5th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment
Born 1875 – Died 1st July 1916
Age at death 41
Lt. Col. Charles Edmund Boote
Charles was born in 1875 into the prominent Staffordshire family of pottery owners T&R Boote. He was the youngest son of the family, having three older brothers. Charles was sent away to school, age 6, finishing his education at Shrewsbury School.
Charles married Gertrude in 1896. In the marriage register his father is described as “a manufacturer” and hers as “a gentleman”. They had a son and two daughters. He joined the army some years earlier and served in South Africa.
He was one of the first to be killed going over the top on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Buried in Gommecourt Wood New Cemetery, Foncquevillers (Pas de Calais, France).There are 715 casualties buried here, only of third of whom were identified. Their remains were brought to Gommecourt after the war ended, they had initially been buried on the battlefield.
While having no immediate Harrogate connection, he was the brother of Ada Boote, who married Robert Wood of Harrogate. Their son died in the war in 1918, and is also named on the St. Wilfrid memorial.
16th Battalion Devonshire Regiment
Born 1885 – Died 18th September 1918
Age at death 33
2Lt. Ernest Bristow Farrar
By 1891 Farrar’s family was living at Micklefield, Leeds, where his father was vicar.
He attended Leeds Grammar School, Durham University and the Royal College of Music. In 1911 Farrar was an organist at St Hilda’s Church, South Shields, where he married Olive Mason in January 1913. He taught celebrated composer Gerald Finzi, who lived for a while on Duchy Road. Farrar became organist at Christ Church, Harrogate, and conducted the Harrogate Orchestral Society. He joined the Grenadier Guards in 1915.
He was granted leave in the summer of 1918 and conducted the premiere of his final opus, the “Heroic Elegy” at the Royal Hall in Harrogate. This piece was dedicated to his fallen comrades. Farrar returned to duty in September and within days was killed by machine gun fire in the Battle of Epehy.
Buried in Ronssoy Communal Cemetery (Somme, France) with 37 other casualties, only a small number of bodies have been identified.
“He was a musician of the highest ideals, and was devoted to the art he served so faithfully.”
Farrar’s obituary in the Musical Times.
7th Battalin North Stafforshire Regiment
Born 1884 – Died 26th January 1917
Age at death 33
2Lt. Joseph William Smith Hird
Hird was born in Coatham, Yorkshire, the son of a Durham born merchant. He became a boarder at Durham School. By 1911 he was living in Cleveland Lodge, 72 Cornwall Rd, Harrogate with his widowed mother.
The census described the family as being “of private means”. At the time of his death he was engaged to Miss Parkins of Crescote, Harrogate.
The Harrogate Herald reported that Joseph had volunteered in 1914 and had been home on leave just before he died of wounds received at Kut-el-Amara, Mesopotamia, having been posted there in late 1916.
Buried at Amara War Cemetery, Iraq, along with 4,621 others, and also commemorated on the family monument in Redcar Cemetery and in Durham School Chapel.
His two younger sisters both married at St Wilfrid; Elizabeth in 1919 and Eveline in 1922.
South Lancashire Regiment
Born 1885 – Died 18th November 1916
Age at death 31
Lt. Charles G.S.Skelton
By 1901 Charles was living with his parents William and Ellen in Norfolk, where his father worked as a beer agent. He attended Norwich School. By 1911 he had joined the Canadian Infantry, and he enlisted into the South Lancashire Regiment from there in 1914.
In July 1915 he married Annie Hunter at St Wilfrid Harrogate.
According to the war memorial in St Wilfrid’s he was killed leading his men in the first attack on Grandcourt (Somme). Charles is commemorated on the Thiepval monument, along with 72,336 other casualties.
His younger brother became a Vice Admiral in the Navy. Reginald was a naval engineer and accompanied Scott on his first expedition to the Antarctic as Chief Engineer.
Charles’ widow commissioned the WW1 memorial in the Holy Spirit Chapel at St Wilfrid Harrogate.
Annie married again at St Wilfrid Harrogate in 1919 and then lived at 38a Duchy Road.
16th Battalion King’s Royal Rifles
Born 1884 – Died 11th March 1916
Age at death 31
2Lt. Godfrey H. Averdieck
Godfrey was born in 1884 in Bradford, to George and Emma. After being educated at Charterhouse he went on to work with his father’s company Messrs. Kessler & Co. Ltd (exporters of textiles) of Manchester & Bradford. Godfrey was a member and captain of the Bradford Rowing Club, hunted with the Bramham Moor, and was also a subscriber to the Airedale Beagles. At the time of his death he lived in Bradford but his parents lived at 18 Beech Grove Harrogate. He sailed to New York in 1914, describing himself as “a merchant” but by August 1915 had enlisted.
Godfrey was killed by a sniper at Boyan. His brother George Gerald is also named on the memorial here at St Wilfrid Harrogate. He was not married and his father applied for his medals in 1921.
Buried in Cambrin Churchyard Extension (Pas de Calais, France). His father asked for his headstone to be inscribed:
“He lives in the memory of his comrades as a true gentleman”.
He is also commemorated at Bradford Cathedral.
Royal Flying Corps
Born 1885 – Died 28th December 1915
Age at death 30
2Lt. Mark Head
Mark’s name appears as Marcus on the St Wilfrid memorial. He trained as an artist, like his father Charles who was a well-known decorative artist specialising in churches. Charles Head worked closely with the architect Temple Moore at St Wilfrid’s and other churches. Charles Head & Son of Colchester carried out the painting of the St. Wilfrid chapel altar in 1910 and the panels on the high altar in 1911. Mark may have been involved in those projects, having begun his training as an artist in 1901.
Mark joined the Essex Yeomanry in 1913 and volunteered to go to war in August 1914. He obtained his commission in the York & Lancashire Regiment in 1915 and was subsequently attached to the Royal Flying Corps. He was killed at Douilly, near Laon. His aeroplane was brought down by enemy fire whilst on reconnaissance. No identity disc having been found, his body was identified by his officer’s uniform of “tunic with leather buttons, Bedford cord breeches, lambskin flying boots, leather flying suit and helmet.”
He was reburied at Ham British Cemetery Muille-Villette (Somme, France), along with 269 other casualties.
10th Battalion Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort’s Own)
Born 1888 – Died 14th September 1916
Age at death 28
Lt. George Gerald Averdieck
Son of George and Emma Averdieck of Bradford. His father ran Messrs. Kessler & Co. Ltd (exporters of textiles) of Manchester & Bradford. George was sent to school in Somerset.
He was living with his parents at 18 Beech Grove Harrogate when he married Mabel Fawcett in Ilkley in June 1915. George had followed his father into business, working both at Kessler & Co and then working at Whitaker Bros Dyers near Leeds. Less than three months after marrying, George was sent to the front in France. He was wounded in the Battle of the Somme in September 1916. He died of his wounds in the Manchester Military Hospital.
His older brother, Godfrey Harold (who had died in March 1916) is also on the St Wilfrid’s memorial.
“A large number of persons witnessed the funeral at the Rawdon Parish Churchyard on Saturday of Lieutenant George Gerald Averdieck, of the Rifle Brigade, son of Mr and Mrs G H Averdieck, Beech Grove, Harrogate. Lieutenant Averdieck died on Thursday at a military hospital at Manchester from wounds received in action on September 3rd.”
Harrogate Herald – 20th September 1916.
Buried in Rawdon Churchyard. He also appears on the Roll of Honour of the Bradford Dyers Association
5th West Yorkshire Regiment
Born 1891 – Died 21st October 1917
Age at death 26
Lance Corp. Herbert Smith
Born in Loftus near Redcar, to William and Maria. By 1901 the family was living at Scotton Lodge, near Harrogate. His father was now a retired farmer.
By 1911 his father was dead and the family had moved to Knaresborough. Herbert was now a “house furnishing salesman”. In the Parish Magazine of St Wilfrid Harrogate in December 1917, the Rev.Fowell Swann wrote:
“I cannot conclude my letter without mention of the loss we have sustained through the death of Herbert Smith, who, for quite a long time, was one of our most devout and devoted Servers at the Altar. He joined the forces almost immediately after the declaration of war, placing his young and vigorous life at the service of his King and country. He was a man of bright and cheery disposition with a fund of original humour which made him one of the most delightful companions…He seemed to irradiate sunshine wherever he went, and we shall miss him sorely”.
He was killed in action at Passchendaele and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial (Belgium), along with 35,000 other men with no known grave.
12th West Yorkshire Regiment
Born 1892 – Died 24th July 1916
Age at death 23
Capt. Edgar Perham
In 1902 Edgar Perham was living with his family at Rylstone, York Rd in Harrogate. His father was a wine merchant. Edgar was educated at Giggleswick. He won the Hastings Scholarship for Queen’s College Oxford in 1911 and graduated from there with a degree in Classics. He obtained a commission into the West Yorkshire Regiment. By 1916 his parents were living at 23 Harlow Moor Drive but left Harrogate after his death.
Edgar was killed by machine gun fire in Delville Wood. A fellow officer said: “The battalion has suffered but none will be more regretted than Lt.Perham. He was always so plucky and cheerful in the trenches that everybody, including the whole of his company, got to look forward to his coming. On this last occasion he was left behind owing to his damaged ankle, but the battalion had so many casualties that he insisted on going to help”.
The Harrogate Advertiser 12th August 1916.
Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial (Somme, France). The memorial commemorates more than 72,000 men of British and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave, the majority of whom died during the Somme offensive of 1916.
Royal Flying Corps
Born 1894 – Died 11th August 1917
Age at death 23
Capt. Arthur Norbury Solly
Son of Major Ernest Solly and Mary, he was born at Strathlea, 4 Cold Bath Road, Harrogate. The 1901 Census records him living there with his parents and four younger siblings, and six domestic staff. He attended Rugby School.
“We record with deep regret the death of Captain A N Solly, of the Royal Flying Corps, who met his death in action in France. Two days previous, his brother, also an officer in France, heard of Captain Solly’s whereabouts, and the brothers met near the lines. Captain Solly was killed on the British side of the Front, and his brother attended his funeral.”
Harrogate Herald 22nd August 1917
Arthur is reported to have claimed at least nine enemy aircraft in his career, and been wounded at least once. He was killed in a flight training accident. Only three months before his death he had given an aerobatic display over Harrogate, reported in the Harrogate Herald.
His Commanding Officer wrote: “How greatly we miss him, I cannot tell you. He was a wonderful pilot and absolutely full of courage and determination”.
Memorials of Rugbeians Who Fell in the Great War, Volume V.
Buried at Longueness (Pas de Calais, France) Souvenir Cemetery, in the same grave as his co-pilot as the ensuing fire after the crash made their bodies indistinguishable.
Solly’s headstone is inscribed “Brothers in Arms”
1st/5th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment
Born 1892 – Died 28th September 1915
Age at death 23
Pte. Francis Cecil Yates
Born to Frederick and Mary of 6 Gladstone Terrace, Oatlands, Harrogate. His father was a master tailor.
Before the war Francis was employed at the Kursaal in Harrogate as a stage electrician and worked his way up to become assistant stage manager. He arrived in France in early April 1915.
A letter from his friend read: “Dear Mrs Yates, I am extremely sorry to let you know that poor Cecil was killed this morning. I don’t know how it happened, but he was hit on the top of the head with a rifle bullet. This was about seven o’clock, and he died about nine. From the time he was hit to the time that he died he never once regained consciousness, so I hope this may console you to know that he would have no pain.
He will be buried tonight out of the trenches near the canal, and you can take it from me that he will be buried practically as decently as if he was at home. Afterwards a decent wooden cross will be placed in his grave and sodded. I thought I would write you this short note with being one of his chums, but someone else may write and tell you more, so I will close by expressing my deepest sympathy for you all. Goodbye, from his old chum, Cliff”.
Claro Times 8th October 1915.
Francis is buried at Essex Farm Cemetery (Belgium) with 1102 other casualities.
16th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Born 1896 – Died 31st May 1918
Age at death 22
Son of Thomas and Elizabeth of Carlisle where Harry was born. Harry’s father was a turf commission agent in 1901.
We know nothing of his early life but by the age of 15 he was working as a draper’s apprentice in Liverpool and living in a hostel with other young workers.
His parents by now were living at 24A Duchy Road Harrogate, with his father described as an accountant.
War records show that he enlisted in York, while resident in Harrogate, though he had been working with an engineering company in Witton, Birmingham for 12 months before his death. The notice of his death in his regiment’s records say that he was acting as stretcher bearer.
Buried at Thiennes British Cemetery (France) with 113 other casulaties of WW1.
Royal Air Force
Born 1897 – Died 22nd August 1918
Age at death 21
Lt. Arthur George Leighton Mullen
Son of Henry and Isabella, he was born at Whitley Bay. His father was an art publisher and dealer. His mother died in 1909 and by 1911 the family was living at 12 Ripon Road, Harrogate and his father had a business at 44 Parliament Street. Arnold enlisted in August 1914, progressing via the Durham Light Infantry to the Royal Flying Corps. He arrived in France in June 1915. He served in the ranks in France for 13 months, being gassed once and suffering from trench foot twice. In July 1918 he was reported as missing, and in August, three days after his 21st birthday, confirmed as being killed in air combat at Mannheim (Germany).
Buried at Roppenheim (France) in the same grave as his 19 year old co-pilot. He is also commemorated on the family headstone in Harlow Hill Cemetery, Harrogate.
At the time of his death his brother was a prisoner of war in Germany.
The painting “The Road to Emmaus” in the south choir aisle at St Wilfrid Harrogate was donated by his father in his memory.
The Parish Magazine in January 1922 noted the gift and the fact that he had been confirmed in the church and had received Holy Communion here for the last time before his death.
1st Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment
Born 1897 – Died 20th July 1918
Age at death 21
Lt. Ernest Richard Gardner Wood
Son of Robert and Ada (nee Boote), living at 12 Princes’ Square at his birth, and later at 16 Hereford Rd, Harrogate. Ernest was educated at Radley College. He entered Sandhurst in December 1914. He went to France in 1916 and was in action in the Somme. He was wounded at Zillebeke in June 1917 but returned to his unit on his own request in April 1918. Official reports state that he was killed near Lens. However, information from the Staffordshire Regiment librarian refers to this as a “sad case”. According to their records, Ernest was found in his quarters having been shot in the head. A statement in the war diary says “…all circumstances point to the fact that he took his own life”, and that was being further investigated. An officer commented “We shall all miss him; he was really loved by all”.
His uncle Lt. Col. Boote is also commemorated on the war memorial in the church.
Ernest’s father was churchwarden of St Wilfrid’s for many years. The screen across the chancel in the church was installed after the war by Mr Wood in memory of his son.
Buried at Bully-Grenay Communal Cemetery (Nord Pas de Calais, France), along with 623 other casualties.
3rd Battalion, Oxfordshire Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
Born 1895- Died 10th December 1916
Age at death 21
Capt. Ralph Bertram Kite M.C.
Capt. Kite was born in Norfolk to Very Rev Joseph B Kite and Edith Eliza and was educated at Marlborough College from 1909 to 1913. He then went to Keble College, Oxford but volunteered immediately on the declaration of war and went to Sandhurst for training.
He went to France in March 1915. By May he had already been recommended for decoration. He then was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in the battle of Loos and fighting at Delville Wood, on the Somme. The citation reads that he “displayed great coolness and utter disregard for danger”
He appears on the Marlborough College Roll of Honour which tells us:
“On 13th November 1916 Kite was leading his company in the night attack on Beaumont Hamel when he was severely wounded and blown into a shell hole containing ten Germans. These, wounded as he was, he disarmed and made four of them carry him to the Dressing Station. He spent a month of great suffering in hospital at Le Treport where he died of his wounds on 10th December.”
Ralph was buried at Le Treport Military Cemetery (Seine-Maritime, France), His headstone was engraved with the words “In Christo”.
His aunt, Miss Kite, purchased this impressive Arts and Crafts style steel lectern for St Wilfrid Church in 1917, engraved with his name.
2nd/4th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
Born 1897- Died 10th August 1917
Age at death 20
Lt. Richard de Paiva Eddison
The elder son of John and Margaret. In 1901 the family was living at York Place, Harrogate. He was educated at Bilton Grange school near Rugby and Wellington College. He was granted a commission and went to the Front in February 1917 during his first year at Trinity College, Cambridge.
Richard’s father was a solicitor in Harrogate.
“On 2 August the Battalion went back into Brigade reserve at l‘Epinette but immediately upon return to the trench line on 10 August, the Battalion came under heavy shelling and Lt. Eddison and four men were killed and nine wounded”.
Regimental War Diary.
In 1921 Richard’s father applied for his medals. His family was then living at 7 Langcliffe Avenue, Harrogate.
Buried at Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres (Nord, France) with over 2000 other casualties and also commemorated on the Trinity College, Cambridge Memorial.
His father chose to have his headstone inscribed with the words:
“God proved them and found them worthy for Himself”.
9th Squadron Royal Flying Corps
Born 1896 -Died 1st November 1916
Age at death 20
2Lt Arthur Ernest Wynn
Son of Arthur and Winifred and born in Sussex. In the 1901 census the family were described as “boarders” at the Cairn Hydro Hotel, 103 Ripon Road. His father was an engineer and company director. By 1911 they were resident at Rathgowry 8 Hereford Road, Harrogate and both of the youngest children had been baptised at St Wilfrid Harrogate.
Originally listed as missing, his death on 1st November was subsequently confirmed.
“We regret to hear that news has been received by Arthur Ernest Wynn, of Rathgowry Hereford Road, Harrogate, of the death at the front of his son, Second Lieutenant Ernest Wynn, of the 9th Squadron, Royal Flying Corps. Second Lieutenant Wynn, who was a most promising officer, had his machine brought down in the enemy lines on November 1st. He was reported missing, and an official intimation has now been received from the War Office, stating that the Germans report that Second Lieutenant Wynn died in hospital the same day. He was 20 years of age, and he was a student at the Leeds University when the war broke out”.
Harrogate Herald 31st January 1917.
He has no known grave that could be found, but is commemorated on the Arras Flying Services Memorial in Faubourg-d’Amiens Cemetery, Arras (Pas de Calais, France), along with 985 other casualties.
246th Brigade Royal Field Artillery
Born 1897 -Died 4th July 1916
Age at death 19
2Lt. Leslie Riley Watson
Son of Joseph and Annie of St Aubyn’s, 60 Cheltenham Mount, Harrogate. He attended boarding school at Epsom College, Surrey. He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, becoming an officer in November 1915.
An officer of the R.F.A. describes how Leslie met his death:
“He was engaged in the very essential, but often dangerous, task of keeping his battery in touch with the Infantry in some of our advanced trenches. While he was there, the enemy made a strong attack with bombs on that part of the line where your boy was. With the greatest bravery he took his part in beating off the attack, and it was while he was standing on the parapet firing with his revolver at the enemy that he was hit in the head by a rifle bullet. The infantry officers who were there spoke in the highest terms of his courage, to my orderly officer, who went last night to bring in his body…
It is less than six months since Watson came out to join us, but in that time he has endeared himself to us all, he was so bright and cheery, and proved to have the very characteristics that go to make a great artillery officer”.
Harrogate Herald 12 July 1916.
Buried in Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval (Somme, France).
He is also commemorated in Harrogate Baptist Church.
Born 1897- Died 10th July 1916
Age at death 19
2Lt. John Wilson Ware
Born to John and Sophie, the daughter of the Canon of Ripon. His father was a solicitor. They lived in York until at least 1901. He attended boarding school at Bramcote School, Scarborough and then Winchester.
John went to RMA Woolwich in 1914, and obtained a commission in early 1915. He went to France in May 1916.
“Your son stood up on the German parapet encouraging the men and directing them where to throw and also shooting with his revolver. He was knocked down by a bomb and fell on the parapet. The sapper corporal pulled him down into a shell hole. He was quite unconscious and must have died almost at once. He died a hero’s death whilst acting in a most gallant and brave manner.”
Parish Magazine of Bolton by Bowland in August 1916.
John was at war for less than 8 weeks. At the time of his death, his parents were living at 9 Rutland Road, Harrogate.
Had he lived he would have celebrated his 21st birthday on the day the war ended.
Commemorated on the Loos Memorial (Pas de Calais, France) along with over 20,000 others; on Bolton-by-Bowland war memorial and Winchester College War Cloister.
This research was made possible with the kind support of: