Some Background Notes For The Men Whose Names Are Inscribed On The Farnley Tyas War Memorial
Walter Johnsey, William Lodge, Ernest Price, Arthur William Rothery, George Edmund Shaw
Compiler’s note:- It should be borne in mind that there may be others with connections to Farnley Tyas who did not return from The Great War whose names have slipped through the administrative net of one hundred years and more. Any errors, omissions, opinions and speculations expressed are my own and the writer would welcome any corrections, further information or comment.
PB 22nd November 2021 firstname.lastname@example.org
The compiler acknowledges the following sources of information in the compilation of these notes:- The Huddersfield and District Roll of Honour by J. Margaret Stansfield (p.2014) www.huddersfield.exposed www.ancestry.co.uk Initially Compiled 22nd November 2021 by PB
Walter Johnsey Walter was an older half brother to Norman Gray. Older Farnley Tyas residents will remember Norman as one of the grand old characters of the village. Norman himself has a distinguished Great War service record. Walter Johnsey was the adopted son of James and Annie Gray (formerly Johnsey). It would seem likely that he was Annie Johnsey’s son before she married James Gray. The Johnseys were a large family living in Farnley Tyas.
Walter’s records would suggest a troubled early life. His birth (c.1891) is recorded as at ‘Crosland Moor’, the location of the Huddersfield Workhouse. As a baby or very young child he seems to have been fostered or ‘taken in’ by the Cunliff family living at 119 Castlegate, one of the most impoverished areas of Huddersfield. The 1901 Census records Walter, aged 10, now probably at school, as living with his adoptive parents and his 4 half siblings living at Butts Cottage, Butts Road, Farnley Tyas. Butts Cottage still exists to this day, of course.
The 1911 Census records Walter, now aged 21, living with his adoptive parents and now 3 half siblings at Butts Cottage. By now, Walter was working in one of Huddersfield’s many textile mills as an operative, probably Messrs Joseph Hoyle and Sons, Longwood. By 1914 Walter was living with an uncle, George William Johnsey in the Marsh area of Huddersfield, probably to be nearer his place of work. In the August of 1914, the Great War was to break out. Walter must have volunteered for the Army early in the war, (14th October 1914), as conscription did not begin until January 1916. No marriage record can be identified for Walter, so he probably remained unmarried and named his uncle, George William Johnsey, as the sole beneficiary to his will.
By 1915 Walter was serving as a private with the service number 14341 with the 8th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment. We do not have his full service record but his medal card suggests he was posted to the Balkans 7th July 1915, this can only have been as part of the failed landing at Gallipoli. However, by January 1916 all personnel had been evacuated from Gallipoli. Walter must have survived to serve again with his Regiment in France. Unfortunately he is recorded as ‘Killed in Action’ in Flanders 14th September 1916. This would have been during one of the ‘Battles of the Somme’. His name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial in Flanders for those with no known grave. A sad end for someone who had lived nearly all his life in Farnley Tyas. His name appears on the Joseph Hoyle and Sons Roll of Honour Board naming those from the mill who served during The Great War, including those that did not return. The board is now displayed at the Longwood Mechanics Hall, now a community centre for the village of Longwood. Walter’s name is also commemorated on the Thurstonland and Farnley Tyas War Memorials.
William Lodge William was born to Fred Mellor Lodge and Annie Lodge (formerly Stringer) on the 2nd November 1896. His mother, Annie, and probably Fred, were living at the Stringer family home, Ludhill, at the time of his birth. Ludhill is a small, relatively remote, farming hamlet between Farnley Tyas and Honley. His baptism is recorded on 13th December 1896, probably at Farnley Tyas Wesleyan Chapel. The 1901 Census records him, aged 4, as living with his parents, Fred and Annie Lodge and 2 siblings at 19, Grasscroft, Almondbury, Huddersfield. So William’s family had now moved from his mother’s family home at Ludhill to live in nearby Almondbury.
The 1911 Census records him, aged 14, still living with his parents but now 5 siblings, still at 19, Grasscroft, Almondbury, Huddersfield. William had now started work as he is recorded as working as ‘bobbin setter’ in a worsted mill, a job in one of Huddersfield’s many textile mills. In the years immediately preceding the Great War, William is recorded as attending Almondbury Wesleyan Chapel and working at Messrs Charles Midgley, Seed Hill Dye Works. Work in an early 20th century dye works would not have been pleasant by modern standards The site of the dye works is now covered by the Sainburys supermarket car park at Shorehead, Huddersfield. No marriage record can be identified for William, so he probably remained unmarried.
We are not certain as to the circumstances of William’s enlistment into the Army, but we do know his service number, 240233, and regiment, 2/5th Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment. This battalion was originally raised as a volunteer battalion but this may not have been so clear cut as the War progressed. Sadly, William is recorded as ‘Killed in Action’ at the Battle of Bullecourt on the 3rd of May 1917, aged 20. He has no known grave. His name is commemorated on the Arras Memorial at Faubourg-D´Amiens Cemetery, Arras, Northern France. The village of Bullecourt is situated on the flat landscapes of Picardy, north-eastern France. At the time it was a fortified village and part of the ‘Hindenburg Line’. The day William died, British troops attacked in a frontal assault to great loss of life.
By this time his parents were living in Northgate, Almondbury, where William nominated his father as the sole beneficiary of his will. His name is commemorated on the Almondbury, Thurstonland and Farnley Tyas War Memorials and on the Roll of Honour at the Huddersfield Drill Hall. The fact that William’s name appears on the Drill Hall Roll of Honour would suggest that he initially joined the Army as a Territorial (part-time) soldier and was thus a volunteer.
Ernest Price The birth of Ernest Price may have been registered in Leeds in 1887. The marriage of Ernest Price to May Ibbotson on January 15th 1914 was recorded at St Lucius’ Church, Farnley Tyas. Ernest is described as aged 26, a bachelor and ‘asylum attendant’ from Thurstonland. His father is named as Joseph Price from Thurstonland and his job as an ‘engine driver’. May Ibbotson is described as aged 23, a spinster, from Farnley Tyas. Her father is named as Francis Ibbotson. The Ibbotson family may well originate from the Bradfield area of West Sheffield, where the 1891 Census records May Ibbotson aged 1 and her father Francis Ibbotson (aged 26) as a ‘cutler’. A cutler worked on the finishing of knives, razors and cutlery, a traditional trade in Sheffield. The 1915 Electorial Register records Ernest and presumably May as living at Storthes Hall. This would probably be in a house down Storthes Hall Lane. This would be consistent with Ernest’s work at the Hospital.
We do not know the circumstances of Ernest’s enlistment into the Army but we do know at the time of his death he was serving as a Gunner, with the service number 152210, D Battery, 187th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. He is recorded as ‘Killed in Action’ on the 25th April 1917. He is buried at Dickebusch New Military Cemetery, Grave Location:- Row BB, Grave 11. His name is commemorated on the Thurstonland and Farnley Tyas War Memorials. The fact that Ernest was serving with a non local regiment may suggest that he volunteered early in the war, when volunteer recruits had more choice of which regiments to serve in.
Of the five names on the Farnley Tyas War Memorial, Ernest Price was the most challenging. The dearth of identifiable records for the Price family may indicate that they had recently arrived in the area, probably for work. With the lack of identifiable local records for May Ibbotson it may be reasonable to speculate that she had also recently arrived in the area and was in service at a house or farm in Farnley Tyas. In the years following the death of Ernest she probably moved back to the Sheffield area where the 1939 Census records her as May Price, widow, living with another member of the Ibbotson family.
Arthur William Rothery
Arthur William was born in Huddersfield to Edwin and Sophia Rothery in 1872 The 1881 Census records him, aged 9, as a ‘scholar’ living in Bentley Street, Lockwood with his parents and siblings. The 1891 Census records him, aged 19, as a ‘merchants clerk’ living in Lockwood with his parents. Arthur joined the Royal Artillery in London on 19 April 1893, aged 21 years, 5 months. Posted to the Mountain Batteries, Royal Garrison Artillery he saw service in Malta (April 1897), Crete (April-November 1897) and Malta again (1897-1898). On the outbreak of the South African, Boer War (November 1899 to October 1902) he saw active service with the same Battery in the ‘Pom Pom’ (a type of early machine gun) section and had risen to the rank of sergeant. He was later transferred to Vickers Maxim gun section. He was awarded the following:- Queen’s South Africa Medal 1899-1902, with 4 clasps that included Tugela Heights, Relief of Ladysmith, Laing’s Nek, King’s South Africa Medal 1899-1902, with 2 clasps, Arthur married Ellen Hannah Moorhouse in 1904, in his last full year of servce in the Royal Artillery. The marriage was blessed with two sons, George Eric (b.1904) and William Cyril (b.1908). Arthur was discharged from the army having completed his period of service in April 1905 At or about this time, Arthur’s parents retired to live at Highfield House(?) in Farnley Tyas. Arthur and his young family now followed.
It would seem that Arthur gained employment as a storeman at the Storthes Hall Hospital and was eventually promoted to head storeman there. Initially they were to live in a house, probably provided by the hospital, down Storthes Hall Lane. The family then moved to New Lane Terrace, Farnley Tyas in about 1908. In the years between his Army service, Arthur is recorded as serving as a councilor on Farnley Tyas Urban District Council and was secretary to the Farnley Tyas Bowing Club. He was a good deal older than most when he probably volunteered again for the Army in 1915. He is slightly unusual in that he already had a distinguished Army service record. At 43 years old and married he must have been aware that he was unlikely to be required to serve again unless he did so voluntarily. Later in 1915, he was serving as a ‘Sub-Conductor’ (a warrant officer rank) in the 21st Company Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC). The RAOC dealt only with the supply and maintenance of weapons, munitions and other military equipment. So it is likely that Arthur was not given a ‘front line’ job because of his age but his previous experience was still considered as useful to the Army. Nevertheless, Arthur’s health did suffer in France. He suffered from an ‘internal complaint’ and died following an operation at Lahore Military Hospital, Calais on 7th January 1916, aged 44, leaving behind his wife and two sons in Farnley Tyas. He is buried Calais Southern Cemetery, Plot B, Row 2, Grave 5. His name is commemorated on his parent’s head stone in St Lucius’ Church Yard, Farnley Tyas. Arthur’s medals and Memorial Plaque or ‘Death Penny’ came up for auction in London in 2013 and sold for £180, a paltry sum for Arthur’s years of brave service.
George Edmund Shaw George Edmund was born to William Henry Shaw and Frances Shaw (formerly Kaye) on the 7th August 1892 at Meadow View Farm, which was situated towards the top of Manor Road, Farnley Tyas. It is likely that the farm was of a significant size for the time. The 1901 Census records George, aged 8, as living with his parents and 2 siblings and an older aunt, Selina Kaye, aged 78, all living at the farm. The 1911 Census records George, aged 18, single and living with his parents. He is described as a ‘farmer assisting father’. His father, William Henry is described as a ‘farmer, employer’, still living at Meadow View Farm. We do not know the circumstances of George’s enlistment into the Army, however we do know he served as a private in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment with the service number 5159.
British farmers have never been able to grow sufficient food for the nation. Foodstuffs have always had to be imported to keep the nation fed. Being an island nation the imported food has to be shipped from around the world into British ports. During the war advances in German submarine technology were outstripping Royal Navy countermeasures and a significant number of supply ships were being damaged or lost. In the latter years of The Great War the situation was becoming critical. The Germans were tightening the noose on Britain's food supply, so it was important that all British farms were as productive as possible. Tractors and farm machinery, as we know them today were not generally introduced until after 1945, so agriculture was heavily dependent on horse and man power. In short, by 1918 Britain needed farm workers more than it needed soldiers.
It seems reasonable to speculate that in the latter war years William Henry Shaw was having difficulty operating Meadow View Farm with so many men being away in the military and many horses having been commandeered for work in France. To this end it seems quite possible he asked the authorities to release his son, George, from the Army so he could resume his pre-war work on Meadow View Farm again. The authorities, mindful of a flood of similar claims, possibly offered to transfer George to the Labour Corps whence he could be attached for work at Meadow View Farm again. In this way, George would keep his army pay, see out his service engagement and earn his honourable discharge whenever that might be.
The Labour Corps were a Regiment of the British Army formed in February 1917. Their purpose was to supply men and materials to make and repair road and railways, load and unload ships and trains, farm work, etc. In short, any work that required a supply of manual labour. This was at a time before mechanisation so much had to be accomplished with pick, shovel and wheelbarrow. The usual recruits to the regiment were experienced in this kind of work. The modern day equivalent of the Labour Corps would be the Logistics Corps.
George must have accepted the offer of transfer because he served in the Labour Corps with a service number of 26988. Unfortunately fate was to play a part and George contracted pneumonia and died at Meadow View Farm on the 23rd of October 1918, aged 26, just a few weeks before the Armistice. As a serving soldier he would have been entitled to a War Graves Commission Portland headstone, however his family must have decided to bury George in the family grave. He is interred with his parents and other family members at St Lucius’ Churchyard, Farnley Tyas. His name is inscribed on the family headstone. Because George was a serving soldier when he died his grave will be tended in perpetuity by the Commonwealth Wargraves Commission.