to be Henry Taylor. Son of Edward and Annie Taylor of Micklethwaite, Wetherby.
Henry was born at Micklethwaite in the Ecclesiastical Parish of St. Oswald's,
Collingham in 1893 to parents Edward, occupation a Cattle Stockman and Annie Taylor and possibly referred to as 'Harry'
due to the fact that his Grandfather Henry resided in premises adjacent.
The 1911 census records at this juncture that 'Harry' had by now found employment as a Butcher, his father's
occupation now being described as that of a Cowman on a Farm.
Recruitment & Attestation
Harry attested for service at Wetherby Town Hall on or about the 31st August 1914. The terms of his engagement were
that of a Short Service obligation, i.e, three years with the Colours however it was stated that should the War last longer
than this duration, the recruit would be retained until the cessation of hostilities.
As the men waited their turn to enlist, Army protocol dictated had the prospective recruit received Notice and understood
its meaning and who had given the Notice to them. On confirmation of this by the potential recruit Army Form B. 2065 was at
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
A newspaper article dated
September 1914 provides an insight into his activities as an Unpaid Recruitment Officer;
"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;
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 both 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, harry 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 the signing of the document, this 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 performed the roll of 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.
A preliminary medical examination was now
performed by Lieutenant Harry Winstanley Shadwell of the Royal Army Medical Corps to determine vital statistics such as height,
weight, expansion of the chest etc. Deemed to be '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 direct response to the outbreak of the Great War.
In the first week of September 1914, 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."
the men, many would never return.
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 the period of three years or for the duration of the War between the ages of 19 and 30 years. The Battalion were
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
The 9th (Service) Battalion,
West Yorkshire Regiment, Officer Commanding, Lieutenant-Colonel George Frend (attached from the 3rd Battalion, West Yorkshire's),
formed part of the 32nd Infantry Brigade that also contained the following units:
6th (Service) Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards)
6th (Service) Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment
8th (Service) Battalion, West Riding Regiment (Duke of Wellington's)
Brigadier-General Henry Haggard
Commander Major-General Frederick Hammersley C.B.
Basic training ensued for the recruits 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 British 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 reveals that proceeding Harry the number 11881 was allocated to Harry Wiseman
of Wetherby. Harry, attaining the rank of Colour Sergeant, would survive the War. The number issued following on from Harry
Taylor was subsequently allocated to one Arthur Wadkin. Arthur, a native of Spofforth near Harrogate and residing in premises
at Castle Street, would enlist along with his brother Albert. Both would be killed on the Peninsula.
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. Due to this factor a move to larger training facilities
located at Belton Park near Grantham, Lincolnshire, was initiated in September by the 9th West Yorkshire's where they
were joined by the remainder of the Brigade in Division.
Following this movement southwards, a second medical examination more thorough than the initial examination that
had taken place on Attestation was conducted in mid October. As a response many men were discharged due to either being found
medically unfit with conditions ranging from chronic bronchitis to a hernia, or, just a lack of general ability. The latter
men in Army 'parlance' were "Discharged not being likely to become an efficient soldier," their
departure being confirmed by the Adjutant, Captain Alexander Geary-Smith. An analysis of Army Pension Records reveal that
of the men who had enlisted at Wetherby Town Hall in the heady days of August, 6 were medically discharged who had a direct
link to the town in addition to one man from Kirk Deighton. Of these discharged men, some would eventually re-enlist and serve
in some military capacity as the need for man power increased and the War progressed.
The winter of 1914 and the spring of 1915 were most notably wet resulting
in the camp at Belton Park turning into a veritable quagmire. Withstanding the conditions, by the end of February all ranks
had been issued 1914 Pattern Equipment made under contract in the United States and despite the constraints of the weather,
the training programme proceeded apace.
late March 1915 orders had been issued warning of an impending move away from the flat Lincolnshire countryside. On the 5th
April 1915, the 9th West Yorkshire's in Brigade and Division received orders to entrain at Rugby, the destination being
Witley Camp, near Godalming, Surrey. Departing Belton Park on this date, the Brigade in Division proceeded by route of march
via Scalford, Thrussington and Whetstone reaching Rugby on the 8th. Here the 32nd Infantry Brigade commenced entrainment 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 the recorder of these events is referred to in the account writes;
"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.
Witley Camp consisted at this stage of the War primarily of tented accommodation with just a few huts having been
erected however the camp would rapidly expand and become more permanent as the conflict progressed.
On the 1st May 1915 the 11th (Northern) Division played host to two most
distinguished visitors, namely His Majesty the King who was also accompanied by Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War.
After inspecting the men, the following Divisional Order was issued, an extract of which is quoted in Wylly's History;
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."
The month of May would
also witness a change in command of the Battalion when Colonel Frend was replaced by another officer from the ranks of 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 previuosly 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
refrred to as the 'Pagri.'
the men of the West Yorkshire's were soon to have their suspicions confirmed when orders were issued to the 32nd Infantry
Brigade and Division at 3 p.m. on the afternoon of the 31st June 1915 to prepare for entrainment the following day. Wherever
the men suspected they were heading they at least knew that the climate was to be hot due to the types of equipment issued.
The exact destination however was unknown to the Other Ranks of the Battalion, but orders dictated that the West Yorkshire's
were now bound for the Dardanelles to play their part in trying to break the stalemate that had now developed on the Peninsula.
For a comprehensive account of the actions of the 9th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment during the Dardanelles
Campaign, the reader may wish to follow this link: