Monday 27 February 2012

Conscientious objectors

While researching the Bradford Trades Council minutes three names of conscientious objectors have so far emerged. The Trades Council had even before the war broke out been looking for peace, attending the Ninth National Peace Conference in Leeds in 1913. This effort continued throughout the war as demonstrated by a survey of their members in March 1918 to see if they were in favour of a negotiated peace. They had been adamantly against conscription and working to “safeguard the historic right of individual freedom of conscience.”

One of the conscientious objectors named was Revis Barber (full name Mark Revis Barber) who was the son of the Secretary of the Trades Council. His father Walter had previously been a stuff dyers labourer but was secretary of the Trades Council from at least 1911. He was 50 when war broke out in 1914 and too old to go to the front. He and his wife Alice had four children, in 1911 they report that the eldest two sons, Charles and James, had died, both were in the 1901 census as apprentices age 16 and 14. Their third son Mark Revis Barber was 18 when war broke out and their youngest Walter Vereen Annistage Barber was 13. The Trades Council in December 1918 “agreed to make an application for the release of Revis Barber from the Home Office Scheme having served 12 months imprisonment.”

I don’t know what happened to his two older brothers what caused them to die when they had survived infancy and seemed to be doing well as apprentices, or what happened to his younger brother and whether he too was a conscientious objector.

I have just discovered that Revis Barber went on to be an Alderman of Bradford Council and "supported and led the dream of a University for Bradford for many years. In 1965, Alderman Barber signed the Petition to the Queen to create a Royal Charter, thereby establishing the University; he died very soon after."

The other two conscientious objectors that were named in the minutes were  Mr A Emsley a member of the National Union of Woolsorters and Mr W J Greene. This hasn’t given me enough information to confirm any more details about their families but if you know more please get in touch.


Bradford Trades Council minutes 1914-1918 

There is more information about Revis Barber at the Bradford University Archive

Friday 24 February 2012

Field House Auxiliary Hospital

Field House Auxiliary Hospital opened on 24th February 1915. It was used of the majority of the war (although it was shut for a period it reopened due to the demand for beds) finally closing in February 1919.  At its height it accommodated 88 soldiers and was run by the St John’s Ambulance Brigade. For more information read the full article.

I hope to find time to search more newspapers for details of when the Field House Hospital closed and reopened as no specific dates are given in the Bradford Royal Infirmary annual reports. 

If anyone has any further knowledge of the use of Field House during WW1 or of nurses who lived there after this time it would be lovely to hear more.

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Volentines – February

"Ther did used to be a bit o’ fun for th young fowk on the 14th when volentines use to be knockin abaat, but that’s noa longer th’ case. Pictur pooast cards killed th’ volentine craze an they’ve ommost had ther day. All romance seems to be deein aght nah days; fowk have to work soa hard for a livin ‘at they’ve noa time for sich foolishness as volentines. Even love has to tak a back seeat nah, an a lass thinks moor abaat what a chap haddles nor abat what he is. Wimmen are gettin moor independent an men indifferent. Lasses nah days had rayther goa an stand behind a caanter an sarve customers ner stop at hooam to help ther mother an leearn to bake an cook an keep a haase cleean an tidy... an then fowk say they wonder ha it is ‘at young chaps dooant seem i’ such a hurry to get wed as they used to be. An then tak th’ young chaps – what abaat them? What are they dooin? Fooitball i’ winter an cricket i’ summer is all they show onny interest in. Net ‘at aw’ve owt agean gams o’ that sooart, but one cannot help thinkin sometimes ‘at if they’d to give ther muscles a bit less wark an ther brains a bit moor they’d be better for it."

Just one more example of the wonderful use of the Yorkshire Dialect by John Hartley in his 1910 Clock Almanack.

Hartley, John 1910 The original Clock Almanack in the Yorkshire Dialect

Friday 10 February 2012

Recruitment – nicknames for the Pals Battalions

Having relocated the Recruitment text to the main BradfordWW1 site I wanted to make sure the discussion started on the blog wasn’t lost so here it is...

The Leeds City Battalion - later 15th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment(1st Leeds Pals), had been given the rather unfortunate nick-name the "Feather-Bed" and "Titty-Bottle Battalion" in its early formation. Some locals had believed that members were cossetted and had a comfortable time of things; billets, training, issue of uniforms, etc. Instances are to be found in The Yorkshire Evening Post and Laurie Milner provides a good account in "Leeds Pals". Is there anything to suggest that 1st and 2nd Bradfords received similar taunts or had an unofficial nick-name?
AnonymousFeb 2, 2012 10:43 AM

Yes after the First Bradford Pals had first formed they enjoyed a nice life compared to the long hours of daily toil they were used to, including a 2 hour lunch break in which they could wander around the city.

The 'Bradford Pals' by David Raw confirms this "Afterwards many of them reflected that this was the best time of their lives. Compared with the Leeds Pals who were sent off to camp in the wilds of Colsterdale near Masham as early as September the Bradford men knew they were having a 'cushy time' They were determined to enjoy it."

"The fulsome media coverage began to cause a backlash, particularly from relatives of men in the regulars and the Territorials who were failing to get the same attention."

The two Bradford Pals battalions met up with the Leeds Pals at Fovant and together with the Durham Pals formed the 93rd Brigade of the 31st (Pals) Division.

I highly recommend this book which follows the Bradford Pals from recruitment to January 1918 when the British Army was reorganised.
BradfordWW1 Feb 2, 2012 12:21 PM

Many Thanks. It is some time since I read David Raw's book and I will certainly consider your recommendation and buy it this time. I hope to be visiting Owl Trench and Serre in the near future and will pay my respects to the Bradford lads while I'm there.
AnonymousFeb 3, 2012 04:07 AM

Regarding nicknames apparently the 1st Bradford Pals were called "chocolate soldiers" after a handsome brass case containing chocolates and cigarettes was presented to each man by Francis Laidler the owner of the Alhambra Theatre.

Anyone know of nicknames for the other ‘Pals’ Battalions?

BradfordWW1 Feb 3, 2012 04:25 AM

Recruitment and more

I have just transferred the blogs about recruitment in Bradford to the main website and have added the latest update “Reserves for the Pals – Weeding out the unfit.

I want the content of the BradfordWW1 site to cover the main issues faced by Bradford at the time of the First World War and to keep the blog for more informal discussion with you all about the issues.  Please join in the discussions!

I will continue to post updates on my visits to the archives on the blog as and when I have time. I have taken to live tweeting from the archives as so often by the time I have returned home and found time to get to the computer I have forgotten what it was that I had found so interesting/amusing at the archives so it is easier if I tweet about it while I am there.

So please follow my twitter feed where I also tweet notable dates from Bradford’s history or watch the home page where the twitter feed is available.

Sunday 5 February 2012

Yorkshire soldiers – wounded

While going through one soldiers service record I came across a sheet detailing the names of other soldiers who had been wounded. As it included information which may not be available anywhere else I have transcribed it here. I hope it is of use to someone.

2nd Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment
19226              Pte       Smith H           Injured             5.7.18
63431              Pte       Davidson J       Injured             6.7.18
                        Auth O.C.                   Bn 13.7.18

5th Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
62494              Pte       Blenkinsop L    Injured             11.7.18 Admitted
                        Auth O.C. 2/2              W.R.F.A 13/7/18

1/4th Battalion West Riding Regiment
203728            Pte       Haggas E         Wounded         12.7.18           
                        Auth O.C. No 10          C.C.S. 13.7.18
34019              Pte       Hardman J P    Wounded         9.7.18
Auth O.C. No 44          C.C.S 13.7.18

9th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment
????8               Pte       Allon J             W                     12.7.18 Admitted
Auth O.C. No 51          F.A. 13.7.18