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Gunner Percy Raworth


Harrogate Herald - 14th February 1917

W H Breare letter

Private B Thorpe is one of my boys in a double sense, for he has worked with us for years, and only left us to enlist. He arrived in Leeds last Monday, and had to stay all night there, coming home by mail train on Tuesday. It is 14 months since he had his last leave. You will remember that he had a slight shrapnel wound just before Thiepval. he is now an orderly at Brigade Headquarters, consequently he doesn't see so many of our lads. He did come across Rogers, another of our staff, who presided at the despatch office which is attached to our works. Rogers is now battalion orderly, and Roland Alderson is likewise corporal in an orderly room. Thorpe has also seen Robinson, son of Mr Robinson, plumber; Ben tells me it has been very cold out at the Front. He saw for the first time, eggs frozen. Thorpe was full of just pride when he told me what our West Yorks lads did on September 25th. It was a memorable and proud day for them, for the Corps Commander came and thanked them in no measured terms. You know what Thiepval was, what a hard nut to crack. Percy Raworth, who is in one of the Tanks, was near them when they went over on that occasion. Ben's experience the other side, on his way home, was not very encouraging. It took him nine hours to travel 14 miles, and that in an open luggage van. It must have seemed to him, what with the slow train and the wait at Leeds, "A long, king way to" - not Tipperary, but Harrogate. You must know that Ben has all the instincts of a printer. They have an alert eye for a poster or anything that emanates from a printing office. Ben was very near the firing line one day, actually going to it, when he saw a poster. He walked up and read it. It was an announcement that the Tykes would give an entertainment in that locality. When his eye reached the bottom of the bill, Ben saw in plain letters the imprint "R Ackrill, Printer, Harrogate". Walter Ogden, [1 Torrs Road] whom you know as a clever comedian, is a prominent man in our bill department. He is a brother to Mr J R Ogden. [James R Ogden, The Little Diamond Shop, 38 James Street. Residence : The Bungalow, Lead Hall Lane] When Walter Ogden set up that bill he couldn't have thought it would ever have reached the firing line.


Harrogate Herald - 4th April 1917

Driver H Aubin, who is with the Salonica Field Forces, writes : 

I am going on all right. I have received the Harrogate Herald and like to hear about the old town and the boys. I see that a lot of the Harrogate boys are winning honours. I have passed the Harrogate Herald on to Private Read, who is in the Royal Army Medical Corps. We are still keeping Johnny Bulgar busy. I saw by the paper that Sergeant Atkinson, whom I know quite well, is joining the Tanks. He will have a chum in Raworth. I know a lot of Harrogate lads out here, but I have not dropped across any of them yet. You remember that Harrogate lad whose name I did not know. I found out that they call him F Purchase. The way I did so was by seeing his photo in the Harrogate Herald. I see you are having plenty of frost, and I bet the boys are having plenty of skating and sledging.


Harrogate Herald - 25th April 1917


Sergeant Drummer George Proctor, writing from the Front, says :

Well, I am glad to tell you that events seem to have taken a decided change for the better just now, and the advance of our troops has been very swift and sure. By the way, I saw eight Tanks come out of action yesterday, and was delighted to find that Percy Raworth, MM, son of Councillor Raworth, was on board one of them. We had quite a nice chat for a few minutes, then he was away to his work again - not much rest for anybody nowadays. No doubt you will be glad to hear that our regiment has won distinction in the shape of several Military Medals, etc., and is still doing fine work. Thanks for the Herald, which reaches me each week. Wishing you and the paper the best of luck.


Harrogate Herald - 3rd October 1917

W H Breare letter

We have had another severe blow, in the death of Percy Raworth, whom you will remember as of the Tanks. He is the only son of my friend Councillor Raworth, with whom and his family, I am sure, you will have every sympathy. Many of you boys know from experience what a fine character he was - modest, energetic, always cheerful, as brave as a lion, and one of the best of pals. You will also know that he was one of our most brilliant footballers, and a sportsman through and through. We often speak of "the flower of young British manhood". Percy Raworth was a typical example. I am so grieved at his death that it is painful, just yet, to speak of him. His personality and character need no words of mine. It is written large in the memory of all who knew him, particularly those who had the privilege of his friendship. He has not only died for his country, but that we may have a memory that will ever remain precious and a stimulating example.


Harrogate Herald - 10th October 1917

W H Breare letter

I have just ascertained that Percy Raworth was killed by an aerial bomb while voluntarily undertaking dangerous duty with the Tanks. Captain F A Robinson writes to the father from a camp in this country as follows : 

"I feel I must write to you, and offer my heartfelt sympathy on hearing of the death of your son Percy, I only heard from France on Saturday. The news came as a terrible shock to me, as your son had been with me ever since he joined up in 1915, and we have been through so many bad times together in France. Raworth was the most popular man in the Company with both officers and men, and I could not have wished for a cooler or braver man in action. I am enclosing a letter I have just received from him written just before his death, also letter from one of my old men. I should like you to return these letters at some future date. If I can be of any use to you in getting any information, etc., I should be only too pleased, Again offering you and family my deepest sympathy, I remain, yours sincerely, F A Robinson, Captain".

The letter enclosed is as follows : "Just a line to let you know the sad news. Percy Raworth was killed on Sunday while guarding one of the animals. He volunteered for this guard, and was left by himself. A bomb from an aeroplane fell close to him, which practically killed him outright. It seem hard lines, considering the risks he ran before. I am sending this to your home address, not knowing your present battalion. Percy showed me the very nice photo which you sent him of Mrs R and yourself. I remain, yours sincerely, A Cecil Howes".

..........................In the last letter that Percy Raworth sent home he enclosed a coupon signed by himself, voting in favour of a change of the name Kursaal. He asked his father to hand it to me. I have the coupon, and shall keep it, notwithstanding it is such a sad memento for me.


Harrogate Herald - 7th November 1917

Roll of Honour

Councilor R Raworth has received sympathetic letters respecting the death of his son, Gunner Percy Raworth. His captain, referring to him being awarded the Military Medal, says : "After our tank had stuck he jumped out and assisted in digging it out for 14 1/2 hours under very heavy fire. Your son worked in the most exposed position, thus setting a fine example of pluck and endurance to the remainder of the crew". A comrade says he was struck by an enemy aeroplane bomb and continues : "He was made as comfortable as it was humanly possible under the circumstances, and you will doubtless find some consolation in the knowledge that he did not appear to feel very much pain. I should like to add that in company with all his friends of the battalion - and there are many - I wish to offer my sympathy in your sad loss. You have lost a good son and we have lost a popular chum - one who was always cheerful and ready to help others. Quiet and genuine, those with whom he came in contact quickly learned to respect and like him, and I ask you to accept this as the sincere opinion of myself and all those others on whose behalf I am writing. He and I served together in the MMGS at Bisley, and ever since have been together through the monotony of training, in games and in lecture, whilst when we came out here our experiences of war were gained together. With opportunities like these of weighing up a man, one naturally sees him as he really is, and we were all glad to count Percy as our chum.


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