Our latest blog article is contributed by Group member Alan Dodsworth, with thanks:
I have always been drawn to Cenotaphs or Memorials in towns and villages as I have travelled the UK and, no matter where our home has been, we have always tried to attend some form of Remembrance Day service. In both cases it is the seemingly endless lists of the names of those making ‘the ultimate sacrifice’, particularly associated with WW1, that strike a chord. I do feel very strongly that the very least we can do is ‘remember’ them once a year.
But who is it that we are ‘remembering’? What did they do before the war? Why did they join up? Where and with whom did they serve? Who else in the family was involved? What was the impact on those left behind? What would they have accomplished if they had survived? These are all questions that run through my mind as the names are read out and we stand facing the Memorial.
Like most families in the country WW1 touched ours. Both my mum and dad lost an Uncle and my wife’s Grandfather served in Mesopotamia. The family impact was drawn into sharp relief last year as we accompanied my parents on a poignent commemorative trip to Ypres and Arras. Each Memorial carries one of their names – among the names of the many thousands with no known grave. With the power of the internet, background research before the trip yielded amazing information, previously unknown by the family. This included that my mum’s grandfather and a future Uncle had both been prisoners of war. Information undiscovered until 95 years after the event.
With the trip last year still in mind the recent article in the Goole Times about the Goole WW1 Research Group attracted me to their last meeting to find out what activity was taking place as we approach the Centenary of the start of WW1 in August next year.
Having lived in Rawcliffe for the last 12 years my particular interest was in the 56 names on the Cenotaph between Rawcliffe and Rawcliffe Bridge and on the plaque in St James Church. My thought being that a bit more information about each name, answering some of the questions posed above, could be included in a folder along with a photo, if one can be found, to be available for those with an interest.
I have no doubt that others in the Village may have done a similar exercise previously or have unrecorded knowledge of individual family members that, when identified, can be added to the knowledge bank.
Alongside the 56 names on the memorial there is a blank space where a name has been removed. This name has been identified, by comparing the list on the order of service for the Unveiling and Dedication of the War Memorial on 15th October 1921 with the remaining names, as James Shenton. As yet no explanation for this ‘removal’ has been found. Can you help?
Of those named, 47 have ‘base’ data collated into a spreadsheet, from CWGC data, Service records and Census data that links them with Rawcliffe or Rawcliffe Bridge. The Goole Times Almanak and Roll of Honour have helped with this research in several instances. The 9 other names have proved to be more difficult to pinpoint from the data available so far and the research continues.
Goole Times publications from the beginning of the War are now being reviewed for mentions of Rawcliffe people, which are proving quite fruitful but will take some time owing to the many other distractions in the publications.
Points of interest to date:
From internet links I discovered that a ‘Roll of Honour’ for those from both Villages serving in the War was drawn up and mounted in the Church. It is still present to this day in its frame on the back wall. Some 337 names are recorded on it, including 12 ladies. This list shows the tremendous ‘Call of Duty’ felt by some families locally to the war effort. A Rawcliffe Patriotic Committee was formed to maintain this Roll of Honour in April 1915 at which point 67 names were entitled to be recorded.
A ‘Scroll of Honour’ started in the Rawcliffe School at the end of 1914 for those past pupils now serving appears to be an ongoing activity recorded in the Goole Times. Eighteen names were included in the original Goole Times article and by 22nd January 1915 had reached 24, although 4 of these names have not been found and may be in the damaged parts of or missing copies of the paper around that time.
The number of locals employed at the Papermill in Rawcliffe Bridge who went on to serve were vast. Unsurprisingly farming and farm labourers numbered highly in those serving but other occupations included employees of the Aire and Calder Navigation and shop keepers.
Most of those who died were Infantry men, with the most common Regiment being the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI). Very few Service Records appear to exist for those in the KOYLI’s.
As well as final resting places including the UK (4), France (24) and Belgium (15) there are Rawcliffe people from WW1 buried in Kenya, Israel and Palestine, Iraq, Turkey, Greece and Italy.
Two Captains, a Lieutenant and Second Lieutenant feature in those killed, along with a Company Serjeant Major, Serjeant, three Corporals and a couple of Lance Corporals.
The first death was in April 1915 and the last in April 1920 with 1917 seeing 21 deaths.
Finally a plea that if you have any information that will help this or similar research going on for the names on the Goole Cenotaph – please get in touch.