Main CPGW Record
Forename(s): William James
Place of Birth: Leeds, Yorkshire
Service No: 265241
Regiment / Corps / Service: Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment)
Battalion / Unit: 2/6th Battalion
Division: 62nd (2/West Riding) Division
Date of Death: 1917-05-12
CWGC Grave / Memorial Reference: I. G. 4.
CWGC Cemetery: ACHIET-LE-GRAND COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION
CWGC Memorial: ---
Non-CWGC Burial: ---
Local War Memorial: SILSDEN, YORKSHIRE
William James Saddington (born 11 June 1892) was the son of Thomas Edward and Mary Saddington, née Robinson. Thomas was born at Ripon and Mary at Melmerby near Ripon, Yorkshire. When William was baptized at Beeston Hill Wesleyan-Methodist Chapel, Leeds (11 July 1892), the families address was given as 31, Highfield Terrace.
1901 Skipton, Yorkshire Census: 10, Elliot Street - William Saddington, aged 8 years, born Leeds, Yorkshire, son of Thomas Edward and Mary Saddington.
1911 Silsden, Yorkshire Census: 8, Daisy Hill - William Saddington, aged 18 years, born Leeds, Yorkshire, son of Thomas E. and Mary Saddington.
British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards: Pte William J. Saddington, 265241, West Riding Regiment. [William received the Territorial Force War Medal.]
William died of wounds probably received during the Battle of Bullecourt, 3-17 May 1917.
Data Source: Craven’s Part in the Great War - original CPGW book entryView Entry in CPGW Book
Entry in West Yorkshire Pioneer Illustrated War Record:
SADDINGTON, Signaller W., aged 25, West Riding Regiment, son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Saddington, 2, Howden Road, [Silsden], died of wounds May 12, 1917.
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Private William James SADDINGTON
Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment)
Divisional Sign / Service Insignia: 62nd (2/West Riding) Division
Soldiers Died Data for Soldier Records
Forename(s): William James
Residence: Silsden, Yorks
Regiment: Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment)
Battalion: 2/6th Battalion
Died Date: 12/05/17
Died How: Died of wounds
Theatre of War: France & Flanders
CWGC Data for Soldier Records
Forename(s): William James
Country of Service: United Kingdom
Service Number: 265241
Regiment: Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment)
Unit: 2nd/6th Bn.
Died Date: 12/05/1917
Additional Information: Son of Thomas and Mary Saddington, of 2, Howden Rd., Silsden, Keighley. (CWGC Headstone Personal Inscription: TIME PASSES BUT MEMORIES REMAIN)
View Additional Text For Soldier Records
THE HISTORY OF THE 62nd (WEST RIDING) DIVISION 1914-1919 Volume 1, by Everard Wyrall (John Lane the Bodley Head Limited Vigo Street, London, W.)
THE BATTLE OF BULLECOURT:
3rd – 17th May, 1917.
During the three weeks following the first attack on Bullecourt on 11th April, the 62nd Division was engaged in trench warfare, and in preparing for another attack on the Hindenburg Line which had been ordered to take place on various successive dates and subsequently postponed, until it was definitely decided that Bullecourt should again be attacked on the 3rd May…
In the centre of the Divisional front, the troops of the 186th Infantry Brigade reached their allotted places by 3-30 a.m., though during the evening of the 2nd, the enemy’s artillery had caused considerable trouble – all forward telephone and telegraph wires having been cut and communication interrupted. The Signallers, however, repaired them and communication was re-established. The 2/5th Duke of Wellington’s (Lieut.-Col. F.W. Best) were on the right, the 2/6th (Lieut.-Col. S.W. Ford) on the left: the 2/7th Battalion (Lieut.-Col. F.G.C. Chamberlin) was in rear of the 2/5th and the 2/4th (Lieut.-Col. H.E. Nash) in the rear of 2/6th.
Three Companies of the 2/8th West Yorks. were formed up in rear of the 2/4th and 2/7th Battalions Duke of Wellington’s Regt., the remaining Company of the 2/8th having been detailed as a carrying party was in rear of the three Companies. The 213th Machine Gun Company supported the 186th Brigade.
On the left of the Divisional front, held by the 187th Infantry Brigade, the 2/4th Battalion York and Lancs. Regt. (Lieut.-Col. F. St. J. Blacker) was on the right, the 2/5th King’s Own Yorks. Light Infantry (Lieut.-Col. W. Watson) with two Companies of the 2/4th Battalion (Lieut.-Col. R.E. Power) of the same Regiment in rear of the two front line battalions, and the remaining two Companies of the 2/4th K.O.Y.L.I. were in rear of the 2/5th Battalion, detailed for ‘carrying’ duties. The 208th Machine Gun Company was in support.
The taping and forming up operations were carried out without serious casualties and were completed by 3-30 a.m., but Lieut.-Col. F. St. J. Balcker, D.S.O., commanding the Hallamshires, was wounded on the forming up line.
Shortly after two o’clock in the morning the moon disappeared and the night turned to inky blackness, but fifteen minutes before Zero all was ready for the attack. At this period the enemy put down a very heavy barrage on the 185th Infantry Brigade, which gradually spread along the whole front.
At Zero the creeping barrage opened on the enemy’s position and the assaulting troops began to move forward immediately. But now an unexpected difficulty presented itself: the warm weather had baked the ground hard and as the shells fell, churning it up, clouds of dust filled the air, and with smoke from the guns, and the smoke bombs, the objectives were hidden from the advancing troops, and there was much loss of direction.
The 2/5th West Yorks. on the left of the 185th Brigade front speedily captured the enemy’s first line trench, the wire entanglements having been well cut. The 2/6th Battalion, however, was not as fortunate: Colonel Hastings’ Battalion had been met by very heavy machine-gun fire which caused many casualties, and in the smoke and confusion sheared off towards the left, overlapping the right of the 2/5th Battalion. Meanwhile the latter had pushed on towards the centre of the village and had established two posts, one at U.27.b.6.8. and the other at U.21.d.5.0. At this point touch was lost with the 2/6th Battalion, though it was eventually established about the church. A pigeon message timed 5-15 a.m. from an officer of the left Company of the third and fourth waves of the 2/5th Battalion which reached Divisional Headquarters stated that the writer was in the communication trench at U.21.d.5.5. with about forty of his men.
On the left of the 185th Infantry Brigade, the 186th had accomplished only part of its task. The 2/5th Duke of Wellington’s found the wire cut and no difficulty was experienced in reaching the second German trench of the first objective. Here touch was obtained with the left of the 185th Brigade, and maintained for several hours until broken by enfilade machine-gun fire from both flanks. But the 2/6th Duke of Wellington’s found the wire uncut and their attack was held up. Hostile shell-fire and the rear waves closing in on the leading waves, added to the confusion and all that could be done was to occupy some shell holes in front of the enemy’s wire. An attempt was then made to cut the second belt of wire, but again machine-gun fire from the north, and the enemy’s activity with bombs frustrated this endeavour and finally the shell-holes were established as posts.
The 2/5th Duke’s had by this time established themselves in the enemy’s front line trench from U.21.d.1.0. to U.20.d.2.4. and had been reinforced by the 2/8th West Yorks.
Similarly on the left of the 186th Brigade, the 187th had met with success – and failure. The 2/5th York and Lancs. Regt. reached its first objective without difficulty, but the 2/4th Battalion was hung up by the thick wire entanglements which were insufficiently cut. In seeking to find a way through the Battalion moved off to its left and became intermingled with the 2/5th Battalion, whose right flank was ‘in the air.’ At about 4-20 a.m. Lieut.-Col. W. Watson, commanding the 2/5th K.O.Y.L.I. was killed as he was gallantly rallying his men and leading them forward.
For a while no reports from the right flank of the attack were received at Divisional Headquarters, and nothing could be ascertained as to what was taking place in the village of Bullecourt. At 6-50 a.m. the situation was so obscure that the protective barrage was ordered to remain on the second objective until a further advance could be organized. A little later (at 7 a.m.) the situation of the 185th Brigade appears to be as follows: Posts had been established at U.21.d.5.5. with a certain number of men further east along the Support line at U.21.d.5.9., U.27.b.6.8. and at the church (U.28.a.0.9.): the whole of the German front line trench as far east as U.27.b. had been occupied. Touch was maintained with the 2/5th Duke of Wellington’s Regt., on the western side of the village and in the trench running south from the Crucifix. But of the 2/6th West Yorks. little was known, and all attempts to communicate with or reach the probable position of the Battalion, failed. Large numbers of men of the Battalion – dead and wounded – were found in front of the German wire. A Company of the 2/7th West Yorks. was sent forward to try to reach their comrades of the 2/6th, but the men were met by a murderous machine-gun fire which swept the line of the advance and after having suffered heavy casualties the Company withdrew to the Railway Embankment.
Repeated attempts by the 186th and 187th Brigades to penetrate the enemy’s positions were frustrated, and at noon the little party of the 2/5th Duke’s and 2/8th West Yorks., were bombed out of their portion of the trench and were forced to take shelter in shell holes south and south-west of Bullecourt. The advance by the 2/5th K.O.Y.L.I., under Major O.C. Watson, at first progressed, but was eventually checked by heavy machine-gun fire and a continuous H.E. barrage.
At mid-day the situation was as follows: about fifty men per battalion of the 186th Infantry Brigade had found shelter on the Railway Line U.26.c. and d., the remainder of the Brigade was in the Sunken Road in U.27.a.5.8. and U.20.d.9.4.: of the 187th Brigade elements were in the Sunken Road in U.20.b. and in shell holes in U.20.c. and d.: the Company of 2/5th West Yorks. (185th Brigade) which had been driven out of the western side of Bullecourt, had also reached the Railway Line, the 2/7th West Yorks. were also at U.27.c. and d., on the Railway Line: but there was still no news of the 2/6th West Yorks.
Just after 5 o’clock in the evening orders from Divisional Headquarters to the three Infantry Brigades contained instructions to the Brigadiers to make every effort to reorganize their battalions on the line of their original fronts, in their own sectors: the 7th Division was to take over the front held by the 185th Infantry Brigade as soon as possible. The same orders stated that the VIIth Corps had taken Chérisy and the 2nd Australian Division (on the right of the 62nd Division) was in occupation of the Hindenburg Line from U.23.c.8.1. to U.22.d.6.3.
The failure of the 62nd Division to capture Bullecourt was due largely to a fault which certainly cannot be charged to the gallant troops who stormed the village and the Hindenburg Line in the vicinity. Neither could the Divisional Staff, which had laboured to make all arrangements as complete as possible, be blamed. It was due principally to an error in tactics which had so often failed in the earlier years of the war – notably at Festubert in 1915. The Australian Division on the right of the 62nd Division did not launch its attack side by side with the 2/6th West Yorks., the flanking battalion of the West Riding Division. There was a gap – a fatal gap – in the line of attack between the Colonials and the Yorkshiremen, the former having decided to attack the first objective frontally, only as far to the left as U.23.d.6.3., and then bomb down the Hindenburg Line westwards to the left boundary where touch was to be gained with the 185th Infantry Brigade. Thus some hundreds of yards of the enemy’s positions (unfortunately that portion which was very strongly defended by machine-guns) was left free to enfilade the 2/6th West Yorks. as that Battalion advanced: which indeed happened. In all justice to the Australian troops it must be noted that they reached their objective, but before they got there the West Yorkshiremen had been cut up and of those brave fellows who had penetrated the village the greater number had either been killed, wounded, or taken prisoner, only a hundred survivors getting back to their own trenches.
The inky blackness of the night, which caused much confusion during the forming-up operations, also contributed to the failure of the assault, many of the troops losing themselves and being entirely ignorant of the direction of the enemy’s trenches.
The enemy was in considerable strength, the 49th Reserve Division and the 27th Division was holding the Hindenburg Line between Fontaine and Riencourt (inclusive). The latter had with it the 1st Musketeen (Automatic Rifle) Battalion.
Many deeds of gallantry were witnessed during that attack, and the Division emerged from its first set battle sorely tried and tested and badly mauled, but with many proofs of its fighting qualities… The casualties of the 62nd (W.R.) Division on the 3rd May were: 116 officers and 2,860 other ranks, killed, wounded and missing…
The 62nd had been ‘Blooded’!
At dusk on the 3rd, the 185th Infantry Brigade was relieved by the 22nd Infantry Brigade (7th Division), only the 2/7th West Yorks. remaining in the line under the command of the General Officer Commanding 7th Division.
The remnants of the 2/5th, 2/6th and 2/8th West Yorks. were withdrawn to caves in Ecoust, to reorganize: on the following day they marched to Ervillers. The 186th and 187th Brigades remained in the line, the 62nd Divisional front now extending from the Mory – Ecoust – Bullecourt Road (inclusive) to the left of the Vth Corps boundary, Judas Farm – Sensee River, to along the road at T.24.a.9.4. – U.14.c.2.9…
The final attack on Bullecourt began on the 12th May when the 185th Infantry Brigade assisted the 7th (British) and 5th (Australian) Divisions, by attacking the enemy’s strong point at the Crucifix.
The 2/7th Battalion West Yorks. was detailed for this operation, the 185th Trench Mortar Battery and one Section of the 212th Machine-Gun Company co-operating. Two Companies of the Battalion – B and C – attacked the Crucifix at Zero (3-40 a.m.) pus 26 minutes, but for a while no information of the situation of the attacking troops was obtainable. The 91st Brigade (7th Division) had reached the centre of the village, capturing a few Germans, but here very heavy machine-gun fire held up any further advance. About 6-30 a.m., however, an aeroplane report was received at 62nd Divisional Headquarters which stated that men of the 2/7th could be seen well dug in at the Crucifix. But from this period onwards, throughout the day, nothing could be ascertained, it being impossible to gain touch with the gallant West Yorkshiremen holding the post at the Crucifix. Possibly one of those isolated fights to a finish which were not uncommon in the War, but of which no authentic records are in existence, took place. For at 8 p.m. another aeroplane reported that the Germans once more held the Crucifix. At 10 o’clock that night patrols which attempted to reach the post were driven back, thus confirming the aeroplane report. Subsequently a few odd men returned through the lines of the 1st South Staffords (7th Division), having lost their way, but of the two officers and thirty-one other ranks who were known to be holding the Crucifix none returned nor was any further information gained concerning their fate. Five killed, thirty-one missing and thirty-two wounded were the casualties suffered by the 2/7th West Yorks. in this affair…
View Craven Herald Articles
25 May 1917
SADDINGTON – May 12th 1917, at the 49th Casualty Clearing Station, from wounds received in action in France, Signaller W. Saddington, son of Mr. and Mrs. Thos. Saddington, 2, Howden Road, Silsden, aged 25 years.
25 May 1917
SILSDEN – SIGNALLER W. SADDINGTON DIES OF WOUNDS
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Saddington, of 2, Howden Road, Silsden, have received information from the Territorial Records Office, York, to the effect that their son, Signaller W. Saddington, of the West Riding Regiment, died from wounds on May 12th in the 49th Casualty Clearing Station, France. In a 1etter to the deceased soldier’s parents, a Chaplain at the hospital states:- “You will probably have been notified by the War Office of the sad news concerning your son before you receive this letter. It is with great sympathy that I write to you, feeling as I do that it may be some comfort for you to hear from the chaplain who ministered to him while he was lying seriously wounded at the 49th Casualty Clearing Station. Everything possible was done for him, and kindly hands tended him until he passed away in the faith of our Lord, fully prepared to go, on May 12th. If you have not heard of his death, I trust you will forgive this letter, which must bring a great shock to you. I buried him in consecrated ground with full military honours. A cross will be erected to his gallant memory, and flowers also planted on his grave. May God give you comfort.”
Signaller Saddington was a member of the Keighley Territorial Band in which he filled the role of sole clarinet player. On the outbreak of war he was in camp with the Territorials at Marske, near Redcar. The services of the band were afterwards utilised very extensively for the purpose of stimulating recruiting in various parts of the country. He was later a member of the band attached to the ‘Flying Column’ which visited most places in the near neighbourhood in the course of their recruiting campaign, which covered a distance of 300 miles. After the band was disbanded be joined the ranks, and went out to France last January. He was 25 years of age, and formerly employed at the Silsden Dye Works.
Mr. and Mrs. Saddington have also another son serving in the Forces: Signaller Edward Saddington, who is attached to the R.F.A., and is at present stationed at Ripon. The latter was formerly a member of the Keighley Territorial Band, while Mr. Saddington himself has been a tuber in the same band, he being discharged in 1915.
15 June 1917
IN MEMORY OF SEVEN SILSDEN FALLEN HEROES
There was a large congregation at the Parish Church on Sunday morning last, when a service was held in memory of seven young men from Silsden who have recently paid the great sacrifice for King and Country.
The service was conducted by the Vicar (Rev. E. E. Peters, M.A.,) who said they were met that morning, when all nature seemed to speak of joy and gladness, under very solemn and sad circumstances to pay their tribute of respect and affection to the memory of seven gallant men who had given their lives for their country. They were:– Private Fred Hardy, Private Edgar Raw, Private Harry Wade, Private William Burton, Private Willie Saddington, Private John William Baldwin, and Private Charles Henry Gill.
By their presence and by taking part in that service, they gave some expression of the heartfelt sympathy which they felt with the sorrowing relatives.
Private Fred Hardy had not been resident a great many years in Silsden, but he had gained many friends by reason of his cheerful disposition and his pleasant and amiable manners. When the call came he left his wife and his happy and comfortable home to go forth in order to do his duty. They knew how he was wounded, brought to a Casualty Clearing Station, and how for some days there was terrible anxiety as to how the balance would turn. During that time he either wrote himself, or dictated to the good and sympathetic chaplain, most brave and cheerful letters in which he thought of his wife, not at all of himself. He derived great comfort from the consolation of religion, and the chaplain was able to write to his wife and assure her how he died in the faith and fear of Jesus Christ.
Private Edgar Raw was one who gave an early answer when the call first came. He had not the pleasure of knowing him personally, but everyone spoke in the very highest terms of him. He was a most excellent young man, active in religious work, and left behind him a fragrant memory.
He then came to one whose loss had been a peculiarly intimate one to him as well as a personal sorrow, for he knew him well, and like everyone else who knew him, he had a great regard for him. He referred to Private Harry Wade, a young man of great promise and blameless character, a true simple-hearted Christian and loyal Churchman, and a regular communicant to whom he had had the great privilege of administering on more than one occasion since he joined the Army the Holy Sacrament. He was a young man, home loving and home keeping; yet, one who felt it his duty to volunteer to defend his country. Although he had no taste for military life, he nevertheless made a thoroughly good soldier, and one of whom his officer spoke in the very highest terms. His officer said he showed great capability, was always reliable and trustworthy, and one whom he could chose to do important work and knew it would be carried out well. Now he had gone to the home above and left them a very heavy loss indeed.
Private William Burton, who was probably not known to a great many of them, was held in high esteem by those who knew him. He was the gardener at Moorfield, and a man who was thoroughly efficient in his work and took a great delight in it. He, too, was very comfortable in his home with his wife and two children, and had gained the confidence and esteem of his employer. He and three other men were killed going to the trenches by a German shell.
Then he came to one who was well known to all of them – Private Willie Saddington – a young man who was brought up in their Sunday School. He had the distinction, as was generally known, of being one of the five soldiers in Silsden who, at mobilisation, was called up to the Colours at the very beginning of the war. He believed his father was also one of the original five. He had honourable military traditions in his family, and since the war broke out – he was a Territorial, as they knew – he at once volunteered for active service. He was kept back in England for some time on account of being a member of a military band, and at last he went out and had not been long at the Front before he fell doing his duty honourably and gallantly.
Private John Wm. Baldwin was a man much older than those of whom he had spoken. He was a soldier of that grand Army – the old original regular Army. He had served his country in South Africa, served his time in the reserves; a man time expired when the war broke out, and well above age, but still he volunteered to join the Colours again. He was one of those who during the first terrible months of the war maintained our cause against desperate odds. He was wounded at Hill 60 of bloody memory, the scene last week of our great and glorious victory. He never recovered entirely from his wounds, his health having been grievously affected, and he died at the military hospital at Derby, where he had gained the affection of the staff. He was laid to rest in that Parish Churchyard with military honours in the presence of a large and sympathetic congregation.
It was only the previous week that they heard of the death of Private Charles Henry Gill, one whom the stern necessity of cruel war had made into a soldier. He was a young man of retiring disposition, reserved in his manners to the general public, but one full of family affection, and devoted to his home. He had fallen a victim to the monster, called into being by the Prussian lust of conquest.
He wished to speak of three more of their young men who were in a somewhat different category to those he had already mentioned. He hoped they would not have to mourn them as gone, and prayed that good news might come concerning them. They had all been reported missing:– Sergeant Charles W. Newns, Private Norman Phillip, and Private Jack Riley.
They were all intimately connected with that place of worship, having been taught in their Sunday School. Sergeant Newns was one of the most promising young men they had. He was a splendid young man, a good Sunday School teacher, and a gymnast and athlete. He naturally made a very fine soldier and gained the highest testimony from his officers and also from the men he commanded. The last they had heard of him was that he was seen risking his life for a wounded man. They prayed that it might be the will of Almighty God to restore those men to them, as they could ill afford to lose them. He wished on his own behalf, and on behalf of all of those present, to express deep sympathy with those in great sorrow and affliction. It was hard to express in anything like adequate terms what they felt. They all realised that the inequality of sacrifice was one of the sad things of their life – that some had to sacrifice so much while others, whether they were willing or unwilling, were not called upon to make sacrifices of like character. But he assured them that they appreciated in the most complete manner the offerings of their sons and the husbands and of those so near and dear to them, which had been made in the cause of righteousness and truth.
During the service the hymns, ‘The saints on earth and those above’, ‘On the resurrection morning’, and ‘O God our help in ages past’, were sung.
There was a company of Girl Guides present at the service, in charge of the vicar’s wife.
The bells were also muffled as a token of respect to the fallen.
View West Yorkshire Pioneer Articles
25 May 1917
SADDINGTON – Died of wounds in hospital, May 12th, Signaller W. Saddington of the West Riding Regiment, son of Mr. and Mrs. Thos. Saddington, of 2, Howden Road, Silsden, aged 25.
25 May 1917
SILSDEN SOLDIER DIES OF WOUNDS
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Saddington, of 2, Howden Road, Silsden, have received official information from the Territorial Records Office, York, that their son, Signaller W. Saddington, of the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment, died from wounds on May 12th in the 49th Casualty Clearing Station, France. The Chaplain in a letter to his parents, states:– “You will probably have been notified before this by the War Office of the sad news concerning your son. It is with great sympathy that I write to you feeling that it may be of some comfort for you to hear from the chaplain who ministered to him while he was lying seriously wounded in this 49th Casualty Clearing Station. Everything possible was done for him, and kindly hands tended him until he passed away in the faith of our Lord, fully prepared to go, on. May 12th. If you have not heard of his death I trust you will forgive this letter, which must bring a great shock to you. I buried him in consecrated ground with full military honours. A cross will be erected to his gallant memory and flowers planted on his grave. His message when I told him I was writing was ‘My love to all.’” Signaller Saddington, who was 25 years of age, was connected with the Keighley Territorial Band prior to the outbreak of war, he being in camp at Marske when war was declared. He was solo clarionette player, and was a member of the band associated with the Flying Column Recruiting Campaign in various parts of the West Riding, covering a distance of 300 miles. When the Brand was disbanded he joined the ranks, and had been out in France since January last. He was formerly employed at the Silsden Dye Works. Mr. and Mrs. Saddington have another son serving, Signaller Edward Saddington, who is attached to the Royal Field Artillery, and stationed at Ripon, he also formerly being in the Territorial Band. Mr. Saddington at the commencement of the war was also connected with the Territorial Band, being discharged in 1915.
15 June 1917
SILSDEN’S GALLANT HEROES – Memorial Service at the Parish Church
A service in memory of Pte. Fred Hardy, Pte. Edgar Raw, Pte. Harry Wade, Pte. Wm. Burton, Pte. W. Saddington, Pte. John Wm. Baldwin, and Pte. Charles Henry Gill, seven of Silsden’s gallant heroes who have recently paid the great sacrifice for their King and country, was held at the Parish Church on Sunday morning last. There was a large congregation, and the service was conducted by Rev. E. E. Peters (vicar). As the congregation assembled the organist (Mr. Herbert Cooper) played ‘O rest in the Lord,’ and during the service the hymns 'The saints on earth, and those above,' 'On the Resurrection morning,’ and ‘O God our help in ages past’ were sung.
In the course of his sermon, the vicar said they were met on that beautiful June morning when all seemed to speak of joy and gladness, in very solemn and very sad circumstances to the honour and glory of God, and to pay their tribute and respect and affection to the memory of seven gallant men who had given their lives for their country – Fred Hardy, Edgar Raw, Harry Wade, Wm. Burton, Willie Saddington, John Wm. Baldwin, and Charles Henry Gill. They were also by their presence, and by their taking part in that service, giving some expression to the heartfelt sympathy which they felt with their sorrowing relations. Fred Hardy had not been resident a great many years in Silsden, but he had many friends by reason of his cheerful disposition and his pleasant, amiable manners. When the call came he left his wife, and his happy and comfortable home, to go forth to do his duty. They all knew how he was wounded, brought to a casualty clearing station, and how for some days there was terrible anxiety as to how the balance would turn. During that time he either wrote himself, or dictated to the good and sympathetic Chaplain, most brave and cheerful letters in which he thought of his wife and not of himself. He derived great comfort from the consolation of religion, and the chaplain was able to write to his wife an assure her of how he died in the faith and fear of Jesus Christ.
Edgar Raw was one who gave an early answer when the call first came. He had not the pleasure of knowing him personally, but everyone spoke in the very highest terms of him, that he was a most excellent young man, active in religious work, and he left behind him a fragrant memory.
Now they came to one whose loss had been a peculiarly intimate one, to him a personal sorrow, for he knew him very well, and like everyone else who knew him, he had a great regard for him. He referred to Harry Wade, a young man of promise and of blameless character, a true simple-hearted Christian, a loyal churchman, a regular communicant, to whom he had the great privilege of administering on more than one occasion since he joined the army, that Holy Sacrament. He was a young man, home loving, and home keeping, yet one who felt it his duty to volunteer to defend his country. Although he had no tastes for the military life yet he made a thoroughly good soldier, one of whom his officer was able to speak in the very highest terms, one he said who showed his capability. He was always reliable, always trustworthy, and one whom he could choose to do important work, knowing that he would carry it out well. They knew how he had gone to the home above; he had left them, a very heavy loss indeed.
Then there was Wm. Burton who was not known probably to many of them, but those who did know him, had a very high esteem of him. He was a gardener, a man who was thoroughly efficient in his work, and took a very great delight in it. He was very comfortable in his home and happy with his wife and two children. He had gained the confidence and esteem of his employer. He and other three men were killed going to the trenches by a German shell.
Then they came to Willie Saddington, one of their own young men brought up in their Sunday School, and whom they all knew very well. He had the distinction of being one of the five soldiers, who at mobilisation at Silsden, was called up to the colours at the very beginning. He also believed that Pte. Saddington’s father was another of that original five. He had honourable military traditions in his family. He was a Territorial, and as soon as war broke out, he at once volunteered for active service, but he was kept back in England for some time, being a member of the band. At last he went out, and he had not been long at the front when he fell doing his duty honourably and gallantly.
Then they came to John Wm. Baldwin, a man much older than those of whom he had spoken, a soldier of that old original regular army, a man who had served his country in South Africa, who had served his time on the reserve, a man time-expired when war broke out, and well over age, yet he at once volunteered to join the colours again. He was one of those who during those terrible months of the war maintained our cause against desperate odds. He was wounded at Hill 60 of bloody memory, and the scene last week of our great and glorious victory. He never recovered entirely from his wounds, his health was grievously affected, and he died at the hospital at Derby, where he had gained the affection of the staff, and was laid to rest in the Silsden Parish Churchyard with military honours in the presence of a large and sympathetic congregation.
It was only last week that they heard of the death of Charles Henry Gill, one whom the stern necessity of cruel war had made into a soldier. He was a young man of retiring disposition, reserved in his manners to the general public, but one filled with family affection and devoted to his home. He was not robust in health, but he had fallen a victim to the monster called into being by the Prussian lust of conquest.
There were three others he would speak of that morning, who were in a different category, and they hoped they would not have to mourn them as gone from them. They prayed that news might come of them. Three of their men were posted as missing – Sergt. W, Newnes, Pte. N. Phillip, and Pte. Jack Riley – all three intimately connected with that church and brought up in their Sunday School. W. Newnes was one of the most promising young men they had. He was a splendid young man, a choice young man, a Sunday School teacher, gymnastic, and athlete. He naturally made a very fine soldier, and gained the highest testimony from his officers and the men he commanded. The last that was heard of him was that he was seen risking his life for a wounded soldier. They prayed that it might be the will of the Almighty God to restore them back to their families again. They could ill afford to lose them. He wished on his own behalf, and on behalf of all present, to express their deepest sympathy with those there that day in great sorrow and affliction. It was hard to express in anything like adequate terms what they felt, but they all realised the inequality of the sacrifices was one of the sad things all through life, that some had to sacrifice so much, and others whether they were willing or unwilling, were not called upon to make sacrifices of a like character. He assured them that they appreciated in the most complete manner the offerings of their sons, of their husbands, and of those so near and dear to them, which they had made to the common cause of righteousness and truth.
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