477th Agricultural Labour Corps

Military Monday – Walter Paley (1896-1918) and Lawrence Paley (1898-1918)

This is primarily the story of two brothers born about 18 months apart and died within two days of each other but also of what happened to the rest of the family.

John Robert Paley is my 1st cousin 3x removed. His parents are Thomas Paley and Harriet Richmond. Our common ancestors are William Paley and Mary Blackey (my 3x great grandparents).

On 26 September 1894 John Robert married Annie Simpson at All Saints Church, Otley, West Yorkshire. By the time of the 1901 Census they had two sons who would be my 2nd cousins 2x removed:-

Walter – born in 1896 and baptised on 19 July 1896 at St John’s Church, Moor Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Lawrence – born in 1898 and baptised on 5 February 1898 also at St John’s Church, Moor Allerton.

St John's Church - Moor Allerton

St John’s Church – Moor Allerton

In the 1911 census John Robert was working as a domestic gardener, Walter was a caddie at Alwoodley Golf Course and Lawrence was still at school.

When the First World War came both sons signed up for service.

Walter – married Matilda Lois Price at St Edmund’s Church, Roundhay, Leeds, sometime in the June quarter of 1916. I’m not sure whether this was before or after he began his military service.

His military service number was 205927. He served as a Private in the 87th Training Reserve Battalion before being transferred to the 477th Agricultural Company Labour Corps.

Walter died of wounds on 25 March 1918 – his death is registered at Stamford, Lincolnshire. Presumably that was the nearest Registration District to wherever he died. He is buried at St John’s Church, Moor Allerton. There are a total of eleven casualties buried at the cemetery from both WW1 and WW2.

He is also commemorated on the WW1 Cross at Moor Allerton.

At the time of his death Walter had £5 16s 5d credit in his service account (see image from Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects below from http://www.ancestry.co.uk). This money was paid to his widow Matilda in September 1918. Followed on 19 November 1919 by a further payment of £3 War Gratuity.

Walter Paley - Effects.png

Lawrence – served as a Private in the 15th Battalion of the (Prince of Wales Own) West Yorkshire Regiment. His service number was 17/237.

I haven’t been able to find any service records for either brother. So all I know about Lawrence is that he was killed in action on 27 March 1918.

He is commemorated at the Arras Memorial in France. However I haven’t been able to find any details of a known grave for Lawrence. He is also commemorated on the WW1 Cross at Moor Allerton.

In the Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects (www.ancestry.co.uk) a sum of £27 0s 4d (which included a £19 War Gratuity was paid to his father on 29 December 1919. You can also see in the fifth column it says “death presumed”.

Lawrence Paley - Effects.png

Details of the pay rates for soldiers and War Gratuity can be found in these links.

Within 12 months their mother Annie was also dead – she passed away on 13 March 1919. All three are mentioned on the headstone below at St John’s Church.

Walter & Lawrence & Annie Paley

Walter’s widow, Matilda, married Arthur Mason sometime in the June quarter of 1927 – their marriage is registered at Caistor in Lincolnshire. As far as I can tell Matilda and Arthur Mason did not have any children. In the 1939 Register, taken at the outbreak of WW2 they are living in Blackwell, Derbyshire with Arthur described as a “railway goods guard”.

Arthur died on 13 October 1968 and Matilda on 28 June 1974. At the time of their deaths they were living at Keelby, Lincolnshire.

Walter and Lawrence’s father, John Robert, married Beatrice Bailes sometime in the September quarter of 1922. This marriage is registered in Leeds. They had five children:-

Harriet – 4 April 1921
Laurence – abt March 1923
John Robert – 7 May1925
James Edwin – 13 June 1928
Harry – 1 February 1930

So having lost one complete family all within 12 months John Robert had a second chance and his children this time lived fairly long lives.

John Robert died sometime in the June quarter of 1953 and Beatrice passed away on 12 October 1957 – she is also buried at St John’s Church.

Beatrice Paley.jpg

Beatric Paley – St John’s Church