Terrible toll of the Somme: WW1 battle killed 190 of Dewsbury’s soldiers

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We will be hearing and reading a great deal in coming weeks and months about the Battle of the Somme in which more than one million men from both sides lost their lives.

The battle started on July 1, 1916, and during the four months it lasted, 190 men from Dewsbury died – 41 of them had been killed on the first day.

This week I am publishing the names of these men, and in coming issues, the names of those killed in the months to follow. Services commemorating the centenary of this battle are being held throughout the country, one of them at Dewsbury Minster Church on Saturday July 2 starting at 11am. It has been arranged by a group of local historians, working under the name Dewsbury Sacrifices. My grateful thanks to members of Dewsbury Sacrifices for providing material for this article.

The following are the names of those killed on the first day, some as young as 17 and 18. Some may have lived down your street.

Please read them, and attend the service in their memory:-


William Henry Austwick, Park Avenue, Dewsbury, King’s Own Scottish Borderers: aged 19, son of George Arthur and Catherine Austwick.

William Henry Barker, Thornton Street, Dewsbury, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI): 22, son of Seth and Emma Barker.

William Birmingham, Armitage Buildings, Batley Carr, KOYLI: 34, son of Thomas and Margaret (nee Lally).

Cecil Lawrence Blake, Brunswick Street, Dewsbury, KOYLI: 19, son of James William and Martha Lavinia Blake.

William Chatten, High Street, Dewsbury, KOYLI: 19, son of Arthur and Martha Anne (nee Heald).

Norman Cleveland, Prospect Terrace, Thornhill, 2nd Lieutenant, Royal Fusiliers: 19.

Harry Cooke, Savile Roadd, Rfm 2003 London Rifle Brigade: 35, son of Samuel and Clarissa (nee Cooke).

James Henry Coyne, Asylum Road, Dewsbury, KOYLI: 39, son of John and Catherine (nee Mullaney) .

George Gladstone Day, Middle Road, Westtown, Yorks & Lancs, missing presumed killed: 26, son of Joseph and Emma Day.

Ernest Denton, Dale Stret, Thornhill Lees, KOYLI: son of Richard and Sarah Jane (nee Cowgill) Denton.

Fred Duxbury, Sackville Street, Ravensthorpe, KOYLI: 23, son of John William and Emma (nee Lister).

Fred Exley, Back Kensington Street, 10th KOYLI: 29, son of Luke and Ellen (nee Coulton) Exley.

Stanley Pickup Fletcher Saxonholme, West Park Street, Dewsbury, 5th West Yorkshire Regt: 19, son of James and Alice Fletcher.

Albert Gibbs, Unity Terrace, Dewsbury, Kings Own Scottish Borderers: 19, son of Arthur and Harriet (nee Gilbert).

Alfred Gildea, KOYLI: 34, son of Patrick and Catherine (nee Hart) Gildea.

Albert Gregory, High Street, Westtown, 4th North Staffs Regiment: 18, son of Abraham and Annie Gregory, although subsequent to Abraham’s death in 1906, she became Annie Gates.

Thomas Hirst, Willans House, Willans Road, Dewsbury, KOYLI: 18, son of Henry and Clara Hirst.

Frederick Holmes, Beacon Street, Ravensthorpe, KOYLI: 27, son of Frederick and Susan E. Holmes.

Wilfred Jackson, Back Barber Street, Dewsbury, Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment: 21, son of James and Emma (nee Noble) Jackson.

Arnold Lee, Healds Road, West Yorkshire Regt: 23, son of George and Annie Elizabeth (nee Furness).

Vernal Lowe, Boothroyd Lane, KOYLI: 33, son of Charles Green Lowe and Mary Jane (nee Wood).

Jesse Marshall, Leeds Road, KOYLI: 22, son of Esli and Sarah Jane (nee Scorah) Marshall, husband of Lillian (nee Hinchcliffe) and father of Jesse (born 1915).

John McDonald, Ingham Road, Westtown, KOYLI: 25, son of Terence and Ellen (nee Quinn).

Thomas Moore, Ridgway Street, KOYLI: 36, son of Charles Moore, husband of Edith (nee Kennedy) and stepfather of William Chappell.

John Neville, Senior Street, Dawgreen, KOYLI: 20, son of Michael and Mary (nee Flanagan).

Harry Newsome, KOYLI: 23, son of Harry and Sarah Jane (nee Room), husband of Emma (formerly Richardson) and father of Arthur Edward, born 1910.

Alfred Oldroyd, Upper Cross Street, KOYLI: 28, son of George and Emma Oldroyd.

George Geoffrey Phillips, Marlborough Terrace, West Yorkshire Regt: 18, son of Henry and Elizabeth (nee Blackley).

Richard Pickard, 15 Hill End, Earlsheaton, Yorks & Lancaster Regiment: 22, stepson of George Henry Goldthorpe and son of Elizabeth Goldthorpe (nee Pickard).

Albert E. Pizer, North Road, Ravensthorpe, 10th Bn KOYLI: 21, son of Arthur and Ada (nee Lee).

William Blackburn Porritt, Wellington Road, Dewsbury, 8th Bn, KOYLI: 21, son of Joe and Ada Porritt.

David Ramsden, 12th Bn KOYLI: 29, son of Ezra and Rosanna (nee Humphreys) Ramsden.

Norman Renshaw, Naylor Street, Batley Carr, KOYLI: 17, son of Edmund and Louise (nee Kilburn) Renshaw.

Arthur Roberts, 8th Bn KOYLI: 18, son of Joseph and Annis (nee Robertshaw).

Herbert Smith, Lees Hall Road, Thornhill Lees, KOYLI,

Harold Lee Ward, Commercial Street, Earlsheaton, 8th Bn KOYLI: 20, son of John and Hephzibah (nee Lee) Ward.

Joseph Webster, 31 Kaye Street, Savile Town, Pte 25319 KOYLI.

Jack Weate, The Common, Thornhill, 12th Bn KOYLI: 21, son of John Gifford Weate and Sarah Anne (nee Latewood).

Wilfred Henry Whitaker, of Wharf Street, Savile Town, 9th Bn KOYLI: 23, son of Joseph Whitaker and Sarah (nee Ingham).

Claude Wild, 3 Back Princes Street, 9th Bn KOYLI: 19, son of William Wild and Susan (nee Graham).

Albert Wood, 9th Bn York and Lancaster Regiment, husband of Jane Wood, of Lower Cross Street, Bradford Road, Dewsbury.