Revd Dhoe Craig-Wild
The Rectory
Rectory Drive
Whiston
Rotherham
S60 4JG
Whiston Parish Church
St Mary Magdalene, Whiston; Rotherham

War Memorial

World War I Memorial

"Greater love hath no man than this.
That he lay down his life for his friend."

Introduction:

August 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War.

The Lychgate serves as a memorial to the men of the parish who fell in both World Wars. The structure was completed in 1919 and a ceremony took place in August 1920 to commemorate the 30 Whiston men who lost their lives in World War 1.

Members of the Great War Forum are encouraging the research of local war memorials to provide background details to the names which appear. It also forms part of the Imperial War Museum's "Lives of the Great War" project. It is hoped that by providing details of the people who fought in the war, people will be made aware of the their ancestors sacrifice for King and Empire, as well as where they fell and were then laid to rest.

(c) 2015 Steve Walsh - reproduced here with the author's permission.



The Servicemen:

Lance Corporal Benjamin Abbott 202180 1st/4th (Hallamshire) battn York & Lancaster Regiment.
Born in Clayton, Bradford 1896. In the 1911 census at 15 he was a servant farm labourer at the Manor House Whiston employed by John Bagshaw. He enlisted at Attercliffe and was killed on 14 Sept 1916 aged 20 at the battle of Flers - Courcelette in the Somme offensive. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

 

Private John Frederick Allsopp 241772 1st/5th battn Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.
Born in Treeton 1897. In the 1911 census he lived at 9 New Row, Aughton with his parents James and Sophia and 4 younger siblings. His occupation aged 14 was given as coupling on below ground in a colliery. He enlisted in Doncaster and was killed on 13 June 1917 aged 20. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial and has no known grave

 

Private John Armitage 203280 1st/4th ( Hallamshire ) battn York & Lancaster Regiment.
Born in Whiston 1894. In the 1911 census he was at The Green, Whiston with his father John, a stone mason, mother Hannah and 4 younger siblings. His occupation aged 17 was above ground pit labourer. He enlisted in Rotherham and was killed on 18 Oct 1917, possibly at the Battle of Poelcapelle aged 23. He is buried at Ypres Resevoir Cemetery in Belgium.


 

Private Edwin Bartholomew 2261 1st/5th Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment - the youngest Whiston casualty.
Edwin was born in Whiston and baptized in the Church on 25th Sep 1896. His parents were Alfred Bartholomew, a wheelwright and joiner who later founded the family business of undertakers and funeral directors, and Caroline (nee Aveling) who married in 1883. Other children were Lacey Aveling born 1884 died 1902, James William born 1887, Lois Eva born 1890, Herbert Henry born 1893 and Dorothy Aveling born 1899. A 7th child died in infancy before being baptized. Edwin’s mother Caroline died in 1907 aged 46.

In the 1911 census he was living at The Green, Whiston with his widowed father Alfred and 4 siblings - James a chauffeur to a Doctor, Lois a housekeeper, Herbert a groom to a Doctor and Dorothy still at school. Edwin’s occupation aged 14 was a cycle repairer.

War was declared on 4th Aug 1914 and Edwin enlisted in Rotherham to the local territorials on 1st Sep 1914 claiming to be 19 years and 1 month old when in fact he was aged 17 years and 11 months. He joined the battalion in camp at Sandbeck Park near Maltby and in Oct 1914 they marched 19 miles to Gainsborough to commence training. The battalion strength was 37 officers 1040 other ranks and 36 horses. After spending Christmas in Sheffield on the firing ranges at Totley they moved to North Somercotes in Jan 1915 and took over a section of the Lincolnshire coast defences. They moved to York in Feb 1915 for final war preparations and were issued with the charger loading magazine Lee-Enfield rifle with which they were now trained to fire off 20 to 30 aimed rounds in 60 seconds at a 12 inch diameter target 300 yards away. On 31st March 1915 they finally received orders to prepare for embarkation for foreign service and boarded trains on 12th Apr 1915 for Folkestone. They landed in Boulogne France on 14th Apr 1915 as part of 148th Brigade 49th West Riding Division.

On 16th Apr 1915 they moved into trenches near Fleurbaix in Northern France and on 27th Apr 1915 they suffered their first fatality when Private Samuel Mellor of Wombwell died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen received the previous day. Edwin was wounded in the face by shrapnel on 15th May 1915 and was initially treated at 1st West Riding Field Ambulance, before being transferred to 2nd London Casualty Clearing Station at Merville and 4th Stationary Hospital at Arques and returned to duty on 30th May 1915. Between 6th and 9th July 1915 his battalion moved to Flanders into trenches near Boesinghe on the Yser Canal in the Ypres Salient. On 10th July 1915 they were bombarded by German artillery for 17 hours and suffered heavy casualties with 30 men killed and 130 wounded. It was during this bombardment that Edwin was killed aged 18 years and 10 months but his body along with 29 of his comrades was not recovered. Their remains still lie on the battlefield although in the late 1990’s a small number were recovered and reburied with the headstone inscription “A Soldier of the Great War – Known unto God”.

His active military service in France and Flanders lasted just 89 days. He was awarded the Victory & British War Medals and the 1915 Star. A War Gratuity of £3 was paid to his father together with back pay of £5/1/10d.

He is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres to the 54,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers with no known grave.

Another resident of The Green, Whiston who fell in the Great War was Private John Armitage 2263 1st/5th Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment who enlisted on the same day as Edwin Bartholomew and swore his oath to the same Officer. Their service numbers were just 2 digits apart. He died of wounds on 18th Oct 1917 aged 23 and is buried at Ypres Reservoir Cemetery.

Finally, Edwin's two older brothers James William and Herbert Henry also served in the Great War and survived:
  • Corporal James William Bartholomew M2/034175 Army Service Corps

    James was born in Whiston and baptized in the Church on 10th Apr 1887. He married Lillian Foers on 15th Feb 1914 in the Church and son William Philip was born in Dec 1914 and Dennis Gordon born in Apr 1918. James enlisted in Jan 1915 as a lorry driver in the motor transport section giving his address as The Golden Ball Inn Whiston and landed in France in Feb 1916. He was discharged in Jun 1919 and was awarded the Victory & British War medals. He died in Whiston in 1960 aged 72.

  • Private Herbert Henry Bartholomew 7th Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers
    Herbert was born in Whiston and baptized in the Church on 8th Sep 1893. His service records were destroyed in the London blitz in 1940. He was amongst a contingent of men from the local area who were transferred on enlistment to the Royal Munster Fusiliers who struggled to recruit volunteers in Ireland due to the political unrest at the time. He would have served from early 1916 in Salonika, Palestine and France. He was discharged in May 1919 and was awarded the Victory & British War medals. He married Alice Stone in 1920 and died in hospital in Sheffield in 1959 aged 65.

 

Private Frank Chafer 340778 1st battn Nothumberland Fusiliers ( Formerly 27939 York & Lancaster).
Born in Whiston 1893. In the 1911 census at 18 he was a farm labourer on his father John Robert's farm at Bent Laithe, Wickersley Road with his mother Caroline and , 3 siblings and a servant. He enlisted in Rotherham and was killed on 28 March 1918 at the Battle of Arras and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial

 

Private Willie Chappell 22174 2nd battn York & Lancaster Regiment. Born in Cawthorne 1889. Son of Thomas and Hannah Chappell of Abdy Cottage a farm labourer eldest of 4 children. He enlisted in Rotherham and was killed in the Battle of Le Transloy on 12 Oct 1916. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial and has no known grave.

 

Private William Henry Dearden 12/1735 5th battn Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. Born in Kilnhurst 1891. He was a pony driver at a colliery in 1911 and lived in Grimethorpe. His father Arthur worked at Moorhouses Whiston He was related to the Andrews family who lived in Whiston. He enlisted in Otley and was killed on 28 March 1918 at the Battle of Arras. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

Note: An Australian serviceman is buried in the Churchyard but does not appear on the Lychgate memorial. In addition, there is a local serviceman who is missing from the memorial, but he is mentioned on his family grave within the Churchyard.