By Jean Walker
William Isaac Tasker and Henry Asher Mabbott were friends born in Lincolnshire in the late 1800s. They moved to Doncaster to work as Porters on the railway. Porters assisted passengers on the platforms and helped to load the train carriages. In 1913, Henry had a new role as a Shunter, moving trains around the yard. By 1918 they were living together at 42 Prospect Place in Hyde Park. They were both members of the National Union of Railwaymen.
Henry sadly died in 1918, but better news followed as William married Henry’s sister, Rose Mabbott, later that year. They had a son in 1920. By 1929 they had moved to 76 Harrowden Road in Wheatley, and William continued to work on the railway as an LNER Guard.
The third man in this photograph is called Mr Johnson. We are unsure of his background, but he seems to be a good friend of William and Henry.
All the King’s Horses
By Ruth Scott-Chambers
Prior to the First World War, battles had been won or lost by the strategic use of cavalry charges, with soldiers riding on horseback.
However, the development of more advanced weaponry changed how the war was fought. Weapons such as the Maxim gun and heavy artillery shells meant that horses were no longer needed on the front line. Instead, they were used for transport across the battlefield.
In fact, the Army could not have functioned without horses taking supplies, equipment and weapons. They also took wounded soldiers to field hospitals. The British Army Veterinary Corps treated nearly two million horses and mules during the conflict.
This photograph of a soldier on horseback was probably taken at a training camp. In the background are gun carriages which the horses would pull into battle.
In December 1914, the Daily Mail reported that ‘the horses are brave and clever and faithful, wonderfully docile in the art of war, admiral friends as always.’
I Believe I Can Fly!
By Ruth Scott-Chambers
First World War pilots had to believe in themselves because they had a very short life expectancy. In fact, some pilots named themselves ‘The Twenty Minute Club’.
Royal Flying Corps Officer Lake is photographed here beside the Bristol F2 Fighter Plane, affectionately known as ‘Brifit’ or ‘Biff’. This was a two-seater biplane which was used for both fighting and observation. The aircraft was developed by Frank Barnwell at the Bristol Aeroplane Company.
This plane is decorated with the symbol of the swastika. This may come as a surprise, given the sign’s use by the Nazis in the Second World War. However, the swastika has been a symbol of good fortune for thousands of years in many cultures around the world. In the ancient language Sanskrit it signifies ‘well-being’, and it was used by the British and American military in the First World War.