Wetherby War Memorial - The Great War 1914 - 1918

Private Thomas George Scutt

Introduction
Gunter, R B N
Durrant, C M
Weston, C G
Kelly, K G
Armitage, G J
Durrant, H M L
Hargreaves, J P
March, G
Dukes, W
Fowler, R
Westerman, H
Kirk, J C
Wiggins, T A
Telford, G
Harper, J W
Alexander, H W
Mason, T F
Wilkinson, W
Brown, C
Adkin, J
Barton, F
Hobman, A
Webster, A E
March, E A
Miller, G
Hannan, E
Utley, G
Walker, F
Bygrave, E W
Chapman, E
Varley, N W
Bowen, F J
Byrom, F
Backhouse, S
Dalby, M
Crossland, A
Crossley, J S
Dean, R
Frost, A E
Hodgson, F H
Holt, J
Hood, W H
Hill, W
Kitchen, T
Linfoot, E
Metcalfe, J C
Marsden, J
Pawson, W
Precious, G
Scutt, T G
Shields,P
Wiggins, J
Walker, E
Wood, A
Young, T
Pratt, W
Taylor, H
Dawson, G W
Lister, J
Binge, T
Atack, G
Durham, E F
Precious, G R
Wheelhouse Smith, W
Backhouse, H
Swann, J W
Burnsides, G A
Coles, W
Kelly, H W
Miles, J G
Tapsell, K
Acknowledgements
Dardanelles

36785
1st Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment
Died 21st March 1918

Cemetery : Vaux Hill Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France
Grave Reference or Panel Number : III.D.5

Son of Jonathan and Annie Scutt; husband of Mary Annie Scutt (nee Apew).
 
Thomas George Scutt was born in 1886 at Swinefleet, near Goole, to parents Jonathan, a Farmer, and Annie Scutt.
It would appear that upon the death of his Grandfather, one William Scutt in 1888, Thomas' father, being an only child, inherited a large farm comprising of 145 acres located at Reedness Grange near Swinefleet. I can only surmise therefore that this was the family residence where Thomas spent his early years.
Shortly after the birth of a third daughter, Annie in 1889 at Reedness, the family relocated to the picturesque village of Sessay near Thirsk. The 1891 Census records that the family now took up residence at the Downe Arms with Thomas' fathers occupation still being recorded as that of a Farmer, the family now comprising of five children, Sarah aged 9, William (John William) aged 6, Thomas aged 5, Nora aged 3 and Annie aged 2 years respectively.
An examination of the 1901 Census records the family still residing at the Downe Arms, Jonathan now describing his occupation as that of a Farmer/Publican being assisted in his farming duties by both William and Thomas. The family had also been blessed by the birth of two further children, Leonora Alice (Lena) in 1893 and Nellie (Nelly) Boynton in 1897.
By the year of 1911, Jonathan had given up the tenure of the Downe Arms to one Frederick Kay and had taken up residence at Number 2, East View, Long Street, Thirsk. It is, one feels, that he may have experienced a downturn in his fortunes as he now describes his occupation in the census details of this year as a "Horseman on Farm," (Worker). As most familys experience, some siblings had departed the family home, only Lena and Nelly remaining however despite extensive searches of this census, of Thomas there is no trace. One simple answer maybe just that Thomas was not present when the Enumerator called at the family residence but at this juncture we will now attempt to explore his arrival in the market town of Wetherby, his occupation and his eventual marriage.
 
Wetherby: Employment, Marriage & Enlistment
 
The first records of Thomas residing in the Wetherby district appear in 1914 but it is impossible to determine with some accuracy when he actually took up residence in the town. Possibly taking up lodgings in one of the numerous Boarding Houses located in the town, Thomas found employment as a Groom with Mr. George Gunter, a successful trainer of racehorses and a Gentleman Farmer of Heuthwaite Lodge, Wetherby. Romance blossomed with a local girl, Miss Mary Annie Apew, the daughter of the late John and Annie Apew of Swinnow Hill, Wetherby. Spending her formative years residing in premises located on the Montague Estate that encompassed Ingmanthorpe Hall, her father was employed on the estate as a Woodman but due to the nature of his employment, tragedy would strike the family in 1911 as a result of an unfortunate accident. The Leeds Mercury dated the 17th of June 1911 records the circumstances surrounding his death:-
 
"A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned yesterday at the inquest at Leeds Town Hall on the body of John Apew, aged 69 years, of Swinnow Hill, Wetherby, who died in the Infirmary on Wednesday, following an injury received whilst working on the estate of Mr. F.J.O. Montague.
Apew and another man were sawing trees which had been felled, and two other men were doing the actual felling. One tree which was being felled broke off sooner than anticipated because it was rotten. It fell exactly as planned but owing to the hardness of the ground the root bounced over a six-foot fence and struck Apew, who was working at the other side.
Both Apew's legs were broken and one had to be amputated at the Leeds Infirmary. Mortification set in, and caused death."
 
Losing a father at the age of twenty years must have come as the bitterest blow to herself and her mother. John was laid to rest at St. Michael's Church, Cowthorpe, whereupon Mary and her mother moved at first to premises located in the West End (Westgate) area of the town before taking up residence at Number 3, North Street. (Authors note: As of 1914 and recorded in the Electoral Register).
 
On the 21st of September 1914, Thomas married Mary at St. James Parish Church, the marriage being witnessed by Mary's brother, John Robert, a Joiner, and her mother. Exactly one month to the day, Annie (Ann) Apew died aged 73 years leaving her entire estate of £228, 12 shillings and 5 pence to her son.
 
Enlistment
 
Despite a lack of surviving service documents, one can determine through an analysis a various documents in the number sequence, that Thomas had been conscripted under the Military Services Act of 1916. Called up for General Service in either late July or early August of that year, he was subsequently posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment. Forming part of the Tyne Garrison and located at Whitley Bay, the 3rd Battalion was placed under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel George Frend, a position he would hold until the cessation of hostilities.
 
Undergoing a programme of training that included drill, musketry and field craft, the rigours of life in the army were offset in the north-east by a lively programme of fund raising and social events, often attended by the Regimental Band. A large Y.M.C.A. Hut had been erected in addition to those already located at Cambois, Blyth and Horton, and it was noted to be one of the most successful that had been established in the north-east of England. Renovated on the initiative of Mrs. Isacke, wife of Major Reginald Isacke, 3rd Battalion, her initial donation of £50 was initially given on the premise of nine other donations of a similar sum. Such was the success of this fund raising campaign, twenty-two further 'gifts' were received, the opening ceremony of this revamped and enlarged establishment being conducted by Brigadier-General Arthur James Kelly C.B., Commanding Number 2 Section, Tyne Garrison.  (Source: Newcastle Daily Journal dated the 16th of November 1916).
 
Posting Overseas
 
The 3rd Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment, comprised of a variety of men; wounded soldiers returned from the front, those who had served previously before the outbreak of the war, men rather advanced in age and those who were medically unfit for active service. Amongst this eclectic mix of men, there were those such as Thomas who had been conscripted for military service. As the Somme battle drew on through its various phases since the launch of the offensive on the 1st of July 1916, both the Regular and Service Battalions of the Regiment that had been engaged now experienced a pressing need for drafts to replace those either killed or wounded. In the winter of 1916 therefore, Thomas was drafted overseas to replace losses suffered by the 18th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (2nd Bradford "Pals"). An analysis of the Battalion War Diary (T.N.A. WO95/2362/2) reveals that the first drafts to the battalion commenced in October and numbered 332 in total for the month, in November, 40 duly arrived and in December, the total was 130. It is of interest to note that of this last draft, 87 of their number as recorded by the Battalion War Diary originated from the "1st West Yorks." This possibly indicates that this draft was either destined for the latter Regular Battalion, or, the designation should actually read, the 1st (Garrison) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment, men who had been transferred from this battalion who were serving in Malta.
 
It is impossible to determine with any degree of accuracy the actual date of Thomas' drafting to the battalion however the latter had returned to the Somme battlefield in mid October taking up trenches located in the Hebuterne/Serre Sector. The 31st Division were about to be engaged in the Battle of the Ancre that would be launched on the 13th of November but during the course of this offensive action, only the Hull Battalion's of the 92nd Infantry Brigade would participate, this brigade suffering heavy casualties during the course of the attack. For a comprehensive account of this engagement in which two Wetherby men were present, the reader may wish to read the following commemorations:-
 
    
 

Private Sidney Backhouse

Private Joseph Lister

 
18th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (2nd Bradford "Pals")
 
The 18th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment, were formed in Bradford in February 1915 by the Bradford Citizens' Army League as authorised by the Army Council. Raised on the same basis as the 1st "Pals" (16th Battalion), a vigorous recruitment campaign commenced aimed at a wide variety of men from various social backgrounds. The formation of a 'sporting' company for instance was requested, its ranks to be filled by athletes, footballers and cricketers. Any potential recruit that was interested in joining their fellow sportsmen in serving in the ranks of this company were therefore requested to communicate with Captain Albert William Robinson. 
 
Recruiting offices were located at Skipton, the camp of the 16th Battalion, at Keighley, in Manningham Lane and at numerous other offices allocated for the purpose in Bradford. Numbered as the 18th (Service) Battalion in February 1915, by the end of the month a second company had nearly been completed. Christened the "Khaki Pals" as opposed to the "Blue Pals" due to the availibility of khaki, a route march was conducted to Keighley in March with the objective of initiating the formation of a 'Keighley Company' from men of the Worth Valley, Airedale and as far as Saltaire. (Authors note: Due to some confusion, both the 2nd Leeds "Pals" and the 2nd Bradford "Pals" had been initially designated as the 17th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment).
 
The battalion was placed under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel George Herbert Muller V.D. in February 1915. Muller had initially commanded the 1st Bradford "Pals" before being replaced by Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Wallace Warden. Colonel Muller had served for many years with the 3rd West Riding of Yorkshire Rifle Volunteers Corps and eventually rose to command the 2nd Volunteer Battalion. Resigning his commission as Colonel and Honorary Colonel in 1904, he became the first Commanding Officer of the 6th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment. Although officially retired upon the outbreak of the war, Muller offered his services and immediately set about the raising of the Bradford "Pals" with much enthusiasm for a man aged 58 years.  
 
An illuminated tram car was also utilised for recruiting in Shipley, the Shipley Times and Express dated the 26th of March proudly announcing that the 2nd Bradford's had now about 650 recruits, half of the number of what was required to fill their ranks. It was a credit to the recruitment campaign that between the 12th - 26th April, thirteen days exclusive of Sundays, that 576 men had now offered their services bringing the strength of the battalion as of the latter date to 1040, officers, non-commissioned officers and men. (Source: Leeds Mercury dated the 28th of April 1915). By the following day, this number had increased to 1,113, just 237 men short of completing the battalion's full establishment, the latter comprising of five companies. (Source: Yorkshire Evening Post dated the 30th of April 1915).
 
Unlike the 1st Bradford's who were housed in a purpose built hutted camp located at Raikeswood, Skipton, in early May 1915 the 2nd Bradford's moved into camp and under canvas at Bowling Park. The Leeds Mercury dated the 14th of May 1915 painted a pleasant description of the camp as being "splendidly situated near Bowling Park, and is well supplied with water, cooking and sanitary arrangements. There is plenty of space for drill and manoeuvres, an excellent cricket pitch, and a swimming pond is in course of construction."
 
Now only about twenty men short of establishment, the battalion's stay at Bowling was thankfully of a short duration. With cold nights and the men settling down as best they could, orders were received for 18th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment, to proceed to Ripon to join their allocated Infantry Brigade in Division. Subsequently on the 17th of May, an advance party was sent forward of the main body to form fatigue parties which would be grouped together for brigade duties, the other constituent parties comprising of the 1st Bradfords and men of the 18th (Service) Battalion, Durham Light Infantry.
 
Departing their respective camps on the 20th, after spending the night under canvas the 2nd Bradford's with Colonel Muller and Temporary Major Arthur Howarth riding at the head of the Battalion, marched through the town of Harrogate as the bugle and fife bands played on. Proceeding to Ripon, the battalion took up billets in the North Camp along with the respective units that comprised their allocated brigade. (Authors note: Originally, the battalion was to be designated as part of the 114th Infantry Brigade, 38th Division of the Fifth New Army. As a consequence of the disbandment of the Fourth New Army to provide reinforcements for units already in the field, the Fifth New Army was redesignated the Fourth New Army, the 38th Division now being designated as the 31st Division. Forming part of the 93rd Infantry Brigade, the latter comprised of the following units:- 
 
15th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (1st Leeds "Pals")
16th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (1st Bradford "Pals")
18th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (2nd Bradford "Pals")
18th (Service) Battalion, Durham Light Infantry (1st County)
 
 
Ripon
 
By mid June 1915, the diocese of Ripon now contained about 100,000 men located in various camps. Various other units also commenced to converge on Ripon such as the 210th and 211th Field Companies of the Royal Engineers, an advance party of forty-six men under the command of Lieutenant Frederic Horspool departing Ilkley by train on the morning of the 18th of June for hutments allocated for the billeting of the engineers. (Leeds Mercury dated the 19th of June 1915).
 
As the engineers arrived en masse on the 22nd, the 15th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (Leeds "Pals) returned to Ripon on the 28th of June after a further recruitment drive in the Leeds district. Whilst at Ripon, leave home was granted to a certain percentage of the men who normally returned home on a Saturday afternoon to return back to camp on a Monday morning in time for the first parade. This 'arrangement' however was found to be most 'inconvenient' to the railway company who stated by note that they could not provide accommodation on standard trains but as a compromise they offered to put on a 'special train' departing on Saturday at 1.05 p.m. and returning to Ripon at 6.20 p.m. on a Sunday evening. Suffice to say, this resulted in a considerable curtailment of a man's leave, him having to depart his family home in the middle of the day. The reason, the railway company stated, was that civilian passengers objected to the company of soldiers on the standard trains. Signing himself "Disgusted," a soldier of the 1st Bradford "Pals" in a letter to the Leeds Mercury dated the 18th of June 1915 remarked:-
 
"We call that poor patriotism, and a scant return to men who have left good homes at the call of their King and country. I hope your readers do not imagine we get free tickets, they cost us 2s. 11d., and many members of this battalion only draw 3s. 6d. per week (and stoppages).
The privilege of going home to see our families is one of our greatest treats, and comes round to each man's turn about once in 12 weeks, and consequently we are not inclined to give up the privilege at the request of a few civilians, who are ready enough to cheer and call themselves patriots when the fighting is done, but begrudge sitting room for an ordinary common soldier. We hope this reasonable complaint will get to the proper quarter, and that the injustice will soon be remedied."
 
Despite the inconveniences of being stationed some distance from their homes, the men set about furthering their training and indulging in various sporting activities. For example a cricket match was held between the Buglers of the Leeds and Bradford "Pals" with the result that the latter won the match by eight runs.