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Loftus Station – World War I Volunteers

Help needed! The Archive has been sent this image, purchased via ‘ebay’ as an unknown station. However eagle-eyed Andy Barwick realised it was Loftus station, with Yorkshire Regiment Volunteers (later the Green Howards) awaiting a train; but the date is unknown. It is believed that the two station porters are visible (one at each end) and possibly the station ‘lad’ cross-legged in the front. The Stationmaster (at rear close to the station lamp – with a moustache!), as well as members of the general public. Andy can assist with possible names of the Stationmasters for up to July 1914 as J. W. Nunn and from July 1914 W. H. Charlton, if anybody recognises either soldiers or railway staff. Can anybody assist with names and a possible date? Ray Brown suggests: “Robert Henry Walker (my maternal grandfather) is possibly on the back row far right next to the station porter?”

Image and information to date courtesy of Andy Barwick, many thanks to Bill Danby for a refreshed image and update information. Also to Ray Brown for a suggested name.

2 comments to Loftus Station – World War I Volunteers

  • A brilliant find for our local and First War history.
    They are undoubtedly lads of the Territorial Force, ‘G’ Company, of the 4th Battalion of Alexandra, Princess of Wales’ Own Yorkshire Regiment.
    Many thanks for sharing the photograph with my website about the Battalion – http://4thyorkshires.com/
    G Company was based at Skelton, with detachments at Carlin How, Lingdale and Loftus. There were 7 other Companies – A and B at Middlesbrough, C at Yarm, D at Guisborough, E at Richmond, F at Redcar and H at Northallerton.
    They trained for one night per week at local drill halls and were often denigrated as the ‘Saturday night soldiers’.
    Each year they were paid one pound each to go on an summer Annual Camp, usually at some seaside resort, where the Battalion could train together.
    It is almost certain that this photograph was taken of the Loftus lads departing for one of those Camps. It could well be the last one in July 1914.
    The 1913 Camp was held at Redcar and it is reported that the Volunteers marched in.
    The 1914 Camp was held at Deganwy, Wales and it became clear that War was imminent while they were there. They were recalled and asked to serve abroad, although they had no enlistment obligations to do so. They agreed to a man.
    After gathering at Darlington they went into hard training in Northumberland.
    The First War was fought initially by the British Expeditionary Force comprised mainly of the highly trained Regular Army. By 1915 half of the 160,000 men had become casualties and reinforcements were badly needed.
    When the 4th Yorks Battalion departed for France for the first time, on the 17th April 1915, they left from Newcastle station for France via Folkestone, as part of the Durham and York Brigade of the Northumbrian Division, some 12,000 men of volunteers from Berwick to Hull.
    They were called into action almost straight away in the Second Battle of Ypres, when the Germans used Gas for the first time. They famously halted the German advance by attacking when all around were retreating.
    Unless there is anything written on the photograph of the Loftus lads, I cannot think of any way to identify them after all this time.
    I have an incomplete list of all the 4th Yorks Battalion lads who first went to France and were therefore awarded the 1914/15 Star to distinguish them from later conscripts here – http://4thyorkshires.com/StarRoll.html.
    But I have never found any nominal rolls giving personal details, other than of those who lost their lives in the War.
    I think the two lads standing in civilian clothes are more likely to be recent recruits than porters and the same with the lad seated in front, nursing what appears to be a broken arm.
    My website was an attempt to find out as much as possible about the lads who served with the 4th Yorks and is basically the Battalion War Diary with details of all the 1000 plus men who gave their lives inserted at the relevant dates.
    In the years since I have had many personal contributions.
    The Battalion went on to serve with honour and many losses on the Somme in 1916, Arras and Ypres [Paschendaele] in 1917 and holding the German advances on the Somme and the Lys in the Spring of 1918.
    When it was finally decimated on the Aisne in May 1918, never to reform, the personnel had changed many times with reinforcements from all over the UK.

  • Bill , I have a particular interest in the Redcar Company ( Territorials) of the 4th Green Howards with the BEF in 1939 / 1940 .

    Do you know if the company designation stayed the same through to 1939 ie F Company for Redcar?

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