The battalion was formed at York on
the 25th August 1914 and designated a K1 battalion as formed under Lord Kitchener's first 'Call to Arms,'
an appeal for 100,000 men to join the Army for 3 years or for the duration of the war between the ages of 19 and 30 years.
The battalion was contained in the 11th (Northern) Division, a New Army Division which was formed under Army Order No. 324,
published on the 21st August, 1914. This order approved of the addition to the Army of six divisions, the 8th, 9th, 10th,
11th, 12th and 13th respectively.
The 9th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment was contained in the 32nd Infantry Brigade,
comprising of the 6th (Service) Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment, 6th (Service) Battalion, Yorks & Lancs Regiment and
the 8th (Service) Battalion, Duke Of Wellington's Regiment.
in Wetherby proved very brisk, principally due to the efforts of a number of individuals, one, a Mr. Rowland
Meyrick of Hall Orchards, an agent for the Montagu estates and who himself had served in the South African War being
a major protagonist.
A newspaper article dated September 1914 gives an account of his activities as an unpaid Recruitment
'Day and night he worked with the greatest enthusiasm and wherever young men were, in the cottage,
in the harvest field and street, there he was to be found, exercising his persuasive powers and the young men answered nobly
to his call.'
Some men, at first however, had their reservations on joining the Colours;
young fellow, anxious to enlist, was troubled about throwing up his work and he went to Mr. Meyrick. Would he guarantee him
work when he returned home? The answer was thoroughly satisfactory, and the young fellow is probably now clad in khaki. That
is the way to get recruits.'
Concerns prior to enlistment were also for the soldiers dependants. Wetherby Steeplechase
Committee made the following offer to encourage recruitment.
A further newspaper article dated September, 1914
'The Wetherby Steeplechase Committee have announced that they will give 1 shilling a week each to
the wives of men who have joined the Colours, and any others volunteering in the town, in order to augment the Army allowance
while they are on service.'
In the first week of September, about forty-five recruits, prior to leaving the
town for the regimental Depot at York, were entertained to dinner by the townsfolk of Wetherby. After this event, the prospective
recruits to the Army were conveyed to York in a fleet of motor-cars amidst much scenes of jubilation and enthusiasm.
training ensued for the recruits from Wetherby at York where they became accustomed to the vagaries of life in the British
Army. However, with the Depot processing more men that had answered Kitchener's 'Call to Arms,' a move
to larger training facilities at Belton Park, Grantham was initiated in September. Following this movement, a second
medical examination, more thorough than the Primary Military Examination that had taken place on Attestation was carried
out in mid October, and many men from Wetherby were discharged due to either being found medically unfit with
ailments ranging from chronic bronchitis to a hernia, or, lack of general ability. These men in Army 'parlance' were
'Discharged not being likely to become an efficient soldier.'
On the 5th April, 1915, the 32nd Brigade of the
11th (Northern) Division were ordered to entrain at Rugby, the destination being Witley Camp, near Godalming, Surrey. Leaving
Belton Park on the 5th, the Brigade marched via Scalford, Thrussington and Whetstone, reaching Rugby on the 8th and proceeded
by train to Witley on the 9th. The 'optimist' as he is referred to in the 'Green Howards In The Great War'
by H.C. Wylly provides an account of the route march:
'Our march on the Wednesday, we learn, took us through Leicester,
where the Division was accorded a really wonderful reception; all work was suspended and the streets were lined by an enthusiastic
and cheering multitude who showered all kinds of gifts on the troops.'
A newspaper article in October,
'Fallen Heroes - Official news was received on Friday night by Mrs. Byrom, Wetherby, that her
husband, Private Fred Byrom, of the 9th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment, who had previously been reported as wounded and
missing, was now notified as having been killed. Of the batch of Wetherby and district men who went to Gallipoli only four
remain who are not killed, wounded or reported missing. These are:- Private J. Beasley, Kirk Deighton, Private L. Nightingale,
Wetherby, Private F. Hodgson, Wetherby, and Private W. Chambers, Cowthorpe.'
Thomas Beasley (typo error in the article) was to lose his life on the Somme in November 1916. Laurence Nightingale survived
the war. Francis Hodgson was to be killed on the Somme in September 1916 (refer to main menu). William Chambers although wounded,
survived the war.
The Helles Memorial takes the form of an obelisk over 30 metres high and stands
on the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula.
The memorial serves a dual function of Commonwealth battle memorial for
the whole of the Gallipoli campaign and place of commemoration for many of those Commonwealth servicemen who died there and
have no known grave. Panels on the memorial commemorate United Kingdom and Indian forces that died throughout the peninsula,
the Australians recorded on the memorial at Helles itself. Those who died or were buried at sea are also commemorated.