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Corporal Billy Bell


Claro Times - 9th January 1915

The following letter has been received by Mr Thursfield, secretary of the Harrogate YMCA :

7th Clearing Hospital

British Expeditionary Force

December 20th, 1914

Dear Mr Thursfield, I am writing a line to wish you and all my old YMCA friends a merry Christmas and a happy new year, not forgetting the boys who, I see by the papers, spend many happy hours at the YMCA whilst waiting their turn to come out and do their little bit for the old country. We are kept fairly busy; we were up all last night getting about 300 wounded through, loading up and sending off two ambulance trains to the base.

I wrote Mr Reddin and gave him the score of a football match we played. I made a mistake; we won 7-3, not 6-3. in the replay on Wednesday we won 4-2. we played two 45's instead of two 35's, as in the last ten minutes we had them beaten, and scored three goals. We played 45's in the first match. We should have played Rugby yesterday, but had no time, all hands working full speed all day and most of the night.

I have not run across Billy Bell, although I have been in places where I see he has been by his letters. I should like to run across him; I may some day. Tolley, one of our Harrogate men, met a man named Calvert the other day, an Army Service Corps man from Harrogate. Lieutenant Malim, of Harrogate, also met the same man in a photographer's here. Jackson (who is a real worker), myself, and the other Harrogate boys are keeping well. We trust you are the same; also all the YMCA boys. Please give them my kindest regards, with same to yourself, I remain, yours sincerely,

Alec W Adams


Harrogate Herald - 6th January 1915

Dear Mother, I have received letters 7 and 8, but 5 and 6 have not arrived including the stamps. Was surprised to have one from dad, and last Thursday a parcel came from Jack, which included chocolate and a fine scarf that I wore on Christmas Day, as it was very cold. You ask me to have a decent photograph taken. Well, I'm waiting for some clothes, as I am still wearing those issued to me at Seaforth. They have been in all kinds of weather and places. Also we have no overalls for the workshop, so you can guess what they are like. Two or tree tears in the usual place, and slit about five inches down the seam. Jack's safety pins have come in very useful. I ought to have three sets of clothes by now, but with being changed abut so much I have always arrived when the sores are empty. Well, it's no use worrying, and you say you want some news, so I will try and give you an account of my doings since I left hospital at Rouen.

November 9th Sent from convalescent camp to No 1 Army Service Corps Base (Motor Transport), which is situated in the middle of the river at Rouen, where I reported myself to the Sergeant-Major. Was issued with two blankets, and slept above the solid rubber tyre stores. Next morning, instead of being sent down to No 2 Base, was told off as orderly to the first section of the permanent staff. It was easy work. My dues consisted of taking charge of all food supplied to the first section and seeing that every man got his proper share, also that the place was kept tidy. On the third morning the Sergeant-Major came up for me with a requisition paper from the 2nd Signal Company, Royal Engineers, 2nd Division, who wanted a lorry driver immediately. He told me to get fully equipped from the stores, but unfortunately again nearly empty. I was issued with an old-fashioned belt, rifle, etc., had neither kit bag, razor, brushes, &c, but gathered my few belongings into a sack. Next morning, the 11th, the OC gave me instructions on paper, in which I was ordered to report myself to the RTO (Railway Transport Officer) for further instructions. O reading the same, I find that I have to attach myself to the 2nd Signal Company. They might be at Timbuktu for all I know, but when I apply to the Rouen RTO, he orders me to travel by the 3.30pm train to Calais and report myself there. And in this manner my nervousness as regards reaching my destination vanishes. I see that the train is going to be packed, so another chap and myself arrange to look after Warrant Officer horses belonging to an officer, so ride and sleep in the horse box. We had a rude awakening during the night, when the horses stampeded owing to their ropes getting crossed. I awoke first; my pal, on waking and seeing what he thought was one of the horses just over him, let out with his fist, only to catch me a nasty smack on the face. I had to laugh, although my face was discoloured. At Rouen w had been issued with two days' rations, but after the first day we were short. It was exciting if we stopped at the stations, making a dash for food, water, &c. We passed Calais, and arrived at Hazebrouck, where I was left on my own. Reported myself to RTO and told to kip down in a tuck until a military police called me. Three o'clock next morning I was awakened by MP, and mounted a train going to Bailleul. About two miles from there the engine broke own, and as I was the only passenger on the train (goods) and it was a bitter cold night, I did not feel too comfortable, but I walked the rest of the way down the line with my sack of kit, rifle, etc., on my back. I was met by an Arab on guard with fixed bayonet, who directed me to the general waiting-room. In the meanwhile I come a cropper over the points, and had to grope for my kit in pitch dark. But eventually arriving at the waiting-room, I have my blankets out and I am asleep on the floor in about two minutes. One can sleep on a clothes line if tired enough. Woke up to find the place full of soldiers and civilians, so I make my way to the RTO for further instructions. He orders me to wait for 2nd Division Supply Column coming to goods yard. I get in touch with a Sergeant of 2nd Division and carry my kit to his lorry. After about six hours the OC comes along and orders me off, and I find that the proper columns have been and gone, which means my waiting till next day. I decide to get a bed in town, as I had so little sleep since leaving Rouen. I found a place, where I was given bed and breakfast, but no payment would be accepted. At this house my host had four sons who worked two hand looms, which were erected in a back room. They presented me with a towel of their own manufacture. Well, I return to the station next morning, and find that hundreds of wounded are being brought in from Ypres; and the Royal Army Medical Corps cannot cope with the rush, and I was busy for two hours carrying stretchers to the train - I found it was very hard work. In the afternoon I mount a lorry for Ypres, but it gets stuck in the ditch. We off load, but no good, so get on another one and arrive at a village with a large railway shed, in which I sleep. Next morning (17th) travel a few miles and dump provisions, where I get off and wait for a waggon attached to 2nd Signals. It arrives about midday, and I return on it to a chateau, travelling past Ypres on the way. There we are ordered to shelter the lorry under some trees, as the Germans were trying to get the range on the chateau. We afterwards return to our proper billet, which is at an isolated farmhouse. Nest day (18th) we take lorry for supplies and carry some of them to the chateau. Find the men there hurriedly packing up as the Germans have found the range, missing them by about 20 yards. When we are up here we have to keep a wary eye on the road for holes caused by shells during previous nights. Our company now retire to Hazebrouck for two or three weeks' rest, where we billet in a large school. From now I have nothing to be nervous about, and begin a daily routine of two or three journeys a day for rations, ordnance, etc. on the 20th an aeroplane drops bombs on the town and killed two women, injuring several children. We draw our supplies from the filling point, which varies according to the change of position of the firing line. And that is where a supply column dump their loads by the roadside, and we from the firing line units come and pick it up. On the 27th I took a load of mattresses to a French convent six miles above Cassel, and am treated very hospitably by the sisters. On December 1st I see the streets crowded with civilians, and learn that our King was expected through, but I am too busy to look out for him. About this time we have a lot of bother with our engines owing to the keen frosts. Left it running all night, but it stopped about 4am, owing to the petrol freezing in the pipe. Result - radiators, tubes, water-jacket, etc. We are expecting new clothing etc., just now, but on December 9th, we are sent down to St Omer with the lorry for overhaul, and understand that a new car is ready for us to bring back. But we get a shock when we learn that we must stick to the old one and take it down to Paris. As you know, I was just beginning to receive the parcels and correspondence. Two or three days previous I wrote you about the second aeroplane raid, when over 30 were killed and injured here. If you have seen the "Daily Mail" lately you would notice A J Sproston's diary as motor despatch rider. Well, he is one of our company. At St Omer, after trying our best to get back to the Royal Engineers, we settled down to a night's sleep on our open lorry, but at 3am it poured down, and we sat on the front until 8am. In the afternoon we drove lorry to station, but did not load on truck till next day. Another cold, wet night on the lorry. We set of for Paris at 11pm, the following night, and had a two days' journey in miserable, wet weather; but we made a fire box of a petrol can and cooked our bacon, etc. but it was far from comfortable riding on an open lorry on a goods train being shunted about at different stations. But we reached Paris at last, but on trying to get out into the city we were stopped by the Military Police who take us to the Red Cross department under the Gard du Nord, where we enjoy a basin of tea and ham sandwiches, etc. at five o'clock we set off for Gennvilliers, which is only four miles away, and are again met by more Military Police, who take us under hand, and we go to our sleeping billet, which is a large cinema theatre. Next morning, breakfast 6.30 and parade 6. I meet Dick Armstrong from Starbeck, and taking his advice I ask to be on the staff as fitter, and am accepted, and here I still remain. Our routine is as follows : Reveille, 5am; breakfast, 5.30; parade, 6.30; work 7 am to 6pm; roll call, 9pm.

So we have not much spare time. On Saturday, December 19th, I walked down to Paris, but cannot find the beautiful buildings, etc., for I cannot get away from the crowd. One flower-seller rushed at me with some violets and pinned them on my jacket, and in less than a minute I was the centre of a crowd numbering over a hundred, but I got away all right and popped into a shop to but some soap. There are very few British soldiers in Paris, we are only allowed out of Gennvilliers on Saturday afternoons by special permit, so I an eager for the Saturday to come round. No passes were issued on Christmas Day, but we had a football match - the officers and the staff - which resulted in a draw - 4-4. in the afternoon my chum and I walked to St Denis, where the people were more curious than those of Paris. Had some lunch in a tea shop, while the crowd look on through the window, but we take no notice. One has to get used to anything in the Army. Today we received Princess Mary's Xmas gift, consisting of pipe, tobacco, cigarettes, and Xmas card from King and Queen. I will send them home for you to frame in a suitable manner.

Well, I think I have done well this time. I haven't described a quarter of the things that happen on the road when driving the lorry. You will have to wait till I come home. So will close. Love to all, Billy.

PS. Received letter from Golly and Miss Gledhill. Golly tells me she has written any amount, but this is the first one so far. I thought it was rather smart of Gladys Allen writing on the parcel from Mrs Breare.


Harrogate Herald - 20th January 1915

Private Reginald Thompson, of the MT, Army Service Corps, writes as follows :

15th January, 1915

Dear Editor, I am afraid I am rather late in sending you a letter thanking you for the mittens you very thoughtfully sent me. I find they make beautiful windproof wristlets for driving. As you will guess, we get very little time to ourselves, and we naturally have heaps of friends who are just as eager for the post as we are, but there is one thing I do appreciate, and that is the continual arrival of the Harrogate paper. I read every scrap of news. I see by your paper my friend Bill Bell is in Paris. I really must send him my address. He must have passed me in this town, as he was here for some time with a lorry. Yesterday we were on salvage work, getting a lorry out of a ditch six miles from the trenches and a mile and a half behind the guns. We are sent out on that sort of work practically every other day up and down the line, so you see we are at it day and night, consequently not much letter writing, especially when one is studying French in the spare time. I will send more news when possible.

Yours sincerely, Reginald Thompson.


Harrogate Herald - 20th January 1915

W H Breare letter

To Billy Bell

Reginald Thompson wants your address. He will have found it by now in today's list of Harrogate men serving with the colours. In the same list you may find Thompson's address. Bless you, my children. now we are happy.


Harrogate Herald - 3rd March 1915

Dear Dad, I received letter No. 16 yesterday, February 24th. Was pleased to hear Sergeant Judd had called. I've been up to his Company four or five times to have a chat, but have not been able to catch him yet. You say that I sound more cheerful in my last letter. Well, I've never felt better than at present. No more inside work for me – I must be outside in the open. You want a few particulars of our work, etc., so I will give you our daily routine at present. Parade and roll-call, 6.30am. then we must have our engines running immediately after. Now a rush for the cookhouse, as there is seldom enough bacon for everyone. After breakfast, we get to our lorries with the engines still running, and set off to our various dumping places, which vary according to the different positions of the divisional troops.. we have so many cars loaded for the Jellunder Terhind, and Ferozapore Brigade, and two or three lorries with provisions for different siege batteries. As we are loaded to any of these places there is a little variety in the journeys each day. Our time sof starting are 7.15, 7.20, 8.30am, and we arrive back at the railhead fro 11am to 3pm as a rule; and after filling up we come to our usual position near a distillery, ready for the next day. The journeys vary from 6 to 30 miles distance. Of course, as ours is the Indian Supply Column, we are right amongst them. We pass lots of them on the road, and it is no unusual sight to see gun limbers and transport waggons with the mules or horses upset in the ditch. As you know, a motor lorry is king of the road, and always sticks to the middle. Two days ago we were delayed 1½ hours owing to a mule transport waggon getting into the ditch; and I pitied the Indians up to the waist in water trying to get them free. The weather has been very rough lately – rain, hail, sleet and snow, etc. the Bengal Lancers are the smartest looking soldiers I have seen, and I also have proof of their riding abilities. They delayed us one morning whilst exercising their horses – one man to three horses. They had to cross a water ditch to get out of our way, and two out of every three came a cropper, but never a single Indian was unseated or horse got loose.

I've forgotten to mention that at one of our dumping places there are some heavy siege guns in action; but not when we have been there off-loading. All the windows of the houses within 300 yards of the guns are broken owing to the shock of the explosion. We also pass lines of trenches which are being prepared for precautionary measures. I have examined some of them, and I am blessed if I could kep free of the barbed wire in broad daylight even. Well, after three in the afternoon we have occasional football matches. Sing-songs in the evening at a cinema hall just near us, and an occasional route march. You see with the work of loading and off-loading and football, I am getting as "fit as a lop". . I require a certain amount of work to keep me from being out of condition. Whereas when we are exercising all day long, it is just what suits me. Why didn't I tell you of my 14 days' CB at Paris? Well, I didn't deserve it in the first place, and I did not want to worry you about it; so I had better explain. As you know, I was off colour all the time I was at Gennvilliers. I felt very queer one morning and lay down in the lorry I was repairing. I fell asleep and my Sergeant saw me, and without waking me reported me to the Captain. I had to appear before him next morning. Result – he would not believe me. He said he had heard the same tale dozens of times, and I might say it is no use arguing with an officer – it only makes matters worse. To be stopped my pass for 14 days, which meant that I could not go to Paris for those photos I sent you; but I got those photos and dodged the police, and risked getting first field punishment so as you could have a photo of your son (an heir).

As to the French people, well, they are not English. You can compare the Belgians with the English, but the French have a different temperament altogether. For instance, if Lord Kitchener gave orders that no British soldier must sing or play music of any kind, why, there would be mutiny; but in France no singing or music is allowed in the cafes, etc., amongst the French people. If you ask a Frenchman to sing, he replies, "Après la guerre". I find that as one comes North the people are more hospitable, till when you are in Belgium you could fancy they were English people. I made friends with a Belgian family in Paris, and received a letter from them the other day. I also received Aunt Minnie's parcel, and we did enjoy the mince-pies and cake. I played football yesterday, February 24th, against the Indian Headquarters, and we won 10-1. on Friday we have a boxing tournament at the cinema, and other football fixtures to follow. I don't know when we shall get on the move, but when the fine weather comes and Kitchener's Army all at the Front, something is sure to happen; but I am afraid there will be terrible casualties too. Well, I think I will dry up. With love to all,



Harrogate Herald - 7th April 1915

"Billy" Bell, writing home, says :

I am afraid you expect too much in my letters home. Of course, if I enlarged on the subject they might be interesting reading. I've come to the conclusion that you think we MT chaps run the same risks as the infantry and artillery. Well, it is all bosh! When you read the papers look at the official news and then regard the rest as fiction. There are men out of the company who have written home about being under shell fire and hair-breadth escapes, etc. well, they ought to be horsewhipped when they spin the yarn so much. No motor transport of any kind whatever is supposed to go within two or three miles of the firing line, and the only time there is any risk is when the Germans break through and disorganise our divisions. Nothing of this kind has happened since the early days of the war, and I've never heard of any other MT column than the 4th Ammunition Column being surprised and attacked by the enemy. We MT drivers are as safe here as driving a motor in England. Well, ten days ago a German aeroplane dropped two bombs and just missed he station where we load. About eight civilians have died as a result. On the following Tuesday we saw an eagle in flight. My word! They are beautiful to watch. It flew and glided about swifter and steadier than an aeroplane, without any perceptible movement of the wings. In fact, for two or three minutes we thought it was a marvellously improved aeroplane until we saw a wing flap. That settled the question. During the last two or three weeks there has been large numbers of troops, cavalry and guns through here. And after the battle of Neuve Chapelle large numbers of wounded, captured ammunition, German prisoners, dead men's kits, etc., were brought down to this railhead, often in our lorries. Last Saturday, on our way to the filling point, we saw German aeroplanes over our heads, chased and shelled by the British. The same thing happened on the following day. In fact, German aeroplanes have been busy this last week, and have dropped bombs at Bethune and Estaires. On Monday, we played a football match v 4th Clearing Hospital, and won 5-0. in fact, we have a rather good team. I like this company better than any I have been attached to. NCO's and men seem to be very nice chaps on the whole. Well, I've no more news, but if I happened to be wounded, etc., I will let you know immediately. I've heard nothing about leave yet, but think I will be home before 1920, so I'm not worrying. As for souvenirs, I possess a German rifle, two Gurkhas' knives, and German ammunition belt for a Maxim. I will try and get some home through the post. Well, I've no more news, so will close.



Harrogate Herald - 8th December 1915

Lance Corporal "Billy" Bell writes us an interesting letter, but for obvious reasons we have been obliged to eliminate a good deal of it. He says : I must aplogise for being so dilatory with my letter thanking you for the Heralds which come so regularly. But I am a poor correspondent at the best of times. I see by the paper that you have been able to have some skating. Well, we get skating here during all the winter, but it is in the everlasting mud. Most of us have got the usual complaints - wet feet and sore heads; but if one went sick there would be the inevitable "No 9" waiting him, so we keep on smiling and singing (that is, if our lips are not too dry and our breathing apparatus not altogether clogged). We are having nasty weather, and it never seems to stop raining; but I hope to get rid of this cold before long, because it affects one's temper, and I usually try to be amiable. Well, our Company arrived at this town (----) a fortnight ago, and we hope we can stay on all the winter. Most of us have found very good billets, and we detest to be moving about at Christmas-time. Staff Sergeant Judd's company's park is adjacent to us, and they seen to have a nice easy time. In fact th???? ???? a company magazine and have a very good band. The bands play them to church on Sundays, whilst we look on enviously and wonder why ammunition columns have most of the fun and supply columns most of the work; but don't think we are grumbling, because ours is the happiest company in France. At present our journey is much longer to the refilling point. Our railhead is (-----), about four miles from (----), so we do not finish work much before dark. We have not found time for a football match for three weeks, so we must be busy. My last few games were at (----), where we beat the 1st Grenadier Guards 7-1. also played No. 7 Hospital at Rugby against a field ambulance team, who whacked us 35 points to nil. We hope to be able to play soon, as there are some good teams challenging us, including 51st Company (my original company when I left England). I think I have exhausted my stock of news, except that I was made Lance Corporal over two months ago. It was this fact that reminded me it was time I wrote you. Again, many thanks and kind regards.


Harrogate Herald - 29th December 1915

W H Breare letter

To return to Dent. Mr Broughton's son, of the market, he met when he first arrived, and had a jolly talk with him. He had seen "Billy" Bell, who was as happy as ever. Councillor Robinson's sons, George and Ernest, are in Dent's column. Likewise Sergeant Cobbler, of Tower Street. "Major" wishes to be remembered to all the Harrogate boys.


Harrogate Herald - 7th June 1916

"Billy" Bell writes : 

Just a few lines to let you know I am quite well, with nothing much to grumble about, also to thank you for the Herald, which arrives regularly. Since being home on my last leave our column is working much nearer the firing line and are parked well within range of the shells. Some of our lorries have had narrow escapes, but luckily we have suffered no casualties. It is the gas that makes us feel nervous, and in the last attack, when our division suffered so heavily, we could not see across the road, it was so thick. As a result two of our men were sent to base hospital. Occasionally I have carried mining parties up to trenches during the night, and it was on one of these trips that I learnt of my cousin Jimmy's death, not knowing that he belonged to that company at all. It was a shock to me, and the same night had a narrow escape myself from a sniper. Unknowingly my mate and I were strolling about "suicide corner" near Loos, when four bullets came in quick succession, one passing between our heads. Needless to say we scattered and felt very thankful we had suffered no hurt. Last night my brother Don Bell called to see me on his way home on leave, and we spent about two hours together. I wished I was coming, too, for Harrogate must be looking well just now, but I must wait two or three months yet before my turn comes. I have come across a few Harrogate chaps lately, including Tommy Womack, Arthur Bradley, Ambler, and one or two more whose names I forget. Well, I must close, hoping you are keeping well yourself, also for every success to the Herald. With kind regards. Please remember me to my friends in the Herald buildings.


Harrogate Herald - 30th August 1916

Writing to his sister-in-law, Mrs D S Bell, Corporal "Billy" Bell sends copy of a letter from the OC 9th Yorks Regiment, in which his brother Donald Bell was, which will be of interest to our readers. It states : "In reply to your letter of the 2nd August, Royal Engineers your brother Second Lieutenant Donald Simpson Bell, who was killed on July 10th, he is buried in Cantalmaison, near Albert, on the right-hand side just as one enters the village. I can see no harm in giving you this information now, as we are far away from there. He was buried close to where he fell, and there is a redoubt close there called 'Bell's Redoubt' after him. He was a noble soldier and a braver fellow never stepped, and he is an irreparable loss to the Battalion". During the week, continues Corporal Bell, a Sergeant of the Royal Field Artillery accosted me, and it turned out to be Pattison, but although he knew me I did not recognise him. Had no time for a chat, as I was with a large fatigue party marching.


Harrogate Herald - 3rd January 1917

W H Breare letter

Another Xmas visitor was Private L Ambler, of the Mechanical Transport, who formerly lived at Knaresborough. He came home on Boxing Day for ten days' leave after being out 18 months. He has two reasons for thankfulness. He is married and he has never had a day's illness. He is son-in-law of Mrs Blackburn, Stonefall Avenue, who, by the way, has sons fighting for their country. Albert is in Salonica, after being wounded in France; Harold, wounded in France, is now in Egypt; and Norman is also in Egypt. The latter was wounded at Neuve Chapelle. Ambler met Cosgrove, who was formerly employed at Wardman's Garage, and "Billy" Bell. These are the only two Harrogate boys he has come across. I was glad to hear from Ambler that you all still look forward with pleasurable anticipation to the arrival of your weekly Herald.


Harrogate Herald - 17th January 1917


Writing from Salonica, E Ruddy says : 

I don't remember the last time you heard from me, but I think it was about the time of the first battle of Ypres. Since then I was sent home for repairs, overhauled, and sent out to France again. Then I was invalided home once more, and when I was patched up I was sent out to Salonica. Now I am with the Serbian Army in the Balkans. Some of the roads are awful, and the mountains would make one makes of carts give up the ghost. We are going right across the old battlefields that we used to read about, but never thought to see. The Serbians are very nice chaps to get on with, and will do anything for our men. The Greeks are the biggest rogues living, but Tommy takes a lot of doing. We don't see many British troops on our Front, but all the same things are lively. You will notice we took Monastir from the Bulgars. That was some job, I can tell you. In the summer this country is a white man's grave. We have had lots of our fellows 'in dock' with malaria and dysentery, and they take a lot of pulling round again. I myself don't ail much and keep very fit. Some of these old Turkish villages look very nice from a distance, but when we get to them they are far from it. The men and women look as if they never washed in their lives, and how they live I don't know. Most of the carting and heavy work is done by oxen. Take it all round, Macedonia will have to change its ways, and if the British stop here long they will see it's done. The mountains are covered with snow, and we are expecting some tonight. When I tell you we are in tents you will be surprised. It is very cold now, and the wind carried a NCO's mess away today. In the days of peace I did not care about the weather, so long as it did not rain in bed, but now it does rain in bed, and still we have to grin. If one mentions it, the sergeant gently reminds you that you are on active service. If the beef is raw, the cooks tell you they are on active service. I am never likely to forget it for some time. War has its drawbacks, so has civil life when you come to weigh it up. They can't "sack" a chap in the Army, anyway. My pal says he wishes they would "sack" him and send him to Blighty. I met a chap last week who worked on one of Bell's taxis. He had the special service medal given him by the Crown Prince of Serbia. I also met Walt Voakes and Exley at Salonica, but that is some time ago. Walt looked as fat and strong as usual. I've seen an officer out here whom I have seen at home, but can's name. Perhaps you will know who it is. They are all with the British, and we don't meet now, worse luck. Do you hear from "Sos" Parsons, who went to France with me? I should like to hear from him. Billy Bell, Parsons, Calvert, Judd, and myself all joined the Army the same day. I wonder shall we ever meet again. If you have a razor, safety or otherwise, I should be pleased if you would let me have one. Three of us use the same one now, and it is awkward. Also if you have a single string fiddle to send us, the boys would be no end grateful. Now I must conclude with best wishes, also wishing you a happy New Year.


Harrogate Herald - 11th July 1917

W H Breare letter

I mentioned Private G A Reed last week. He is of 28 Albert Road. Perhaps you will identify him better if I explain that he used to work for Lieutenant Dobson, and was scoutmaster of the YMCA. He saw Lieutenant Dobson only Sunday before last, when he was quite well. The day Reed came on leave he met the Mayor's late chauffeur. Billy Bell he had seen about two months ago. When Reed called his wife waited outside. She wouldn't come in, because she had been so often to me to change her husband's address. I sent the husband out for the wife, and she came in. I am glad, for she is a brave little woman, and we had an interesting chat. Then it was good to see the husband and wife together. Nothing spoken, but an obvious wave of happiness radiating from one to the other. Such mutual affection (the kind that needs no words) makes the world seem very beautiful.


Harrogate Herald - 8th January 1919

W H Breare letter

I had a visit from my old friend, Sergeant Fred Allen, on Monday, who was accompanied by his brother-in-law, Lieutenant Hamilton, Argyle and Sutherland Regiment, who married Miss Alix Allen, one of the twins. Likewise another old friend looked in, Corporal "Billy" Bell, son of Mr Smith Bell.