20th Century History World War 1

George Frederick Bedford

George Frederick better known as Fred was born in 1884 in Skinner Lane, Methley Town, Leeds. His parents were George and Mary Bedford. Until the outbreak of war in World War I, he lived in Castleford, but then became a private in the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, service number 21493.

The Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry better known as the Koyli’s, was set up in 1881. Before that it was known as the 51st Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and had a history dating back to the battle of Waterloo and before that. Their motto was Cede Nullis – Yield to None. This showed how the Koyli’s tried not to give up, even in the hardest conditions. The Regiment was absorbed along with others into the Light Infantry in 1968.

It is likely that Fred joined one of the Territorial (volunteer) Battalions created at the outbreak of the Great War to serve alongside the Koyli Regulars. After training in various towns in the County, his battalion was mobilised for action and sent to Flanders in early 1915. It formed part of the 49th Division which fought in the battle of Aubers Ridge in May of that year. Here, the germans used phosgene gas for the first time. Although the battle was a disaster for the British, Fred apparently survived, only to be killed in action on the 8th July, 1915. He was 31 years old.
His grave is in the Kemmel Chateaux Military Cemetery at Huevelland, West Vlaaneran, Belgium. This cemetery contains the graves of 1,137 men that were part of the allied forces.

In August 2014, along with my grandpa I took a trip to the cemetery to visit the grave of George Frederick (Fred). But before that we went to the churchyard at Methley where Fred’s name is on the memorial. Unfortunately the church was closed and the Vicar was away.James in Flanders

Fred’s grave is surrounded by those of his friends, who were all killed within three days of one another.
We also visited Ypres for the Last Post ceremony at the Menim Gate which takes place every night at The ceremony is to honour those who lost their lives defending Belgium.

The reason I made the trip was to honour Fred Bedford and his comrades, and to try to find out more about him and what he did.

James Bowman age 14 (2015) Framingham Earl High School,Norwich

20th Century World War 1 World War 2

Roll of Honour

Pontefract & Castleford Express 19th December, 1947
Village Memorial WWII

To raise £500 to complete the memorial in St Oswald’s Church to the villagers who gave their lives to the two world wars.   Help has been promised by the Methley Branch of the British Legion, St Oswald’s Church, St Margaret’s Church and other organisations.

The Hon Treasurer (Mr GH Travis) has received a number of donations, and an inaugural meeting is to be held next month to elect committees and arrange efforts.

Methley has never failed to reach its target for charitable objects, and the present also calls for more than charity.

The aim is to produce an artist scripted memorial book to incorporate the name of those men who lost their lives in both wars.

It is intended to present the book in a suitable presentation desk enabling the church authorities to turn the pages over on a monthly basis.  And that is done each month.

20th Century History World War 1

War Memorial WW1

Unveiling of the War Memorial– Sunday April 10th, 1921 at 3.00pm

A simple but very impressive ceremony was witnessed in St Oswald’s churchyard on Sunday afternoon, when the memorial which has been erected by public subscription to the Methley men who fell in the war was unveiled and dedicated by the Bishop of Ripon, Dr Strong.

The memorial, designed by Mr John Bilson, FSA, of Hull, is a reproduction of an old Yorkshire cross of about the 14th century. Worked entirely in white Hopton Wood stone, it consists of a large octagonal base, a slender shaft and collar surmounted by a small cross. Around the base are eight panels, on one of which is inscribed, “Praise God for the men of Methley whose names are here inscribed, and who laid down their lives in the Great War, 1914-1918.” The other seven panels bear the names of those who fell.

Major General H D Davies, CB commanding the West Riding Division, TF had been expected to unveil the memorial and give an address, but the Rector, Archdeacon H Armstrong Hall, who conducted the service, stated that General Davies had been detained on duty at York in circumstances which they all deplored. The whole ceremony was therefore performed by the Bishop of Ripon. The Rev. F Northrop, Vicar of St. Margaret’s, who has been secretary of the fund since the Rev. H. S. Derbyshire left the village, also took part in the service.

On two sides of the memorial a body of ex-service men were drawn up under Major D.H.C. Briggs, Supt. A.G. Guise, of the Castleford Ambulance Division being also present. On the third side were some 300 senior school children, and reserved for relatives of the fallen men. Behind the ex-servicemen were choristers from both churches and all the nonconformist places of worship, who led the singing of the hymns, and the Methley Brass Band, under the leadership of Mr. W Talbot, who played the Dead march in “Saul” and a memorial selection.

Mr. John Richardson has been the treasurer to the fund, which amounted to £560, and the scheme has been carried out by a representative committee. The ceremony was witnessed by a large crowd of people numbering possibly three thousand. A large number of beautiful wreaths were placed around the foot of the memorial.   Correction noted Thomas Pyrah should read Joseph Pyrah.

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20th Century Characters History World War 1

Harry Fenwick Moore

September 1948, and Harry of 63 Savile Road was admitted as a Serving Brother of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, after having been actively involved in first aid for 35 years. He obtained his first certificate in 1913 and was competing in first aid early in 1914. During the first world war he served with the Colours for over four years.

On his return to civilian life in mining Harry rejoined the the Briggs’ company of Whitwood working at Savile pit. He resumed organisation for first aid competitions in 1920 and started training beginners in the coal mining industry.

He helped to form the Whitwood Collieries Ambulance Brigade where he was made sergeant, and has been an instructor to underofficials since that time – a position he took over from his father, Mr F. Moore who had himself held that position for many years. Harry was appointed Ambulance Officer and later Corps Officer having undertaken the over secretarial duties during this time.

He also obtained Certificates as instructor in the A.R.P. and the Certificate of the British Red Cross and the Order of St John for devoted service to humanity during the second World War.

In 1945 he was made an honorary member of the Yorkshire Collieries Ambulance League for long and valued service. He also served for 14 years with the Colliery Rescue Brigade.

Harry also played a part in running the British Legion in the village and regularly played the role of master of ceremonies at their fund raising functions held in the ‘stute’ (Church Institute later to become the Miner’s Welfare).

My association with H F Moore occurred when he trained the Junior First Aid Team to a number of competition successes showing great patience and forbearance in his voluntary role as coach and mentor to four, not always attentive, first aiders.

Throughout this time Harry worked at the pit as a deputy, until retirement in his case to nearly 65.
Quite clearly a very visible and highly respected man in this village.
Harry Moore light grey suit with buttonhole.   Looks like a trip from the top club, could be to the races!