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Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project

For information about the Volunteers, click here. If you would like to get involved in this project, please email farnhillww1volunteers@gmail.com.

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project Update - September 28th 2017

Kildwick Old Boys 1919-20 season Championship-winning team

The photograph below has been in the Farnhill and Kildwick History Group archive for some time - indeed it first appeared on the History Group website in 2013, as a "Mystery".

Research carried out by this project has revealed that the photograph is of the 1919-1920 season Kilwick Old Boys football team, which included a number of the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers. The team ended the season, the first after football resumed following WW1, as champions of the Keighley District second division and are shown with the "Victory" shield.

Although the photograph doesn't have a "cast list" we know from contemporary news reports that the playing members of the team were:

  • Tom Hargreaves (captain) - centre, front row
  • Alec Hargreaves (vice-captain) - far left, front row
  • Albert Bower (goalkeeper) - third from right, back row
  • Richard Inskip - second from left, front row ?

and others whose position on the photograph we don't know:

  • H. Kitson - probably Harry Kitson (b. 1897), rather than Herbert Kitson (who would have been in his 40s in 1920; b. 1877)
  • J. Kitson
  • Charles Barritt
  • A. Barker
  • N. Thompson
  • J. Brown
  • J. Harwood
  • C. Johnson
  • A. Barrett
  • S. Lister
  • C. Brent

The non-playing "officers" of the club included treasurer Eric Green, who appears on the photograph - far right, back row.

So, it's no longer a total mystery - but if you can help us match more of the players' names to the faces, please send an email to farnhillww1volunteers@gmail.com.

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project Update - September 14th 2017

Belgian refugees in Airedale

In the early months of the war, before a large number of men were serving in France, the major impact of WW1 locally was the arrival of refugees from Belgium.

Local townships provided homes and jobs for the refugees and contributed substantial funds to refugee charities.

Article - WW1 Belgian refugees in Airedale

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project Update - August 28th 2017

A 1918 Soldier's Diary

Amongst the material made available to the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers project is a 1918 Soldiers’ Diary belonging to Private Harry Hargreaves, of 1/5 battalion West Riding Regiment.

The diary measures about 7 x 11cm – small enough to fit into the pocket of a military uniform; the cover is made of card and the inside pages of very thin paper. The entries were written in pencil, in Harry’s own small (and sometimes, after 100 years, difficult to read) handwriting. All are very concise and include an almost day-by-day account of the weather – even in the days immediately after he had been wounded. It is entirely fitting that the final entry in the diary should be a comment on the weather.

The entries run from January 1st to October 23rd 1918 and record the final months of Harry Hargreaves’ service in France, which began in June 1916.

Article - Harry Hargreaves' 1918 diary.pdf

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project Update - August 14th 2017

William Benjamin Whitham - a Farnhill diary

William Benjamin Whitham moved to Farnhill, from Haworth, in April 1905. From then until just before his death in 1937 he kept a diary detailing the lives of his family, friends and neighbours; as well as making passing reference to national and international events.

Our article is transcribed and annotated version of William's diary.

Click here to read our article.

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project Update - July 30th 2017

A 1938 advertisement

After his release from a German PoW camp at the end of the war, Eric Green, who had served with the Durham Light Infantry, return to Farnhill, where his family ran the butcher's shop in Main Street.

Eric married local girl Annie Mosley in 1919, at Farnhill Chapel; and in 1924 he, Annie, and their young daughter Madge, left the village and moved to Cowling, where Eric set up his own butcher's shop.

Here's the advertisement Eric put in Kildwick Parish Magazine in January 1938.

If you would like to help us research more about the Farnhill Volunteers and their families, please email farnhillww1volunteers@gmail.com.

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project Update - July 14th 2017

Interesting family bits-and-pieces

As we continue to research the families of the Farnhill Volunteers we are coming across little snippets of information that are sometimes quite surprising. Here's just one such item.

On the 26th June 1915 (it was a Saturday) Thomas Beckwith Spencer of Oakbank Farnhill married Louise Johenna Fredericka Dorothy Hirth, originally of London, in Kildwick Church. He was a soldier, aged 32; she was 25 and didn't give a profession. They probably met through her twin brother, as he and Thomas Spencer were lodging in the same house in Leicester at the time of the 1911 census. But what is so remarkable about all this (apart from the fact that it shows how marvellous the project's researchers are) ?

Well, both of Dora's parents were German. Yes, that's right: in the middle of the war Thomas Spencer married a German !

If you would like to help us research more about the Farnhill Volunteers and their families, please email farnhillww1volunteers@gmail.com.

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project Update - June 30th 2017

What happened to the Kildwick School WW1 War memorial ?

On January 30th 1920 Thomas Appleby, the headmaster of Kildwick School, made the following entry in the school log book:

A School War Memorial with the names of 15 former scholars who gave their lives during the war has been erected in school. The central panel has a picture of a kneeling figure of St. George. The inscription is: "That unselfishness and duty cheerfully done may be a lasting example. In grateful memory of former scholars of Kildwick School who gave their lives in the Great War"

He later appended a cutting from a local newspaper:

A beautiful memorial, provided by former scholars of Kildwick National School to commemorate the sacrifices of old scholars in the great war was unveiled in Kildwick National School on Sunday afternoon. The schoolroom was quite filled with old scholars, relatives and friends, the company including Mr. James Bairstow (Springfield), and Mr. W.A. and Mr. J.J. Brigg (Kildwick Hall). The service was in charge of the vicar of Kildwick (the Rev. C.E.V. Hodge), who said they were met to dedicate the tablet to the memory of the sons of the school who had fallen in the war.
The unveiling ceremony was fittingly performed by Mr. Thomas Appleby, who had been in charge of the National School as headmaster during the school days of most of those who had fallen. ...
The memorial is of carved oak with brass panels on which are engraved the names of the fifteen old scholars who have fallen. The centre picture is of St. George kneeling, and is a replica, in colour, of the glass panel by Mr. G.W.P. Hutchinson, exhibited at the Royal Academy. ...
The names inscribed on the memorial are: Tom Allsopp, Willie Barker, A.L. Backhouse, Fred Carlton, Walter Dawson, Fred Dixon, Joseph Green, William Mosley, Fred Scarfe, Joseph Smith, J. Allan Smith, Archie Sugden, T.H. Stephens, Frank Thompson, and H. Walmsley.

The mystery is "What happened to this memorial ?". Did you attend Kildwick School ? Do you remember seeing this memorial ? Do you know when or why it was removed, and what happened to it ?

If you think you can help us resolve this mystery, please email farnhillww1volunteers@gmail.com.

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project Update - June 14th 2017

Where the Volunteers lived

We've made quite a bit of progress finding out where the Volunteers lived. Although addresses for some of them are still a bit patchy for after the end of the war (some of the men are proving difficult to find; in other cases, it's just that the online records are woefully poor), we can say with a degree of certainty where all 68 Volunteers were living at the time they signed-up.

As you might imagine, they came from all parts of the village:

Main Street17
Mary Street12
Starkey Lane7
Grange Road6
The Arbour4
Hanover Street4
Skipton Road (New Road)  4
Newby Road2
Bucklar Hill2
Bright Street2
South View2
Hardings Houses1


Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project Update - June 1st 2017

Gunner William Mosley - a centenary peal

Sat June 3rd is the centenary of the death, in action, of William Mosley from Farnhill. He wasn't a WW1 Volunteer but he was one of the Kildwick bell-ringers. The current bell-ringers will be ringing a Quarter Peal of Plain Bob Triples in his memory, beginning shortly after 2pm and continuing for around 45 minutes or so.

Click here for a short biography of William Mosley.

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project Update - May 14th 2017

Was Kildwick a thankful village ?

In the 1930s the writer Arthur Mee coined the term “Thankful Village” for those places which had lost no men in World War 1, because all those who left to serve came home again. In 2013, an updated list identified 53 civil parishes in England and Wales from which all serving personnel returned.

Kildwick wasn't on that list. Should it be added ?

Read our article.

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project Update - April 30th 2017

Project logos

We're very pleased to reveal our project logos, which will be used on all material produced by the project.

Banner logo

Roundel logo

We hope you like them.

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project Update - April 15th 2017

Mary Sharpe - what a woman can do

Mary Sharpe, who lived at Kildwick Hall, was mayoress of Keighley from 1912 to 1916, when her brother was mayor. Local news reports of the time suggest that she was forthright in her views on a women's place in society and what women can do in wartime.

Read our article.

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project Update - March 25th 2017

Photographs of volunteers and their siblings

Members of the project recently contacted a relative of two of the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers, George and Richard Inskip. This lady was able to provide us with our first photograph of Richard and a photograph of George which is much better than anything we currently have.

She was also able to show us a photograph of their younger sister, Phyllis, one of twins born in 1907. It's a lovely picture, probably taken in the early 1920s, when the family were living in Hanover Street and Phyllis would have been a teenager. This is what a Farnhill teenager looked like in the 1920s !

If you'd like to help us find more photographs of the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers and their families, please send an email to farnhillww1volunteers@gmail.com.

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project Update - February 25th 2017

What middle names can tell us

The middle names of people often provide useful information about a person's family or origins. Boys are sometimes given their mother's maiden name, for example - this seems to be particularly prevalent in Scottish families.

Our project is uncovering lots of interesting middle names: including the Farnhill WW1 Volunteer James Scarborough Theodore Pollard; and the younger brother of another Volunteer, Harry Mossman Dawson.

One of these is named after the place the family used to live, and the other was given an old family name. I'm sure you can guess which is which.

So our research has shown that James Pollard was descended, on his mother's side, from the Scarborough family - prominent in the area from the very earliest records. Harry Dawson's family, however, were relatively new to the area having previously lived near Mossman Fields in Shipley.

If you would like to help us untangle the family histories of the 68 men from Farnhill who volunteered to fight in WW1, please send an email to farnhillww1volunteers@gmail.com.

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project Update - February 12th 2017

Interesting forebears

We've been having trouble identifying the parents of one of the Volunteers, Harry Pollard. He was brought up by Binns Hartley and his wife Sophia Annie (nee Pollard). That Harry was some close relation of Sophia's is almost certain, but quite what their precise kinship was is eluding us at present. What we do know is that Sophia Annie had a brother with the name Feargus O'Connor Pollard. Very unusual, I'm sure you'll agree.

It gets even more unusual when you find out that the Volunteer William Birch Holmes had a great-uncle called Feargus O'Connor Holmes.

What is it with Feargus O'Connor you may be thinking. For the answer to this and why we've come to the conclusion that the Pollard and Holmes families shared the same radical political views, take a look at the articles on Chartism on the Farnhill and Kildwick History Group site.

If you would like to help us research the lives of all 68 of the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers, please email us at farnhillww1volunteers@gmail.com.

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project Update - January 29th 2017

The tragic death of Willie Barker

A remarkable feature of the 68 Farnhill Volunteers is that only six of them died during WW1. All of these losses were, of course, tragic; but perhaps the saddest story is that of the death of Willie Barker.

Willie Barker was born, in Farnhill, in December 1896 and was just 19 when he joined the 11th battalion East Yorkshire Regiment. He was sent to France on the 11th of September 1918, very close to the end of the war, and the regimental diary records that he arrived as part of a contingent of 141 men. The battalion was at this time resting behind the lines and for a fortnight Willie's life must have one of lectures, training, checking kit, and playing football - matches appear to have taken place almost every day.

The battalion returned to the front line during the afternoon and evening of the September 24th. The regimental diary records this as being a quiet period and the battalion was fully in position by 7:30am on the 25th.

At some point on the 24th, during this quiet period, Willie Barker was killed. His time on the front line can only have been a few hours at the most.

Willie Barker is buried in Bailleul Cemetery close to where he died. His name is commemorated on the Kildwick War Memorial.

If you would like to help us research the lives of all 68 of the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers, please email us at farnhillww1volunteers@gmail.com.

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project Update - January 15th 2017

An interesting connection

As we research the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers we're finding that many of them were connected - either they were members of an extended family; they worked at the same mill; or they shared leisure pursuits.

Recent research, yet to be confirmed, suggests that a woman called Ida Dawson was closely related no less than three Volunteers. It looks as if she was:

  • The mother of Harry Walmsley
  • The sister of John William Dawson
  • The aunt of Walter Dawson

If you would like to help us research other interesting connections between the Farmhill WW1 Volunteers, please email us at farnhillww1volunteers@gmail.com.

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project Update - January 1st 2017

Project launch event

The project starts officially today. January 1st 2017. However, we have already started to plan our first public event which will be a WW1 Magic Lantern Show to be held on March 3rd, in the Institute building.

Click here for details and to reserve seats.. We hope you will be able to join us.

An 1892 watercolour

A friend of the History Group recently sent in a picture of a watercolour painted in 1892 by one of her past family members, Millie Clough. It turns out that Millie was the mother of one of the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers, Eric Green.

We are looking forward to researching the lives of Eric Green and his family as part of our project. In the meantime, click here to view his mother's pretty watercolour.

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