This booklet is a collection of townsfolk from Ilkley and Ben Rhydding who regrettably suffered from gas poisoning, in the First World War, published by the Ilkley Gazette. 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. An account from Private Dean is used as an example below:
Dean, Arthur Reginald
East Yorkshire Regiment – 4th Batt, W. Yorks Regiment, WR Regiment – 9th
Croiselles British Cemetery
Cause of Death:
DCM. Conspicious gallantry during operations. Worked machine gun over parapet under heavy shell fire & accurate sniper fire in order to repulse enemy counter attack.
Dean’s own account in letter to Gazette 21/7/1916:
“As day broke on the second march we took enemy’s front line. It fell to the bombers of the Duke of Wellington’s and Gordon’s to clear the enemy out of his dug outs. With this completed the task of consolidating the position began. This was half done when the Huns opened heavy fire which lasted 30 minutes after which the enemy attempted to re-take the trenches. They only got past their wire when they fell back due to our shell fire.
Heavy guns opened on us and pounding away until noon. Enemy attacked again under cover of communication trench which supported artillery and machine guns. Shrapnel poured into the trenches and the men fell left and right. I lost four of my gun team, ordered to check enemy’s advance and gun firmly and accurately responded. Enemy had enough and retired. Relieved after 11pm. Handed over gun position and made way to the rear for a well earned rest, but a shell dropped on the machine gun section and I was wounded.”
Acting as Cpl 5th Battalion W. Yorks Regiment.
Dean had a spell in hospital with gas poisoning plus a bullet through the muscles of his right arm. “Very anxious we should quickly learn to love our enemies – so say the milk sops of the earth. Problem of peace at any price for some individuals.”
At the front from April & then 6 weeks in an English hospital. He was acting Quarter Master Sgt. He was getting rations when “tapped” on arm. Took part in sniping duties in Belgium & in heavy fighting.
IG 13/7/17 – 2nd Lt.
One of four soldier sons of Tom Dean. Killed in action 3/7/17 – i/c wiring party of 10 men, 50 yards in front trench, hit by a bullet in the head on trying to enter trench & fell in shell hole. Unconscious & survived 10 minutes (so doctor said). Died at Croiselles and buried in Croiselles British Cemetery.
DCM for conspicious gallantry after being wounded in March 1916 – A private i/c machine gun & sniping & worked this over the parapet despite heavy shell fire. After enemy forced to retire handed over the position and made way to rear.