By 1914 the Ilkley Gazette had been in print for over 60 years – commencing in May 1861, although archival records only date from January 1868. The paper in peacetime not only covered local news but aspects of national and international news.
During the First World War a few more photographs began to appear and there were accounts of the achievements of the living and dead on the battlefields of Europe, and the Middle East; at sea globally; and increasingly the activities of Ilkley personnel in the Royal Flying Corps (later the RAF).
Adverts were rather sparse, but there were regular messages from government sources. Sport and items of interest to women and children were included along with increasing acknowledgement of women’s role in the War. The stories of refugees from war-torn Belgium in Ilkley were covered regularly.
Ilkley even in Wartime was seen as a place to holiday, convalesce, walk the Moors, to take the waters and breathe in unpolluted air. People in the pre-radio era relied on the local papers for a great deal of varied information; and the picture houses also played their part.
This booklet is a collection of townsfolk from Ilkley and Ben Rhydding who died in the First World War, taken from the Ilkley Gazette archives. The contents page has lists all the people by surname and details such as their age, rank, regiment, awards for gallantry, pre-war occupations, cemetery, cause of death, theatre of war and any accounts which were taken from letters from loved ones or other sources given. Edgar Earnshaw is used as an example below:
Northumberland Fusiliers – 1st
Yorkshire Penny Bank Leeds, Otley, Ilkley.
Cause of Death:
Wounded 1/9/18 in some brisk scrapping as eventually we occupied an old German trench. Jerry artillery opened up & we were in part of trench being enfiladed ie. the position was such that the direction of fire was in at the end rather than from the parapet so you see we got rather a drubbing. At 7.30pm a big gas shell burst 3 yards away. I threw myself to the ground with fearful concussion & slight shrapnel wound on the temple. Now in 3rd Australian General Base Hospital.
High class musician and pianist. Joined army in Jan 1916 – Sgt instructor musketry & machine gun. Wounded in France 1/9/18 having arrived in France 30/3/18. In hospital in France until 11/11 and convalescent camp. Then in army of occupation in Germany.
Died at 31 Middleton Road 17/12/1919 on leave in Ilkley – influenza led to pneumonia. Buried in Ilkley cemetery.