Harrogate Herald - 7th February 1917
Spr Seaman Gilbert Whittall, writing from the
South of England, says : The residents here say it is the severest
winter for 30 years. I want to ask if there is any kind friend in
Harrogate who could supply me with a pair of sea boot stockings. My
work consists of crossing the channel on munitions barges, and we
get rubber sea boots, and ordinary are no use for keeping the cold
out. I often think of the ld town in peace times and wonder if it
will ever be the same again. Still, we are all living in hopes of
putting "paid" to the Kaiser's account this Spring. I do
not meet many Harrogate boys. They are all men of the merchant
service, and the rivers and canals in this section and most of the
boys in Harrogate who went to sea joined the Navy. [sic] Still, my
wife sends the Herald each week. It is good to read home news and
see old friends' faces from week to week. It keeps you in touch with
things which you don't read about in the "Mail",
"Mirror", or "News". I think I shall have to
close now, as we are getting ready for sea. I trust you will excuse
the scribble, as a barge is not one of the steadiest places to
write. Wishing you all the best of luck and good health during the
coming year. PS - If you see Councillor Webster give him my best
respects. Tell him it is Gilbert, who worked at The Granby.
Harrogate Herald - 14th February 1917
W H Breare letter
I have just stopped to have a word with Councillor
Webster, [Herbert Webster, 2 Granby Terrace] who has looked in on me
this morning. I am pleased to hear from him that he and his
committee have been very busy and very successful in looking up
allotments where vegetables may be grown. I am also gratified to
hear that pig-keeping, so long as the animals are maintained under
clean conditions, is to be permitted in Harrogate. Councillor's main
purpose in calling to see me was to say that he would like to send Whittall,
who asked me for the sea-boot stockings, what he requires. I have
undertaken to find out where they cane be got, obtain them, and
Councillor Webster is going to pay the cost. He asked me if I wanted
anything in particular besides the socks. I was in the happy
position that I could not mention anything. But I know I can rely on
him in case of emergency.
Harrogate Herald - 25th April 1917
W H Breare letter
On the voyage to Canada, Crossley met a Harrogate
man called Lenevaitre, whose mother lives at 20 Glebe Road,
Harrogate. His father is chef at the Royal Hotel. Crossley kindly
went to see the mother of [f ?] Lenevaitre, who was delighted to
hear news of her boy, especially when it was that he had been safely
landed and all right. Out in Canada a lady gave him a portrait group
in which was her son, who was shortly to be discharged from service
with the Canadians in that country and to return home. She gave him
the photograph so that he might pick him out if he happened to be on
the same transport when her lad comes home. This boy's name is S
G Whittall, C Company of a Canadian battalion. Crossley's term
of seven years' service expires next November.
Harrogate Herald – 1st October 1924
A Debt Unpaid
Private Thomas Aitkins, God save the King and Queen,
Back in civvy clothing, is a might-have-been.
Never young civilian's prospects were so bright,
But his country wanted him to go and fight.
Certainly he did it, all the world knows that,
Five long years it took him to knock Jerry flat.
Things he did in Flanders, there across the sea,
And the sacrifices made, all for you and me.
He was just a peaceful chap, working for his pay,
Saving up a weekly mite to buy a home some day,
Then there comes the message, how they needed men.
He left his plough and workshop, held rifle 'stead
Weeks of strenuous training, learning to obey,
Then he crossed the ocean to join the mighty fray,
Nineteen fourteen saw him living in the mud,
In the trenches countless days, sleeping where he
Cooties for companions, in battalions form,
Marching up his spine all night, disappear at dawn.
Rounding Hell Fire Corner, along the sunken road,
Think he was a jack mule, judging by his load.
Up goes Jerry's starshells, in the mud he flops,
Curses Jerry's fireworks, perhaps a bullet stops.
Now he's in the front line, he can breathe again,
But his best pal's lying back there in the rain.
Gasses, mustard, chlorine, liquid fire, tear shell,
Also every known device that helped to make life
Five long years he stuck it, with ne'er a cry or
One bright thought to cheer him – the ship to
bring him home.
To the glorious things you promised, if ever he came
To the country fit for heroes, for work he'd never
For men who fought for freedom, home, and liberty,
Should never for a meal want in the years to be.
Have you kept that promise to those splendid men,
Who at the call of duty dropped their tools and pen?
They left their wives and children, they sacrificed
When England was in danger, with her back against
A million wooden crosses, mute testimony give
Of the generous sacrifices that you and yours might
Six years since it finished, and the promise made
To a quarter of a million of these men, is still a
Harrogate Herald - 8th January 1919
The Editor has received post-cards from the
following : W A Ballance, Private C Barker, Louis Metcalfe, G
McBretney, W Brown, Sapper G Whittall.
Harrogate Herald – 29th January 1919
G Whittall writes from Le Have:
The last time I wrote to you I was in the cross-Channel service,
but I am working on the rivers and canals now. We are carrying the
stores between here and Paris for the Sammies.