The four mayors and their wives worked hard to support the war effort during the First World War. They juggled raising funds, encouraging the provision of hospital beds for war wounded and supporting local charitable organisations while continuing council business. All four wartime mayors are buried in Hyde Park Cemetery.
SON OF FAMOUS RAILWAY ENGINEER
Patrick Stirling, born in Scotland, was mayor in 1914. Like his famous father, also named Patrick Stirling, he worked at the Great Northern Railway’s Doncaster Works, known locally as ‘the Plant’.
Patrick supported the creation of a hospital of 30 beds in the Mansion House for war wounded. Patrick also led Doncaster’s role in providing places for Belgian refugees. He took double the number allocated by the authorities, personally welcoming them to Doncaster from the steps of the Mansion House.
WORKED DAY AND NIGHT ON BEHALF OF THE TOWN
Samuel Balmforth was born in Elland, West Yorkshire and moved to Doncaster to manage the Co-operative grocery department. He later owned Parkinson’s Butterscotch.
He became mayor and Chief Magistrate in November 1914 of the new ‘Greater Doncaster’ which now included Balby, Hexthorpe and Wheatley. In 1916 he became chairman of the tribunal examining men who wished to be excused from war service. Samuel had little sympathy or patience with those who came before the tribunal. Samuel continued as Mayor until 1916, when he lost the mayoral election.
‘YOU HAVE GIVEN YOUR SONS, YOU WILL NOT WITHHOLD YOUR MONEY’
George Raithby became mayor in November 1916. A keen Wesleyan Methodist and Sunday School Superintendent, George had strongly opposed the Sunday tram service.
George vigorously supported the Government’s War Loan Scheme canvassing Doncastrians to ‘lend to their last shilling’ in support of the war effort. He called on the people of Doncaster who had family at the Front to not ‘withhold’ their money. Doncaster raised £1,087,021 becoming a ‘million pound town.’
BEREAVEMENT AND HARD TIMES
Abner Carr was the son of a Campsall farmer. He was a Wesleyan Methodist and Freemason, served for over 20 years on the Wheatley Urban District Council, and became mayor in November 1917.
Abner chaired the Food Control Committee when rationing was introduced in March 1918. That year Council workers went on strike for four weeks resulting in disruption to gas, estates and tram services and adding to the general misery of the lengthy war. Abner and his wife lost two sons in the last year of the war.