Frederick James Byrom, 'Fred,' was
born in Leeds in 1889 whilst the family were residing in premises located at 8, Hound Street, in the Quarry Hill area
of Leeds. His father's occupation is recorded in the 1891 Census as that of a Carrier, the family comprising at this
period of two sons, John, birth registered 1885, and Roland, born 1887 respectively. It would appear that by 1894, Samuel
had changed his occupation to that of a Leather Dresser, this change of trade being recorded on the baptism record of
his next child, Lily, baptized at St. Peter's Parish Church, Leeds, on the 23rd November 1894.
With the family blessed by the birth of two more children Samuel, born 1896, and Edith Maria, born 1899, the
Byrom family relocated between the year 1896 - 1899 to premises located at Edgeware Place, off the junction of Roseville and Roundhay
Roads, Leeds. Their habitation of this abode however appears to be that of a short duration as in 1901, no doubt due to an
enlarged family, the family moved to Number 54, Brownhill Crescent, Harehills. It is of interest to note that Samuel Byrom
at this period seems to have exercised some entrepreneurial 'skill' as his occupation is now recorded as a partner
in some form of Bootmaking enterprise, no doubt exercising his abilities and skill to work a leather product.
In 1902 another child was born, Hector Winn, baptized at St. Agnes Church,
Stoney Rock Lane, Burmantofts. Once again the ever expanding Byrom family relocated to Banstead Terrace, located off Roundhay
Road whereupon Alice May Byrom was born in 1904. It is between this period, and that of 1911, that it is unclear as to the
actual residence of at least part the of the Byrom family. The Census of 1911 records that Fred's parents, Samuel
and Lydia accompanied by Rowland aged 23, Edith, aged 11 and Hector aged 9, are recorded as visitors to the White Horse Hotel,
Market Place, Kirkbymoorside. Samuel's occupation is at this period denoted as a Commercial Agent (Turf) no doubt yet
another entrepreneurial venture and assisted in the latter undertaking by Roland. It is of interest to note that their
are also people either employed or visiting the Hotel with links to Wetherby; Cecil Dalby aged 19 (Frederick Cecil Dalby,
it would appear a hired chauffeur from Dalby's Motors, North Street, Wetherby ) and Annie Maria Scutt, employed as a Barmaid,
sister of Thomas Scutt, the latter who would take up residence in Wetherby finding employment with Mr. George Gunter, Gentleman
Farmer and Racehorse Trainer.
The 1911 Census does however
record that Lily, aged 16, occupation, Housekeeper, Samuel (Junior), aged 14, an Apprentice House Painter, and Alice May aged
5 years were residing in Oban Villas, North Street, Wetherby, a part of this substantial residence now occupied by the business
of Fox and Saddlers. Of Fred, there is no record but the answer may possibly equate to the simple fact that he was not
at home when the Enumerator called at the address. It is also a possible scenario that Lily was simply minding the youngest
child whilst the Byrom family were visiting Kirkbymoorside. A number of factors would also indicate a protracted period
of residence in the town by the Byrom family. Roland died at Wetherby in 1912 and Fred would marry one Alice Maud Kitchen
the following year, their first and only child Lydia, being born in late 1913. John Edward, the eldest son of the family,
also married one Annie McHale at Wetherby in the autumn of 1911, the couple taking up residence in Woodhouse, Leeds.
Authors note:- Recent research material in the form of the West Yorkshire
Electoral Register dated 1912 confirms that Samuel Byrom was residing at Oban Villas. It would appear that whilst pursuing
business interests, the family took up residence in the town of Wetherby.
Fred attested for service at Wetherby Town Hall on or about the 31st August 1914.
The terms of his enlistment were a Short Service obligation, i.e. three years with the Colours however it was stated that
if the War lasted longer than three years, the recruit would be retained until the cessation of hostilities.
the men waited to enlist, Army protocol declared had the prospective recruit received Notice and understood its meaning and
who gave the Notice to them. On confirmation by the potential recruit Army Form B. 2065 was first signed by Rowland Meyrick,
the issuer of the Notice before recruitment could commence. The latter had proved to be very brisk, principally due to the
efforts of a number of individuals, but it was Mr. Rowland Meyrick of Hall Orchards, a Land Agent for the Montague estates,
that was the major protagonist encouraging many a young Wetherby man to "take the King's shilling."
article dated September 1914 provides an insight as to his activities as an unpaid Recruitment Officer:
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.
men at first however, had their reservations on joining the Colours;
One 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 raised for the soldiers dependants, therefore,
Wetherby Steeplechase Committee made the following offer to stimulate and encourage recruitment. A further newspaper article
dated September 1914 declared:
"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."
that he now understood the terms of his engagement, Fred now declared that all his answers to questions declared on the Army
Form were true and that he was willing to fulfill the engagements made. On signing the document, it was witnessed by John
McEvitt, a former soldier who had served with the 1st Battalion, Connaught Rangers and a veteran of the Boer War. Former Colour
Sergeant McEvitt in civilian life, was the Caretaker of the Conservative Club, located in the Market Place, who, although
recorded in the 1911 Census as an Army Pensioner, fulfilled the roll of Acting Recruitment Sergeant.
preliminary medical examination was now conducted by Lieutenant Harry Winstanley Shadwell of the Royal Army Medical Corps
to determine vital statistics; height, weight, vision and expansion of the chest. Deemed 'fit' as the vast majority
of men were at this early stage of enlistment, the final signature that would approve the man for military service was that
of the Approving Officer, 14th Recruiting Area, Colonel Harold P. Ditmas, late Durham Royal Garrison Artillery (Militia).
That final signature would witness over forty-five recruits from the locality joining the ranks of the fledgeling
9th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment, the first Service battalion of the Regiment to be raised as a response to
the outbreak of the Great War.
In the first week of September, the men prior to leaving for the
Regimental Depot located at York, were entertained to a dinner by the townsfolk of Wetherby. After the event and bidding their
farewells, the men of 'Kitchener's Army' were conveyed to York in a fleet of motor-cars amidst, what was described
as, "much scenes of jubilation and enthusiasm."
Of the men, many would never
Formation Of The Battalion
The 9th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment 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 the 13th respectively.
The 9th (Service) Battalion,
West Yorkshire Regiment, Officer Commanding, Lieutenant-Colonel George Frend (attached from the 3rd Battalion, West Yorkshire's),
were contained in the 32nd Infantry Brigade that also comprised of the following units:
6th (Service) Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards)
6th (Service) Battalion,
Yorks & Lancs Regiment
8th (Service) Battalion, West Riding Regiment (Duke of Wellington's)
Brigade Commander Brigadier-General Henry Haggard
Commander Major-General Frederick Hammersley C.B.
Basic training ensued for the recruits from Wetherby at the Regimental Depot
where they became accustomed to the vagaries of life in the British Army. Possibly the first blow to patriotic 'fervour'
was the issuing of a Serial Number to each man, an individual in civilian life but now a number throughout his service in
the Army. It is of interest to note that the numbers issued to the recruits from Wetherby follow no alphabetical sequence
as is sometimes the case. An analysis therefore conducted of this specific batch of numbers issued reveals that proceeding
Fred the number 11877 was issued to Ernest Linfoot, a native of Harewood but lodging in the town of Wetherby at Grafton Square,
occupation, a Grocers Assistant. The number allocated to the recruit following on from Fred, 11879, was issued to one Ira
Kitchen, a native of Stainland near Halifax. Ira enlisted at Wetherby Town Hall on the 31st August 1914 but was discharged
in mid October 1914. His association with the town of Wetherby however is not known at present.
York at this juncture with the Depot processing more men that had answered the 'Call to Arms' was
now fit to bursting point with men. Therefore a move to larger training facilities at Belton Park, Grantham, was initiated
in September by the 9th West Yorkshire's where they were joined by the remainder of the Brigade.
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. Many men from Wetherby were discharged due to either being found medically unfit with ailments
ranging from chronic bronchitis to a hernia, or, a lack of general ability. These men in Army 'parlance' were "Discharged
not being likely to become an efficient soldier," their departure being confirmed by the Adjutant, Captain Alexander
An analysis of Army Pension Records reveal that of the men who enlisted at Wetherby
Town Hall in August, 6 were medically discharged who had a direct link to the town in addition to one man from Kirk Deighton.
Some of these discharged men would eventually serve in some military capacity as the War progressed.
The winter of 1914 and the spring of 1915 were most notably wet resulting in the camp at Belton turning into
a veritable quagmire. By the end of February, all ranks had been issued 1914 Pattern Equipment, made under contract in the
United States and despite the weather, training proceeded apace with musketry drills, marching discipline etc.
late March orders had been issued warning of an impending move away from Lincolnshire. On the 5th April 1915, the 9th West
Yorkshire's in Brigade, were ordered to entrain at Rugby, the destination being Witley Camp, near Godalming, Surrey. Leaving
Belton Park on this date, the Brigade proceeded by route of march via Scalford, Thrussington and Whetstone reaching Rugby
on the 8th. Here the Brigade entrained during the following day after an eventful march. An account of this may be found in
the Green Howards In The Great War by H.C. Wylly. 'The Optimist' as he is referred to in the account
"Our march on Wednesday 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."
Settling into their new surroundings 'The Optimist' remarked that the change of weather and
that of the scenery was most welcome. He also noted that the extensive heathland and commons so characteristic of the area
proved more conducive for military manoeuvres as the men were about to experience.
The camp consisted
at this stage of the War primarily of tented accommodation with a few huts but the camp would rapidly expand and become more
permanent as the conflict progressed.
On the 1st May the 11th (Northern)
Division played host to two distinguished visitors, namely His Majesty the King who was accompanied by Lord Kitchener, Secretary
of State for War. After inspecting the men, the following Divisional Order was issued:
"His Majesty the King has desired the G.O.C. to convey to the troops his appreciation of the splendid
appearance and steadiness of the men on parade yesterday. His Majesty also remarked on the good condition of the horses. Finally
His Majesty said to the G.O.C., "It has been a very great pleasure to me to see such a splendid body of men, and I desire
you to so inform the troops."
Early in the month the
Battalion had also witnessed a change in command when Colonel Frend was replaced by another officer from the 3rd Battalion,
West Yorkshire Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel John O'Brien Minogue. An experienced officer who had risen through the ranks,
Minogue had served with a variety of regiments during the course of his service career however the Colonel did possess an
affiliation to the West Yorkshire Regiment dating back to 1893.
Towards the end of June there must
have been rumours of an impending move to active service circulating as the American equipment previously issued to the men
was replaced by the British made 1908 pattern webbing. Suspicions were no doubt aroused further when all the men were issued
with khaki drill and helmets of the 'Foreign Service' variety, the latter also referred to as the 'Pagri.'
Fred and the men of the West Yorkshire's were soon to have their suspicions confirmed when orders were
issued to the 32nd Infantry Brigade at 3 p.m. on the afternoon of the 31st June to prepare for entrainment the following day,
destination, as yet unknown to the men, was to be the Dardanelles.
a comprehensive account of the actions of the 9th West Yorkshire Regiment during the Dardanelles campaign the reader may wish
to follow this link: