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West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own)

The West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own) was first raised in 1685 as Sir Edward Hales's Regiment of Foot, becoming The West Yorkshire Regiment when the army was reorganised in 1881.

Battalions during The Great War:

Items from the Home Front Archive

Christmas Card sent home from the Front
Christmas Card sent home from the Front

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12th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment
12th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment

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Photograph of the 2nd 8th West Yorkshire regiment.
Photograph of the 2nd 8th West Yorkshire regiment.

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Oct 2015

    Please note we currently have a backlog of submitted material, our volunteers are working through this as quickly as possible and all names, stories and photos will be added to the site. If you have already submitted a story to the site and your UID reference number is higher than 220734, your submission is still in the queue, please do not resubmit without contacting us first.

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Did you know? We also have a section on World War Two. and a Timecapsule to preserve stories from other conflicts for future generations.

Those known to have served with the West Yorkshire Regiment during the Great War 1914-1918.

Select a story link or scroll down to browse those stories hosted on this site.

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add, or any recollections or photos of those listed, please get in touch.

Pte. Herbert Messenger West Yorkshire Regiment

Herbert served with the West Yorkshire Regiment, The Royal Engineers, The Labour Corps and the Scottish Rifles.

Thomas Lee West Yorkshire

Thomas Lee was my maternal grandfather who I believe was gassed, and as a consequence, died soon after the war. My mother's birth certificate (January 1915) shows his regiment as the West Yorks and his service number as 11247. My mother has a small photograph of him in uniform.

Prof. John Nealon

Pte. Thomas Harold Bentley West Yorkshire Regiment

Fantastic website! It has helped me research my maternal grandfather's Army service in WW1. He was Pvt Thomas Harold Bentley who served in the West Yorkshire Regiment, KOYLI, Labour Corps,RF. He served on the Western Front. Also the site has helped me research my great uncle: Pvt George Eaddie, RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps). He served in Eqypt, Sulva Bay, Dardernelles, and the Western Front. God Bless you both.

Keith Renicor

L/Cpl. Samuel Verity Taylor 9th Btn. West Yorkshire Regiment

My Grandfather, Samuel Taylor left England on July 3rd 1915, his first action was at Suvla Bay on August 6th 1915. He was wounded by a sniper September 2nd 1915.

Ann McDonald

Lance Corpral Joseph Fearns Senior 1st / 7th Bn West Yorkshire Regt (Prince of Wales Own) (d.17  Nov 1917)

Would like to find out my relations military history

Graham Senior

Thomas Lee West Yorkshire Regt

Thomas Lee, West Yorkshire Rgt

This is a postcard I have from my mother of my paternal grandfather, Thomas Lee.

Thomas Lee was my maternal grandfather who I believe was gassed and as a consequence died soon after the war. My mother's birth certificate (January 1915) shows his regiment as the West Yorks and his number as 112 47. Apparently my paternal grandmother died soon after giving birth to my mother (Jane Louvain Lee) 11th Dec 1914 - named for Louvain (Leuven) in Belgium, I assume owing to the German atrocity there in August 1914. Coincidently, my former mother-in-law, born in 1914, also had that middle name. Thomas Lee, a miner, died soon after, I believe due to the effects of gas poisoning. The address on the card is that of my mother's grandparents, with whom she lived. The date on the postcard looks like June 17th 1917.At the moment I'm still trying to track down the date of Thomas' marriage to Jane Ann Murray so I can get the marriage certificate with the info on that of ages which could lead me to birth dates, etc. Jane Ann Lee (nee Murray) died about March 1915, but I don't yet know the dates of Thomas Lee's death, but my mother told me in the past it was soon after he returned to the mines after the war.

John Nealon

Pte. Walter Elliott 1st Battalion ? ? ? West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own) (d.26th June 1915)

Walter Elliott West Yorkshire Regiment, circled

Could anyone identify the soldiers I have on these war time postcards. Someone in my family has ringed the face of one soldier who I believe is my great great uncle Walter Elliott who died 26/6/1915. His brother Thomas was also in the same regiment, the West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own).

Joyce Davies

Lt Harry Rowland Thelwell 3rd Btn. West Yorkshire Regt (d.8th July 1916)

Lt Harry Thelwell, 3rd Bt, (att 2nd) Duke of Wellington's West Riding Rgt, died of wounds on July 8th 1916. When war broke out Lt Thelwell joined the Queen Victoria Rifles in which regiment he had already served for four years and went to France on October 1914. he took part in the attack on Hill 60 following which he was given a commission in the Duke of Wellington Rgt and was sent to France where he received his second star. He was the only son of Mrs Thelwell and the late Mr George Thelwell of Commercial Street, Leeds. He was 23 years of age and was educated at St Cuthbert's College, Worksop.

Albert Mallinson 15th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (d.23rd February 1917)

My great-great-grandfather, Albert Mallinson from Elland in Yorkshire, was killed 23rd February, 1917, in Somme, France. He is interred at Gezaincourt Communal Cemetery, Somme. If anyone has any information concerning him, please get in touch.

Laura Brown

Lt. Graydon William Goldsworthy MC. 3rd Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment

Graydon Goldsworthy was my uncle and I am serching for his records. I have a copy of him joining in 14/11/1915, commisioned 4/9/1916, awarded M.C. 21/1/1919, retired 10/10/1921. I have recently received from his daughter, copies of his hand wrtten letters sent home to his parents from the trenches in France between Nov 1915 and Feb 1916.

Dr Peter Goldsworthy

Pte. Arthur Furness

My grandfather Arthur Furness was one of the first volunteers in the Leeds Rifles, West Yorks in 1914, he was lucky and survived until the end of the war. He made Corporal but was reduced in rank through being awol. At the time my grandmother had six children and was having the seventh when he went awol. It looks like he repeated this later when she had another child. He got 28 days loss of pay, and 9 days loss of pay. In about 1916 he was transferred to the Lincolnshire Regiment probably to make up depleted numbers. He must have been wounded as he received a pension after the war it looks like they kept giving him a medical to assess him.

Benjamin Gill

Pte. Edward Snee West Yorkshire Regiment

My father, Edward Snee was serving with the West Yorks in the Great War and was badly injured whilst defending a gun position and the result of this was that he was taken prisoner and sent to a "stalag" hospital camp either no 10 or 13, his army regimental number looks to be 51337 which is handwritten on his discharge certificate old way of writing, but his discharge date is clear and that was 15th Nov 1918.

Bill Snee

Pte. George Lay 1st Btn. West Yorkshire Regiment

From Pte. G. Lay (West Yorks) to his parents at 36, Clockwell Street: We are at present in the trenches, but we expect to be relieved on December 1st. We go back after five days rest and stay there till Christmas Day. We have each got a body shirt and a belt as a present from the Queen and the ladies of the Empire, and I can tell you we are getting well treated by the people of England I am in the best of health and have not lost weight since I came away.

In another letter Pte. Lay wrote to his parents from a Glasgow hospital December 1914:

Just a line to let you know I am all right. I have been wounded in the back, but not badly. It was a lucky shot, but they nearly got me, as it was the back of my braces that kept me on my feet. We had a very canny trip over the channel and arrived in England about 6 oclock on Sunday morning. I got all your birthday cards and cake and I got my shot the same day, so you will think it a rotten present indeed. I expect it will not be long before I see you all again. I will be home for Christmas and will have my pudding at home

In addition to above I also received the following about my father from MOD 1978: "I am to reply to your letter and in reply to state that it is recorded that 3/8157 Private George Lay, West Yorkshire Regiment, 1st Battalion, suffered Gun Shot wounds at Arras (France) on 30th April 1917."

Robert A Lay

L/sgt Andrew Charles "Mac" McIver 2nd Btn. Durham Light Infantry

From his service records, I have discovered that my grandfather Andrew Charles McIver initially joined the special reserves at the age of 17, ( No 400700 ). After a few months he reached the age of 18 and joined the Durham Light Infantry, ( No 11555 ), and I believe, posted to Colchester for training with the 3rd Battalion. He was posted to France in May or June 1915 to join the 2nd battalion DLI, where, on the 8th August he received a bayonet wound at the "Hooge". He was sent to the 5th northern hospital in Leicester for treatment until Dec 1916 when he posted back to France. Between this posting date and Mar 1917 he was gassed and once again returned to England but only until May 1917 when he was returned to France but I am unsure if he was still part of the DLI or he had at this point was in the 798 area employment coy. Its very difficult to decipher the service records as they are very faint and damaged, I do however know that in May 1919 he was a stretcher bearer at the Windmill camp in Boulogne from an order slip that he kept that is now 90 years old. On his discharge he was serving as a L/sgt with the West Yorkshire Regiment at the Northern command discharge centre in Ripon. Grandad very rarely spoke of his time in WW1 so its only by the aid of various wesites, mostly unreadable records and the DLI museum that this part of his life can be recorded and remembered.

The only story that he ever related to me was that at some time he was a "runner" between trenches. On carrying a message to his officer he was slightly wounded in the leg, when entering the command post his officer glared at him and ask " why are you not standing straight man", "I've been injured in the leg sir, sorry sir", grandad replied, with that the officer moved over to him and proceeded to cut open his trouser leg, with this grandad got very aggitated, " stay still, whats wrong with you man?" the officer growled, "Its the other leg sir", said poor grandad. He went two days with a racy split in his trouser leg.

D Coldrake

Pte. Harold Wooldridge 8th Battalion Duke of Wellingtons West Riding Regiment (d.13th Dec 1916)

Harold Wooldridge was the youngest child of Thomas Wooldridge & Eliza nee Grice. All of my father's family had always been led to believe that their father was an only child. It was only when I started researching my family history that I discovered the there were infact six brothers & sisters. Two years ago I found that my Great Uncle Harold, details above had died in France in 1916. That is all I have been able to find out. Could anyone help me find out any more information? I would love to know how some one from Staffordshire came to be in a West Riding regiment, when did he join? how did he die?

Gabrielle Wooldridge

L/Cpl. Noah Turpin 1st/6th battalion Prince of Wales West Yorkshire Regiment (d.1st Jul 1916)

Noah worked as a warehouseman in Bradford before the war and was part of the local territorial army. The unit landed in Boulogne on the 15th of April 1915 and was part of the original expeditionary force taking part in the trenches at Neuve Chapelle, Laventie, Fleurbaix, Ypres, Bouzincourt and Thiepval.

Sadly Noah was killed going over the top on the 1st day of the Somme at Thiepval Wood when the unit was supporting the 36th Ulster Division, his body was never recovered, but on the letter sent home from the army informing the family of the loss, a positive id was made by a surviving officer who saw Noah caught in the wire in no man's land and unfortunately he was already dead.

Noah was 27 when he died and is remembered on the Thiepval memorial, what a privilege it is to be related to a truly gallant and noble person who laid his life down for his country.

James Stevenson

Pte. John Binns 9th Service Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (d.2nd Oct 1916)

My grandfather John Binns was born in Leeds in January 1893. He married Katie Carroll in August 1912. At the time of his marriage John worked as an oil blender in Leeds.

In August 1914 John volunteered for military service shortly after the outbreak of the Great War. After his initial training period at Belton Park in Grantham and at Whitley Park in Godalming he sailed with the 9th Service Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment from Liverpool on the 3rd of July 1915 and arrived at Mudros in Greece on the 10th July. His regiment formed part of the relief invasion forces landed at Suvla Bay on the Gallipoli peninsular on the 6th of August 1915. These forces were eventually evacuated from Gallipoli back to Mudros and his regiment arrived in Egypt on the 7th of February 1916 to form part of the garrison protecting the Suez canal.

In June 1916 his regiment received orders to transfer to the western front in France, and they arrived at Marseilles in the south of France on the 1st July 1916. His regiment were transported to northern France to assist with the major allied offensive designed to break through the German lines in the Battle of the Somme.

John was wounded during the battle and he died of those wounds 2nd October 1916, he was 23yrs of age, he left a widow and three children under four years of age Alfred, Eunice and John (my Dad). He is buried in the British Military cemetery at Contay, northern France.

SS Aquatania troopship Liverpool to Mediterranean

Tony Binns

Rfm. George Scott 8h Btn. West Yorkshire Regiment (d.9th Oct 1917)

George Scott

George Scott was my great great uncle who died in 1917, all I had was that brass plaque and a pic, I found his details on the Commonwealth war graves site, he is buried at Tyne Cot Cemetery, he was 31 when he died.

Peter Scott

A/Capt. George Noel Bisatt 6h Btn. West Yorkshire Regiment

My great uncle George Bisatt, from Fishlake in Yorkshire was a railway clerk living in Sheffield when war broke out. He joined the 12th Yorks and Lancaster Regiment, The Sheffield Pals and served on The Somme. He was commissioned into the 6th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment, in June 1917 and saw action in the Third Battle of Ypres. He was the battalion Adjutant in 1918. Does anyone have any information or a photo of of him?

At the end of the war he led the party who returned to Bradford to collect the colours, does anyone have a better copy of the photo of the handing over ceremony, as printed in the History of the 6th Battlion?


Leonard Walters DCM. 1/7th Btn. West Yorkshire Regiment

My wife's Grandfather Leonard Waters won the DCM for his actions as a stretcher barer near Irish Farm in the Ypres Salient.

Lance Keeley

Rfm. Ernest Binns 1/7th Btn. B Coy West Yorkshire Regiment (d.15th Aug 1915)

I have recently returned from a trip to the Ypres salient. Whilst I was there I photographed a number of West Yorks Regiment gravestones. I visited the grave of Ernest Binns in particular (at New Irish Farm cemetery) as he was killed next to my wife's grandfather whilst rescuing other members of the regiment, (they were both stretcher bearers I believe but this may not have been the case). My wife's Grandfather Leonard Waters won the DCM for this and other actions.

Lance Keeley

Pte. James Gallagher West Yorkshire Regiment

I'm trying to find more details of my Grandfather James Gallagher. I know from his short service record he was in the West Yorks Regiment and according to family stories he was in Malta but would like to more details.

Elaine Gallagher

Pte. Carl Albert Carnley West Yorkshire Regiment (d.10th Jan 1918)

I was researching my grandfather, Carl Carnley's family history and I came upon a family who served in WW1. There was

  • John William Carnley- Private - Kings own Yorkshire Light Infantry
  • George Arthur Carnley - Gunner - Royal Field Artillery
  • Cyril Carnley Military Service
  • Walter Carnley -Corporal- Border Regiment
  • Carl Albert Carnley - Private- West Yorkshire Regiment. He died 10th January 1918 in Flanders of wounds received.

Pte. Jeremiah Cunningham 2nd Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (d.27th May 1918)

Jeremiah Cunningham died whilst serving with the 2nd Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales Own ) in France.

He was called up on the 28th March 1917 and enlisted at Richmond Yorkshire, he was posted to Rugely Camp before leaving for France 5th April 1918. He lasted a little over a month and was reported missing in action and presumed to have died sometime between 27th and 29th May 1918. Jeremiah is remembered with honour on the Soissons Memorial

Ian Cunningham

Pte. John Thomas Midgley 1st/6th Battalion West Yorkshire (d.3rd May 1918)

John Thomas Midgley was 34 when he died. "Son of the late John and Elizabeth Anwell Midgley, of 24, Woodbine Place, Hebden Bridge; husband of Florence Midgley, of 9, Cliffe St., Hebden Bridge, Yorks." as it says on the War Graves record. He is listed on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

He was the uncle of Harry Mortimer OBE, the brass band conductor and radio personality. In his autobiography "On Brass" Harry wrote: "Two of my uncles on my mother's side and aunt Eliza, [my father] Fred's sister who had joined the Women's Service, somehow managed amongst all that chaos to meet up for a brief reunion [in Belgium]. It was the last time the two uncles had any family contact, as they were soon to be yet another two digits in the lists of the fallen." The other uncle was Edward Raynor Midgley.

Deirdre Linton

Pte. William Sissons West Yorkshire Regiment

My wife's grandfather, William Sissons served in the West Yorkshire Regiment during World War 1. I believe he was wounded in the Dardenelles Campaign and was evacuated to a hospital in France. we have been unable to find his service records. Any assistant anyone can give me, would be much appreciated.

Gordon Birch

Pte. Thomas Albert Wilson DCM. MM. 11th. (Service) Btn. West Yorkshire Regiment

Thomas Albert Wilson was my Grandfather and we have a clipping from the Evening Despatch Newspaper No. 4,515 from Wednesday 25th July 1916. It reads: Awarded D.C.M. for Gallantry on Somme...

I also have a copy of the telegram which reads: 11th. (S) Bn. West Yorkshire Regiment. No. 13617. Pte Thomas Albert Wilson. For the conspicuous gallantry on July 5th. during a German bomb attack on our trenches before Contalmaison. After being ordered to retire, and armed with a clogged rifle, he remained behind alone in order to give more time to organize defence lower down the trench, and thereby successfully enabled the position to be held at that point.

A member of my family is in posession of the Military Medal he received.

Jennifer Harrison

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The next set of stories will appear below the list of names, please scroll down to read them.

Massacre on the Marne: The Life and Death of the 2/5th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment in the Great War

Fraser Skirrow

Reconstructs the experiences of a small closely knit group of fighting men - the 2/5th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment - in the Great War. These men were not elite regular troops or Kitcheners' Men - they were Territorials. In many ways, they were typical of the men who fought on the Western Front. Massacre on the Marne presents fascinating insights into the First World War. It gives a "warts and all" view of the often chaotic preparations and challenges of mobilising an army. It tells the personal stories of ordinary men caught up in this great conflict. The book is scholarly and detailed but also presents a gripping and engaging view of what the Great War would have been like for typical soldiers. This book is a timely reminder of the horrific conflict that is now disappearing from living memory. I thoroughly recommend it, not only for those with an existing interest in the period, but also for anyone who wants to understand the First World War from the viewpoint of the indi

Beneath Hill 60 [DVD]

BENEATH HILL 60 tells the extraordinary true story of Oliver Woodward, the legendary Australian metal scientist. In 1916, Woodward faced the most difficult decision, ultimately having to separate from his new young love for the deadly carnage of the Western Front. On treacherous territory, behind the German enemy lines, Woodward and his secret platoon of Australian tunnelers face a suicidal battle to defend a leaking, tunnel system. A tunnel packed with enough high explosives to change the course of the War.
More information on:Beneath Hill 60 [DVD]

Hill 60: Ypres (Battleground Europe)

Nigel Cave

The shell-ravaged landscape of Hill 60, some three miles south east of Ypres, conceals a labyrinth of tu nnels and underground workings. This book offers a guide to the memorials, cemeteries and museums at the site '

Beneath Hill 60 [Paperback]

Will Davies

'Ten seconds, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one - fire! Down goes the firing switch. At first, nothing. Then from deep down there comes a low rumble, and it as if the world is spliting apart...' On 7th June 1917, nineteen massive mines exploded beneath Messines Ridge near Ypres. The largest man-made explosion in history up until that point shattered the landscape and smashed open the German lines. Ten thousand German soldiers died. Two of the mines - at Hill 60 and the Caterpillar - were fired by men of the 1st Australian Tunnelling Company, comprising miners and engineers rather than parade-ground soldiers. Drawing on the diaries of one of the key combatants, "Benealth Hill 60" tells the little-known, devastatingly brutal true story of this subterranean war waged beneath the Western Front - a stygian battle-ground where men drowned in viscous chalk, suffocated in the blue gray clay, choked on poisonous air or died in the darkness, caught up up in vicious hand-to-han
More information on:Beneath Hill 60 [Paperback]

Twelve Days on the Somme: A Memoir of the Trenches, 1916

Sidney Rogerson

Sidney Rogerson has put down, plainly and simply, the experiences of his battalion. There is no attempt to compass drama by any device of selection or exaggeration --The Observer A more genuine and unbiased account of trench warfare would be hard to find --The Sunday Times Memoirs of a British subaltern first published in 1933; vivid descriptions without embellishment of life on the front lines written by a survivor of the 1916 Somme offensive. Unabashedly intended as an antidote to the usual downbeat 1930's war memoir. --Western Front Association A joint operation between Britain and France in 1916, the Battle of the Somme was an attempt to gain territory and dent Germany s military strength. By the end of the action, very little ground had been won: the Allied Forces had made just 12km. For this slight gain, a more than a million lives were lost. There were more than 400,000 British, 200,000 French, and 500,000 German casualities during the fighting. Twelve Days on the Somme

Bradford Pals

David Raw

The Comprehensive History of the 16th, 18th and 20th (Service) Battalions of the Prince of Wales Own West Yorlshire Regiment 1914-1918.
More information on:Bradford Pals

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