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Sergeant Walter Elsworth

 
 

Harrogate Herald - 13th January 1915

W H Breare letter

I had an agreeable surprise on Thursday afternoon. A smart soldier, looking well bronzed by service exposure, came into my office to thank me for the Harrogate Heralds and articles of comfort which had been sent him. It was Corporal Walter Elsworth, of the Royal Engineers. He ad been granted a few days' leave and was due back the next day. He was on his way to the pictures. Corporal Elsworth is a typical Tommy, calm, unruffled, with set purpose playing in strong lines about his firm mouth. It is astonishing how object and undemonstrative are soldiers are. Cool as a cucumber. They make no fuss, yet one is impressed by their stolidity and determination. Elsworth has none of the mock heroics about him. He admitted candidly it was more comfortable at home, and he was not full of yearning desire to be back at the Front. He knows what the word "duty" means, and is determined to fulfil his obligations to the State. He is ready.

To show how perfect is the Army's transportation. On Tuesday morning at four o'clock he was in the trenches, busy with the enemy. At five o'clock in the evening of the same day he was in London.

The wave of patriotism and appreciation of our soldiers is such that we can hardly imagine there are isolated people who are unmoved by these sentiments. An incident to the point is interesting. Corporal Elsworth arrived in the metropolis just as he left the trenches, with the marks of the struggle all over his uniform and kit. It was plain to be seen where he had come from, and, that lately. He jumped into a General motor bus to pay a first call on is sweetheart in a distant part of London. He had nothing but French money. When the conductor called for his fare he asked if he would take French coin as he had nothing else. The manner of the conductor wasn't accommodating, not to say aggressive. "That won't pay my wages", said the conductor. "If you haven't English money that isn't my fault, and you will have to get out". "Will any lady or gentleman exchange English for French copper?", said Elsworth. Immediately every lady and gentleman in the bus stood up clamouring to be first to oblige the soldier. He did not walk, but he was quietly resentful of the brutal treatment of th bus conductor. He had had some awful experiences which I do not feel disposed to relate in detail.

His first introduction to German shells was on his return from laying wires. He was told to be careful at the cross roads, as the Germans realised they had four chances to one and were continuously shelling these. He retraced his steps. With the usual indifference to danger of our boys, he thought nothing more of shells and cross roads. It was dark. At one point a shell crossed his path. "Cross roads", said he. No sooner had he given expression to the thought than he stumbled over an object. One of our boys lay prone. The pulse was still. A yard or two further another inanimate form on the mud furrowed road. Both victims were beyond help. He remembered cross roads and hastened.

Elsworth told me that the Government were very liberal with woollen things, that there were a plethora of mitts, scarves, etc. his lot had but one blanket and an oilskin each. A wet blanket is not conducive to comfort. It's then that an extra, and dry one, as appreciated. There is need of blankets. Of cigarettes there is a prodigal supply - too many. The want is for something to stop that "tickling". An epidemic in the form of laryngitis at home and amongst the soldiers at the Front is prevalent. When the period of sleep comes, sleep does not of necessity come with it, because of that tickling in the throat which heralds a cold. A few lozenges to stop this, such as the Liverpool throat lozenges, would enable our tired men to find release from throat irritation and afford them sleep. Toffee instead of chocolate, mint bullets as a change after the German article would afford relief. Elsworth returned to the Front last Friday.

 

Harrogate Herald - 9th May 1917

The following are men who have sent us the Army post-card briefly stating that they are well and have received papers and parcels, or whose letters contain views that have repeatedly been expressed by other correspondents, but show their friends that they are all right :

Sergeant W Elsworth

 

Harrogate Herald - 11th July 1917

W H Breare letter

Corporal S Sm A Suffield, 50th Battalion, RFA, is a son of Mr J Suffield, 18 Ashfield Terrace, Harrogate, van driver for the NER. The son has been nine years in the regular Army nearly three years, next month, in France. His last lave was in November, 1915. you will remember Padgett. He was Suffield's best chum, and was killed the other week. My visitor had seen our old friend Patsy Donovan; Sergeant Elsworth, RE, son of Mr Elsworth, blacksmith, Tower Street; Frank Leggatt, of Oatlands and the Somerset Light Infantry; and Fred Ward. The latter he had not seen since the Somme last year. Ward is a son of our clever Corporation head gardener. Mr H Ward, who, you will remember with regret, had a son killed at the front. Suffield also saw, about six weeks ago, Gibson, of the West Yorks, who lived at High Harrogate. His brother Corporal H Suffield, of the West Yorks, has been wounded for the third time. The last occasion through the ankle. He is in hospital in London. When he received his third wound he had only been back from leave, after his second wound, a short time, when caught again.

 

Harrogate Herald - 5th September 1917

W H Breare letter

The other evening I had a visit from another newly married couple : Sergt W Elsworth and his wife. Elsworth was only wed a week last Saturday to Miss Ethel Tanner, of London. I have written about Elsworth before, so you will know who I mean, especially when I tell you that early on he was out in the East, as a signaller I believe, and belongs to the Regular Army. Elsworth has seen Tom Shaw, son of Harry Shaw, of Albert Terrace; Sergt Drummer Proctor, of the Beechwood boys, and his own brother, Horace, several times. I was pleased to see Elsworth again, likewise to meet his wife, and I hope that they will have a long and happy married life.

 

Harrogate Herald - 12th December 1917

W H Breare letter

"Still smiling and content", writes Sergeant W Elsworth from the Italian front.

 

Harrogate Herald - 2nd January 1918

The following are men who have sent us the Army post-card briefly stating that they are well and have received papers and parcels, or whose letters contain views that have repeatedly been expressed by other correspondents, but show their friends that they are all right :

Sergeant W Elsworth

 

Harrogate Herald - 17th April 1918

Following have sent postcards thanking for the Herald and briefly stating they are well :

Sergeant W Elsworth

 

Harrogate Herald - 25th December 1918

I have received the season's greetings from the following : Sergeant W E Elsworth, G Atkinson, Sapper J N Britton, Private E Stockdale, Driver Archie Taylor, Lance Corporal J Padgett, Private G Marshall, Driver A Wilson.

 

Harrogate Herald 15th January 1919

Sergeant Elsworth, RE, son of Mrs Elsworth, Robert Street, Harrogate, has been granted the Meritorious Service Medal and has already received the ribbon. This makes a total of six honours conferred on the gallant soldier, who received a card for gallantry, was three times mentioned in despatches, Meritorious Service Medal, and the Mons Star.

 

Harrogate Herald 29th January 1919

[ Photo ]

Sergeant W Elsworth, RE, son of Mrs Elsworth, Robert Street, Harrogate, has been granted the MSM.

 

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