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William Henry Byers


Harrogate Herald - 18th April 1917

W H Breare letter

Of course, you know Mr George W Byers, our Borough Librarian. Well, he has a son in the transport service, whose portrait, I think, will appear in today's Herald. His boat has been sunk by an enemy submarine in the Mediterranean. The crew were landed, but several wounded. Fortunately Byers is unhurt. He has had exciting experiences, and is not yet 15 years of age. He was at Archangel at the time of that great munitions explosion; he got safely through then. We hope his good luck will continue, don't we? Mr Byers has sent me this information. He would have called to tell me, but is confined to his bed, I am sorry to say. He will soon be all right, though, I hope.


Harrogate Herald - 9th May 1917

W H Breare letter

I have had the Byers lads in. I wrote of one of them a short time ago. He is a petty officer, or perhaps I should say an apprentice, on a naval transport. This is W H Byers, son of our Librarian, who, I am sorry to say, has not got quite well as we all could have wished. Well, W H Byers went to sea in September on the steamer Kildale. She was torpedoed on April 12th. She had two torpedoes in her. He was also at that place on the White Sea, near Archangel, where the terrible explosion took place. It was six miles away from Archangel, yet people were killed in that town. Byers told me that Oxley, whose mother lives at 49 Dragon Avenue, was second cook on his ship; but he was wounded in the face, and is not with him now.

The older brother, Gunner Jack Byers, is in a siege battery. He was in training in Ripon for a couple of weeks, and then went south. He has not gone out yet.


Harrogate Herald - 21st November 1917

W H Breare letter

You Harrogate boys will know very well Mr George W Byers, librarian of our Public Library. He is at the present time doing good work as Secretary of the Wounded Soldiers' Entertainment Committee. You will be deeply sorry to hear that his son, Gunner J T Byers, was admitted to hospital on the 10th instant suffering from shell wounds in the legs, side and left arm, and that he died the same day. Mr Byers received this sad news on Friday morning. Only the Friday before the father had been busy at the Spa Rooms seeing through a whist drive which his committee had arranged for the wounded soldiers. Mrs Byers, perhaps you will remember, died some little time ago, so that she is spared the great trouble which has come upon the husband and family. Amongst the pain of it all there is one beautiful thought and that is : the boy is now with his mother. Our concern is for the bereaved father and the gallant son who is in the Navy. I hope that both will find comfort in the knowledge that we all share their grief.


Harrogate Herald - 26th September 1928

We record with regret the death, which occurred on Saturday, of Mr William Henry Byers, the elder surviving son of Mr George William Byers, of the Harrogate Public Library. Mr Byers, who was only 27 years of age, passed away after a long illness contracted as a result of wear exposure. He was educated at the Harrogate Secondary School, and afterwards joined the Mercantile Marines as a cadet in 1915. During the war he was torpedoed twice and was once involved in an explosion in Russia. He left sea service finally four years ago. In earlier days Mr Byers was an enthusiastic Rugby footballer, having played in the North for the Northumberland Club, Westoe.

[Small detail of service follows]

Chief mourners : Mrs W H Byers (widow), Mr G W Byers (father), Misses F and M Byers (sisters), [good list of aunts, uncles and cousins, and floral tributes follows]