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Private Ben Thorpe

 
 

Harrogate Herald - 1st December 1915

Private B Thorpe, 5th West Yorks, writing to his brother at Knaresborough from "somewhere in Belgium", says : 

Your parcel received on Thursday. We were just saying we were getting sick of jam and bread for tea when it arrived, and, needless to say, it soon "went west", and we didn't leave a crumb, so you can imagine how the contents were appreciated. The chocolate was very acceptable, as I was absolutely stony at the time and couldn't buy any, so it arrived in the "time of nick". Tell Mr Tom Smith (Royal Oak) how grateful I am for the cigarettes and packs of playing cards, which were just what we required, as we only had a pack with the ace-of-spades badly marked, and when we were dealing them out we could tell who got it, and it used to be, "He loves me not, he loves me", until somebody got it, and then there was a shout, so we all knew where it was. I was very sorry to hear of the death of my old boss, Mr Ackrill. He will be greatly missed at the office by the whole of the staff. He was a good boss, and his breezy manner and jolly style made him popular with them all. I saw Fred's letter in the Knaresborough Post, and he seems to have had a warm time, but am glad to see he has got through all right. We will keep having casualties, and no wonder, as it is about as warm as any part of the line here. We could not have lost more, if we had gone over the top once or twice. As to recruiting, they may as well bring in conscription and have done with it instead of diddling about as they are doing.

 

Harrogate Herald - 29th December 1915

The committee of Knaresborough ladies who organised a Xmas gift fund for sending parcels to local soldiers and sailors with the expeditionary forces and on the high seas have been deeply gratified and richly rewarded with a shoal of appreciative letters received by Miss J M Alexander (hon. secretary) from the boys on service for King and country. We have pleasure in inserting the first batch, and others will be given in subsequent issues :

December 18th - Dear Miss Alexander, Very many thanks for parcel, which arrived safely yesterday, and it is very kind indeed of the ladies in Knaresborough to interest themselves on our behalf, and their kindness is greatly appreciated. It is very quiet here, and I'm afraid I have very little news to tell you, as I am on police duty, and we have very little chance of getting about. Things are very much the same in the trenches, but there are violent artillery duels every day, and we have to clear out often, as the German shells drop close to the post we occupy in their efforts to find our artillery, but I'm glad to say they have little or no success. We often witness fighting in the air between our chaps and the Germans, and I have seen three Germans brought down while we have been up here in this district. The infantry are covered with mud when they leave the trenches. With season's greetings and sincere thanks. Yours truly, Ben Thorpe.

 

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 - 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 :

Ben Thorpe

 

Harrogate Herald - 25th July 1917

W H Breare letter

Private B Thorpe, West Yorks, who is on the sick list, and been in hospital the past three weeks, writes that his ward was graciously honoured by a visit from their Majesties the King and Queen whilst over in France recently. Thorpe, I am pleased to hear, is about fit again.

 

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 :

Ben Thorpe

 

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