Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Featherstone Chronicle The Great War 1915





THE FEATHERSTONE CHRONICLE
A History of Featherstone, Purston and Ackton
The Great War 1915
Compiled by Irvin Saxton

JANUARY
  The Adult School Old Folks' Treat was held for the sixth year, but this time in the Lister Hall because the military had taken over the Assembly Rooms (sometimes called the Drill Hall). There were 500 present including 20 inmates from the workhouse who were brought by waggonette, as were all those unable to get there themselves and those living in Ackton. The Belgian refugees, now eleven, also attended. The tea consisted of pork pies, beef tongue and ham sandwiches, and various sweets. Each man received 1½ ounces of tobacco and the women four ounces of tea. The Rountree company sent 24 dozen chocolate cakes.

  At a concert arranged by Purston Wesleyan Chapel four Belgian refugees delighted the audience by singing Tipperary in English.

  A recruiting sergeant had made an appeal to the Featherstone Rovers players after the Boxing Day game against Castleford. It was announced Toby Mason, Richard Harris and Paddy Leake had decided to enlist.

  Dr Finch had collected £21 from Featherstone, Purston and Snydale for Red Cross work. Mrs Darlington and Mrs Steven, on behalf of the Army and Navy Fund Committee, sent 120 holdalls for the members of the Featherstone Company of the 5th KOYLI.

  William Rowett aged 39 of Pretoria Street had joined the KOYLI but was still at home. He died suddenly from a ruptured aorta and was given a full military funeral at which all his company attended. The coffin was draped with the Union Jack, a firing party fired over the grave and The Last Post was sounded.

  It was agreed to employ the fathers and the oldest boy of the refugees at Featherstone Main Colliery. Half their wages would be invested until they returned home. The Distress Committee agreed to give 3s 6d each a week to the heads of the present three families. Later six more refugees arrived - one family plus an orphan.

  Four Purston Boy Scouts were in the service of the Government guarding Sutton Bridge in Lincolnshire. They were Tom Armstrong, Jim Croft, Jim Dickinson and J Cranswick. They were accommodated in a hut and a local farmer kept them well supplied with food. They were on duty for three hours and then had nine hours off.

  The Featherstone miners, along with all the others in West Yorkshire, voted to give 14 days notice  because the owners had refused to pay a 4d a day increase which the men claimed was an arbitration award. The increase was only on the minimum wage so it did not affect all the men. When the notice was up the coal owners backed down and agreed to pay the award.

  Featherstone Rovers played the Miners' Battalion at Otley. The proceeds were for the widow of Corporal Dixon of Pontefract who died after falling into the River Wharfe while in camp in Otley. 

  At the annual meeting of the Featherstone and District Association for the Prosecution of Offenders it was said the association was now in its 15th year and had 201 members, but only 98 of them had paid their subscription. A total of 56 cases had been taken to court during the year and they had won them all. Another 22 people had paid compensation rather than go to court. 

FEBRUARY
  The first council house scheme was now well under way. The Council agreed to insure the houses for £100 each, although the total cost including the roads was £206 each. The first eight houses were now occupied and another 22 were nearly ready. There was a great rush of applicants for these houses. The Express commented "Mr S Chesney, the surveyor, has succeeded in combining art with utility, and has skillfully prevented a repetition of the dreary monotony which marks so many of the building localities of the town. There has been a creditable attempt at town planning, and at the same time it is expected the scheme will pay".

 Charles Wright was appointed bailiff and rent collector for the council houses. He would be paid 10s a week until the first 50 houses were ready, then 20s until 100 were occupied, and 30s when all 140 had been completed. He would live in one of the houses and pay the normal rent.

  Stoker E Williams of Featherstone on HMS Invincible wrote to Mrs Rogers to say he had received a cap-muffler and a pair of mittens knitted in navy blue. He had also received a parcel from North Featherstone Junior School and one from Dr Steven. The parcels had travelled 22,000 miles before they had eventually caught up with him.   

  The shirt scheme had now passed the 600 mark. The Boy Scouts had collected over £70, the Belgium Relief Fund had passed £200, and the Distress Fund had totalled £115. The County Council asked the Distress Committee if there were any empty houses in Featherstone which could be used for Belgian refugees. The committee said there was no likelihood of any houses being available in Featherstone.

  In their game at Brighouse Featherstone Rovers had to face a gale and sleet in the first half. Hirst, Pollard and Leighton had to leave the field exhausted, and the game was abandoned before half-time.

  The will of John Waller showed he had left £8,910. It included two shops and houses in Station Lane, and shares in the gas company and the Associated Railways of South Africa.

  Tommy Sides treated Purston Church choir to a trip to Leeds for a pantomime and tea.

 MARCH
  Featherstone Main Colliery was only working three days a week but the men were paying over £70 to the dependents of servicemen. The collections for the local hospitals were less than normal because so many men had enlisted.

 An inquest was held on Harriet Kelly aged 35 of Wakefield Road who died in Pontefract Dispensary after her flannelette petticoats caught fire from a lighted candle on the bedroom floor. Dr Poole said when she was admitted she was severely burnt and there was no hope of recovery. The coroner said there was a safer flannelette but it was dearer and people would not buy it.

 A report on Featherstone National School said "Organisation is not satisfactory; the difficulties of arranging the various classes are fully recognised, but it cannot be deemed a satisfactory arrangement for the older scholars to be taken practically in mass in the two sections for all but the elementary subjects".
 The Riding Authority considered the school work unsatisfactory and asked the Featherstone Education Sub-Committee for observations. The committee didn't consider it a bad report and suggested an improvement would be made by appointing another teacher.

 Joshua Dickinson was fined for being drunk and disorderly. The court was told it was his 42nd conviction.

 J Bullock and Sons began a Sunday bus service from Knottingley to Wakefield. The fare from Featherstone to Pontefract was 3d, and from Featherstone to Wakefield 9d.  
  
  Bullock's advert in the Express taken from a worn microfilm.

 Because of the now many calls on the generosity of Featherstone people the Convalescent Fund was in difficulties. A public meeting suggested the fund should be converted into a hospital fund. Mr Liversedge proposed it be wound up and the money given to the old folk. The secretary said it could not be converted to a hospital fund unless all the subscribers agreed. Mr Steel suggested the work go on until all the funds were spent.
  The secretary said there was only about £16 left and public support was falling off. The chairman said there had been a lot of nasty things said about the committee but they had the satisfaction of knowing they had done their best in this labour of love. Hundreds of Featherstone people, including himself, had been supported by the fund. The committee were re-elected to carry on as long as possible.
   
   The Council decided to convert the nurses' room at The Haven into a kitchen. The County Council were told that schoolchildren from Normanton and Altofts could not be accommodated at the baths. The night workers asked for a 3s a week rise because of the rise in food prices. The throwers-out asked for an extra penny per load. The Council decided to hold a special meeting to discuss the matter and decided to award an extra 5d a day to all weekly paid men in the Council's employ.

  "A ridiculous canard" was the Express heading to the following. "There have been persistent suggestions during the past few weeks, made by either ill-informed or untruthful persons, that Cr R Holiday JP CC is a pro-German. Such an assertion will be received with the ridicule it deserves by all who really know Mr Holiday. It is based on his action touching the Germans who worked at Ackton Hall Colliery and are now interned. We think any of the miners' leaders at the colliery will refute the notion without the slightest hesitation. 
  "Mr Holiday's action throughout all the incidents connected with the German workmen's presence at Featherstone some time ago was that of a kind-hearted, thoughtful employer, and what he did was in entire sympathy with the view of the workmen's representatives. It is to be hoped nothing more will be heard of the baseless suggestion."   

  An inquest was held on Charles Hutchinson aged 41 of Dickinson Terrace who was killed in an accident at Ackton Hall Colliery. His mate William Hanson said he had left him bannocking (cutting under the coal seam) while he went into the gate (roadway). He heard a weight bump and he found Hutchinson under about eight tons of coal and muck. He was quickly released but he was already dead. The verdict was death by misadventure.

  The Distress Committee decided the garden at The Haven would be converted into vegetable plots and they would provide tools and seeds for the refugees.

  An inquest was held on Henry Radford aged 62 of Sharlston who was fatally injured in a winding accident at Snydale Colliery. He was a shaftman and joiner and he was working in the shaft with Arthur Higgins, the Featherstone Rovers fullback. They were repairing brickwork from a special cradle and the only way they could signal to go up or down was by hitting a steel plate with a hammer. This signal was easily heard by the banksman who then signalled to the winder.
  They rapped a one to be raised and the banksman, David Precious of Snydale, passed it on. He was surprised to see the cradle go straight passed him instead of stopping so he gave an emergency stop signal to the winder, but it was too late and the cradle crashed into the headgear. Both men were released and found to be seriously injured. The manager, Arthur Simpkin, said because they were using a cradle the overwinding gear could not be used, and it all depended on the winding engineman using proper care. The winder had always done his work satisfactorily and there had never been any complaints against him. The only explanation he had given was he had momentarily forgotten himself.
  The coroner asked if he would have to forget the rope, the indicators, the place where he had lowered the men, and the separate signal used by the men in the shaft. The manager answered yes.
  Mr Hargreaves, a director of the company, asked how the winder made sure where the men were working. The manager said the winder made a temporary mark on his indicator, and there was such a mark on this occasion.
  Ida Guillaume, house surgeon at Clayton Hospital, said Radford was suffering greatly from shock when admitted and he only lived for 15 minutes. Many bones were broken, indicating he had been badly crushed. Arthur Higgins right arm was so badly injured it had to be amputated, and he also lost two fingers off his left hand.
  Noah Guest, the winding engineman, said he first realised something was wrong when he received the second signal from the banksman but it was too late to do anything. The only explanation he could offer was that through momentary forgetfulness he thought he was winding from his usual Haigh Moor level which was much lower down the shaft.
  The coroner said it was a very sad case. There was negligence on the part of the engineman and the question was as to the degree. The man had a good character and this was the first time he had made a mistake. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death and said it did not amount to criminal negligence because the engineman had momentarily forgotten what he was doing.
  The coroner said he was not fond of verdicts of momentary forgetfulness. To his mind there was a modern tendency to call acts of criminal negligence momentary forgetfulness. However he thought the jury were quite justified in this case.

  Purston National School held a sale for war funds. There were six stalls on which all the items for sale were made by the children, parents and friends, and one stall which had souvenirs from soldiers in the front line. Mary Toft dressed up as a gypsy and told fortunes. The event raised over £11.

  At a Board of Guardians meeting it was said the necessities of life had risen in price by about 20% since the war began, which explained why workers were seeking a rise.

   The Council elections resulted as follows.
Purston Ward  Joe Poppleton, grocer 354  Thomas Turton, miner 169  Charles William Armitage, miner 6  
North Ward  Roslyn Holiday, colliery general manager 489  Arthur Croft, assurance agent 327
Ackton and Snydale Ward  Aaron Evans, checkweighman, unopposed
South Ward  Edward Edwards, deputy, unopposed
It was the first time Roslyn Holiday had been opposed for many years.

  In the election for the Board of Guardians Mrs M M Iddon and Mrs M Richardson were elected. They joined the only other woman on the Board who was from Castleford.

  John Clark of North Featherstone was assistant banksman at Featherstone Main Colliery. He forgot to replace the gate at the top of the shaft and an empty tub ran into the shaft causing considerable damage but no injuries. He was taken to court and fined 10s for negligence.

  The Education Sub-Committee were told there were 14 cases of measles in one class at Purston National School. It was thought the disease had been brought by a teacher who came from a closed Ackworth school. There was a shortage of teachers because of the war and the chairman suggested teachers should be disinfected before going to another school. The salary of Miss Roberts, headmistress of North Featherstone Lane Infants' School, was raised from £115 to £120.   

APRIL
  The Purston Church annual vestry meeting reported a loss of 3s on the year's workings and the total debt was now £27 18s 8d. Peter Darlington said he did not believe in debt, especially in places of worship, and he suggested efforts be made to clear it off.
  North Featherstone Church collections had totalled just over £40 but nearly £54 had to be paid out. There were outstanding debts of £43. Mr W H Fearnley said he spent more than the £10 he got as organist, and he asked about the £11 owing to the churchwardens. He said he didn't want to be a churchwarden any more, but when his resignation was refused he said he would resign as organist and choirmaster.
  St Peters' Mission Church had a profit of £9 but they still owed £50 to the bank and £19 to the organ builder. The choirmaster and organist had given their salaries to the organ fund.

  James Glyde was sent to prison for two months for being found on enclosed premises - James Femtiman's mineral water works on Wakefield Road - with intent. He was found crouching in the yard by PS Williams. The court was told he had 16 previous convictions.

  Two pony drivers were fined for ill-treating ponies at Ackton Hall Colliery. The manager said ponies were often ill-treated and the punishment would be a lesson to everyone else.   

  The Distress Committee received a letter from Roslyn Holiday saying a part of Purston Hall would be offered rent free. The furnishing of the rooms was left to the ladies' committee. Up to now the ladies' committee had purchased the food for the Belgian refugees. It was now decided to give 30s weekly to each family and they would be allowed to buy-in for themselves.

  North Featherstone Lane Junior Mixed School gave a concert for the war funds. The performers were Amy Brooks, Connie Cresswell, Lizzie Neville, Olive Abbott, Louise Norton, May Hanson, Lilian Hobson, Ivy Hodgson, Eliza Thatcher, Florrie Smith, Lucy Fisher and Nellie Brook. They were all members of St Peters' Girls' Guild and were trained by Mabel Alexander.

  The Council decided to pay their workers 8s 3d a day on the day shift and 8s 9d on the night shift for the duration of the war. It was agreed to keep the rates at 2s 3d, with much self-congratulation because other local authorities had had to increase their rates.
  The Council had made representations to the railway company about the danger of overcrowding on the north platform when a train had arrived. They wanted both gates to be open and two ticket collectors used, but the company refused. It was agreed to bring the matter to the attention of the local MP. Cr Scholes complained the crossing gates were closed against the traffic far too long.
  The meeting to elect a new chairman caused the usual controversy. Cr Murphy proposed Cr Evans saying no Labour member had yet held this position and it ought not to be a monopoly. He said if ever the Labour Party held a majority they would show more consideration to the minority. He failed to get a seconder.
  Cr Poppleton said he did not agree with the honour going round. They should pick the best man for the job. He said Cr Holiday was in every way fitted for the post. Cr Waller seconded and as there was no other proposal Cr Holiday was chairman yet again.

   The two exits from the north platform which the Council wanted opening. A photo from the Featherstone Heritage Group.

  The Featherstone and Purston Women's Voluntary Aid Detachment held a concert in the Hippodrome. Almost all the seats were taken for a three hour show. The Featherstone Orchestra provided the accompaniment conducted by Mr M Hufton. More than £40 was taken and the profit for the Red Cross was £28.

  A recruiting meeting was held in Regent Street School at which Col Shaw presided. He said Featherstone had done more than its fair share in providing men, but more than 84% of them were married and it was time the single men came forward. He needed 150 men to enable the battalion to complete its training and set out for the front.
  Sir Joseph Compton-Ricket said if Col Shaw got his 150 men the colonel would lead them to the front and risk his life again for his country, as he had done in the South African war. Roslyn Holiday said he himself was too old to enlist but he hoped the single men would answer the call.

MAY
  Featherstone Cricket Club were now only playing friendlies and could only field one team instead of two because several players were on active service.
 
  The miners were paid a 15½% was bonus which raised the standard daily rate from 8s 3d to 9s 6d. The owners put up the price of house coal by 3s 4d a ton.

  North Featherstone Lane Junior Mixed School collected 114 fresh eggs and 50 packets of cigarettes for wounded soldiers who were at Stapleton Hall.

  The Council said they would allow some of their employees to be selected by the Local Government Board to work in munition factories if required.
  It was agreed to offer a council house to the Distress Committee for the use of a Belgian family providing the usual rent was paid and the refugees moved to The Haven as soon as they could be accommodated there.
  The Council agreed with a national proposal to make measles, German measles and whooping cough notifiable and said if it happened Miss Lee, the health visitor, would be able to visit homes and in a great many cases prevent fatal consequences. In many cases, through ignorance, the child's live was endangered.

  There were many wartime weddings with servicemen in uniform. This one was 24 May between Harold Mason and Florence Oldroyd, daughter of the Station Lane tripe dresser, photographed in Hall Street. 


JUNE
  Joseph John Rowley had a fish and chip shop in Purston. Ernest Rogers came in and offered him a bag of potatoes for 3s. Rowley gave him 2s on account and then another 2d. When the potatoes failed to arrive he called the police. Rogers admitted in court he had no potatoes and wanted money for drink. He was sent to prison for one month.

  A Featherstone couple with no children went to court for a separation order. The wife wanted 12s a week and the husband, who said he only earned 5s a day, offered 8s. The Bench ordered him to pay 9s.

  Ackton Hall Colliery had only paid one week's 15½% bonus instead of three weeks including back-pay. A mass meeting was held at the Hippodrome and a resolution was made to down tools at once. The chairman Mr Murphy refused to accept it so a deputation was appointed. The management said the only reason the money was not paid was pressure of work, and it would be in the next pay packet.

  A memorial service was held in Purston Church for Herbert Wood of Purston and Ernest Trevelyan of Featherstone, two of the first fatalities of the war for local men. Second Lieutenant T Holdway of South View won the Distinguished Conduct Medal for bravery in the Dardanelles. He was wounded and was receiving treatment in Alexandria.

  The reason why single men were reluctant to enlist was highlighted by the Featherstone Old Age Pensions sub-committee who were dealing with separation allowances for wives with men in the Forces. It was pointed out to the local MP a woman with a husband in the Forces, or two or more sons, only receives a separation allowance for one. 
  One woman had a husband and two sons serving and only received one allowance, whereas a neighbour had a husband in the Forces and two sons at home bringing in good wages. Some mothers were not allowing their sons to enlist because of this.
  
  The Education Sub-Committee voted Aaron Evans as the new chairman. The committee agreed to recommend a war bonus of 5s a week for all caretakers. 

  Albert Crooks was in court charged with being drunk and disorderly. His parents had turned him out so he kicked in the door panels. He promised to join the Army so the case was put off for a week to see if he did.

  News arrived of the death of Norris Thurlwell. He was 21 and was one of the first to enlist from Featherstone Main Colliery. His father was a police sergeant for many years in Featherstone  and was now groundsman of the Featherstone Main Colliery Cricket Club  He had only just receives a letter from his son saying he was keeping well.

  John Wroe was accused of using obscene language and assaulting PS Williams. Wroe was drinking with five other men and the sergeant asked them to move on. The five did but Wroe attacked the sergeant as he was mounting his bicycle. Bystanders came to the sergeant's assistance and Wroe went away. When the sergeant came to arrest him later Wroe became violent again and damaged the sergeant's uniform.
  Supt Ackroyd said the prisoner had 28 convictions including four years penal servitude for robbery with violence. He was given three months with hard labour. The superintendent said there had been complaints about drinking in the streets in Featherstone.  

  An inquest was held on Joseph Parkinson aged 55 of Pontefract who was crushed between a wagon and a wall at Ackton Hall Colliery. He was taken to Clayton Hospital where he died from shock. The verdict was accidental death.

  The Council decided the war bonus would be paid to the Council's officials as well as the workmen. It was agreed to give the surveyor £25 a month for four months on account of his work for the housing scheme.
  The medical officer said where a council house had been provided to relieve  overcrowding by re-housing the lodgers, steps should be taken to prevent any further overcrowding in the house which had been relieved. The contractor was criticised for very slow work on the council house scheme and he was asked to move it on as quickly as possible.
  There was a letter from the Local Government Board thanking the Council for offering to release workmen for munitions work, but the absorption of non-skilled labour was very slow and they would contact the Council further when need arose.

 There was much criticism of a teacher, Mrs Booth, by Mr Leadbeater at the meeting of the Education Sub-Committee. At George Street School Ben Fellowes had an accident and broke his arm. He didn't tell the teacher but although he was pale and listless she didn't ask him what was the matter. His mother brought him back to school the next day wishing him to stay but the headmaster said he should remain at home for the rest of the week.
 Mr Leadbeater said he did not believe a child could break an arm and not cry or make any complaint. This boy seemed to have been left alone and allowed to remain in school with a broken arm all the afternoon. The explanation was considered unsatisfactory and the teacher was asked to attend the next meeting.

  James Umpleby of Glencoe Villa, Purston, died aged 69. He came to Purston 50 years earlier to be butler at Purston Hall. After 17 years he took over the licence of the Railway Hotel.     

JULY
  Lieutenant Dr Finch was presented with a case of surgical instruments of War Office pattern for use in his new work by the Featherstone and Purston Voluntary Aid detachment.

  The gas company said they were putting up the price of gas by 3d per 1,000 cubic feet because of the rise in the price of coal.   

  Featherstone Main Colliery claimed 5s a day from Benjamin Goodall for staying away from work. The colliery was working on Government contracts and was behind. The management said the order could not be fulfilled if men kept away from work. In future court cases they would claim the full minimum wage of 9s 3d. Goodall was ordered to pay as was Joseph Stanley in another case. 
  
  The Council asked Messrs Jefferson and Copley to provide horses for the fire engine, and the surveyor and Mr Swift were to report on the provision of a motor in place of horses.  
  There was a letter from Electrical Distribution for Yorkshire Limited saying they intended seeking a Provisional Order to supply electricity for all public and private purposes within the Council's district, and asking the Council's consent. The chairman said he thought the order would be for the benefit of the district and it was agreed to meet Mr Woodhouse of the company.

  Mr G Gent of Station Lane, whose grandfather fought at Waterloo, had four sons in the Army. His fifth son was under age. James Gent had been buried by a shell and was in hospital. William Gent was a prisoner of war in Holland.

  A charge under the Temporary Restriction Act against Henry Bateman of the Railway Hotel for allowing drinking after hours was dismissed. He claimed he had invited some friends to stay behind for a drink, and the police could not prove money had changed hands.  

  John Price was fined 30s for staying away from work at Featherstone Main Colliery. Mr W E Clayton-Smith repeated the colliery was behind on its contracts and they would claim more compensation in future. It was stated John Price earned 13s a day, and the Bench said if they did not get so much money they would have to work oftener.  

AUGUST
  George Pfisterer age 67 of North Featherstone was charged with a breach of the Aliens' Act in that being a native of Germany he had failed to register. He had claimed he was naturalised, but after failing to produce his papers he admitted he was not. In his defence it was said he had made the oath of loyalty and fealty to Her Majesty Queen Victoria's reign when he joined the Metropolitan Police. He considered wrongly this absolved him from taking out papers. The Bench said because of his previous good conduct they would not send him to prison but fine him £5.

  The Featherstone and Purston Convalescent Fund decided to give the proceeds of their Feast Festival to the Red Cross. Because of heavy rain it was held in the Hippodrome instead of the cricket field.

  The St Peter's Girls' Guild pierrette troup with Mabel Alexander in charge travelled by waggonette to Ccokridge Military Hospital to entertain the wounded. They took a plentiful supply of cigarettes with them, and the cost was defrayed by Roslyn Holiday.

  The Council wanted to borrow another £5,000 from the sum already agreed for the council house scheme. The Public Loans Board wanted the Council to defer it because all possible finance was needed for the war effort. The Council pointed out the contract was entered into before the war began, and the scheme was very much needed. The PLB said they would loan the money providing the Council first tried to get the contractor to postpone the scheme. He wouldn't and the Council would have to pay compensation if they didn't go ahead, so the money was loaned.
  The Local Government Board wrote pointing out the urgent need to economise as much as possible and reduce the rates. Cr Holiday said they had effected a great saving by tarring the roads.

SEPTEMBER
  Mrs Booth, who was alleged to have ignored a boy with a broken arm at George Street School, wrote to the Education Sub-Committee denying the allegation. She was asked to attend in person which she did, but Mr Leadbeater who had made the allegation did not. Mrs Booth had written the boy did not complain or cry in her presence, and she had not the slightest knowledge his arm was broken until the next morning when the mother brought the boy to school. The boy confirmed he did not cry or complain to Mrs Booth.
   It was explained that at the time of the accident Mrs Booth was doing double work because of a shortage of staff. Mr Higgins proposed the teacher's explanation be accepted as entirely satisfactory. Mr Darlington said no case had been made and Mr Leadbeater ought to have been present. The proposal was passed unanimously.
  Mr Cowey. headmaster at North Featherstone Lane Senior School, had asked for a rise on his £175 salary. The committee decided to recommend an extra £10.

  Private Albert Thomas Wroe aged 19 was killed by lightning while in training camp at Burton Leonard. He had been standing at the door of his tent. He was given a full military funeral at Featherstone with a Union Jack on his coffin, three volleys over his grave and The Last Post. 

  Sir J Compton-Ricket MP gave a talk at Regent Street School. He was introduced by the Vicar of Purston, Revd H S Rogers, who said it was not in any way a recruiting meeting. Featherstone had already done nobly having sent some 1,380 men to the colours. The women of Featherstone and Purston were also working magnificently making socks and shirts for the poor boys at the front. He thought Featherstone folk generally would do what was asked of them in trying to strengthen the hand of the Government by being thrifty and saving their resources. 
  Sir Joseph said he had said enough about recruiting at a previous meeting. He did not quite sympathise with the severe, but sound and fatherly, advice given them on that occasion by Col Shaw, but every man must be ready to admit Col Shaw had been willing to make any personal sacrifice in order to do his duty.
  He then turned to the cost of the war and urged people to invest in War Loan Stock. He said everyone must make sacrifices, and he had given up his motor car and he had restricted his expenditure in many other ways.   
  
   The Council decided on a rate of 2s 1d for the next six months - a reduction of 2d. Cr Holiday said they ought to have a roll of honour, but it was decided to leave discussion of it to another time.

  Miss Ethel Maxwell was a teacher at Regent Street Infants' School and a member of the Featherstone and Purston Voluntary Aid Detachment (a section of the St John Ambulance Brigade). She was chosen by the St John association for foreign service and before she set off for Egypt a presentation was held in the school. She received a brush and comb set from the headteacher, a fountain pen from the staff, an attache case from the VAD, and a wrist watch from the tennis club.

  Two soldiers walked into Purston Police Station and said they were absent without leave and wanted to be sent back. In court the chairman said they were a disgrace to their regiment to come away without leave and then give themselves up so their fares to Ripon would be paid for them. They were remanded in custody to await an escort.

  Dr Buncle's annual report for 1914 was his 38th for Featherstone. He was worried about the amount of scarlet fever in the district and he wrote "Last year I laid great stress on the picture palaces being a great source of infection. A new order has been issued that admission to picture palaces of children under 14 would not be allowed if there were reasonable grounds to show they were a foci of infection". He said the epidemic has cost the district a great deal of money. There had been 100 cases and 97 had been sent to hospital. Two patients had died. There had been 15 cases of typhoid fever and five deaths. In his opinion all the privies and ashpits in Mount Pleasant Street should be converted to WC's. There were no deaths from flu for the first time in many years, but German measles had closed two classes at Purston National School for a month.

  Miss Lee's report showed 76 babies had been born to parents who were living in lodgings. Out of 519 births 24 were still born and 66 were born in back-to-back houses where the whole family lived in one bedroom.

  The Distress Committee reported cash in hand was falling and was now down to £30 in the local fund and £66 in the Belgian fund. The local miners' union branches and the collieries were to be asked to contribute. The chairman would explain to the refugees they may have to keep themselves out of their earnings in the near future. Two weeks later the funds had dropped to £17 and £24 respectively.

OCTOBER
  Mr Leadbeater turned up at the Education Sub-Committee meeting and said he was ill at the time and could not attend the last one. He said he could prove Mrs Booth had said the boy was sick and inattentive, and Tinley Simpson had had the boy pointed out to him by another boy who said he knew what had caused the accident. Mr Simpson actually felt at the arm. The allegation was not tittle tattle; the boy's father had brought the complaint to him. The chairman said there was no case against Mrs Booth but there could be against Mr Simpson if what Mr Leadbeater said was true.
   
   Private Edward Wilkes of Earle Street claimed to have been the first man in Featherstone to volunteer for the Army when war broke out. He was blown up by a shell and lost a leg. When he arrived home he was met at the station by Tommy Sides and driven home in a cab. Hundreds of well-wishers lined the streets and Earle Street was decorated with flags and bunting.

  Jesse Cranswick of West View was a teacher at George Street School. Eight months ago he had resigned and joined the Public Schools Company of the Royal Service Welsh Fusiliers. He went straight from being a private to a second lieutenant in the Bedfordshire Regiment. 

  A memorial service was held in Purston Church for Bugler Phazie Oakley of Featherstone. Two brothers and two cousins received special leave to be present. Two buglers from Pontefract sounded The Last Post.

  An inquest was held at the Gospel Hall into the death of eight years old Herbert Micklefield of Halfpenny Lane who was knocked down and killed by a train at the Church Fields level crossing.  PC Shaw said Charles Holdway age seven told him he shouted to Herbert not to cross because a train was coming, but he tried to beat it.
  The jury returned a verdict of accidental death and recommended the Council should ask the railway company to make a subway. They considered it a very dangerous crossing. Mr A Dawson for the company said after full consideration they had decided a subway was not necessary. The crossing was on the straight and there was a good view either way. He told the coroner the last fatality was on 22 February 1913, and there was another in 1912.
  Mr H Staples and Mr R H Rogers of the jury said from the Purston side a train could not be seen until the person crossing was actually on the line. The coroner said he could only say a subway was the jury's recommendation. 

  The Council clerk told the Council the work in connection with the National Registration Act was nearing completion. Dealing with a district of 15,000 population had entailed very heavy work, and he was very grateful indeed to all the voluntary helpers, and particularly to Mr Holiday who had devoted a month of his holidays to the work. The Council passed a motion of thanks to all who had helped and agreed to defray the cost of registers which came to £10.
  Mr R H Rogers presented a petition from the jurors at the inquest asking the Council to request the railway company to construct a subway at the Church Fields crossing. They also asked the Board of Trade to be approached. The clerk pointed out the Board had previously said they had no jurisdiction in this matter. The Council agreed to ask the railway company. The chairman said at least the gates should lock when a train was approaching.

  Ernest Woodward, a soldier at Pontefract Barracks, was charged with an attempted indecent assault on Mrs Mary Evans of Pretoria Street. Mrs Evans, whose face bore evidence of ill-usage, was allowed to give her evidence seated. She said she had visited friends in Pontefract and had missed the last train to Featherstone so she began to walk along Halfpenny Lane. She met Woodward and another soldier who promised to take care of her.
 They had walked as far as the boundary between Featherstone and Pontefract when Woodward pulled her towards a gate and attempted to molest her. His companion said "Don't do that, we promised to take care of her", and he took her arm and led her towards Featherstone. Woodward grabbed her again and struck her in the face and knocked her down. When she screamed murder he threatened to knife her. After some more rough treatment some civilians came and pulled Woodward off and took her to Dr Steven's surgery.    
  Dr Steven said he had known Mrs Evans for many years as a most respectable woman. He said her face was badly marked and her blouse was covered in blood. She had great difficulty in telling him what had happened and she had obviously been severely handled. At this stage the Bench decided to reduce the charge to one of aggravated assault. 
  John Blackburn of Laburnum Cottage said he and Thomas Fletcher heard screams and saw Mrs Evans struggling on the ground with Woodward and they saw Woodward strike her several times in the face. When they told him to leave her alone he threatened them, so Fletcher and the other soldier went for a policeman. Eventually they handed Woodward to a policeman and took the woman to Featherstone.
  PC Williams said he took the prisoner into custody, and when he read a warrant over to him the prisoner said his memory was a blank and he didn't know anything about it. He was sober. 
  Woodward said he had been to the pictures but he had to come out because he had been wounded and gassed in France, and heated places caused him to vomit. He walked towards the Barracks and a woman asked him the time. He went on and some men jumped out at him and assaulted him, one hitting him with a heavy instrument. He could remember nothing more until he came to his senses in Purston Police Station. He said they must have been soldiers who assaulted him because a khaki cap given to him afterwards was not his.
  Supt Ackroyd asked him where he had lost a button off his tunic and he replied it must have come off in the struggle. The superintendent said you would be surprised if I told you a woman had that button - a woman who you assaulted on Headlands the same night, and who refuses to prosecute.
  Captain Chalker said he believed the conduct of soldiers in Pontefract had been good so far and he trusted this would continue. He was very sorry this had happened and he sincerely trusted it would not happen again. If the Bench found the prisoner guilty he hoped they would punish him severely as an example to others. 
  The chairman said there was no doubt the prisoner had committed this most abominable assault. The prisoner had served his country like a man, and then come back to England and do a thing like this. Woodward was committed to prison for three months with hard labour.   

NOVEMBER
  The Council decided to increase the pay of their workmen for Sunday morning work from 2s 1d to 3s 6d. The clerk reported the Electrical Distribution of Yorkshire Company had been asked to include Green Lane, Station Lane and Wakefield Road in the district to be lighted within the next two years. The company had replied when they got the supply in the district they would supply where the demand was. Also any six householders could compel a supply to be taken to any part of the district.
  Cr Poppleton said they should insist on Wakefield Road being included. The maximum price of 7d per 1,000 units was stiff, 4d would be a fair figure. The Chairman and Cr Murphy were of the opinion the company wished to get into the district and then do as they liked as to where they took the supply. Cr Leadbeater said the gas company did as they liked as to supplying gas, If electricity was cheaper than gas then let it come. Further consideration was deferred.   

  The County Council decided to take over the responsibility for the Van Hal family of refugees. The amount in the bank to their credit was transferred to the County Council. The Haven had been overcrowded so the Distress Committee said they could not take other refugees in place of the Van Hals.

DECEMBER
  Miss Maxwell, head of Featherstone National School, resigned and Miss Williams was appointed. The County Council said no vacancies for headmasters would be advertised for the duration of the war, and no unmarried male teacher of military age would be appointed unless unfit for duty.

  The Distress Committee said the Belgian refugees were now practically self-supporting, and asked contributors to the fund to give to the local Distress Fund instead which had only £28 in hand. It was decided the ladies' committee would buy presents for the children of soldiers on active service.

  A concert was held in the Drill Hall for the benefit of injured soldier Private E Wilkes. The Express was now regularly reporting deaths and memorial services. One of Featherstone's first airmen was Second-airman Henry J Kirkbride of Kimberley Street. He was an air-gunner and was shot down and posted missing presumed killed.

  North Featherstone Lane Junior Mixed School raised £30 by a sale of work. Half went to the shirt and sock fund and the rest sent 69 parcels to fathers or brothers of scholars. Each contained a plum cake, licorice wafers, chocolates, Oxo cubes, buttons, handkerchief, soap, notepaper, pencil, Christmas card and one shilling's worth of cigarettes.

  The number of volunteers for the Forces was insufficient to keep up with the casualties so conscription was being considered. The Council decided to advise the indispensable officers and men of the Council to enter the Army Reserve Section and to make an appeal they were indispensable at the time of attestation. Also, if they were called up the Council would make up the difference between Army pay and Council wages. 
  The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company wrote refusing a bridge or subway at the Church Fields crossing. The Board of Trade confirmed they could do nothing about it. The Council chairman said there may be a clear view but children did not look. Cr Murphy asked if anything could be done. The chairman said if the Council offered to pay half the cost they could press the company again. Cr Murphy said there will be an outcry if there is another fatal accident at this place. Nobody took up the chairman's suggestion and the matter was dropped.     

  The Overseas Club was a charity which appealed to children to raise money to send gift boxes to servicemen. Certificates were awarded to those who raised sufficient money. One was was given to Bob Widdowson of Featherstone.