May 1917 was a terrible month for the village of Kirkheaton.
The war was now well into its third year with no end in sight and many men from the village lost their lives on the first day of the second Battle of Bullecourt and the most deadly day of the Battle of Arras.
At first many were reported as missing, but as time went on the grim reality dawned that they would never be coming home.
All this information has been compiled by Sandra Stocks from Kirkheaton Family History Group.
She said: “The number of missing men shows how chaotic and deadly the Battle of Bullecourt was. A lot of families weren’t formally notified of the death of their loved one until the following year.”
The following men were all reported missing on May 3, 1917 and subsequently presumed to have died that day. They are all commemorated on the Arras Memorial and their names are also on the Roll of Honour at St Andrew’s Church, Leeds Road, Huddersfield. Most served with the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment.
Pte Henri Rodgers Harpin, 29, of the 2/5th Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment, was the son of Thomas Kilner and Mary Ann Harpin. He married Flora Madeline Fudger at St Andrews Church on April 11, 1914, when he was living at Woodbine Cottage, Fitzwilliam Street. Their daughter, Margaret, was born in 1917, is now 100 and took part in a poignant wreath-laying ceremony at Huddersfield Drill Hall to mark the centenary of her father’s death shortly before she was born.
Pte Horace Oldroyd, 20, was the son of Charlie and Sarah Oldroyd of 105 Hillhouse Lane and had saved two children’s lives a couple of years before his death.
In September 1915 he rescued two little girls from the canal and for this act of bravery he was warmly commended by the magistrates and was awarded a certificate in recognition of his gallantry. He was a member of the Ramsden Street Men’s Own and was previously employed by J Crowther, Milnsbridge, as a stoker on a steam waggon.
Machine gunner Sgt Harry Brook, 21, was the son of Pearson and Emily Brook, of 85 Hillhouse Lane and in 1911 was working as a warehouseman for cloth merchant M Haigh Sykes and Co on St John’s Road.
Pte Harry Bull was the son of Richard and Georgina Bull of Thistle Street, Leeds Road. In 1911 Harry was working at T & H Blamires, Woollen & Flannel Mills.
Pte Robert Robinson Coupland was living with a cousin at 124 Bradford Road, Huddersfield in 1911 and working as a dental mechanic. He enlisted in Huddersfield and was 22.
Pte Harry Leonard, 32, of the 16th Bn Prince of Wales’s Own West Yorkshire Regiment, was the son of William and Ann Eliza Leonard, of 11 Great Northern Street. He was born in 1884 and was employed by T and H Blamires Ltd, Phoenix Mills, Leeds Road.
Pte Douglas Ness, 24, was the son of Edward and Laura Ness of 34 Sanitary Road, Hillhouse. He was born at Belle Vue, Sheepridge, and educated at Great Northern Street School. He was employed as a mason by Dawson and Jones, of Moldgreen.
Private Harry Graham, 21, was the son of Oliver and Elizabeth Graham, of 34, Hawthorne Terrace, Calton Street, Huddersfield. The former cloth miller was a member of the Huddersfield Parish Church football team which won the school challenge cup.
The following men were all reported missing on May 3, 1917 and subsequently presumed to have died that day. They are all commemorated on the Arras Memorial and their names are also on the Roll of Honour at Kirkheaton Parish Church.
Pte David Moxon, 22, of the West Riding Regiment was the son of David and Ruth Moxon of Spa Green, Lepton, one of 10 siblings and a butcher by trade. His great niece, Christine Senior, lives in Meltham.
Pte Frank Haydn Wilson, 29, had survived being wounded during the Battle of the Somme in July 1916 and was the son of Wright and Mary Ann Wilson, of 33 Nettleton, Kirkheaton. His brother, Pte James Schofield Wilson, died of wounds in July 1917, having fought in the same regiment as Frank. Frank worked as a woollen warehouseman for R Mitchell and Co, Spa Mills, Lepton.
Pte William Bostock, 26, had been invalided home three times during the war but kept returning. He was living with his sister Edith at Blackburns Buildings, Kirkheaton, in 1911, working as a machine man in a coal pit and his three brothers were also serving in the army.
Pte Edgar Garthwaite was the son of David and Emma Garthwaite, of New Road, Kirkheaton, and the youngest of 10 children. His mother died two months before he was reported missing. The 31-year-old was a choir member at Fields Congregational Church.