Ex-Miner George William Buttle called up from the reserves

George William Buttle was born in Maltby, Rotherham around May 1895 to George and Selina Buttle. They later moved to Tickhill in Doncaster whilst his father worked as a farmer. By the time George William was a teenager, he and his family had moved back to Maltby. Both he and his father worked down the mine – his father a coal miner and he a pony pit driver.

When he reached 18 years of age, George signed up to join the Army reserves at Mexborough on 22.05.1913. He was placed into 3rd Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI). When war broke out, he was called up and was part of the British Territorial Force. He was a driver, first in the 217th Battery, and later in the 365th Battery of the Royal Artillery Regiment. He was killed in action on 8.5.1915.

He was awarded a Victory Medal, British War Medal, and a 1914-15 Star for his service. George was buried in the Perth (China Wall) Military Cemetery in Zillebeke, Near Ypres.

His brother, John Thomas Buttle, would also sign up to fight and was in the KOYLI. Although he was injured during the war, John would survive and live until 1971.

Thomas Abel Duesbery

Thomas Abel Duesbery was born in Goole on 20 Aug 1895 to Thomas and Albeatrice Duesbery. His father worked as a Sail Maker whilst they lived on 1 Kingston Street, Goole. When Thomas was a teenager, he lived with his family at 59 Newport Street, Goole and worked as a Bottle Washer.

During the War, Thomas changed regiments numerous times. He was first a private in 5th Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. Later, he was a signaller for the Royal Engineers and then a Gunner for the East Riding Royal Garrison Artillery (Territorial Force).

Thomas survived the war and lived until 1975. He died in Rotherham around the age of 79/80.

His brother, James Duesbery, who worked as a drayman, also signed up to serve and was placed in the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment. First he was in the Dragoons regiment and then the Machine Gun Corps. He also survived the war.

Pvt George Fines Mountain

George Fines Mountain was born in Spilsby, Lincolnshire on 28th Sept 1889 to Lewis Fines Mountain and Sarah Ann Mountain. When George was born, his family lived in Spilsby while his father worked as an Agricultural Labourer. He and his family moved to 19 Fitzwilliam Street, Doncaster by the time George was 11 and his father and brother Norris both worked on the railways. Before the war, George was working as a labourer.

During the war, George was a gunner for the Royal Field Artillery in the 134th Battery. His service earned him a Victory and British War Medal. His brothers, Henry and Norris, also served in the War. Henry Fines Mountain was a Sergeant in 8th Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI). He died in Italy just before the end of the war on 30th Aug 1918. Henry was buried in Dueville Communal Cemetery, Veneto, Italy (Plot 1. Row G. Grave 2.). Norris also served in KOYLI and had signed up a decade before on 13th March 1905.

George survived the war and married Annie Riley in late 1928. George died in Doncaster in 1976 at the age of 87.


Private George Weddell’s amazing diary entries

During the war, George Weddell served with the 8th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry. Before the war, he had moved to the North East just outside of Durham City. This is where he met and married his wife, Margaret.

Whilst serving with the Durham light infantry, George was killed in action on 18th September 1916 aged 29. He was buried in Adanac Military Cemetery in Plot VII, Row E, and Grave No. 15. George kept a diary of his day to day life in the trenches. On the 1st June 1915, George sent a letter home to his father giving a detailed account about his first engagement with the enemy.

He was awarded a 1914-15 Star, a British War Medal, and a Victory Medal for his service.

Letter to his father:

“After getting back for a bit rest but still when we can hear the big guns, I have a bit time to write you a few of my experiences. Well after leaving the place where we were staying at we marched for two hours, then we got out and stayed at a farm for the night but we got no sleep as the rats we running about the barn like monkeys.

Next morning April 24th we set off for the firing line and after many stops of rests we arrived at day break on Sunday April 25th right into the German lines. I don’t know how we didn’t all get out up straight away but as it was dusk they must not have seen us. I didn’t think the Germans were so near tell we were going along a dyke bask[?] And the gutter was half full of dead Kilties & Canadians. Thus I said to myself we are up against it and mind we were. We came to some trenches half full of water. We no sooner got into them till the Germans started shelling us like hell, there were a few Canadians in these trenches that we went to relieve but they wouldn’t leave us so they stopped and helped us. It’s a good job they did as they were used to the shells and noises and we were not and they showed us how to go on as not one of us knew which was our front when we first got in. I was close to Serg. Taylor when he was killed he would not have been 10 minutes in action till he got the [indecipherable] by a sniper he was shot through the head we were not long there till a few more got wounded by shells. Very few were shot by rifle. They can’t shoot for nuts. These infantry but there artillery is very good and they don’t forget to use it. By this time I was wet through as it had been raining all night and the trenches were up to waist with water.

OK, it was fine we stayed there a few hour’s then we advanced and one of our companies made a charge. I was not in it just as well for me as there was only one or two came back to tell the tale as the [indecipherable] were so thick as bee’s. They were all G[?] Guards + big fellows. I was sent across a bit planton[?], where there was a farm, along with another chap to get a sniper who was shooting as us when we were lying on a road as we had no trenches after we advanced. After we got halfway across we had to lie down for the bullets were flying about our heads. I took aim at him as he made off. I pulled and he fell forward to the ground. Whether it hit him or he fell on purpose I can’t say as our officer shouted to us to come back and I was pleased to do so. We dug ourselves in alongside this road I held on all day. And Sunday night under heavy shell fire. On Monday morning they advanced to us in masses. I was lying beside a Canadian about the middle of the line & he was keep saying (go on Durham), Pump it into them. By now I had seen a lot of my comrades fall by the side of me nearly all by shells. I had some near things myself but by now I had lost all fear.

The Germans must have lost a lot of men as they were coming up in four deep right along the line and we were pumping the lead into them. The first lot that came up had khaki clothes on so that how they stole a march[?] on us, they were shouting don’t fire we are English and Col Turnbull shouted to us to stop firing, but where they got a bit nearer we saw they had top boots on. Then a Canadian officer shouted out go at it lads pump it into them, the B- Germans, the shells were dropping about us. It was like hell but we kept pumping away. Our maxims gave them some stick. Then a Durham chap ran out of the trench and I started shouting at him to come back, the silly bugger you’ll be shot but when I looked around the whole of our right flank was retiring. They were half way across the field so I had another pop or two at the Germans as I thought it hard[?] lines to have such cook[?] shots.

By now the Germans were not very far off so I threw off my pack and walked away that’s how I lost everything I brought from home. I stuck to my rifle + ammunition and walked on. I couldn’t run (or I would mind) as I was wet from head to foot. The bullets were playing all sorts of tunes about our heads and the Germans were shouting at the top of their voices ‘Hock Hock’ but I kept walking on till I came to an old musk heap. I got in behind it and had a few more pop’s at them but when they got so far they didn’t care about following us to close up in case we had a trap set for them, and it’s a good job for them they didn’t as we had some maxim set in a wood waiting for them to come up.

After I left the musk heap I broke head first through a dyke a lot of our lad’s made for a gate way and they got the [indecipherable] as the Germans had two maxims playing on it. We then retired to another line of trenches which we held on to till Tuesday night then we got relieved. But we went back to some supporting trenches where it was just as bad for they shelled them more or less till may 2nd.

The first day in the trenches we had neither food or water. I managed to get a few oxo cubes from a Canadian which I ate as they were and then I ate some dry tea leaves so this is a few details of my first battle.

Your loving Son

Geo Weddell”

Story and photographs kindly submitted by Jill McGarvie.

Conisbrough’s Frank Sleaford killed days before Christmas

Frank Sleaford was born on January 1896 to Benjamin and Sarah Sleaford. He was one of 8 children and lived in Conisbrough, Doncaster. Before joining the army in 1914 he worked as a mill worker in the local saw mill.

After joining the army, Frank was deployed with his regiment to France in 1915. He was a soldier in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry of “A” Company in the 7th Battalion. Unfortunately, he was killed in action in Flanders on the 22nd December 1916 at the age of 20. His body was never recovered.

His name is included amongst the other soldiers who lost their lives during the war and do not have a physical grave, at the Thiepval Memorial, France. He is also commemorated at the Memorial Statue in Conisbrough. He was posthumously awarded a 1914-15 Star, a British War Medal, and a Victory Medal.

Story and photographs kindly submitted by Helen Johnson.

Hexthorpe’s Edward Teale mystery photograph

Edward Teale was born in a Union Workhouse in Hexthorpe, Doncaster. He moved around Doncaster a lot. He lived on Union Street, Baker Street, Young Street, and in Wheatley just off Beckett Road. His mother, Ester Teale, was born on Silver Street. She died just off the High Street at 34 Wrights Court. Both Edward’s Father and Mother were buried in Hyde Park Cemetery.

Edward was present during the infamous Siege of Sidney Street where two anarchists burnt to death after a standoff with the police following a robbery.

Included is a picture of Edward during the First World War. He is shown on the far right of the photograph. It is believed that Edward served in a dragoon’s regiment, but it is unclear where or in what context the photograph was taken in.

Story and photograph kindly submitted by Yvonne Keys.

Farm labourer George Henry Kirk killed at the Somme

George Henry Kirk was born in 1891 in Waddington Heath, Lincoln. He was born to John Henry and Elizabeth Anne Kirk. George and his family moved around a lot as his father worked as a farm labourer. George’s family moved to Fishlake before moving a bit further east to Thorne. Later in life, George returned to Lincolnshire, mainly in the Sleaford area, to find work.

During the war, George signed up to the army and joined the 9th Battalion Suffolk Regiment. Sadly, he was killed in action during the Somme on the 16th September 1916 aged 25. He was awarded a 1914-15 Star, a British War Medal, and a Victory Medal for his service. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial at Pier and Face 1C and 2A.

His parents would live at 15 Kirton Lane in Thorne until their deaths.

Story and photographs kindly submitted by Jennifer Callison.

George Kirk's medals and dea

Title: George Kirk's medals and dea
Description: Submitted by Jennifer Callison by-nc

George's wife

Title: George's wife
Description: Submitted by Jennifer Callison by-nc

Photographs of farm worker Malin Lunn

Malin Lunn was born in 1896. He worked a number of jobs such as a farm worker as well as working with the boilers in a quarry.

When war broke out, he joined the Royal Artillery as a gunner. He earned a British War Medal and a Victory Medal for his service.

Malin survived the war and lived long enough to become grandfather to Archibald Malin Sinclair, who submitted these wonderful photographs.

Malin Lunn and his comrades

Title: Malin Lunn and his comrades
Description: Submitted by Archibald Malin Sinclair by-nc

Postcard belonging to Malin Lunn

Title: Postcard belonging to Malin Lunn
Description: Submitted by Archibald Malin Sinclair by-nc

Malin Lunn later in life

Title: Malin Lunn later in life
Description: Submitted by Archibald Malin Sinclair by-nc

Lunn's British War Medal and Victory Medal

Title: Lunn's British War Medal and Victory Medal
Description: Submitted by Archibald Malin Sinclair by-nc

Private Charles H Ellerby

Charles Hatcliffe Ellerby was born in early 1887. He and his family lived on 56 Pontefract Road in Barnsley before later moving next door to number 54. Charles lived with his parents, two brothers and his sister. His father, John Ellerby, was a self-employed boot/shoe maker until his death in mid-1904 at the age of 51. Charles now lived with his widowed mother, Letitia Ellerby, and his two brothers; his sister had moved out in 1909 having married Arthur William Rawlings. The remaining Ellerby household lived on 56 June Street during this time.

Before the war, Charles was working as a mason. Charles and both his brothers (George and John) would sign up. Both George and John would join up with the Royal Engineers. Charles joined the KOYLI (King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) and was put into 2nd Battalion. He would serve there until he tragically died. At the time of his death, he was in the 13th Infantry Brigade as part of 5th Division. He was transferred to Rawalpindi British General Hospital which was set up in a hotel in Wimereux, Boulogne, France. He would die of his wounds on 9th May 1915. He was buried in Wimereux Communal Cemetery located in plot I. G. 11A Grave No. 413. Charles would be remembered during a requiem for fallen soldiers in Barnsley on 23rd June 1918. For his service, he was awarded a Victory medal, a 1914-15 star, and a British War Medal.

Charles’ brothers would live out the war. Charles’ older brother George left the army in 1919 and married Edith Annie Horbury in 1917. His younger brother, John, would leave the army in 1920 and marry Lily Todd in 1921 and have a daughter – Rose Ellerby. His sister, Lilly, would go on to have a child named after their mother – Letitia Rawlings.

Colonel William Picton Bradley-Williams

William Picton Bradley-Williams was born in Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire on 9th October 1890. William had two sisters and two brothers. He was born into a wealthy family because his father, Herbert Edward, was a Bank Manager. After his family moved to Bristol, they had up to 5 domestic servants including Cooks and Governesses. Although listed as a student on the 1911 census, he had joined the army by 1909. His brothers Edward de Winton and Evan Vincent would also join up.

He was in 3rd Battalion Monmouthshire regiment from June 1909 to May 1912. During this time, he was briefly attached to the South Wales Borderers in April 1911 up to December 1911. At the end of his time there, he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on the 22nd May 1912. He transferred to the KOYLI (King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) regiment from May 1912 to December 1912 then joined them abroad in January 1913 to July 1915. On the 4th August 1914, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. He worked as a Regimental Transport Officer from December 1914 to June 1915 before becoming a Brigade Transport Officer for 3 months (April 1915 – June 1915). He was also standing in temporarily as the rank of Captain from the 13th April. He was there until he was wounded on 20th July 1915. He was then promoted to the rank of Captain a few months later on the 1st October 1915.

A year later, he was transferred to the KLR (King’s Liverpool Regiment) back in Britain from August 1916 to January 1918. During this time, he worked as a company commander for 2 months and also as a transport officer for 5 months. He also went to the Senior Officers’ School from August 1916 to the 15th December 1917. His syndicate commanding officer described Bradley-Williams in the report as ‘[A]n Officer of smart appearance with plenty of drive and self-confidence. He is quick to learn, is a good drill and handles troops well. After more experience abroad he should make a good Commanding Officer.’ He added that Bradley-Williams ‘would make a good instructor’.

His commandant, Brigadier-General F. J. Marshall, said he was ‘[A] capable Officer who should be given an opportunity of gaining more experience in the field.’
He re-joined KOYLI abroad in January 1918 to April 1918. He was transferred to the border regiment in April 1918 and was standing temporarily as a Major from 20th April. Two months later, he was acting Lieutenant Colonel from the 5th June until he was wounded on 10th August 1918. Captain William Picton Bradley-Williams was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in 1919 whilst serving in 2nd Battalion KOYLI (although he was attached to 5th Battalion at the time). After the war had ended, he was stationed in Mhow, India with 1st Battalion KOYLI.

In the 1930s he lived at The Grange in Fittleworth, Sussex. He also frequently made trips around the world whilst working for the army. Capt Bradley-Williams boarded a ship bound for Bombay (now Mumbai) on 1st August 1930; he left the ship at Karachi. He moved around the subcontinent, first in Peshawar (now Pakistan) around 1930-31 and later in Arga, India around 1934. He was a part of 2nd Battalion KOYLI during his service there. He then took several trips working in Gibraltar. Now a Major, his first trip was in 1934 on 29th September. The second was in 1936 on 19th December. After this time, he had been promoted to Lt Colonel as part of 1st Battalion KOYLI in a Machine Gun Support Company. On 21nd January 1938, Lt Colonel Bradley-Williams boarded a ship to Gibraltar for a third time to stay there during his service. His wife, Francis Mary Bradley-Williams visited him in Gibraltar with their children on 15th Feb 1936; Priscilla M. & Phoebe J. who were 12 and their son S.G. who was 6. Francis visited again with their son S.G. Bradley-Williams on 7th Nov 1936. She visited alone on 4th December 1937. By 1939, he had returned to the mainland and was working in Strensall in York.

During World War II, now too old to serve on the front at the age of 50, he became Commander of the Hull Garrison. He had been promoted to Colonel by this point.

Col. William Picton Bradley-Williams died in early 1981 in Bury St. Edmunds. By the time of his death, he had been awarded the Distinguished Service Order, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-18, General Service Medal 1918-64, India General Service Medal 1908-35, France & Germany Star 1939-45, Defence Medal 1939-45, War Medal 1939-45, and the Coronation Medal 1937 throughout his military career.