Prince of Wales Own West Yorkshire Regiment

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

Military Monday – Harry Pemberton (1884-1914)

Harry Pemberton is the husband of my 1st cousin 2x removed Marion Hurtley.

Marion was born in Keighley, West Yorkshire to parents John Hurtley and Elizabeth Moore. Our common ancestors are James Hurtley and Hannah Dinsdale – my 2x great grandparents.

Harry was born in Kirkstall, Leeds, West Yorkshire in 1884.

According to the military records available online Harry enlisted for service with the Prince of Wales Own (West Yorkshire) Regiment on 14 July 1902 – his service number was 6458. I assume that he was assigned to the army reserve at that time.

Harry and Marion married sometime in the June quarter of 1908. In the 1911 census they were living at 25 Backhouse Terrace, Kirkstall, Leeds.

Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914. I’m not sure when Harry was mobilised to France – but I do know that within 12 weeks of war being declared he died of wounds on 23 October 1914.

According to the register of Soldiers’ Effects Harry had £3 8s 3d in his account at the time of his death. This was paid to Marion on 12 March 1915. Subsequently Marion received a War Gratuity of £5 from 5 June 1919.

Harry is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial in Belgium.

The following information and image is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission(CWGC) website – http://www.cwgc.org

Ploegsteert Memorial

The PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIAL commemorates more than 11,000 servicemen of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in this sector during the First World War and have no known grave. The memorial serves the area from the line Caestre-Dranoutre-Warneton to the north, to Haverskerque-Estaires-Fournes to the south, including the towns of Hazebrouck, Merville, Bailleul and Armentieres, the Forest of Nieppe, and Ploegsteert Wood. The original intention had been to erect the memorial in Lille. Most of those commemorated by the memorial did not die in major offensives, such as those which took place around Ypres to the north, or Loos to the south. Most were killed in the course of the day-to-day trench warfare which characterised this part of the line, or in small scale set engagements, usually carried out in support of the major attacks taking place elsewhere. It does not include the names of officers and men of Canadian or Indian regiments (they are found on the Memorials at Ypres, Vimy and Neuve-Chapelle) and those lost at the Battle of Aubers Ridge, 9 May 1915, who were involved in the Southern Pincer (the 1st, 2nd, Meerut and 47th Divisions – they are commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial). BERKS CEMETERY EXTENSION, in which the memorial stands, was begun in June 1916 and used continuously until September 1917. At the Armistice, the extension comprised Plot I only, but Plots II and III were added in 1930 when graves were brought in from Rosenberg Chateau Military Cemetery and Extension, about 1 Km to the north-west, when it was established that these sites could not be acquired in perpetuity. Rosenberg Chateau Military Cemetery was used by fighting units from November 1914 to August 1916. The extension was begun in May 1916 and used until March 1918. Together, the Rosenberg Chateau cemetery and extension were sometimes referred to as ‘Red Lodge’. Berks Cemetery Extension now contains 876 First World War burials. HYDE PARK CORNER (ROYAL BERKS) CEMETERY is separated from Berks Cemetery Extension by a road. It was begun in April 1915 by the 1st/4th Royal Berkshire Regiment and was used at intervals until November 1917. Hyde Park Corner was a road junction to the north of Ploegsteert Wood. Hill 63 was to the north-west and nearby were the ‘Catacombs’, deep shelters capable of holding two battalions, which were used from November 1916 onwards. The cemetery contains 83 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and four German war graves The cemetery, cemetery extension and memorial were designed by Harold Chalton Bradshaw, with sculpture by Gilbert Ledward. The memorial was unveiled by the Duke of Brabant on 7 June 1931.

Ploegsteert Memorial View 1.jpg

Military Monday – Jack Gawthrop (1899-1918)

Jack Gawthrop is my 3rd cousin 2x removed. His parents are Benjamin Gawthrop and Emily Ann Thurlow. Our common ancestors are John Gawthrop and Sarah Brown, my 4x great grandparents.

Jack was born about 1899 – his birth is registered at Hendon, Middlesex in the March quarter of that year.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any remaining records of Jack’s military service either on http://www.ancestry.co.uk or http://www.findmypast.co.uk. I did find some details on http://www.forces-war-records.co.uk and on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, http://www.cwgc.org.

I know that Jack served as a Private in the 2nd Battalion of the Prince of Wales’s Own West Yorkshire Regiment. His service number was 52976.

Jack died of wounds on 2 April 1918 serving in France and Flanders and he is buried at Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension.

The following information is from the CWGC website.

For much of the First World War, Abbeville was headquarters of the Commonwealth lines of communication and No.3 BRCS, No.5 and No.2 Stationary Hospitals were stationed there variously from October 1914 to January 1920. The communal cemetery was used for burials from November 1914 to September 1916, the earliest being made among the French military graves. The extension was begun in September 1916.



During the early part of the Second World War, Abbeville was a major operational aerodrome, but the town fell to the Germans at the end of May 1940. On 4 June, an attempt was made by the 51st Division, in conjunction with the French, to break the German bridgehead, but without success. Towards the end of 1943, eight large ski shaped buildings appeared near Abbeville. These proved to be storage units for flying bomb components and they were heavily bombed by Commonwealth air forces. Abbeville was retaken on 4 September 1944 by Canadian and Polish units.



Abbeville Communal Cemetery contains 774 Commonwealth burials of First World War and 30 from the Second. The Extension contains 1,754 First World War burials and 348 from the Second.



The Commonwealth sections of both cemetery and extension were designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension