Every day in the Examiner we go back exactly 100 years with a snippet of local life from 1916.

This appears at the top of the On This Day section on the letters page and getting that bit of information involves trawling through our back copies on microfilm.

It’s often a sobering read looking through these war years editions with stories about lives lost on the frontline trickling through and often not making more than 100 words or so.

But then suddenly something can leap from the page and here’s one to stop and make you think.

Huddersfield had a 15-year-old boy fighting in the trenches and I thought it would be fascinating to share this report with you in full.

It came under the heading Boy Of Fifteen At The Front with the sub-heading Primrose Hill Hero Suffers From Gas Poisoning.

The report reads: Huddersfield has the distinction of having a mere boy of 15 fighting at the front. His name is Pte Jack Gibson, son of Mr and Mrs Gibson, of 2 Hill Top, Primrose Hill who is serving with C Company machine gun section of the 2nd Dukes at the front.

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“Writing from Casino Hospital at Le Havre he says: “I am sorry to say that I am not well at present. I am in hospital suffering from gas poisoning. I wish I was better and out of it.

“It is terrible out here; you cannot explain what it is like. To see your comrades killed by your side and have to tread over them it is more like murder than anything else. God knows when it will finish, the sooner the better. I pray that I may live to see the finish. I think I am the youngest boy out here. It is an honour to you to have a son of 15 years in such a war as this. I don’t think it will last much longer now because the Germans we capture are boys of 14 and old men about 60 or 70.”

The good news is that it seems Jack did survive the war as his name does not appear i the book Huddersfield’s Roll of Honour 1914-1922 which lists all 3,439 people from the town who died serving in the forces. The book was written by the late Margaret Stansfield from Elland.

Jack had been involved in bitter fighting on the notorious Hill 60 when Huddersfield lost one of its best known soldiers, Lt Rowland Owen, who worked at his father’s solicitors Owen and Bailey on New Street in Huddersfield and was captain of Huddersfield Old Boys rugby union team.

Cpl A E Wilkinson, who lived at 49 Bankfield in Moldgreen and worked as a tramway conductor before the war, describes how engineers had borrowed beneath the hill the Germans were defending and set off an almighty explosion.

“Dante’s inferno must have been very mild compared to this,” he said.

Night falls at the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing on March 26, 2014 in Ypres, Belgium

The Germans put up a fierce defence and Cpl Wilkinson added: “The casualties were increasing most alarmingly and played havoc with their artillery and rifle fire, grenades, hand bombs, trench mortars and their fear-inspiring whizz-bangs. We were subjected to a most pitiless fire with disastrous effect to us. The officers particularly were strangely unfortunate and few escaped a wound of some sort.”

Despite the rising casualty toll, 22-year-old Lt Owen rallied all the men he could to attack the German trenches.

Cpl Wilkinson added: “Mr Owen patted me on the shoulder just prior to the charge saying with a smile ‘well, corporal, Huddersfield’s going to see this through.’ He was enough to fill anyone with courage. He revelled in danger, I am sure, and such men inspire the less courageous.

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“The whistle blew, we kicked off and put the fear of God into them and they fled down their communication trenches – those that could get away. Mr Owen and myself were over the parapet from our crater. I saw him reel as if hit in the neck. Others testify that he was fatally hit. I received a bullet wound through the left hand and about half-an-hour later I received a shrapnel wound in the head. I had a slight operation and had the shrapnel splinter extracted.

“I have had the most acute pain and dizziness while the German souvenir has been in my head.”

After recovering in hospital at Rouen Cpl Wilkinson was eager to get back to the frontline.

Lt Owen had previously survived battles at Mons, Le Cateau, the Aisne, La Bassee and Ypres where he was wounded in the left kee in November 1914.

He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing. He is also on the roll of honour at St Thomas’ Church in Longroyd Bridge.