After he watched our film tribute “The Kirkhamgate Poppy Patch"
we received this comment from Chris Youhill.
What a very moving and professionally produced feature, although my Dad was from Leeds (Woodhouse) he was injured on the Somme at, I believe Serre, in 1917 and invalided out for almost a year's convalescence from serious injuries, including the dreaded mustard gas.
He was in the Leeds Pals - 15th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment, most of whom were lost on The Somme.
I go regularly to Colsterdale near Masham where the memorial to the Pals is remotely located on the hillside at Breary Banks, right opposite the Pals' initial training ground, first in tents and later in huts, the foundations of which can still be made out.
A rather ghostly memorial to the men (and indeed boys, for many claimed to be older than they were to enlist). The memorial services are always very moving, especially to me as I was born nearly twenty years after Dad and the other lads suffered their ordeal, so in that remote and peaceful Yorkshire Dales location I try to imagine him as a young man there, no doubt unaware of the full extent of what was to come.
One of the finest things to happen at the services a few years ago,
I'm sure there wasn't a dry eye in the attendees anywhere, when
school children from the nearby Kell Bank village school had with
them a mysterious hamper. During the minister's service the lid was
unexpectedly opened and, after a slight pause, a flock of beautiful
white doves of peace rose from the basket and flew freely away
over the site of the camp. What a different and happier departure
for them than The Pals experienced on leaving.
Sorry Mike and the worthies of
Lofthouse and Kirhamgate to seem
to encroach on your feature, but
simply to be thankful that I'm sure
"We shall not forget" as recent
memorials like yours show clearly.
Well done to all involved in the
Leeds Pals Memorial at Coisterdale
Dad was Sergeant Herbert Oswald Youhill, number 15/1569.
The Leeds Pals were
the 15th Battalion the West Yorkshire Regiment.
Best wishes with all your splendid projects and community work.