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Covering the villages of Wilsden and Harecroft

This Week in 1918

9th April - The British House of Commons extended conscription to Ireland, introducing the Irish Conscription Bill. This measure had previously been rejected due to the opposition of Irish Nationalists. However, it was not just the Nationalists who objected, across Ireland people were united in opposition to the bill. The Lord Mayor of Dublin, representatives of Sinn Fein, the Irish Parliamentary Party, the Labour Party, and Independents assembled at the Mansion House on 18th April and adopted the following resolution:

“Denying the right of the British Government to enforce compulsory service in this country, we pledge ourselves solemnly to one another to resist conscription by the most effective means at our disposal … The Irish people have a right to resist by every means that are consonant with the law of God”

Irish Trade Unions began to prepare for an all-Ireland General Strike, whilst across the country, groups of volunteers began to prepare to resist martial law, if it was imposed.

Bingley Petty Sessions


A 16 year-old Wilsden apprentice named Stephen Craven was charged with stealing £3 from the dwelling house of Mrs. Sarah Pullan, 15, Garden View, Wilsden. Superintendent Slack stated that Mrs. Pullan lived next door to the prisoner, who resided with his grandmother. About 7 p.m. on March 26 Mrs. Pullan went into the prisoner’s grandmother’s house, and as she walked in the prisoner went out. On her return she did not notice that anything had been disturbed, but when the following night she had occasion to go upstairs she found that a box in bedroom had been opened and £3 stolen. Suspicion fell upon on the lad, and eventually his uncle brought him to the Harden Police Station. When charged, he replied “I did take it and spent nearly £2 in different shops and picture houses in Bradford” – Sarah Pullan gave evidence bearing out that statement. The lad’s uncle spoke as to the boy’s conduct, and stated that this was not the first time that he had misbehaved. The Rev. F. C. Rollin said he had known the lad for three and a-half years, and he had done good work in connection with the church. The prisoner was fined £3 and costs.

- Keighley News, 13th April 1918


Gilbert, M First World War

Keighley News Archive (accessed via Bradford Libraries website)


The Lady Challenger

That the war question must take precedence over all others in the election is recognised even by the lady challenger, who has come down from London to test the right of women to stand for Parliament. She puts the vigorous prosecution of the war first and foremost in her programme. The special claims of women are accorded a second place. Under the circumstances it is not easy to see what useful purpose can be served springing on the public such a novelty as a female candidature. On the contrary, it would be apt to give rise to misapprehension. One thing certain is that German commentators, if they give any attention to the matter at all, would interpret it as an evidence of social unsettlement and sex antagonism in this country. They would be quite incapable of grasping those fine points of constitutional law which Miss Boyle is so desirous of settling. As for the people at home, they would be likely to look upon such a candidature as rather in the nature of an untimely curiosity. It would not be regarded with the seriousness and concentrated attention which might be looked for were the “test” delayed until more normal conditions prevail.

The Law and Lady Candidatures

As to whether or not, if Miss Boyle persists in offering herself for nomination, her nomination will be accepted, that is a question which is still exciting a good deal of speculation. All that can be said is that the legal rulings so far are all against the recognition of women as Parliamentary candidates. In what is perhaps the best-known work on election law it is clearly laid down that “by the custom of England, and by reason of their sex, women are not eligible to serve in Parliament”, and it is further stated that “if a woman were to be nominated as candidate the votes for her would be thrown away. The fact of her disqualification would be notorious, and every man would be presumed to know the law. At the General Election of 1885 Miss Helen Taylor tendered her nomination to the returning officer for Camberwell, and he rejected it, and his rejection was not questioned in a court of law”.
 Keighley News, 6th April 1918



Keighley News Archive (accessed via Bradford Libraries website)

March 28thGeneral Gough, commander of the embattled British 5th Army, was relieved of his command, and left the front the following day. Prime Minister Lloyd George made much in the House of Commons of Gough’s failure, and that of his army, to halt the German advance. The public was satisfied at the thought of an incompetent general and poor troops being the cause of such a huge retreat as had happened in the previous week. The nature of the German assault and the ferocity of the British response, as well as the lack of manpower at the front, were all overlooked. Yet Gough and the Fifth Army had turned the tide. On the 30th March, British, Australian and Canadian troops successfully counter-attacked, recapturing Moreuil Wood. The Germans were only eleven miles from Amiens, but they would not reach the city. In places the Germans had advanced up to forty miles, over-running all the gains made by the Allies at the Battle of the Somme, and capturing 90,000 prisoners and 1300 artillery pieces. But the German losses had been extremely high, and the impetus of their attack had been lost.


The Gift of the Royd House Estate

Mr. Fred Ambler, of Bradford … on behalf of himself and his brother, Mr. George S. Ambler [gifted] the Royd House estate at Wilsden for public purposes… The gift had been made in memory of their late father, Mr. Samuel Ambler, and of their mother, who were, as they point out, “for so long intimately associated with the village of Wilsden and deeply interested in its prosperity and welfare” for the use and benefit of the inhabitants of Wilsden as a public place of pleasure, rest and recreation. Their desire is that the Bingley District Council shall take possession of the estate, and bring it into use, so far as possible, at as early a date as convenient, so that their mother may have the pleasure of seeing the accomplishment of their purposes… It is suggested that the house should form the home of the free library and a reading room, as well as be a place of rest; that the gardens shall be maintained with the exception of a portion to be laid out as a bowling green; and the remainder of the property – which consists of two small fields – shall be adapted for the purposes of a recreation-ground. The total area of the 8,016 square yards. At the present time there is a recreation-ground for the children in another portion of the village, but notice has already been received from the landlord terminating the tenancy of the Council at the beginning of February next year.

                                                                                     - Keighley News, 30th March 1918

Harry Collins

Pte. Collins, Harry.  30/369     1st/5th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers.


Harry was born at Clayton, Bradford, the son of Ada and Samuel Collins, a railway plate layer, he had two older sisters, Gertie and Minnie, and a younger brother, Dickie. The family moved to Denholme when Harry was very young and subsequently to Wilsden. After the war Gertie and Minnie lived at Albert Street.

Harry died in the Battle of Amiens on 31 March 1918, aged 20.
 The great German Spring Offensive had started ten days previously. The British Army was short of men and ration cards were being introduced at home, but American soldiers were on their way.  German High Command was convinced that with one last great effort before the re-inforcements arrived, victory could be theirs.
During the first three days of the offensive, the British troops were forced to withdraw 15 miles after months, if not years, of stalemate. A second German Attack was launched on 28 March. The order to defend to ‘the last round and the last man’ had never been more apposite. By 5 April it became clear that the line would hold, but at great cost, between 21 March and 5 April  22,000 men were killed, about 72,000 had been captured and 66,000 were wounded.

Harry is commemorated on the memorial to the missing at Pozieres, Panel 16 to 18.