1110 Sergeant George WHITE 1/5th York Lancaster Regiment.
KILLED IN ACTION 10th September 1915
1110 Sgt George WHITE 1/5 York Lancs
George was born in Barnsley on the 11th August 1891. The son of George and Clara WHITE (Nee HODGSON) he was christened at St Mary’s Church, Barnsley. The census shows him living at 3 Watson Street in 1901. By 1911 his family had moved to 9 Meadow Street, Barnsley. George had 4 brothers, 3 of whom would also serve of which 2 would also be killed. By 1914 he can be seen to be living at 30 Meadow Street, Barnsley.
He was employed as a Blacksmith at the Redfearn Glassworks, Barnsley.
Above – George and Harry seated, George senior top right.
On the 10th May 1910 George enlisted into the 5th territorial battalion, the York and Lancaster Regiment. During the next 4 years he would achieve promotion to Sergeant. He would be amongst the ranks of men trained at York. He appears in the group photo of the NCO’s of ‘C’ company.
28.10.1914 Someone is after George’s job!
Letter to his sister Lillian dated 9th January 1915.
On the 13th April 1915 he would travel with his battalion to France.
On the 29th July 1915 he suffered a shrapnel wound and was treated out of the field. He returned to his unit on the 9th August 1915. He was wounded again by bullet wound to the stomach on the 9th September 1915. This wound would prove fatal, he died the following day.
The battalion war diary records that they were in the front line at Malakoff Farm. From the 26th August to 19th September 1915 they were manning front line trenches in awful wet and muddy conditions. From the 8th – 11th September men were detailed as burial parties. No other action or significant event is recorded so it seems likely that George was shot whilst assisting with burials.
Shortly before this tragic event he had written home:-
” I can assure you that I say my prayers every day, for it seems hard to see our comrades falling. I seem to think that I shall come through safely. It makes a man think when he has so many narrow escapes. I never felt better in my life and this too, after 15 days in the trenches and up to the thighs in mud. Our Battalion has been granted general leave and all being well I shall be home within a month. I am pleased I have left such a good name behind me “.
His brother Harry wrote home
” I came out of the trenches with George and he was not long before he was being despatched to hospital. They carried him out of the trenches as quickly as they could after he had been wounded. Do try to take things as lightly as you can. I know it is hard for you all, and I cannot keep my spirits up for thinking about my dear brother. It has been a hard blow to me. I am trying to get a pass for home for a day or two, for if I don’t it will drive me mad. May God bless you all. May he give you courage and strength in this time of sorrow “.
Lance Sergeant FLETCHER would write:-
” Dear Mrs White, I hardly know how to commence this letter to you. I am deeply sorry I have to convey such sad news. Your son was with his Platoon in the trenches last Thursday night, when he was seriously wounded by a bullet which struck him in the stomach. He was rendered unconsious. His wound was speedily dressed and he was carried out of the trenches and taken to hospital with all speed. Everything that was possible was done for him, but in spite of all medical attention, he died a few hours afterwards. I hope you will accept my most sincere and deepest sympathy in your terrible loss. I need scarely say how very sorry I am. He was one of my dearest chums and I shall miss him more than I can say. I was only speaking to him a few hours before he was wounded. He told me he was looking forward to coming home on leave in about three weeks time. He was then in good health and quite cheerful. You can guess how shocked I was when I heard he was wounded. I am very sorry I was unable to see him when he was brought out of the trenches. He is buried in a soldier’s grave alongside many other brave fellows who have fallen. It may be some consolation to know that he gave his life for his country’s cause and died a noble death. He was a good soldier, thoroughly efficient in all his work, and was held in the highest esteem by all who came in contact with him. My sympathy also goes out to Miss Jackson. Please tell her how truely sorry I am at George’s death and tell her to bear up under her most trying ordeal. I pray God will give you all strength and courage to bear your irreparable loss “.
His CWGC Cross
George is now buried in the Ferme Oliviers Cemetery, Belgium.
He is also remembered on a number of local memorials.
St Mary’s combined memorial, Barnsley
St Mary’s Church Combined War Memorial
Regent Street Congregational Church Memorial
Redfearn Glasswork memorials
Barnsley Chronicle obituary
Ministry of Pensions letter to his mother Clara
2 of Georges Sunday School attendance certificates
240250 Cpl Harry White 1/5th York Lancaster Regiment
KILLED IN ACTION 9TH OCTOBER 1917
Harry was born in Barnsley on the 4th february 1895 at 5 Watson Street. Also christened at St Marys Church, Barnsley. Harry resided with his family as George did and appears on the census record.
He was also employed at the Redfearns glass works as a gatherer.
Harry would follow in his brothers footsteps enlisting into the army in February of 1914 aged 19. Also a member of the territorial battalion the 5th York and Lancaster Regiment he was given service number 1884 but this was changed later to 240250. His given address now is also 30 Meadow Street.
Harry’s letter to his sister, same date, same paper as George
Like his brother Harry entered France on the 13th April 1915 and would have been involved in the same engagements as his brother.
On the 23rd September 1917 he would marry Clarice Mary NEWBOULD at Barnsley.
Harry and Clarice
A matter of 16 days later he would be killed during the third battle of Ypre better known as PASSCHENDAELE.
On the 9th October 1917 the 1/5th York and Lancaster Regiment took part in an attack near Ypres. The 1/5th York Lancs were to advance and take the first objective of the attack. the 1/5th K.O.Y.L.I. were then to leap frog them and continue onto the second objective. The march to the assembly positions at Abraham Heights and Gravenstafel crossroads had been difficult to due heavy rain and mud causing the K.O.Y.L.I. to be late for the off. This meant Harry’s battalion went over the top at ‘O’ hour without the support of the K.O.Y.L.I. They pressed on to their objective following a creeping barrage but struggled to maintain pace with it due to mud described in places as up to waist deep. On the advance they were subjected to artillery, small arms fire and machine gun from pill boxes. Bombing parties were sent to deal with these boxes which were captured and the machine gun turned against the enemy. Having captured Fleet Cottage and achieved their own objective along their entire line the 1/5th York Lancs then pushed on in an attempt to achieve the objective of the K.O.Y.L.I.. This proved more problematic as they were caught up in heavy crossfire from machine gun and artillery and had to consolidate their position. Bombing parties were again sent against pill boxes at Polygon Wood but could not knock them out.During this attack the battalion lost 6 officers killed, 58 other ranks killed, 249 wounded and 49 missing. Harry was one of the missing later presumed dead.
Scenes from Passchendaele.
Harry’s body was never found and he is remembered with honour at Tyne Cot.
Harry’s name appears alongside that of his brother on the local memorials in Barnsley.
240544 Pte Arthur Percy WHITE 2/4 York and Lancaster Regiment
Killed in Action 28th March 1918
Arthur was born 7th March 1893 and can be seen to have been living with his family in the census of 1901 and 1911. He was employed as a bottle packer at Redfearns Glassworks.
He married Selina, 21st January 1918, who’s address has been found out to be 36 Windermere Road, Barnsley.
Arthur and Selina
Arthurs service papers have not survived so it is not possible to determine his date of enlistment or track his service thereafter. He is recorded as being killed in action on the 28th March 1918 and is buried at the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.
His death was reported in the Barnsley Chronicle.
He is also remembered alongside his brothers on the Redfearn Glassworks memorials.
Arthur was entitled to the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Here are some images and correspondence relating to the brothers and their father.
The brothers father meets Lloyd George
Family photographs below provided with the great appreciation of Joanne MINCHER the great niece of George and Harry and Arthur. Granddaughter of Lillian, the little girl in the photo below.
Family grave in Barnsley Cemetery
Sadly George’s memorial plaque is missing from his group. I would welcome contact from anyone who could assist locating it.
The WHITE brothers reunited with family, Brian WHITE, 15th May 2017