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Covering the villages of Wilsden and Harecroft

15th May – In German-occupied Belgium, sixty-one people were brought to trial in Brussels, accused of printing and distributing the illegal patriotic newspaper Libre Belgique. The newspaper had had a wide distribution, and had been a particular source of annoyance for the Germans. The sixty-one accused had been arrested at the end of January 1918, and the Kaiser sent a telegram of congratulations to the Military Governor, General von Falkenhausen – the paper had described von Falkenhausen as “a bird of prey sent to live on the palpitating flesh of Belgium”. All the arrested were sentenced to between 10 and 12 years imprisonment – but within weeks, the paper reappeared, with issue 143 being printed almost single-handedly by Abbé van den Hout, who, on a treadle press, printed 7,000 copies, then arranged for more to be re-printed in Antwerp. Copies of Libre Belgique were even smuggled into internment camps in Germany, where they were read aloud to audiences of four or five-hundred internees.

18th May – In retaliation for German air-raids on London, thirty-three British aircraft bombed Cologne, causing widespread damage and killing one hundred and ten civilians. The next night, German bombers struck again at London, killing forty-eight civilians. Of the twenty-eight German bombers on the raid, six were shot down by British pilots, and another three crashed on reaching their home aerodromes.

Photo Libre Belgique Source Ghent University Library, archive.ugent.be:FC213012-1731-11E2-A8D9-5A520D0ED9C1, via Europeana http://www.europeana.eu/portal/en/record/9200142/BibliographicResource_30. This file is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license: https://creativecommons.or/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

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Sources

Keighley News Archive (accessed via Bradford Libraries website)

Gilbert, M. First World War




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Sources

Keighley News Archive (accessed via Bradford Libraries website)

The terrible toll of the German attack of March 21st was beginning to be seen in the local newspapers. News of the missing, wounded and of those taken prisoner was filtering back. The agonising wait for news of the missing continued for many families. After one year, the missing soldier would be declared dead.

  • Keighley News, 4th May 1918

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Sources

Keighley News Archive (accessed via Bradford Libraries website)


Herbert P. Harrison

Gdsn. Harrison, Herbert Preston     29380   3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards



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Born in Wilsden in 1899, Herbert was the only son of Sarah and Preston Harrison, oil dealer & general dealer (mainly bowls and pottery) of Spring Hill, Main Street, Wilsden. He had an older sister, Maud and two younger ones; Clara & Minnie.

Herbert enlisted at Keighley, after being given a white feather on a trip into Bradford. He was underage and not eligible to join up, but he was a tall boy and lied about his age to get into the prestigious Grenadier Guards. There was still a minimum height requirement for the Guards and their superb drill and immaculate uniforms, even in the squalour of the trenches, was a source of wonder to the ordinary Tommies who adjoined them in the line.

Herbert’s father, Preston, died in 1917 whilst Herbert was on active service in France. The family lost both its men in a short space of time when Herbert was killed in action on 4 May 1918  aged 19.

He was buried originally at Willow Road Cemetery, Boire Ste. Rictude, but after the Armistice the 25 burials from Willow Road, largely of the Guards Division who were buried in 1918, were re-interred in Douchy-les-Ayette British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

Herbert’s Grave No. is   II. F. 15

Sarah had to support herself and her three daughters on her own. She bought Jos Craven’s drapery business at Bradford House (now the Post Office) which she and the girls ran between them.