The Spring 2014 issue of Memories of Barnsley includes two articles very relevant to the Barnsley War Memorials Project. The magazine has produced articles about Barnsley soldiers from its earliest issues, and a search through the back numbers for information on the First World War, recruitment and individual soldiers is well worth the effort. Back issues can be bought through their website and a full set can be browsed in Barnsley Archives.
Of particular interest this month is a piece by Brian Elliott on 'local miners who fought the war underground', digging tunnels beneath the enemy lines which would then be stuffed full of explosives and blown up as part of the opening moves of a battle. Names mentioned include William Hackett from Nottingham, Denaby and Mexborough who served in the Royal Engineers and was awarded a posthumous VC. More information on him can be found here. Also mentioned are Corporal William Clarke of Wombwell who won a Distinguished Conduct Medal before being killed in 1915 (he is remembered on the Cortonwood War Memorial), Lance Corporal Samson Scargill of Wombwell who won the Military Medal in 1916 and Albert Shepherd of Royston who won our only Barnsley WW1 VC (remembered by a special plaque on the Royston War Memorial).
Later in the issue is a very detailed piece by Mark Green which tells the story of Benjamin Riley Green from Old Mill Lane in Barnsley. Benjamin worked at Redfearn Brothers Glassworks before enlisting and is remembered on their war memorial tablet.
|Redfearn Brothers Glassworks Memorial Tablet on display in Barnsley Town Hall |
(photo taken 16 January 2014)
Mark follows Benjamin's story from his schooldays through his work at Redfearn's, marriage to Alice Woodcock and enlistment in the 14th York and Lancaster regiment (2nd Barnsley Pals) in April 1915. Benjamin was sadly killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916, along with many other Barnsley men. The story concludes with a poignant image of Benjamin's gravestone in France.
Benjamin was also remembered on the memorial tablet in St John's Church, Barebones, Barnsley, which is where he married in 1914. Unfortunately this memorial no longer exists, however a list of names has been transcribed from a contemporary newspaper cutting reporting its unveiling in 1921.
We look forward to many more stories about Barnsley soldiers in the issues of Memories of Barnsley over the next few years. Recommended!