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Lieutenant Thomas Riley


Harrogate Herald - 24th January 1917


Lieutenant Quartermaster Thomas Riley writes : 

At last we have left England for active service. The battalion marched out on January 5th, and now we are well up the line. The men are splendid and as keen as mustard. I intended writing you from England, but everything was such a rush that I could not find time. We have plenty of hard work here, but still so far as my duty goes not so hard as in England. You see, I have no records to keep here. The feeding of the men is splendid. Fresh meat very day and plenty of bread, butter, jam, potatoes, etc. WE had quite a good crossing, and very few men were sick. If you could send a few spare copies of your publications, etc., now and again to me, I will see that they are distributed to the men. Must close. Wishing you every good wish for 1917. PS - We managed to bring the band along with us, too.


Harrogate Herald - 9th May 1917


Lieutenant T Riley, of the old Beechwood Boys, writing to Mr W H Breare, says : I am sending you the names of five men who have won the Military Medal and one officer who has won the Military Cross during the recent big advance. Military Medals - Lance Corporal T Marsden, 201879, C Company; Lance Corporal J W Cust, 201511, C Company; Lance Corporal J Ewbank, 201557, D Company; Private Wesley Taylor, 5294, C Company; Private F C Plumb, 201499, stretcher bearer, Headquarters Staff. Military Cross - Lieutenant A W L Smith, C Company, son of the Bishop of Knaresborough. Lieutenant Smith wiped out a German party almost single-handed, and is one of the most respected officers of the battalion, having served with us from the old Beechwood days. You will be pleased to learn that the band are great favourites out here, and in great demand. They are under my care, and have many and varied duties to perform, and I have never yet come across such a lot of fine fellows. They are always ready for any work no matter how dangerous of what hour of the night or day. The Harrogate people should indeed be proud of their battalion. I should like to give you all the details of how our men have won the good name they have had. I am afraid the censor would object. The first time I come on leave I shall call and see you. Then I hope to give you a few details of how our men have conducted themselves. We have won numerous trophies, and I hope to let you have one for exhibition if the authorities will allow. The best trophy was won by the band, and we had a very lively tome too, getting it away from the trenches. All my staff are in the very best of health, and looking forward to a speedy return of peace. We get many rumours out here, and these, in conjunction with what we see, convince us that the Boche is having a most terrible time. he smashes up all the villages, blows up roads and places every manner of obstacles in our way, but we still get at him and they are of small avail. Our CO, Lieutenant Colonel Josslyn, TD, and our Adjutant, Captain Hedley F Heaton, have had a most trying time, but I am pleased to say keep wonderfully fit. I shall be pleased to hear from you and know how the Harrogate people are faring during these times of short rations, etc.


Harrogate Herald - 30th May 1917

W H Breare letter

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of seeing the Quartermaster of the Beechwood Boys, who called in to see me. He said the boys would be very grateful for a gramophone so that they could have a little diversion when resting. I asked for it last Wednesday, and promptly received one, together with a goodly number of records. It has been despatched to the Quartermaster, but as it was Whitsuntide it may be delayed in transit. The donor's name you will find in the Gossip. I understand that the Beechwood Boys were the only lot to get their objective first time trying.

Wednesday Gossip

With the 5s collected by Miss Doris Holdsworth, of Bilton, I have purchased a safety razor for one of the Beechwood Boys at the Front and forwarded it to him. I bought two shirts and two razors with the 1 sent me by the Mayoress, and despatched them to soldiers on service. I have despatched the gramophone and records mentioned above to Lt Riley,

the Quartermaster of the 2/5th West Yorks, who asked for it on behalf of his men. Also a wristlet watch to a bugler in the Navy. I have forwarded a cricket bat sent by Mr Moxon, Lancaster Road, [J A Moxon, Eldon Tower, 18 Lancaster Road] and two balls from late Mr W Burnett, Pannal Ash, [Walter Burnett, Kensington House, Pannal Ash] to H Petty.


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