The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War

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15th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (1st Leeds Pals)

15th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (1st Leeds Pals) was raised in Leeds in September 1914 by the Lord Mayor and City. After training locally they moved to Silkstone in December 1914. In May 1915 The Battalion joined the 93rd Brigade, 31st Division and moved to South Camp, Ripon and later to Hurdcott Camp near Salisbury.

In December 1915 they set sail for Alexandria in Egypt to defend the Suez Canal. In March 1916 The 31st Division left Port Said aboard HMT Briton bound for Marseilles in France, a journey which took 5 days. They travelled by train to Pont Remy, a few miles south east of Abbeville and marched to Bertrancourt arriving on 29 March 1916.

Their first taste of action was at Serre on the Somme where they suffered heavy casualties as the battle was launched. In 1917 they were in action in the Battle of Arras. In early 1918 they were on the Somme then moved north into Flanders for the Battle of the Lys and the Final Advance in Flanders.

25th Sep 1914   The 15th West Yorks, Leeds Pals travelled by train from Leeds to Masham on Friday 25 September 1914. They marched from Masham station to Breary Banks, in Colsterdale, where they occupied part of the hutted village which had been built for the Leeds Corporation reservoir construction workers, the remainer of the troops were accommodated under canvas.

25th May 1915   The 15th West Yorks, Leeds Pals left the training camp at Breary Banks, Colsterdale, bound for Egypt.

30th Mar 1916   (Acting Sgt)Corporal Frank Bygott was the first Leeds Pal to be killed in Action. The battalion had arrived near Serre on 29th March. That evening he took part in a raid on German lines 250 yards to their front. During the return he received a fatal wound - from 'friendly MG fire.
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    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 215679, your information is still in the queue, please do not resubmit without contacting us first.

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Those known to have served with the 15th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (1st Leeds Pals) 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.


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.


Pte. Henry Parker Hornsey 15th Btn. West Yorkshire Regiment

I was told by my mum that her father, Henry Parker Hornsey 1886-1955, was a member of the Leeds Pals during WW1 and that he was a POW in Germany. Can anyone tell me more about him?


Sgt. Douglas Hunter DCM. att. 93rd Light Trench Mortar 16th West Yorkshire Regiment

Douglas Hunter joined 16th West Yorkshire Regiment on the 21st September 1914 in Bradford. He served in Egypt 1915 to early 1916 before moving to France. He was attached to the 93rd Light Trench Mortar Battery where he took part in the battle of the Somme.

He was awarded the DCM for Gallantry at Gavrelle on the 3rd of May 1917 for keeping his Trench Mortar in action during an attack with good effect. He was also awarded the French Medal Militair for a separate action. Douglas was later, whilst still attached to the 93rd Light Trench Mortar Battery, moved to the 15/17th West Yorkshire Regiment after the 16th was disbanded. Douglas Hunter was demobbed in 1919 but later in the Second World War became part of the Home Guard serving as a lieutenant.

Douglas Hunter was my Grandfather I was born in his house in Batley Yorkshire and when he died I was left his DCM by my Grandmother, I have since then tried to find everything I can about my Grandfather.

His brother, Donald Hunter, who served with the 10th Yorkshire Regiment was killed in action on the 21st September 1916 exactly two years after Douglas Hunter had joined the army, he is remembered at Thepeval Memorial France.


Pte. Arthur Binns MM. 15th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment

At the Battle of the Somme in 1916, a German hand grenade fell into the trench, close to Arthur Binns of the Leeds Pals. Whilst his pals were frozen with fear he strode forward, picked it up and threw it back where it came from. For this action he was awarded the Military Medal. Of the Leeds Pals 750 of 900 were killed in that battle.

Later in 1918 at The First Battle of the Somme (1918) at the end of March Arthur was taken Prisoner of War and at repatriation he returned so terrible thin. On the 25th of Feburary 1919 he was discharged and married his sweetheart Alice on the same day.

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