The ultimate sacrifice

MEDIC: A stretcher bearer from the Cleckheaton Territorials.

MEDIC: A stretcher bearer from the Cleckheaton Territorials.

THIS week the country prepares to honour those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice serving their country.

To coincide with Remembrance Day, Spen war historian Charlie Turpin has kindly loaned us three photographs of the Cleckheaton Territorials.

The first picture shows the men – who were part of the 4th Battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment – in uniform. The officer in the middle is Col Harry Atkinson, who was in charge of the Battalion and was also a well known and respected figure in the town as he was the owner of St Peg Mills.

The Battalion arrived in France on April 15, 1915, and went straight into action in the battle of Aubers Ridge.

By the end of the war they had fought in every major battle, including Ypres, the Somme and Passchendaele.

Just over half of those in the picture survived the war.

Twenty two of them were lost in one day – September 3, 1916 – during the Battle of the Somme.

The Territorials’ Spen base was in the Drill Hall, opposite Whitcliffe Road School.

The other two pictures are also of the Cleckheaton Territorials. One shows a stretcher bearer with his satchel of medical supplies. Do any readers know who he was? And the second shows the Battalion behind the lines in late 1915, in the Ypres area enjoying some leisure time.




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