Bangalore on Dec. 3rd, and arrived at Burhan on December 9th, so we had a long journey on the train, and I can tell you that we had not a bad time. We had been travelling about a day when we were stopped at Sholapur station to wait for the train to come up, and when the train arrived I had a surprise. I met one chap from Leeds who had been out in Mesopotamia and had returned to India and been sent on to Bangalore for a rest, so I told him it was a nice place, and some good European people there, as they gave us a good send-off from the station. He also told me that he used to be a tram driver between Leeds and Rothwell, and that he had many happy times bringing people towards Rothwell to go up to the “Rabbit Trap.”
I cannot detail the whole journey, as it would have wanted a lot of studying, and I am very poor at that game. The weather is very warm in the daytime and very cold at night, so we have four blankets to keep us warm, and we want them, too. By the way, I picked your paper up, and I noticed a certain man had been speaking about the good work amongst the poor in the West Indies, so I thought it was about time somebody opened the peoples’ eyes. I went through a native village or two on a route march with the battalion, and I noticed the state the people were in, and as for the missionaries doing good work I thought it was disgraceful, as the people did not know what it was to speak to a white man. To cut a long story short, the missionaries only work among one class of people, and they are people with plenty of money.
At present we are stationed with a battalion of Ghurkhas, and they are smart little chaps, and are very pleased to see us throw ourselves about when we are playing football, which is a very keen game here and very fast. I was playing with my platoon as goalkeeper this morning, and they were pleased at the way I went at a ball and met the opposing forwards, and after the match I was complimented on my goalkeeping. I heard cries of “Well played, Leeds City,” and people said I did well against such men as George Street, who is a good football player and also plays for the Sussex County Cricket Club as wicket-keeper. No doubt some of the Rothwell boys will have seen me playing with the old United Club some four years ago. I am also selected to play for the company tonight at 4.45 p.m. This place (Burhan), where we are now, is 80 miles from the place where the Indian fighting takes, and our 1st battalion has been there 14 years. We are the first brigade to be stationed here since 1898, as the heat gets so intense that we cannot stand it in the month of March, and all we can see is nothing but hills. The great thing we have to fight against are rifle thieves, who can get about three pounds for every rifle they get, so we have to be careful.
FATAL ACCIDENT AT WOODLESFORD COLLIERY. A STOURTON MAN’S DEATH. 24 February.
Mr P.P. Maitland, coroner, held an inquiry in the Wesleyan Schoolroom, Stourton, on Monday morning, as to the cause of the death of John William Jowett, of Stourton, who was buried by a fall of a roof at the Water Haigh Colliery, Woodlesford, on Thursday evening. Mr T.P. Wade was foreman of the jury. There were also present Mr Flint, Inspector of mines, and Mr D.W. Hargreaves, manager at the colliery.
Edith Jowett, of 38, Prospect Street, Stourton, said the deceased was her husband, 31 years of age last November, and a coal miner at Water Haigh Pit. He had worked at the colliery about 4 years and had previously been employed by Messrs J. and J. Charlesworth since leaving school. Her husband left home at 1.40 on Thursday afternoon, and she heard of the accident about one o’clock on the Friday morning. He was quite satisfied with his work.
Percy Jeffrey, 10, Claremont Terrace, Oulton, a filler, said he and George Wiles were filling for Jowitt most of the afternoon shift. The deceased was getting coal until ten o’clock.
The deputy, Thomas Coward, had been round just previous to the accident, but he did not hear him give any instructions to Jowett, although Wiles did. Wiles told the witness afterwards that Coward asked if the deceased was going to draw some timber, and Jowett replied that he would draw about half of it and leave the rest for the night men. Jowett went to fetch the dog and chain himself, whilst witness went to set some props up. The deceased drew four or five props, and used a hammer a few minutes before the accident.
The Coroner: Why did he use a hammer? The witness said it depended on the timber whether they used a hammer, as sometimes it required loosening before they used the dog and chain. The Coroner asked if witness knew anything in regard to the regulations for removing props. Witness: No.
Continuing, the witness said he was five yards away from Jowett, Wiles and the witness being near each other. He heard no warning, and the fall came down suddenly. The deceased also gave no warning. He saw there was a big fall and that Jowett was completely covered. He and Wiles had to retreat to the gate, and he went down the bank into the next hole for help, when four or five men came to render assistance. They quickly set to work, and it would be about half-an-hour before Jowett was released. His left leg was doubled underneath him and his head was also doubled forward. The hammer was over the back of his neck, and the dog and chain were attached to a prop inside the “gob.”
In answer to the Inspector as to what he and Wiles were doing at the time, witness said he was loosening the props and Wiles was drawing the rails back. They (the fillers) had never used the dog and chain.
The Foreman: Was Jowett pushed for time in getting the props out owing to it being near time for finishing? The Witness: No. We did not leave until nearly half-past ten.
George Wiles, of 3, Balmoral View, Hunslet, a filler, said he was pulling plates up in the road when the accident occurred at a quarter past ten. The deputy asked the deceased if he would be drawing some loose timber. Nothing was mentioned about the dog and chain. The deceased fetched them from the gate himself. Jowett drew some props with the dog and chain, and the witness heard him use the hammer owing to a prop being fast. By the sound it was very fast, and the deceased tried a few times to loosen it with the hammer and immediately the fall occurred.
The Coroner asked the witness if he knew the regulations.Wiles replied in the affirmative, but he had never drawn timber. The Coroner: The law says that in drawing timber a hammer should not be used. The witness said that at times they could not do without one. The Coroner: The law is wrong then, in your opinion?
The witness said there must have been nearly one hundred tons in the fall.
The Foreman: What distance would the deceased be from the prop?
Witness: About half-way from the tub road. But he would be nearer the prop with using the hammer.
Thomas Coward, of 4, Eshald Villas, Woodlesford, deputy, said he visited the deceased about ten past ten on the Thursday night. He did not give any instructions. Jowett had finished getting coal, and was setting a prop, as he was going to draw some timber and leave the rest for the night shift. There was nothing said as to the manner of drawing the timber. Witness was fetched back at 10.20 and he assisted to extricate the deceased, who would be under the fall an hour and a half. There was any amount of timber. The chain was attached to a prop and the dog was in the road.
The Coroner: Do they generally use a hammer to release the props? Witness said when he had seen them drawing timber they had never used a hammer, but he knew they used a pick to slacken the props. He was of opinion if they could not get a prop out without using a hammer, they should leave it in. It was against the law to use a hammer, as it might interfere with the roof when it was of a soft nature.
A juryman: Would a man be punished if he left any wood or prop in the place? The Deputy: No. The Coroner said it was evident that Jowett was a reliable workman and would be drawing props under the old system, which no doubt he had done on many occasions. There appeared to be no neglect on anybody’s part or blame attached to anyone. It was a question for the management to take into consideration that men should not use a hammer, but be given clearly to understand that they should leave a prop in when it could not be drawn by the dog and chain. It was a new rule and ought to be brought more clearly to the notice of the men.
Mr Hargreaves said he would see that the request was attended to.
The following verdict was returned: “Accidentally killed by a very large fall of roof whilst drawing timber in a ‘gob.’ “
OULTON. WAR FUND. 10 March.
A statement of accounts to January 31st, 1917, in connection with Oulton-with-Woodlesford War Fund has been published, and it shows an income on £1,449 16s. 10d. Two garden fetes brought £93 19s. 5d, two British Red Cross flag days £65 5s. 6d., a Y.M.C.A. flag day £36 12s. 7d. private donations £70 2s., collections from Water Haigh workmen £1,055 15s. 1d., and B.Y.B. £38 1s. 6d., and collections by friends £33 7s. 6d. The collections amounted to £1,143 19s. 2d., and the Boy Scouts, the churches, and the band assisted. A sale of bottles yielded £2 17s. 9d., and tea money (Ladies’ Sewing Committee) £15 15s. 6d. On the other side £160 5s. 6d. was given to the British Red Cross Society, £61 12s. 7d. to the Y.M.C.A., £25 each to the West Riding Distress and Belgian Funfs, £22 10s. to the local Belgian Fund, £15 15s. to hospital extension, £20 to the 2nd Northern Hospital and £2 to the Sand Bag Fund. For three years Christmas presents to soldiers cost £153 14s. 6d., Ladies’ Sewing Committee £129 19s. 7d., and relief £239 8s. There is a balance in bank on deposit of £400, and current account £185 0s. 2d. – £585 0s. 2d. Miss E.M. Laverack is general hon. Sec. and treasurer. The relief was given to soldiers’ wives and mothers, and material for 2,000 garments were bought out of the fund. All services have been given free.
TOWN PLANNING OULTON-WITH WOODLESFORD. HUNSLET COUNCIL’S SCHEME. 21 March.
One of the most recent town-planning schemes affecting the district is that submitted to the Local Government Board by the Hunslet Rural District Council. It relates to the parish of Oulton-with-Woodlesford, extending partly into Rothwell and partly into Methley, and it embraces twelve hundred acres of land. Mr W.B. Pindar, Clerk to the Hunslet Rural Council, threw considerable interest into the announcement of the scheme when explaining it to a reporter the other day. It is (he said) a growing district, but it has not grown fast enough to accommodate the men who work in the mines there. Many of them live at considerable distances, and travel from Normanton, Wakefield, Rothwell, and other places, where they can get houses. There are miners from Woodlesford residing in all parts of Leeds, and the Council realises that when building enterprise is released again Oulton-with-Woodlesford is bound to go ahead rapidly. They have therefore decided to take such action as will prevent Oulton being transformed into an ugly mining township. It is a pretty parish, nicely wooded, and the collieries by no means spoil it for residential purposes. The plans already prepared indicate a harmonious design for the district, abolishing patchwork, and insisting upon respectably wide thoroughfares and plenty of fresh air. Woodlesford is on the Midland main line, and on the Lancashire and Yorkshire line, too.
OULTON AND WOODLESFORD AFFAIRS. TOWN PLANNING. WATER SUPPLY. 28 April.
The annual meeting of the Oulton-with-Woodlesford Council was held in Woodlesford Schools on Thursday evening week, and the members present were Messrs T.H. Myton (Chairman), B.W. Higgins, G.M. Abbey, H. Parkin, W. Hoult, J.E. Robinson, F. Owen, W. Smith, and T. Hurdus, with the Clerk (Mr Sharpe). The yearly accounts of the Council were submitted, showing a balance of £12 11s. 5d. Mr Higgins was unanimously elected chairman, on the motion of Mr Parkin, seconded by Mr Owen.
A vote of thanks to the retiring chairman, Mr T.H. Myton, who had not missed a meeting, for his excellent services during an arduous year, was cordially passed. Mr B.W. Higgins and Mr T. Waide were re-elected overseers for the township. The sanitary rate collector’s half-yearly salary was duly authorised to be paid.
On the motion of Mr Myton, seconded by Mr Owen, Mr J.E. Robinson was elected vice-chairman. On the motion of Mr Abbey, seconded by Mr Smith, the following were elected the Allotments Committee, viz., Messrs T.H. Myton, W. Hoult, F. Owen, J.E. Robinson, H. Parkin, and A.E.B. Rayner, together with the three representatives nominated vy the allotees, viz., Messrs J. Pickersgill, A. Westmoreland, and G. Haigh. The report as to further allotments was considered, and as the field in Oulton Lane could not be allowed the Council for allotments the matter was dropped.
The assistant overseer submitted the half-yearly rates statement, showing a combined balance of £1,250, and stating the reduction of the poor rate by 2d. in the pound, the rates now being 5s. 10d. in the pound. The statement was considered very satisfactory, and, on the motion of Mr Myton, seconded by Mr Abbey, the thanks of the Council were unanimously tendered Mr Sharpe for his work as assistant overseer.
The Oulton-with-Woodlesford town-planning scheme was discussed, and on the motion of Mr Myton, seconded by Mr Robinson, the following resolution was unanimously passed: “That the Oulton-with-Woodlesford Parish Council welcomes the proposals of the Hunslet Rural District Council to prepare a town planning scheme for Oulton-with- Woodlesford, and urges the District Council to proceed with the scheme without delay, in order that the development of the parish may take place on the best lines possible when peace is restored, and that steps be taken to promote a housing scheme.”
It was proposed by Mr Robinson, seconded by Mr Owen, and carried unanimously, “that the attention of the Hunslet Rural District Council be called to the fact that a large portion of the houses in Woodlesford were without water supply on April 2nd, 3rd, and 4th (3 whole days), and no effort to supply them with any for drinking or sanitary pruposes was made by any of the Council’s officials; also to the fact of the very unsatisfactory manner in which the pavements of Woodlesford have been kept during the frosty weather by not being more frequently sanded; also that this Council would like to know how many times the reservoir was examined during the past 12 months.”
Messrs T.H. Myton, B.W. Higgins, G.M. Abbey, and W. Smith were appointed the respective representatives on the local Education Committee and the Oulton St. John’s School management. A letter from the West Riding Women’s War Agricultural Committee and the Food Controller in respect to a food control campaign was referred to the War Savings’ Association Committee. A vote of thanks to Messrs F. Owen and A. Sharpe for their work in connection with the War Savings Association was carried unanimously, to be recorded on the minutes as an appreciation of their work. The next Council meeting was fixed for Thursday, July 26th, in the Oulton Institute.
A ROTHWELL SOLDIER’S BRAVERY. THRILLING STORY. HOW ONE MAN BEAT OFF THE TURKS. 5 May.
A letter has been received by a Rothwell Working Men’s Club in relation to the bravery of George Ansell, one of the members, who is fighting for King and country. It si written of George Parker, and is as follows: I do not think that you would ever be able to get the following facts from Ansell himself, so, as I feel it should be known to all his friends, I am writing to you. You will perhaps be aware that George has been transferred to the Norfolks. This unit whilst advancing from Rafa suffered at the hands of a couple of Taubes, which, besides inflicting some casualties, managed to stampede their camel transport, thus leaving the lads without food or water except what they themselves were carrying. This was on Sunday, March 25th, 1917. Arriving at their position on the morning of the 26th they commenced digging themselves in, but their picks and shovels being with the transport which had not yet come up, they had no other tools except the small entrenching tools carried by all infantry men. You can well imagine the work they had to perform under a blazing sun, but they managed to make a kind of trench with them.
On the morning of the 27th, water having given out, Ansell volunteered to try and get water from a well half-a-mile away on their right front, and started out with three other men, Ansell carrying rifle and ammunition bandolier, and the others carrying water bottles. They had not gone far before they came under the attention of enemy snipers, but they pushed on for some distance further, when it became evident that the well was held by a party of Turks, and the water party had to retire by a circuitous route to their own lines and report the matter to the officer in charge, who then directed the men to a water hole some distance away on their left front. Off the four went again, and this time were successful in obtaining the much desired water. But, on turning to regain their line, they found themselves under the attention of a party of Turks, about 30 in number, who were coming over a rise in extended order. This caused the little party of water carriers to make a wide detour to their right to get to their own part, which was hidden by another rise.
In doing this they came across a party of 12 stretcher bearers with 8 wounded men in a slight dip. You who knew George know that he is cool and determined in an emergency. Here he at once saw the difficulty and assumed command, telling the party which way to withdraw (the wounded were walking cases but could not hurry) and being the only man of the whole party possessed of a rifle, he ran out into the open to cover the withdrawal, and dropping on his knee opened fire, bringing down four Turks with his first 5 shots. This checked the advancing party, who lay down and opened fire as they wriggled back over the rise, but they did not hit Ansell, who kept on firing while kneeling, fully exposed in the open.
When the Turks had disappeared George returned to the hollow where he had left the party, and found that all except one wounded man had been got away. This man, one of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, was hit in the leg and could walk with assistance, so Ansell slung his rifle, and, taking the Welshman’s arm around the chap’s waist, he partly carried, partly walked him back to safety, thus saving the whole party and procuring much needed water at the same time. The matter has been reported to the officer, and, if placed in the proper quarter, Ansell should be mentioned and decorated.
I am indebted for the details of the affair to three of the R.W.F. who were of the wounded party, and whom I have seen at the casualty clearance station here. And I think that the names of such men as Ansell should be printed in gold. But such episodes are usually reported “We attained our object and returned to our lines.” I have been with George ever since he came to Lofthouse Park in June, 1915, and, from conversations I have had with him at various times, I know that he is a member of your club, hence this letter. In the subsequent fighting he received a shrapnel wound in the head, but happily not serious, and when I saw him just prior to his removal down country he was knocking about and in the best of spirits, and looking forward to a speedy return to his unit. It may also interest you to know that whilst at El Arish George took a prominent part in rescuing four of his own unit from drowning.
FARMERS’ MEETING AT WOODLESFORD. TEMPLENEWSAM, OULTON, ROTHWELL AND LOFTHOUSE. PLOUGHING OUT OF GRASS LAND. 2 June.
At the Woodlesford Council School, on Thursday afternoon, a well-attended meeting of farmers and others interested in the movement for increasing the home production of corn was held, Mr John Hirst, J.P., being elected to the chair, on the motion of Mr R.S. Bolden, a member of the West Riding War Agricultural Executive Committee, and Mr T. Thomas, J.P. (Chairman of the Hunslet Rural District Council). Others present were Mr Hayden, of the agricultural department of the Leeds University; Mr W.B. Pindar, Clerk to the Hunslet District Council; Mr R. McCullough (Chairman of the Rothwell Urban Council), Mr P.S. Marsden (representing Temple Newsam estate), and representative farmers from Oulton, Rothwell, Royds Green, Stourton, Middleton, Templenewsam, and Thorpe Stapleton.
Mr Hirst stated that Major Calverley would have been present but for military engagements at York, and that Mr Farrer would have been pleased to have attended and presided, but was away from home. Both had expressed their willingness to do whatever they could to forward the work the promoters of the undertaking had before them.
In this country, said the Chairman, only about one-fifth of the people’s requirements were forthcoming from the land, or about ten weeks of last year’s needs. He was pleased that at last the farmers had obtained recognition from the Government, and that, to some extent, the work of the British landworker was now being generally acknowledged. The critical time through which we were now passing had brought home to the people the vital importance of home production, to help to foster and increase which was the reason for their being called together that afternoon. Trades Unionists had had to strive for many years for their principles and for national recognition; it had come to the agriculturist more quickly and in some quarters unexpectedly, and now that they had got Government recognition he trusted there would be a patriotic endeavour to produce as much food from the land as possible. That was now incumbent upon them. If more corn was grown it would assist the dairy farmer by producing more feeding stuffs for cattle, etc., and therefore by ploughing up certain grass land it should not result, as some seemed to suppose, in detrimentally affecting the milk supply. The substitution also of motor transport for that previously performed by the horse would result in less hay being required. Compared with 1874 there were now 20,000 acres of barley less under cultivation, 60,000 acres less wheat, and 10,000 acres less beans. As the Government asked for 100,000 acres more for wheat production, in face of the foregoing figures there should not be any insuperable difficulty if they all loyally laid themselves out to meet the country’s call.
Mr Bolden then addressed the meeting, remarking that similar meetings to that were being held in practically every union area within the Riding. He went on to urge the farmers to do all they possibly could to carry out the wishes of the West Riding Committee. The ploughing out of grass land might be amicably arranged between landlord and tenant. The committee did not wish for the best grass land to be ploughed out, only land which had been laid down since 1874. The committee was making arrangements for the provision of sufficient motor ploughs for this work at a reasonable price.
A question was asked by Mr Whitfield, of Colton, as to the effect of the reduction of grass land on dairy farms. To his mind the reduction of the grass acreage would necessarily mean a reduction of the quantity of milk produced. Mr Hayden replied that each case would be considered on its merits. Mr Murtland, Oulton, said he would have no objection to ploughing out a portion of his grass land.
After further observations the following were appointed a local Executive Committee: Messrs T. Thomas, Middleton; J. Nickols, Rothwell; T. Murtland, Oulton; G. Barton, Templenewsam; and G.W. Smith, Lofthouse and Carlton. Additions to the committee will be made by the County Committee. Mr Thomas was elected chairman of the committee, with Mr W.B. Pindar as secretary. Mr Weatherhead, district Government valuer for Leeds, was appointed supervising officer for the district. A vote of thanks to Mr Hirst for presiding was accorded on the motion of Mr T.P. Whiteley (Lofthouse), seconded by Mr A.S. Elliott (Royds Green).
FOOD SUPPLIES IN ROTHWELL AREA. PUBLIC MEETING. FARMERS AND THEIR TRADITIONS. 16 June.
At the Council Offices, Rothwell, on Friday night, a public meeting, called by the Clerk to the Council, was held, to consider the high prices of food and the steps to be taken to keep down prices; what food supplies were likely to be restricted, and what substitutes could be obtained; and what special steps should be taken by the district to improve its food supply and lessen its food bill. Mr R. McCullough (Chairman of the Council) presided, and others present were Councillors J. Hirst, J.P., W. Lunn, Joseph Horner, W. Speake, G. Armitage, W. Wade, T. Ellis, W. Robinson, and J. Barke, Mr Dodgson (Clerk), Mr Moorhouse (inspector), Mr Southwart (surveyor), Miss Stoney (nurse), Mr Sutcliffe (secretary to the War Savings Committee), Mr W. Denton (Carlton), Mr Howe (Lofthouse), and other gentlemen, and a good many ladies.
The Chairman said the public had been invited to attend the meeting in order to discuss the many serious questions which were affecting their ordinary food supplies, and any observations from those present would be welcomed. If tradesmen charged more than they were entitled to for food commodities, they hoped to set up a committee to inquire into detailed instances and to take steps to enforce uniformity of prices, and to keep prices down at the very lowest minimum. The Council had not discussed the question, although they had had a statement made by the Clerk, preferring to call the public together in order that a fuller expression of thought and opinion might be obtained.
The Clerk (Mr Dodgson), gave an exhaustive survey of the food question from a national standpoint. The wheat supply in time of war, he said, was the most vital consideration. The English harvest only yielded about one-fifth of the nation’s requirements. In 1917 it was expected that 12 out of the 52 weeks’ supply would be covered by the home producer. By the Government insisting on ten per cent. more of the whole corn being left in the flour, by a general reduction of 25 per cent. in consumption, and by asking the farmers to double their output of wheat, the home produce was stretched out to cover 35 weeks of the year’s requirements. That left only a small proportion to be covered by imports. But to ask the farmer to double his supply was to ask him to undertake a very difficult task. In this respect they were dealing with an industry which had got some very old traditions – traditions which did not lead them to conclude that they would do as was asked of them. And to ask any industry, be it ever so energetic and enterprising, to double its output was a tall order.
Part of the meat supply, too, came from abroad, and the whole of the sugar. The Government had been asked to step in and regulate prices, but in some respects they had acted on the assumption that it was right to leave prices alone and allow them to be fixed by the market. In that case the poorer classes ran the risk of being cut off by prohibitive figures. In some cases safeguards had been taken, where the nation had bought and were in a position to sell at a cheap figure. In the case of margarine the raw material had been allowed to come into the country, had been treated by the manufacturer, and sold at prices they could command, without any Government bar. Frozen meat, too, had doubled in price without any attempt being made to check it – they were now paying through the nose for it. Wheat they had tackled, but meat they had not. Germany had organised her food supply very thoroughly, and had imposed food tickets. The British Government had taken up the position that rationing by ticket was to be avoided. There certainly was the objection to the cost, the checking and the difference between rationing town and country populations. They might get through all right to next January, but it had occurred to him that it would be well for a committee to consider whether they could not introduce a system of giving tickets to a class of people who had a minimum wage, and thus protect those who were doing the least well by securing for them food at cost price. It had been well pointed out that if once the country was seriously affected by shortage the poorer classes would first feel the pinch, and their energy and value as a national asset would soon be enormously affected. This point should be carefully watched, as also the milk supply to the children. In this particular the difficulty was that if the farmer was to be asked to double his wheat supply, it was probable that the milk supply might be undesirably affected. Was the district itself doing anything to increase production of food? It was their duty to see that all the Food Controller’s Orders were complied with. If more was being charged for food stuffs than had been fixed, then prosecutions should be instituted. With organisation they might do something, but on the lines there would be speculation and risk. Women might undertake the production of honey, but that even would mean a lot of work and organisation. Broadly speaking he did not think the Council could do much.
Mr Sutcliffe addressed the meeting and gave particulars of what had been done by the War Savings Committee. The Committee was formed in February , and already about £1,000 had by this means been saved. About two months ago the Food Controller had written to him as secretary, asking him if he would take on duties under the food saving campaign, and he readily agreed, and since that time the Committee had worked to save both food and money. He believed their efforts had already resulted in a saving of bread and in the exercise of economy generally. The standing of their committee, he thought, should be settled. He thought it would be a mistake if two separate committees were fixed up. They wanted a backing by the Council, and desired the use of the Clerk for legal advice and support in cases of prosecution.
Mr Speake drew attention to the misuse of sugar and grain for brewing purposes, but failed to put any protest in the form of a resolution. Mr Lunn alluded to the farmers’ insecurity of tenure, and of the difficulties that faced any committee’s attempt to secure an accurate estimate of the food consumption of the district; that should first of all be obtained before they were in a position to judge as the weeks passed as to what was the effect of their endeavours to restrict consumption and avoid waste. Another difficulty they would have in regard to increase in production would be that farmers and others could resent inquiries and refuse to tell them anything. As the Clerk had said, the farming community was a class with traditions, and those traditions seemed to stick with them. As to the Food Controller, he thought he had been an absolute failure, and that the Government had mismanaged the question of food supply altogether. The Government itself had been profiteers; prices, he certainly thought, could have been kept down at a reasonable figure if only the question had been firmly handled from the start.
Mr Hirst was sorry that the question of food economy and production had not been more heartily taken up by the Council. It was a vital and far-reaching question, and, as representatives of the people, the Council should have shown some real interest and energy in the movement that was being made throughout the country. Only one member of the Council had taken up the work on the committee when the food saving question was brought to the front. He was not going to say that the Food Controller had been an unqualified success, but it must be admitted that his department was a very important one, and that drastic steps should be fully and carefully considered before being taken. He hoped the meeting would take some practical steps in order to further the objects which the Committee had before them.
Several questions were asked as to the supply of sugar, and its more equal distribution, the powers of the Committee to prosecute where infringements had take place, the Clerk stating that where there was thought to be a clear case the Council would undertake legal proceedings and not leave it to individuals to bear the full onus. A motion was passed adding to the existing Committee the names of Mrs Harrison, Mrs Scholey, Miss Rider, Mrs Walker, and Miss Fritchley.
THE HOUSE FAMINE AT ROTHWELL. SEQUEL TO SKYRACK MAGISTRATES’ DECISION. 23 June.
At a meeting of the Rothwell Urban District Council on Monday – Mr McCullough presiding – the Clerk read a letter from the Woodlesford Branch Secretary of the Yorkshire Miners’ Association condemning the action of the East and West Yorkshire Railway Co. in having miners evicted from their houses. If this thing was going to be allowed there was going to be trouble in the future. The Rothwell branch also wrote that if the decision of the Bench was carried out the miners would come out on strike in opposition to it.
The Clerk read considerable correspondence relative to the matter, gave the decision of the Court, and also read a letter from the solicitor to the Railway Co., who were wishful to help the Council in providing accommodation for the tenants. He had written to the Minister of Munitions asking them to provide temporary buildings for the railway men, but had not received a reply. The Board of Trade had replied that they could not bring any pressure on the Railway Co. The position was that the Minister of Munitions ought to find accommodation, in the public interest, for these men.
The Chairman said Mr Green for the Railway Company saw the difficulty these man would be placed in owing to there being no houses. The Chairman of the Bench gave his decision on the landlord’s rights. Under the War Emergency Acts, the Court could have suspended the actions, but the recommendations were that the Council and the Railway Co. make application to the Minister of Munitions for the erection of wooden buildings to relieve the difficulty.
Mr Hirst: Is there no way of appealing against this decision? The Clerk said he would not advise it. The Court had power to stay execution. The magistrates saw that these men could not get out: if they stayed execution they would not be helping the Railway Co. to get the 5 men into the district, and the only course was to get the help of the Minister of Munitions. He would not advise spending any more money in the Courts.
The Chairman: Would it meet the case if someone went and interviewed the Minister of Munitions, asking that something should be done at once. Mr Lunn said it was a very serious position, and what steps to take was not very clear at present. They had no power over the right of ownership, but the large families should be taken into account. If houses could be got no doubt all the five families would leave tomorrow. The miner’s labour was as much needed as the munition worker’s. He would not have hesitated to take drastic steps if he had been employed at the local collieries. The Bench was only composed of landlords and their agents. He was not opposed to the Minister of Munitions providing temporary dwellings for the railway men, and he moved that they have an interview with the Minister of Munitions in regard to the matter. Mr Blakey seconded.
Mr Hirst said he was going to support the resolution because theirs was the responsibility. If the Railway Company carried out these orders, the tenants might be thrown into the streets. If private enterprise would not see to house accommodation, then it was the Council’s duty to provide the same. It was time they did something in regard to their town planning scheme. The Clerk said it was illegal to spend money on deputations, but in a case like this he would advise them to do so.
The resolution was carried unanimously. The Chairman, Mr Lunn, and the Clerk were proposed as the deputation. Mr Lunn wanted to withdraw and to include the vice- chairman, but the first three were appointed.
MILITARY WEDDING AT OULTON. A BLACK WATCH OFFICER’S BRIDE. 23 June.
The village of Oulton was the scene of a pretty wedding on Thursday, when Miss Verena Farrer Sieber was married to Lieut. Alex. Campsie, M.C., the Black Watch. The wedding was very simple, the bride walking through the village to church, leaning on her father’s arm, and attended by the chief bridesmaid. Great local interest was aroused, as the bride’s family is well-known in the district, and the school children were allowed to watch the procession as it left Croft Cottage for the church.
The ceremony was performed by the Bishop of St. Andrew’s, Dunkeld, and Dunblane, assisted by the Rev. A.J. Irvin (vicar of Woodlesford), and the Rev, W.R. Capel- Cure (vicar of Oulton). Mr J. Morley officiated at the organ. On leaving the church, after the ceremony, the bride and bridegroom were preceded by the Black Watch pipers (kindly sent by Colonel Sir Robert D. Moncreiff), gaily skirling Highland airs, and the unusual appearance of Highland pipers aroused tremendous enthusiasm in the village.
The bridal party proceeded on foot to the residence of Mr John Farrer (uncle of the bride), where an informal reception was held on the lawn, and tea was served. The pipers stood on each side of the gates and played the guests in, while they gave selections at intervals during the afternoon. A pretty scene was when the bride cut the cake with the bridegroom’s sword. The bridesmaids were Miss Margaret Barker, Miss Eleanor Laverack, and Miss Hilda Bothamley (cousins of the bride). Lieut. Harold Chapman, the Black Watch, officiated as best man.
The bride’s dress was of white crepe de chene, made with a short full skirt, over palest shell pink, and with this was worn an exquisite Brussels lace veil with a deep border of Marguerites which fell to the hem of the skirt. A tiny wreath of orange blossom was worn with a cluster at each side, and a sheaf of palest pink carnations added finish.
The bridesmaids wore dainty voile frocks of mauve over silk of a slightly deeper shade. Their becoming hats were of heliotrope taffeta, and they carried bouquets of mauve sweet peas and Spanish iris. They wore gold safety pin brooches with the Black Watch badge, which, with the bouquets, were the gift of the bridegroom. Miss Cello Capel-Cure and Miss Eileen Simpson, who strewed flowers before the bride, were in pretty summer frocks. The bridegroom and best man were in full Highland dress.
Among the guests were Mr and Mrs Sieber, Mrs Campsie, Miss Campsie, Mrs Jack Sieber, Mr John Farrer, the Bishop of St. Andrews, the Vicar of Oulton and Mrs Capel-Cure, Miss Cello Capel-Cure, the Vicar of Woodlesford and Mrs Irvin, Sir William and Lady Lorimer, Mr and Mrs Richard Wi;son, Miss Wilson, Miss Kathleen Wilson, Professor and Mrs A.F. Barker, Professor and Mrs E.L. Hummel, the Misses Mason, Dr. and Mrs Frobisher, Miss M. Frobisher, Col. And Mrs Simpson, Miss E. Simpson, Mr Edward Dawson, Miss Dawson, Miss Richardson, Mrs Mackey, Mr R. Wilson, Mr and Mrs R. Simpson, Miss Joan Simpson, Mrs Sugden, and the Misses Sugden, Mr and Mrs Chapman, The Rev. H. and Mrs Pattinson, Capt. the Rev. G. Duncan, Lieut. R. Brown, Mr and Mrs Philip Marsden, Lieut. T. Newsome, etc. The presents were numerous and costly. The bride and bridegroom left by motor during the afternoon for a short honeymoon in the Yorkshire dales.
A ROTHWELL SOLDIER’S THRILLING STORY. A HERO OF THE WAR. HOW ONE MAN BEAT OFF THIRTY TURKS. 7 July.
Some time ago we published a letter from George Parker, of Rothwell, relating to the bravery of another Rothwell soldier, George Ansell, and the paper containing the report was apparently sent to the latter. Ansell now tells the story himself in a letter to friends as follows: I am writing this letter to you in my dug-out and feel I would much rather be shaking you by the hands and saying “How do you do, old boys,” but I hope to be able to do so ‘ere long. I wish to thank you for your kindness in not forgetting me during these trying times. It will indeed be one of the happiest days of my life when I set my foot in dear old Rothwell again. Still, I know it will be a sad one, having gone through so much myself. I feel I should break down when I meet the friends I know who have lost their loved ones. I trust they may be comforted in knowing they were heroes every one.
From a cutting from your paper my wife sent me, I see my friend George Parker, of the R.B.s, has written to you about me (he is really a very good chum of mine), but he has been slightly misinformed as to what actually happened at the second pool of water. Everything else I must admit is true, and he might have been an eye-witness by the way he writes. After returning from our first attempt, I was sent by my platoon officer to find water somewhere to our left front, our position then, being a front line trench which we had made in a hurry on the right of Gaza, facing Beersheba, and as we advanced we saw large numbers of the enemy on the top of a ridge working their way to our left. I knew these were reinforcements from Beersheba; their artillery had been peppering us with shells all the morning.
Well, when we arrived at the pool we mustered in all eight men – three with rifles, and had the pleasure of taking two Turkish prisoners, who were escorted back to the lines by the two men with rifles. In the meantime several more of our men had arrived with water bottles and mess tins, but none with rifles and ammunition. I waited for them to get their supply, but as more continued to come and I had my orders to get back as quickly as possible, I pointed out to them the danger they were in. A party of Turks had detached themselves from the main body and had come down the ridge in extended order and had disappeared in a gully at the bottom. So close were they to us I wondered they didn’t fire, but I found out their reason later.
Instead of going straight back we bore to our right to take cover behind a rise, and there found a dressing station, eight badly wounded men, and in charge were three R.A.M.C. men (the walking cases mentioned by Parker must have returned earlier). Here’s where the Turks we had seen before came in. Instead of firing at us at the water it was very evident their intention was to cut us off. In the first place some of us would have escaped; in the second, it was impossible. From behind the very rise where we were standing rushed thirty Turks, firing as they ran at about twenty of our men who were still at the pool unarmed and nothing to defend themselves with. They were completely cut off.
It was then I ran out in the open and fired at them (the Turks), as George Parker says. From the knee it was not difficult to bring them down. I was on their right flank and too close to be pleasant. Albert Green would have done better at rabbits. Well, I had two down before they fired at me; they seemed too confused to take proper aim. I potted another, and no one could be more surprised than I was to see them run and scramble for cover. I brought four down and hit the side of the rise where one man was disappearing.
My pal, Chuck Tiffany, will say, “George was a fool to run in the open,” but what else could I do; the rise was the only bit of cover for a hundred yards or more from where I was, and had I fired right away, it’s ten to one they would have hit some of the wounded. I then asked one of the R.A.M.C. men what he intended to do, and he said, “I don’t know, I expect we shall be taken prisoners. We’ve been here since yesterday, and we cannot leave these men.”
So to cut it short I went back and was lucky to meet Second Lieutenant Jacobs, of the 5th, with about ten men, who came with me. Three of his men and myself continued to fire until all the wounded were packed up and carried in, except one of the R.W.F., who had his right foot smashed. The officer carried my rifle and I carried the wounded man. I am pleased to say all the men at the water got safely back, and the thanks of these men amply repaid me for what I did. At the time I was firing at the enemy I thought of nothing but hitting my mark, but afterwards I have thought how entirely I was in God’s hands.
And now if you can make head or tail of this letter you will know what did happen. The stretcher-bearers mentioned by my friend would be Lieut. Jacob’s party carrying the wounded in.
A ROTHWELL POSTMAN’S DEATH IN GERMANY. HIS LIFE AS A CAVE MAN. 21 July.
Rifleman Henry Robinson Lupton, who formerly lived with his widowed mother at Back Lane, Horsforth, and at the outbreak of the war was working as a postman at Rothwell, has died in a German prison camp. Called up as a reservists he went out with the first Expeditionary Force and took part in the retreat from Mons. He was first reported missing, and in December, 1914, his mother was notified that he had been “accepted as dead.” In January of the following year Mrs Lupton received the certificate of his death.
In September of last year the mother was surprised to receive a letter written by her son, who informed her that he was a prisoner of war in Werden, Germany, and he gave a remarkable account of his experiences covering a period of a year and ten months, during which he lived the life of a cave man. He stated that during the retreat from Mons some two years before, he had been out with his battalion when he was taken ill and had to see a doctor. He was left in a village with eleven other sick comrades. After resting about two hours this small remnant of the British Army was surrounded by Germans.
Having no desire to be taken prisoner Lupton succeeded in making his escape, and was afterwards furnished with civilian clothes by a French peasant. He roamed about the district from August, 1914, until the early part of July, 1916, living in the forest by day and coming out at dusk to ask for food. The rigours of two winters told severely upon him, and the lack of food and the stress of other discomforts induced him to give himself up to the enemy and he was taken to Werden.
Deceased was a member of the Rothwell Mechanics’ Institute, whose flag has this week flown at half-mast in respect for this, another of its members, who had sacrificed his life in his country’s interest.
GARDEN FETE AT OULTON. A SUCCESSFUL FUNCTION. 11 August.
The Oulton and Woodlesford War Committee, in conjunction with other organised war workers, have succeeded well in the various efforts made for raising funds for war purposes. Fortunate in having energetic officials, with outstanding initiation, the committee have been backed by a sympathetic local community, and considerable sums of money have been raised from time to time. During the holidays these local workers have carried through another praiseworthy undertaking in the shape of a garden fete, which took place on Monday and Tuesday in the grounds of The Woodlands (by kind permission of Mr J. Farrer, J.P.). There is a large element of risk in an undertaking of this description for wet weather would almost inevitably have spelt loss, whilst even a slight shower might mean pounds less in the aggregate takings. Save for a sharp shower or so on the evening of the second day the weather was propitious, and fortunately for the large crowd in attendance a large marquee gave the desired shelter.
The well kept grounds of The Woodlands well repay a visit by those interested in floral culture. An up-to-date fair ground, with all the deceptive devices for extracting money from the pockets of the patrons, had the usual charm for the crowd, whilst an open-air whist drive was another of the principal features of the first day’s programme. In this contest the first prize went to Miss Dannett on the ladies’ side, with 93 tricks, Mrs Fozzard taking the booby prize. The respective winners on the gent’s side were Mr J.H. Rawling 91, and Mr Dolphin 68.
The fair ground comprised some twelve stalls, including hoopla, jam and flower pots, walking sticks, darts, cocoa-nuts, and Aunt Sallies, the latter on original lines. At these stalls over £60 was taken on the two days – all in pennies. Mr Fred Sharpe, the hon. Treasurer to the Fete Committee was the fair proprietor, and with the assistance of Mr F. Ellis, organised and superintended this important and attractive side of the fete. The band of helpers, in the way of stall-holders, was a big one, all working willingly together to one end. Miss Laverack, assisted by the workers of the Sewing Committee, had a stall in the grounds, and did brisk business. The Oulton Brass Band discoursed music during the afternoons and played for dancing later.
On the second day the principal attraction was a Red Cross auction sale, conducted by Mr J.C. Bartle, of Garforth, with Mr T. Murtland as auction sale secretary. By kind permission of Major Defries, Commanding M.T. Repair Park, N.A.R.D., R.F.C., an alfresco concert was a feature in the evening, a merry party of airmen giving a capital programme of vocal and instrumental music. Mr Boothroyd and Mr Smith ably carried out the arrangements for this visit of members of a popular corps.
The hon. Sec. (Miss E.M. Laverack) and hon. Treasurer (Mr A. Sharpe) put a great amount of energetic work into the undertaking, and gratifying success was secured. Although the details of receipts are not yet obtainable, the following rough figures give some idea of the work involved and the general support given by the holiday makers from far and near: Voluntary contributions at the gate (no entrance fee being charged), £20 6s. 8d.; Miss Laverack’s stall, £17 10s.; whist drive (which was worked by Mr H. Burnett and Mr T. Caine), £2 15s. 1d.; auction sale, £25; concert, £4 5s. 4d.; fair ground, £60. Other receipts bring up the total to the highly gratifying figure of over £130, most of which will be forwarded to the British Red Cross Society.
MILITARY HONOURS FOR WOODLESFORD MEN.MEN WHO HAVE WON DISTINCTION. 11 August.
In the Woodlesford parish magazine the following appears: We lately had to record that Sergt. Metcalf, K.O.Y.L.I., who has won the coveted D.C.M. and the Military Medal, had been offered a commission. A similar honour has fallen to Sergt. Flockton, of the West Yorks. Regiment. And now we hear that a distinction, the M.C., has been won by Sergt. E. Waide, R.F.A., who has also been offered a commission. The heartiest congratulations of the parish go to these three of our village lads, may we call them, and they may be sure of our prayers and interest for the rest of the hard time which no doubt lies before them.
We have just heard, too, of the well-deserved promotion of Lieut. Lane to the rank of captain. He has seen much active service in Gallipoli, Egypt, and now in France. The village, then, has four commissioned officers, two who might have been if they willed, and a Chaplain to the Forces, who, though for some time non-resident, has strong associations with it. So hitherto Woodlesford has not been behindhand in contributing practical aid to His Majesty’s Forces. Honours fall, practically, only to the few, and those who happen to win them will be the first to say that there are many as deserving as they who may not have come under observation.
WOODLESFORD. 11 August.
Rifleman W.F. Dunwell, West Yorkshire Regiment, has been reported missing. His mother, who resides at Taylor’s Buildings, Church Street, Woodlesford, would be very pleased to receive any news concerning him.
FLOWER SHOW AND SPORTS AT WOODLESFORD. FOR LEEDS INFIRMARY. 1 September.
There was a very good attendance at the ninth annual demonstration and gala, promoted by Mr Edward Hartley, proprietor of the Boot and Shoe Inn, Woodlesford, and held on Saturday in aid of the Leeds Infirmary.
The sports results as follows: Bowling at wicket – 1 (5s.), J.W. Brown; 2 (2s 6d.), C. Taylor, W. Tranmore, and W. Hopkinson tied. Dart competition (9 darts each) – 1 (5s.), Key. Woodlesford (201); 2 (2s. 6d.), J. Walker (169). School-boys’ race, under 14 – 1 (2s. 6d.), W. Backhouse. School-girls race, under 14 – 1 (2s. 6d.), North; 2 (1s.), Backhouse. Skipping competition for girls, under 14 – 1 (2s. 6d.), G. Tranmore (520 times); 2 (1s), E. Tranmore (456). Messrs William and Ernest Cotton were the judges.
An innovation at this annual event was a flower and vegetable show. The prize- winners were: Potatoes, 6 round (45 entries) – 1, Joe Hartley, Woodlesford; 2, C. Bates, Woodlesford. White cabbage (9 entries) –-1, Isaac Fox, Rothwell; 2, W. Hammill, Rothwell. Kidney potatoes, 12 dwarf (15 entries) – 1, S. Pugh, Woodlesford; 2, E. Milsom, Woodlesford. Beetroot, 4 turnips (11 entries) – 1, W. Newton, Rothwell Haigh; 2, C. Bates, Woodlesford. Sweet peas, 8 dissimilar – 1 F. Ferritt, Woodlesford. Asters, 6 (5 entries) – 1 Joe Hartley, Woodlesford; 2, Isaac Fox, Rothwell. 1st prize, 3s.; 2nd, 1s. 6d. There was a special prize of 4s. for best 6 kidney potatoes, which was won by Joe Hartley, the second (2s.) going to W. Newton. Mr MacFarlane, of Swillington, was the judge. The Oulton Prize Band played during the afternoon, and for dancing in the evening. There was a hoopla and a dolly stall. The effort raised £11 17s. 6d. The secretarial duties were carried out by Mr A. Weale. The band intended giving a sacred concert on the Sunday, but it had to be postponed for a fortnight owing to the rainy weather.
A SAD AFFAIR AT WOODLESFORD A GIRL’S STRANGE DEATH. EVIDENCE AT THE INQUEST. 8 September.
Mr P.P. Maitland, coroner, held an inquiry at the Oulton Institute, on Monday afternoon, into the cause of death of Emma Elizabeth Parker, daughter of Mr and Mrs F.W. Parker, of French Street, Woodlesford. Mr Arthur Baylis was foreman of the jury.
The first witness was Edith Ann Parker, who said the deceased was her daughter, 18 years of age, and was employed as a tailoress by Messrs R.B. Brown and Sons, Wellington Street, Leeds. She resided with witness, had never ailed anything from being a baby, was bright and generally cheerful, and had worked for the firm for about four years. Emma had liked the work up to last week, when she complained on the Thursday evening, after returning from work, saying, after giving some goods she had brought from Leeds, “Well, mother, get well stocked up, I have given my notice in.”
From the daughter’s statement, it appeared she had a machine which would not work properly on the Wednesday; she had asked for a mechanic to repair it, but he had refused, saying “that it was always going wrong.” It was an old machine which had caused a lot of trouble. Her daughter went to work on a machine worked by Mary Britton, who had left the previous Monday owing to similar trouble, without permission. They had never said anything to her daughter whilst she had worked the old machine, but as soon as she began to use the other machine, she had words with one of the forewomen, and Emma gave a week’s notice to Mr Milligan, the manager. Her daughter said the forewoman had played “steam with her,” and Mr Milligan had played “Hamlet” with the two forewomen, who wanted the machine, which had been left by Britton, for a relative.
Her daughter came home at the usual time, not being distressed, and told her mother she had given in her notice. Witness did not say anything to her for doing so, as she wanted the daughter at home to help her with the house-work. Emma continued working on the Friday and Saturday, arriving on the latter day at 1.45. She had drawn her wage and Mary Britton’s as well. The deceased had no other trouble besides that which had occurred at the works; she did not fret al all and appeared all right when she came home. She went to the Theatre Royal at Leeds on Saturday evening, returning about half-past ten. As far as witness knew, her daughter was all right; she had got her things off and was going to get her supper when witness and her husband retired to bed.
They were roused up about a quarter to one by a noise like a lock slipping back. She went into her daughter’s bedroom and found she was not in bed. Her husband went downstairs, followed by the eldest son, and found a strong smell of gas, and she heard her husband say, “Emma, what have you done this for?” When witness got down she found her daughter in her father’s arms, and they gave her some salt and water. There was a bowl at her feet in which she had been vomiting. Witness saw a bottle on the table labelled poison – “Opodeldoo,” which had been used for rubbing purposes; there would only be about two teaspoonsful in it before the daughter used it. There were some pieces of paper which had been thrown on the fire-back, which comprised 4 packets of salts of lemon, which had been purchased from Boot’s Stores and Taylor’s Drug Stores.
Witness had never seen anything of the packets before. The deceased had taken off the mantle and glass globe and fixed a tube to the gas, which was on at the full. The doctor was sent for, but the daughter died straight away in her father’s arms. Witness found a note on the table written in pencil by her daughter, which was handed over to the police. Witness did not know the contents except that it was owing to the trouble at the shop. Her daughter was not sensitive, and never showed any signs of being so, even if they spoke sharply to her. Mr Milligan tried to persuade her not to give her notice in and even told her he would not take it. The note referred to was as follows: “Dear father and mother, I have intended doing this since I have had the bother at the shop. I hope you will try and think it is for the best. I tried not to feel downhearted, but I could not help it. I know it would be a shock to those who found me. I prayed to God that it would not be our Walter. But, never mind, I hope no one will miss me, or, at least, I don’t think they will. Well, I hope you will try and soon forget it for my sake. From your broken-hearted Emma. Love to all.”
Frederick William Parker, the father, said the daughter had no trouble at home, was reserved, and, if crossed, of a sulky nature. He found her with her elbow on the table and her hand under her head, the rubber tubing having fallen from the gas bracket into the bowl. Deceased never spoke; she had the tube in her mouth; the house door was locked and the stairs door was shut. He told the eldest son to throw the house door wide open; he got hold of his daughter and put her on his knee and asked for some salt and water to try and make her sick, but she was unable to take any and really died in his arms. There was a cup on the table with a little powder in it. As far as he had heard it, it appeared it was Mr Milligan’s niece who wanted the machine all the bother was about, and they had been calling his daughter properly. He noticed his daughter was quieter than usual on the Wednesday and Thursday nights, going to bed earlier, and it was not until the Thursday he heard of the trouble at the works.
Ada Kathleen Cobb, of Hunslet, a forewoman over the vest machinists, was the next witness, and she said deceased had always been one of her girls. She found her very satisfactory indeed, and everything went all right until Wednesday morning last. Another forewoman, Miss Copley, had reason to complain to witness that the machinery had been interfered with. Witness called the girl up and told her the charge was “removing another machine to her place without permission.” The girl said the machine she was working was not satisfactory and was not as good as the one she had taken. The forewoman said she had not received any complaint of the mechanic’s refusal to repair. Witness told the deceased it was against the rules to change machines without permission, and hoped she would not do such a thing again. The girl went back to the new machine until her machine could be looked at; witness did not want to part with her as she had been a good work girl. She did not say anything harsh to the girl. On Saturday Emma asked to go out for half-an-hour, stating she had to meet an aunt in the town. Deceased returned, and witness saw her last at 20 minutes past 12, having finished work at 12.
Florence Copley, 41, Alfred Place, Carlton Hill, Leeds, forewoman over coat machinists, said she was in the same department as the girl, but the latter was under the charge of Miss Cobb. Witness went to deceased, as she saw her change the machine, and asked her if she had got permission to do so, and she said “No.” The machine was used by one of the witness’s girls. Deceased complained her machine was broken, but by using the other machine she prevented another girl from using it who witness was going to put on. The girl went straight away to Miss Cobb and told what witness had said to her. Emma should have complained to Miss Cobb about the machine being out of repair. Miss Cobb told witness that the deceased was heart-broken at what she had said. Mr Milligan also asked witness what she had said to the girl, and she replied “that she ought to have asked permission before she changed machines.” Mr Milligan said Emma was heart-broken. She had never spoken to the girl until that day. A juryman: Why did you interfere with the girl changing the machine? Witness: Because I wanted the machine for another person. A juryman: You have behaved very shabbily to this girl.
Richard Arthur Brown said he was a member of the firm, who were wholesale clothiers, and had made enquiries that morning after hearing of the death. He had not seen the machine; he knew the girl, and knew Parker, the father, when he (witness) had resided at Woodlesford 25 years ago. The machine was reported out of order but was not an old one; the girl had removed the machine during the dinner hour, when she should not have been in the room at all. They did not wish to lose the girl, and he did not think the forewomen had dealt harshly with her.
A juryman said it appeared the girl had been distressed by Miss Copley chastising her instead of Miss Cobb. The Foreman: Don’t you think it unfair that both the forewomen and Mr Milligan should be on to the girl about the machine? Wasn’t the machine wanted for Milligan’s niece? Mr Brown, in reply, said for a paltry affair like this, one person should have been able to have dealt with it. Milligan’s niece had worked for the firm a long time; the forewomen were well respected by the work girls.
Dr. Charles Frederick Seville, of Oulton, said he had never attended the girl before, although she was on his panel list. He was called to the house about one o’clock on Sunday morning; she was dead when he got there. He had made a post-mortem examination that morning, and found she was a strongly made girl, and well nourished; there was no sign of injury. Discolouration was rather redder than usual, the lips being particularly red, and there were pinky patches on the surface of the lungs, probably caused by suffocation. He was of the opinion that the girl had poisoned herself by taking oxalate of potash and inhaling coal gas.
The Coroner said it was a very sad case, and it was very strange that she had taken dreadfully to heart being spoken to about something irregular at the shop. No doubt she had been out to buy the salts of lemon instead of seeing her aunt. She had premeditated taking her life and must have been of unsound mind. He was of opinion that the girl was more sensitive than her people thought, and the act was mainly due to an over-sensitive temperament. There was one strange thing – nobody seemed to have ascertained whether the machine referred to was really broken or not.
Verdict: “Committed suicide whilst in an unsound state of mind, by taking salts of lemon and inhaling coal gas, having taken to heart too seriously a correction at her work for a slight error.” The Coroner and the jury expressed their sympathy with the parents on the sad case.
COLLIERY COMPANY’S MEETING. ALLOWANCES TO EMPLOYEES’ DEPENDENTS. 29 September.
The annual meeting of Henry Briggs, Son, and Co. (Limited), of Whitwood and Woodlesford, was held yesterday (Thursday) week at the Metropole Hotel, Leeds, Mr W.G. Jackson, chairman of the company, presiding.
In moving the adoption of the report and accounts, the Chairman referred in sympathetic terms to the death of Mr Phillips, a director and former secretary of the company. He went on to state that 1,652 of the company’s employees had joined His Majesty’s Forces, and the company were spending “10,000 a year in allowances to their dependants to supplement the Government allowances. In regard to advances in wages, the underground men had received 13 1/3 per cent. on the new standard (which was 20 per cent. above the old standard), plus 18 per cent. war bonus. The cost of timber was still increasing. It had gone up during the war to a price 7 or 8 times the pre-war cost.
The difficulties of carrying on the trade had increased very much during last year. In carrying out the instructions of the Controller they had at the same time done the best they could for their customers, but he was afraid that the best had hardly kept pace with their requirements. Shortness of staff had been met by the remaining staff in a manner that deserved the shareholders’ most grateful thanks. All the pits were kept in good order, and in a position to increase the output as soon as men and trade were available. The relations of the company with the men were excellent. Alluding to a statement in a financial paper that the company had invested nothing in War Loan, the Chairman said they had invested in nothing else since the war began. During the past year their output of coal had been a record, and showed an increase of about 18,000 tons on the previous year. The profits had been £181,000, as against £178,000 in the previous year. The resolution was carried, and the retiring directors were re-elected.
OULTON. WATER HAIGH AMBULANCE CLASS. 24 November.
In connection with the above class a smoking concert was held in the Harold Hall, Oulton, on Saturday evening last. Mr W. Hargreaves C.C. presided over a good audience. The Chairman introduced Mr Riley, Superintendant of the Wakefield Rescue Station, and asked him to say a few words to the audience on rescue work. Mr Riley gave a fine lecturette (having 3 of the Water Haigh No.1 Team with him wearing different apparatus). In the course of his remarks he explained the different types of apparatus and their usefulness. He made a deep impression on the audience by his thorough grip of the subject and at the close was loudly applauded.
The Chairman, in a very telling speech, spoke of the tremendous strides made in ambulance rescue work in recent years, urging the students not to be satisfied with the “little knowledge that is a dangerous thing,” but to pursue their studies until they reached a fair amount of proficiency, and also thanking Mr Riley for his very interesting exhibition, he expressed the desire that at some future date Mr Riley would come along with lantern slides and apparatus and give a more elaborate exhibition, which desire was greeted with acclamation.
A very interesting programme was gone through, and the artistes acquitted themselves very well (Miss Hitchin accompanying). Miss Senior, Mr Cook, Mr Roodhouse, and Mr Brammer were the vocalists, and all their efforts were very well received. A very pleasing item in the programme was the introduction of the Carlton Instrumental Quartette Party, who, with Mr John Newton as conductor contributed two splendid quartettes. Mr B. Oakley also displayed fine ability with his violin solo. Miss Hargreaves, on behalf of the class, made presentations to Dr. Pickersgill (who wrote regretting his inability to attend), and the instructors. Mr Melvin (Whitwood), feelingly replied on behalf of himself and his colleagues their willingness to do all they could to help the class, and said that ambulance work ranked amongst the highest work, because it was following the great Christ himself.
During the evening, Mrs Hargreaves presented certificates, vouchers, medallions and labels to successful ambulance students, 35 in number, and also certificates to the Water Haigh No.1 Rescue Team: Messrs F. Williams , Captain T. Miles, A. Caine, B. Oakley, C. Ripley, and S. Durham, who had undergone their training at Wakefield Rescue Station and acquitted themselves with distinction. F. Owen moved and R. Naylor seconded a vote of thanks to Mr and Mrs and Miss Hargreaves, and to all the artistes who had take part in the evening’s programme. This was carried wit acclamation, and a very interesting and profitable evening ended by the singing of “God save the King” by the audience.
FATAL ACCIDENT AT WATER HAIGH, WOODLESFORD. 8 December.
Mr P.P. Maitland, coroner, opened an inquiry, in the Mechanics’ Institute, Rothwell, on Friday afternoon last, into the cause of the death of Sydney Nicholson, of Rothwell, pony driver, who was killed whilst following his employment at the Water Haigh Pit. Mr Flint, H.M. Inspector of Mines, and Mr D.W. Hargreaves, manager of the colliery, were also present. Mr T. Kirkby was foreman of the jury.
Eli Nicholson, of 4, Wright’s Buildings, Rothwell, miner, the father of the deceased, said his son was just upon 17 years of age, and was employed as a pony driver at Water Haigh Pit. He had worked about two years in the pit, was satisfied with his work, quite a strong healthy lad, his sight and hearing being all right. His son left home about 6 o’clock on Thursday morning, and when witness had come out of the Rose Pit, Rothwell, at ten past four, his son’s dead body had already been brought home. Witness had heard nothing as to how the accident had occurred, and could not attach blame to anyone.
The Coroner being satisfied as to identification, adjourned the case until Tuesday morning. At the adjournment on Tuesday morning there were present: Mr Maitland (coroner). Mr Flint (H.M. Inspector of Mines), Mr D.W. Hargreaves (manager), and Mr R. Hall (Miners’ Association).
John Jones, of St. John’s Street, Oulton, coal miner, said deceased had driven for him for 3 or 4 months, and was a capable driver. He had to take the coal about 100 yards to a pass-bye; it was on a rise out of the gate on a single road. The road would be about 6 feet wide; it was fairly good travelling on each side of the metals, more so on the left side, and the pony was quiet. Deceased left witness about 1.40 in the afternoon with three full tubs. The driver coupled the tubs, and walked behind; he required no lockers, it being slightly uphill; he carried the lamp in his hand.
When he had driven about 30 yards he would then as a rule have to go in front to see if the road was clear of the other lads coming down from other roads. Witness immediately followed the boy to see what time it was and to get a drink at the gate. He saw another light, and a boy named John Harrison called out, “Mr Jones, come quick, there is a driver under the full ones.” He found the deceased between the first and second tubs on his face, his legs being on the left side of the tubs. He was not pinned down; the pony was standing still. The first and second tubs were uncoupled, and the lamp was lit against the first tub on the left side. Witness picked the lad up immediately, the tubs being two feet apart, the lad Harrison having uncoupled them.
Nicholson was unconscious but alive, but appeared to be losing much blood from his head and the back of his right ear. He sent for the deputy; the lad would be alive about a quarter of an hour and died in his arms. Nothing could practically be done, the lad dying soon after the deputy arrived. The metals seemed to be clear; the roof would be about 5 feet high, and there was no fall of roof anywhere; everything seemed to be all right. He was of opinion that some dirt had stopped the corves, probably having dropped off some other tubs, and that when attempting to clear it the pony must have stepped back, deceased being caught between the buffers, there being a mark on each side of the head.
John Harrison, of 6, Airedale Road, Woodlesford, pony driver, said he was driving some empty tubs and expected meeting Nicholson at the pass-bye; not being there he went down the road to see if it was clear, and saw a light. He found Nicholson laid between the first and second tub. He uncoupled the tubs, sent the horse forward, pushed the tubs back, and called for Mr Jones, who came at once. He did not notice any dirt on the rails.
Albert Cain, of Park View, Woodlesford, day deputy, said he had visited the road about three hours previously, nothing being amiss, the road being clear. Harrison fetched witness about 1.45 and when he arrived found Nicholson in Jones’s arms; the lad only living about 2 minutes. Deceased had an injury under his right ear, and appeared to have been caught between the tubs.
The jury returned a verdict of: “Accidentally killed through his head being crushed between the first and second tubs whilst stooping down to clear some dirt and his pony moving on.”