Over, 7,000 Hull men died in the First World War. Nearly 1,200 of these were sailors working with the fishing fleet, or serving with the Merchantile Marine and the Royal Navy.
There were nearly another 1,500 men who were born in Hull, but who lived elsewhere. They include many who enlisted in Hull or were associated with the City, but are not usually remembered on Hull war memorials. The Kingston Upon Hull Memorial aims to remember all those with a Hull connection who died in the First World War.
There are over a hundred families on the Hull Memorial that lost two or more of their family. Sometimes fathers, sons and brothers were lost on the same day. At least one in six Hull families lost a direct relative. Many others would lose close friends, work colleagues or others known to them. Each death was irreplaceable and an individual tragedy for someone.
Unfortunately, not all deaths were recorded in official casualty figures, particularly if soldiers died of sickness, accidents or were discharged home with wounds. By 1924 the Ministry of Pensions reported that there were 20,000 war wounded living in Hull. Although they survived the war, they are rarely recorded on war memorials. What follows here are snippets of some of those people who died.
A Global War
The First World War was the first truly global conflict – the battle raged not just in the trenches of the Western Front but in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Huge armies deployed new weapons to devastating effect. Over nine million soldiers and seven million civilians lost their lives. Empires crumbled, revolution engulfed Russia, and America rose to become a dominant world power.
The impact of war can be measured in many ways, such as the cost in lives, the financial costs and the consequences the war had on future world history. In terms of statistical casualties, and lives lost, the First World War was the fifth most costly war in World history. All told, 16.5 million people died and 21.2 million were wounded from all combatant nations during World War 1. We will never know the true extent of civilian casualties - the numbers of those lost in occupied countries such as Belgium and France, the victims of attrocities in Serbia or Russia or the numbers of Armenians extermnated in Turkey. The losses are further distorted by the Influenza epidemic which killed another 20 million of the world's people and soldiers who were weakened by war.
The Cost in Lives
From 1914 to 1918, Britain and Commonwealth forces lost nearly 900,000 military personnel and 1.7 million men were wounded. In Britain that was about 10% of all men serving killed, and many of these were young men, with 70% of those killed, aged between 20 - 24 years old. Scotland which traditionally provided recruits for the British army's elite regiment's, lost 148,000 men. This was 25% of those that volunteered and more than twice the national average rate of fatalities for the whole of Britain. Over 38,000 Irishmen and 20,000 Welshmen also died in the war. Throughout the United Kingdom, one in six families suffered a direct bereavement, 192,000 wives had lost their husbands, and nearly 400,000 children had lost their fathers. A further 500,000 children had lost one of more of their siblings. Appallingly, one in eight wives died within a year of receiving news of their husband's death.
There were also 1.7 million British wounded, of which 80,000 were gas victims, 30,000 were made deaf, 80,000 had 'shell shock', and there were 250,000 amputees. The wounded increased over time. At the end of 1928, nearly 2.8 million war veterans were receiving a war disability pension. There were still 65,000 soldiers in mental hospitals by 1929. Millions of men had been uprooted and taken away from home for the first time. They were exposed to new vices, like achohol, violence, tobacco, profanity and prostitution. There were over 400,000 venereal disease cases treated during the war, which would have emotional and physical consequences for soldiers of all ranks and their families.
Death in the the First World War caused untold psychological casualties. These were both soldiers and civilians, who either saw death personally, or suffered a profound loss of a loved one. The huge numbers of casualties, over a four year war, was both shocking and unprecedented, in the twentieth century. Almost every family had lost someone they knew, and probably none in he language of the time, died 'nobly'. More often than not , most soldiers were slaughtered in large numbers, and died in the most horrific ways. Few were killed in hand to hand fighting. Most were obliterated by a distant shell or cut to pieces, by close up machine gun fire. They drowned in mud or disappeared, and had no known grave. Death in this new industrial warfare, was often annonomous, indiscriminate, random and unpredictable. Such pointless deaths could not be easily understood, or explained, or even dealt with, by those who grieved. Civilian soldiers, who had volunteered for war, were not trained to deal with this trauma psychologically. For many, the haunting memories of terrible battles and lost friends, would emotionally scar them for life.
With so many men blown to pieces and missing abroad, most families were denied the opportunity to visit a local grave. (Britain did not repatriate their war dead and this was strictly enforced from Spring 1915). There was no welfare state, or modern counselling, to advise people how to deal with their grief. Many families had to live with bereavement, depression, and sorrow, and make do, the best they could, on their own, with limited support. The way people processed their emotions would vary across, class, region, gender and religion.
The Upper Classes suffered disproportionately worse, with some 25% of Officers killed and wounded, as opposed to 8% of working class casualties during the war. The decimation of the Pal Battalions, particularly affected Northern towns and cities. Scotland suffered the highest proportion of war casualties. Middle class women were more likely to write about their bereavement and express their feelings in correspondence and commemorations. They left a number of books, letters, church plaques and other memorials, as a poignant reminder on how war devasted family life. A good example of this, is Vera Brittain's memoir, Testament of Youth, which spoke for a generation, about the losses of war.
Britain also became a more secular country. Church attendances began to fall, as people struggled to reconcile their losses with their religion. They turned to new faiths, like 'Spiritualism', to reconnect directly with their dead. The First World War profounly changed British social attitudes towards bereavement, mourning and commemorating death. The ritualised mourning of the Victoria era, with the 'deathbed' scene, was no longer possible. To preserve public morale, expressions of open sorrow, were discouraged. Private funerals were replaced with more public ceremonies for the dead. These included the creation of new rituals, like the Cenotaph, the 'Tomb of the Unknown Warrior', Armistice day, the wearing of poppies, and the very public 'two minute' silence. There was demand from civilians for battlefield tours and organised pilgrimages. The First World War began the first package holiday for the masses. We will never know how many lives were blighted by the experiences of the First World War. Although literature and family stories, handed down, tell a time, of great sorrow. We can only speculate on the the sufferings of orphans, war widows, and the disabled servicemen who struggled to cope. The war experience would impact on family life, leading to violence, organised crime, and increasing suicides in the following decades. Many veterans were left with depression, anxiety and untreated madness. Some 65,000 British soldiers were still living in mental inststitutions by 1929.
The loss of 750,000 young men during the war, and nearly 2 million wounded, affected Britain's demographics. After the war, women far outnumbered men and many women were never to marry or have children. The 1921 United Kingdom Census found 19,803,022 women and 18,082,220 men in England and Wales, a difference of 1.72 million, which newspapers called the "Surplus Two Million Women." In the 1921 census, there were 1,209 single women, aged 25 to 29, for every 1,000 men. In 1931, 50% of these women were still single, and 35% of them did not marry while still able to bear children. Many women after the war emigrated to Commonwealth countries, in search of a new life. However, the losses to the Commonwealth nations that supported Britain were also severe. In all, 250,000 killed and 500,000 wounded. New Zealand lost 18,000 killed and 50,000 wounded out of the 112,000 who served. This was a casualty rate of 66%. Australia's casualties were 80,000 killed and 137,000 wounded, 64% of those who joined. Similarly, Canada and Newfoundland lost 62,000 and 172,000 wounded, a casualty rate of 39%; South Africa lost 7,000 killed and 12,000 wounded, 13% of those who served, and India, who provided more Commonwealth troops, than all the others put together, suffered 74,000 killed, 67,000 wounded, or 7% of those that served. In addition, it is estimated that 100,000 men from the African and Caribbean Colonies, who acted as carriers and labourers, died of disease and exhaustion, with another 18,000 killed in action.
In France, where much of the war raged, approximately 11% of the entire population, were killed or wounded during the war. Almost 1.4 million Frenchmen died in the service of their country and another 4.2 million men were wounded – a casualty rate of 74% of all those mobilized in the French Empire. They left behind 600,000 widows, 986,000 orphans, and 1.1 million war invalids. Ten percent of the male population of France had been wiped out, a figure that rises to 20% for the 'under 50' age group. Of the 470,000 males born in France in 1890, and who were 28 years old when the war ended, half were killed or seriously wounded.
The total number of First World War deaths includes about 10 million military personnel and about 7 million civilians. The Entente Powers (also known as the Allies) lost about 6 million soldiers, while the Central Powers lost about 4 million. At least 2 million died from diseases and 6 million went missing, presumed dead.
The youth of Europe was decimated. Of the 700,000 British war dead, no fewer than 71% were between the ages of 16 and 29 years. The CWGC records, show that 14,108 British soldiers, were aged 18 or younger, when they died. In Belgium more than 40,000 young men were killed.
About two-thirds, of military deaths in World War I were in battle. This was unlike any previous conflict during the 19th century, when the majority of deaths were due to disease. Improvements in medicine, as well as the increased lethality of military weaponry were both factors in this development. Nevertheless disease, including the 'Spanish flu', still caused about one third of total military deaths for all belligerents.
Financial Cost of World War One
World War One cost the world over $3.8 Trillion dollars (This was mostly made up by Germany, $984bn, Britain, $1,205bn, France, $641bn and America, $787bn). Britain paid the most and funded the war by selling off foreign investments and borrowing heavily from the United States. This effectively ensured that America remained an ally throughout the war, and the USA became the richest power afterwards. In the United Kingdom, funding the war had a severe economic cost. From being the world's largest overseas investor, Britain became one of its biggest debtors, with interest payments forming around 40% of all government spending.
Inflation more than doubled between 1914 and its peak in 1920, while the value of the Pound Sterling fell by 61.2%. Reparations in the form of free German coal depressed local industry, precipitating the 1926 General Strike. The Versailles Treaty set German repayments for the cost of the war at 132 Billion Marks. This was to be repaid in cash or raw materials, land given up and services provided. These repayments were suspended in 1932, by which point Germany had repaid 20.5 Billion Marks (about $6 billion).
British private investments abroad were sold, raising £550 million. However, £250 million in new investment also took place during the war. The net financial loss was therefore approximately £300 million; less than two years investment, compared to the pre-war average rate and more than replaced by 1928. Material loss was "slight": the most significant being 40% of the British merchant fleet sunk by German U-boats. Most of this was replaced in 1918 and all immediately after the war.
The most enduring legacy of the war was increased censorship and state control over people lives. Even in free market Britain, the Government's share of the economy rose from 9.8% of GDP in 1913, to over 37% by 1918. In Germany, the Governement was responsible for 59%. of all output. The need to win the war, meant that the State increasingly regulated the activities of private citizens. Governments rationed food, banned strikes, censored newspapers, controlled private property, wages and taxation. They effectively dictated what people did, said, read and thought. Many of these rules, censorship and legislation, continued long after the war. Yet for all the sufferings and restrictions, ordinary people found a new voice. Women enjoyed new freedoms and began to demand the vote. Trade Union membership grew. Soon the deference to the 'Officer Class' would be eroded and replaced with more democratic forms of Government. State intervention was tolerated, but with the expectation of better schools, housing and health care.
The Commonwealth Nations
Abroad, there was growing assertiveness amongst Commonwealth nations after World War 1. Battles, such as Gallipoli, for Australia and New Zealand, Hill 70 and Vimy Ridge, for Canada, Deville Wood for South Africa, and Neuve Chapelle for Indian Troops, led to increasing national pride and identity. There was a greater reluctance to remain subordinate to Britain, leading to the growth f diplomatic autonomy in the 1920s. Loyal dominions, such as Newfoundland, were deeply disillusioned by Britain's apparent disregard for their soldiers, eventually leading to the unification of Newfoundland with the Confederation of Canada. Colonies, such as India and Nigeria, also became increasingly assertive because of their participation in the war. The populations in these countries became increasingly aware of their own power and Britain's fragility. In Ireland, the delay in finding a resolution to the 'Home Rule' issue, partly caused by the war, as well as the 1916 Easter Rising and a failed attempt to introduce conscription in Ireland, increased support for separatist radicals. This led indirectly to the outbreak of the Irish War of Independence in 1919. The creation of the Irish Free State that followed this conflict, in effect represented a territorial loss for the United Kingdom, that was all but equal to the loss sustained by Germany, (and furthermore, compared to Germany, a much greater loss in terms of its ratio to the country's prewar territory).
The Cultural Impact of the War
Britain spent four and half years fighting the First World War and the next 100 years trying to understand it's meaning and purpose. There are so many myths, opinions, politics and propaganda surrounding World War One, that we no longer know what we feel about it, or even if we should celebrate it. Was the 'Great War' a triumph, or an unspeakable horror? Do we side with the War Poets or the Politicians? We can not even agree how World War One should be taught in schools today. It has been a cultural battlefield for every generation that followed it. British attitudes to the Great War have varied and changed over time and even different countries remember World War 1 in different ways. The following is a brief summary of Britain's changing views of World War One.
Numbed by this great loss of life and uncertainty about the war, the British establishment, that had sent so many men to their deaths, assumed control of the war dead. A whole raft of institutions and ceremonies were created to commemorate the dead, which still survive today. The 'Commonwealth War Graves Commission' was established to ensure that all the fallen, were remembered by a war grave, or a memorial near the battlefield. In 1914, Sir Fabien Ware, who had been a commander of a Red Cross Ambulance unit, began to document the locations of soldiers graves near the front line. His continued efforts ultimately led to the establishment of the Imperial War Graves commission in May 1917. Fabien Ware also designed the white military headstones, that we see in war cemeteries today; and he designed many war cemeteries and war memorials over the next 20 years, using the great architects of the day. The Poet, Rudyard Kipling, selected the phrase "Known unto God", which was to be inscribed upon these white tombstones. The phrase 'Lest we Forget' also comes from the Kipling poem, "Recessional", and is used as the wording on many memorials, as a plea not to forget past sacrifices. Kipling also worked with Winston Churchill to ensure that all gravestones were uniformally, the same shape and size, regardless of military rank. The rows of white, matching gravestones, lining military cemeteries are their legacy. Sir Edwin Lutyens designed the Whitehall Cenotaph, as a national memorial to the war's dead in 1919. Prime Minister, Lloyd George, chose the inscription 'The Glorious Dead', which was carved on the Cenotaph; Earl Haig, the Commander of the British forces, founded the British Legion in 1921, to give ex servicemen a voice. An 'Armistice Day' was initiated to be held on annually on the 11th November, the day war ended. The South African, Percy FitzPatrick, suggested a 'Two Minute Silence' at 11am on every Armistice Day, so that "in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead." The tradition of wearing red poppies was then established to remember the nation's 'Glorious Dead'.
Such was the nation's catastrophic loss, politicians renamed the 1914-18 conflict, as 'The Great War', or the 'War to End All Wars'. Civilian views of the war remained mixed and confused for decades to come. Many of those who had lived through the war, felt that they had survived a great, world event, and were proud to remember the sacrifice, hardship and heroism. Initially, there was much relief and celebration. Armistice Day, for example, became a 'resturant bonanza' and many surviving veterans celebrated their comradship and war time experiences. Others however, struggled to make sense of the war. They were traumatised by their experiences. Sorrow and bereavement would haunt nations for generations. Over time, more people saw the war as a futile waste of lives and an end to world stability. Most opinions were framed by war time propaganda and the Politicians and Poets of the time. Many civilans had known little about the war or the true horrors of the fighting. There was no television, news channels or social media, to communicate the war then. The silence of the returning war veterans only added to the Great War's mythology. The 'Cenotaph' was successful and long lasting, because in some way it provided a blank canvass for people to project their mixed feelings about the war.
In 1928, on the 10th anniversary of the ending of the Great War, Britain again reflected on the War experience. West End Plays, like 'Journey's End', and the publication of many memoirs,
such as 'All Quiet on the Western Front', 'Cry Havoc' and 'Death of a Hero', began to reveal the true horrors of the Great War, to a mass civilian audience, for the first time. The stories of terrible sacrifice, and pointless slaughter prompted a revulsion to war. A British pacifist movement starting in the 1920's, grew increasingly during the 1930's. Some campaigned for disarmament and economic sanctions against military agressors. Others campaigned for appeasement. Many organisations, such as the 'No More War Movement' and the 'Peace Pledge Union' were established to totally denounced war. This was to leave Britain very unprepared, in 1939, when the next World War began. After the Second World War, the British Government in 1948, renamed the 'Great War' as the 'First World War', to distinguish it from the '1939-45 Conflict'. 'Armistice Day' was also replaced with 'Remembrance Sunday', to remember those lost in all wars, and not just those of the First World War. These changes were significant. It highlighted that the the Great War, was not the 'War to End all Wars' and made people re-evaluate the purpose of the World War 1.
The 1960's generation shaped our view of the First World war again. 1964 was the Great War's 50th aniversary. It was a chance for a new generation to discover World War One afresh. However, they viewed the war through the tinted nightmare of World War Two and the possibility of a new nuclear war with the 'Cuban Missile Crises'. The 1960's generation was far more egalitarian and less deferential. They mocked the attitudes of their predecessors, and were more interested in the individual experiences of ordinary soldiers, rather than the posterings of upper class politicians and generals. The release of the 26 part, television documentary, 'The Great War', brought a 'dead' conflict to life. Books like Alan Clarke's 'The Donkeys' was a scathing examination of British Generals. Plays like 'Oh What a Lovely War', savaged the futility of war and also satirised the class war within it. Academics revised WW1 further, arguing that 'The Great War', was a war with no moral jusitification, or clear cause. Its pointless carnage was only illuminated by the rediscovery of the long forgotten war poets. These war poets defined the war for an Anti War 1960's generation. Carefully edited selections of war poetry were repackaged, showing a poetic learning curve from Rupert Brook's innocent patriotism, to Siegfried Sassoon's angry satire and then Wilfred Owen's bleak pity and horrors of war. The fact that Wilfred Owen had won the Military Cross for enthusiastically machine gunning the enemy, were conveniently forgotten and his war letters and diaries were doctored to airbrush these memories. Britain's obsession for the soldier poets, shaped how World War One was taught in schools for decades and how the war would be publically remembered. The Great War would now be defined by the horrors of trench life on the Western Front. The 'Blackadder Goes Forth' comedy series, which lampoons British Generals, and has been used as a teaching aid in schools, still echoes public perceptions of the First World War as a war of futile attrition fought by Britain in trenches, on the Western Front. It ignores the fact that the Great War was a global war, fought by many nations, on land, sea and air, throughout the world. The war in fact was won not just by soldiers on the battlefield, but by civilians in the factories at home. By the end of the war, the Allies were maximising resources and out producing the enemy, in every war winning technology - planes, heavy guns, tanks and ships. The Allies were also evolving and sharing new tactics to use these weapons more effectively. The Allies had more manpower than the Central Powers. They had learnt to share their war time responsibilities and could co-ordinate their efforts better than Germany. The Allies in 1918, included America with the most money, France with the biggest army and Britain with the largest Navy, which increasing blockaded the Germans and overwhelmed Germany into submission.
The Legacy of the Great War
While the meaning of the Great War has changed over time, it is possible after 100 years to take a more balanced view. It is becoming accepted that the Great War was not a 'bad' or 'unjust' war, at least from an Allied point of view. It was fought against military aggression and to protect the sovereignty of small states like Belgium, as well as the integrity of British power. What went wrong was the bad peace that followed. We can now remember the scale of sacrifices made at the time, without allowing any doubts about the justice of the war, preventing our respect for the fallen.
The legacy of the Great War still resonates. In Britain, the war helped postpone the considerable domestic strife of 1914. This included increasing industrial strikes, demands for Independence in Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and growing Suffragette militancy. The Great War forged a national identity, which helped sustain the British people through the Second World War and kept the United Kingdom, united for another 50 years. However, the memory of the Great War and its casualties, also made Britain very wary about Europe. It would not be until 1973, that Britain joined a European Union, and Britain is still divided over whether it should remain a part of Europe today. For the first time, the war forced British Government's to intervene in the daily lives of individuals, on a mass scale. Successive generations would come to expect their Governments to expand these powers and responsibilities, and manage national health, welfare and taxation. The war also extended democracy with millions of British Servicemen given the vote for the first time. Some women also achieved more political rights through the First World War. The Great War generated a quantum leap in industry, technology, medicine, culture and international politics, which have all benefited society and daily life in some way.
Although, the First World War did not resolve the problems that had started it, it had a profound change on World history. It firstly contained German and Austrian militarism, (if only for a short time). It moved Europe from an age of Empire, to an era of new Nation States. It gave Eastern Europeans their independence and freedom. It gave a sense of 'National Identity' to Australia, New Zealand, Canada and India. It helped Russia become the world's, first, Communist State and also launched America as a World Super Power. The ideas for which the war was fought over, also endured - Democarcy and Liberalism, religious faith and nationalism. It inspired a 'League Of Nations', a forerunner to the United Nations, as a mechanism to resolve international conflict and promote world peace. Maybe the League of Nations would have prevented a Second World War (939-45), if America had remained part of it? Instead, President, Woodrow Wilson, who had proposed the League of Nations, allowed America to withdraw its' support. Without the United States backing, the League of Nations was powerless to intervene and prevent the rise of fascism. In hindsight, we know that the First World War haunted those that experienced it, and laid the seeds for further world conflict. Revolution, Republicism and Fascism flourished after the Great War and dominated the Twentieth Century.
The First World War resolved few of the grievances that started it. We still live with its unresolved consequences today - with the troubles in Northern Ireland, the Balkans and the Middle East. The 'Great War 1914-18' was not the 'War to End all Wars' - It left dangerous loose ends, and bequeathed the world a terrible message, - that 'Global War can affect change', that 'Global War can fulfill personal ambitions', and that 'Global War can work'. Individuals, like Adolf Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, would rework these lessons, causing great human suffering. Modern dictators and extremists of all kinds, still believe that Global War can work for them.
About the Author
My name is Paul Bishop. I have lived and worked in Hull, for the last 30 years.
My interest in the Hull Memorial started in the mid 1980’s, when I lived in Folkestone Street, off Sculcoates Lane, in Hull. While waiting outside a white, telephone box (this was before mobile phones!), I noticed the 'Great War' memorial, at the entrance of St Mary’s Church, on Sculcoates Lane. There stood in the church yard, a life-size, 'Crucified Christ', carved from solid wood, errected in memory to those lost in the 'Great War'. Inside the church, were the names of 175 men from the Sculcoates Parish, inscribed on a stone pillar, who had died in the First World War. They were just a list of names and no other details.
This seemed an extraordinary, high loss of life, from one Parish. I was curious to find out more about these names. Who were these men, what did they do, where did they live and what happened to them and their families? As many of the houses surrounding the Church were built before the First World War, I was interested to see where the men may have lived in the area?
Answering these questions was difficult. There was no internet, or easy access, to online records, then. I spent hundreds of hours of spare time, in between work, visiting local libraries, researching electoral registers, reading local newspapers, books and military diaries. Copying records by hand was slow, and accessing other records was expensive.
However, as I became more experienced in retrieving and recording information, my research quickened and a fascinating story unfolded of Hull during the First World War. I learnt about Hull, its history and the lives of ordinary people, swept up in a World conflict. I discovered that not only had the First World War had a devastating impact on the Sculcoates area, but the same story was replicated all across Hull. Therefore what started initially as a hobby, to trace a few names on a local war memorial, became over time, a major project, to record all those from Hull that died in the First World War.
However, to really remember the dead it became necessary to find out more about them. War memorials needed to be more than just a list of names. The digital age now allows us to touch a name on a memorial, and produce a photograph, or share a link, to a personal story, that we can all connect with. I therefore developed the 'Kingston upon Hull, Memorial 1914-18', to make all local memorials more interactive. It was a journey that took me on many paths, exploring memorials, churches, workplaces, and cemeteries. I even visited the battlefields abroad where Hull men had fought and died.
The name of the ‘ww1hull.org.uk’ website is easy to remember. WW1Hull, does what it says, organising all the information on Hull, in World War One. It records all the details from Hull’s many WW1 memorials, and arranges the names of the dead by street. It links each name to a satelite map, so it can be seen where they lived, and every day, remembers the names of Hull men, who died on this day during the War. This enables the reader to assess the impact of the war on Hull communities.
All the names of the dead are listed to emphasize their existence as individuals. Where possible, some personal information has been provided, on each man, to highlight the enormity of their loss, to those that they left behind..
The reader can search the database, in may ways, by name, by street, by regiment, or the date died. They can also discover more about Hull, during the 'Great War', on a variety of links to other sources.
My website is free to use. There are no charges or fees required, to access this information. My many years of research, are my gift to the City, as Hull is my home and its' people have been good to me. It seems appropriate to release this information, now in 2014, in line with the Centenary Anniversary, of the start of the First World War. I also hope it will increase our understanding of Hull's history, and complement the wider work, of Hull as the City of Culture in 2017.
I must sincerely thank and acknowledge all the help past and present, from individuals and organizations, that lent support and provided information to this work. They are many and they know who they are. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the work of Malcolm and Mary Mann, who many years ago, took it upon themselves, to visit memorials and record their details by hand. I never met them, but their efforts inspired this work, and I hope they would approve. I also thank Chris Smith, from 'virtual riders', who designed this site, and the 'Goodwin Centre' who first took an interest in my work. Also, all the sterling assistance, provided by Hull City Council's Library staff; the Hull History Center; the Commonwealth War Graves Commission; and the Imperial War Museum. However, this is just the start. It is hoped that in time, more records, stories and photographs will be added to the website, in order to make this a comprehensive and accurate record of Hull in the First World War.
Every person recorded on the Hull Memorial has their own unique story and there are over eight thousand stories to tell. The potential of all these people was lost to the world, but they are remembered here, now.
Im Memory of my Grandmother, Phyllis Gladwin, who helped raise me,
and her Grandfather, Petty Officer, William Littleford, 14147, Royal Navy, HMS 'Clan McNaughton', lost at sea, 3rd February 1915, aged 55, (No Survivors):
her Uncles, Gunner, Edward John Parker, 940567, Royal Field Artillery. 'D' Bty, 4th (London) Howitzer Bde, died of wounds 9th July 1916, aged 18 years, buried Warlincourt Military cemetery, France; and,
Private, Ernest Raymond Middleton, 40662, Middlesex Regiment 12th Bn, killed 15th January 1917, aged 19, buried Puchervillers Military cemetery, Somme,
and her husband, Cpl, Frank Edward Nash, 1460102, Royal Air Force, killed 30th August 1944, aged 35, buried Les Authieux Churchyard, France.
Also to other relatives:-
Private, Leonard Edward Nash, 225101, Royal Fusiliers (City of London) 1st Bn, died of wounds 21st July 1917, aged 19, buried Wimereaux.
Sgt, Herbert James Clarke, 358, Royal Fusiliers 10th Bn, killed in action, 10th July 1916, buried Becourt cemetery, Somme.
L/Cpl, Sam Lister, 15200, West Riding regiment 10th Bn, killed in action ,10th July 1916, aged 28, Thiepval, Somme
Private, Joseph Lister, 205365, West Riding Regiment 2/5th Bn, died of wounds, 22nd November 1917, aged 22, Rocquigny cemetery, Somme.
Private, Arthur Lister, 161817, West Yorkshire Regiment 10th Bn, killed in action, 23rd April 1918, aged 22, Forceville cemetery, Somme.
Private, Harry William Bishop, 1624, Australian Infantry, AIF, 44th Bn, killed in action, 11th October 1917, aged 42, Ypres (Menin Gate).
They gave their tomorrow, for my today.
Author and Researcher
Air Raids on Hull
Britain was the first county in history to experience widespread strategic bombing of civilians. Two large, rigid air ships, named Zeppelins L3 & L4, after their creator Count Ferdinand Von Zeppelin, dropped bombs on eastern coastal towns in January 1915. They caused casualties in Great Yarmouth and Kings Lynn.
As in the Second World War, the Humber estuary and River Hull made the City an easy target for aircraft to find and attack. Hull quickly established its own Anti Aircraft Unit to defend against attack. Stentorian Buzzers, or steam whistles were created to warn citizens of attack. Hull created the largest buzzer ever called 'Big Lizzie' and the ‘Hull Mail’ reported the following on 25th January 1915 – “ Arousing the Public in the event of certain happenings, for which the Germans will be responsible, the public at Hull are to be warned by the shrill blast of steam whistles. The steam organ valve whistles are being supplied by Messers George Clark and sons, Waterhouse Lane. The type to be used in Hull are 6in in diameter.” (Hull's 'Big Lizzie' Buzzer below)
Zeppelin raids caused widespread fear among the civillian population and during 1915 careful preparation was made to manage the impact of air raids. Hull was divided into six districts - West, North West, Central, North East, East and the River section. Air raid drills were established and if an alarm was raised, 3,000 volunteer Special Constables would turnout to patrol the streets and ensure all lights were put out. Lights on the ground could help Zeppelins work out where they were, so it was important to have a complete blackout. Hundreds of Boy Scouts were used as dispatch riders, messengers and stretcher bearers. During 1915, 25 dessing stations were established in all parts of the City, staffed by Doctors and Members of the St John’s Ambulance Association to administer First Aid. By 1916, Britain also developed guns and searchlights to help defend against Zeppelins. They realised that the Zeppelin balloons were vulnerable to explosive shells which set light to the Hydrogen inside. Hull's defences for the first two years were controlled by General Ferrier and the practice was to sound the alarm as soon as aircraft were sighted. However, when Major General Sir Stanley Von Donop took over control, alarms were not sounded until danger threatened the City. This saved much inconvenience.
(A photograph of damage caused by the Zeppelin raid on Edwin Place, Porter Street, Hull in 1916 Three people were killed and several injured here)
The first of eight Zeppelin raids on Hull, began on 5/6th June 1915 and the lighting restrictions imposed made Hull “the darkest city in the Kingdom” for the rest of the war. Capable of travelling at around 85 miles per hour and carrying up to two tons of bombs, Zeppelins wreaked havoc on a largely unprotected Hull. Dropping incendaries and exposives from heights of around 3,000 feet, they sparked raging fires, damaging many buildings, including the Holy Trinity Church. These air attacks were a new and terrifying experience for Hull civilians. There were no Air Raid shelters, people used Pickering Park and Mr TR Ferens East Hull stables or hid under the stairs as protection from this 'death from the skies'. Lack of knowledge intensified fear. Parents told their children to be quiet or whisper, in case they attracted a bomb. Clocks were stopped to avoid their 'ticking' giving a signal to the enemy. While many of the air raids were aimed at Hull's docks, the bombs inevitably fell on the overcrowded houses nearby. This caused great panic and hardship to the densely packed communities. Over 160 Hull citizens became casualties in these air raids during World War 1.On one particular Monday there were 14 false alarms. (The phot below shows First World War zeppelin bomb damage to 102 Great Thornton Street. Note a bedroom interior with a hole in the ceiling and floor 1915.First World War zeppelin bomb damage to 102 Great Thornton Street. Shows a bedroom interior with a hole in the ceiling and floor 1915.)
In all, there were 51 air attack warnings and at least eight air attacks on Hull during the First World War.
1. The first air raid in Hull occurred on Sunday 5th June 1915 at midnight. The alarm buzzers had previously blown five times before, and as nothing had happened, many people ignored the alarm. The Zeppelin L.9, commanded by Captain Heinrich Mathy, had been prevented from reaching London by high winds. It was spotted flying over Hedon at 11.45pm, and arrived over the sleeping City of Hull, two minutes later. The air raid lasted 30 minutes, cruising back and forth over the city, dropping 13 high explosives and 47 incendiaries. These bombs in sequence hit Constable Street, Coltman Street, Campbell Street, South Parade, Porter Street, Queens Street, Blanket Row, East Street, and Waller Street. The last bomb fell in the Humber Dock, damaging a cargo ship called the 'Crocus'. Forty shops were destroyed, including the large Edwin Davis shop in Queen Street.
2. Holy Trinity church was also bombed causing £100,000 in damage. One bomb left a hole in the High Street, some 20 feet in diameter and 8 feet deep which disrupted traffic. After half an hour of bombing, the Zeppelin L.9, headed home around 12.20am. The air raid killed 24 Hull people and injured another 40 civilians. Among the deaths were a father and two daughters in Campbell Street, two children burnt to death in South Parade, two brothers in Blanket Row and a mother and son in Waller Street. The raid provoked much anti German feeling in Hull and led to riots, which targeted German sounding property. Another raid by the Zeppelin L.9, intended for Hull on 9th August 1915, was blown off course and bombed Goole instead. It killed 16 civilians.
3. The 5th March 1916, was a snowy Sunday evening, when the air raid started at 12 midnight. Two Zeppelins, the L.11 & the L.14, unable to reach Rosyth in Scotland, due to high winds, began to bomb Hull instead. The attack lasted over an hour. In Queens Street a café, a Co-operative branch and several shops were totally destroyed. Railings at the South West corner of Holy Trinity Church were uprooted and the great West window was broken causing £25,000 damage. Houses were bombed in Linnaeus Street, Porter Street, Queens Street, Church Street, and Selby Street. Earle’s Shipyard was also hit. In all 17 civilians were killed, including three sisters in Linnaeus Street and a mother and her 4 children at 32 Collier Street. There were also another 52 people injured. The frustration of citizens at the complete lack of defences led to several disturbances. A Royal Flying Corp vehicle in Hull was stoned by an angry mob and a flying Officer was attacked in Beverley. As a result, mobile guns and searchlights arrived in Hull on 16th March 1916.
4. On 5th April 1916 at 9.10pm, the Zeppelin L.11 returned to Hull and at a height of 12,000 feet was caught in searchlights and hit. It dropped to about 6.000 feet. Only one bomb was dropped in Hull which damaged a private house in Portobello Street. No one was killed or injured, but Jesse Mathews from Barnsley Street died of shock.
5. On 8-9th August 1916 the Zeppelin L.24 attacked Hull. This later became known as the 'Selby Street Raid', killing between 8 or 10 people and injuring 20 more. It was a dark, cloudy Tuesday night, but when the clouds lifted at midnight, the Zeppelin L.24, returning home from an inland raid, attacked Hull at 1.15am. It dropped high explosive and incendiary bombs on Anlaby Road and the railway, causing damage and deaths in Selby Street, Sandringham Street and Linnaeus Street. The deaths included two mothers and their daughters and three year old John Broadley at 4 Roland Avenue, Arthur Street. Two people also died of shock and another 20 civilians were injured. Many sought safety in the country and spent the night in fields and parks.
(The destruction of the Edwin Davis Store, in front of Holy Trinity Church, Hull. The Zeppelins used bombs in all shapes and sizes)
6. On 24th September 1917 at 2.50am, the Zeppelin L.41, dropped a total of 16 bombs on South Parade, St James Street, Landsdowne Street and Fountain Street. There was little damage. The only casualty was a chicken which unfortunately was killed.
7. Tuesday, 12th March 1918, was a dark, cloudy and drizzly night. At about 1.15am the Zeppelin L.63 appeared from Hornsea and dropped six bombs on Hull. These fell on some allotments in Southcoates Avenue, and damaged a large number of glass windows in the locality. Another six bombs fell in Sutton & Swine. The bombs killed a cow, damaged gardens in Cottingham and created a huge crator in Warne. One person died of shock and 3 were injured.
8. The 5th August 1918 was a Bank Holiday and the last recorded raid on Hull. It was very clear night and the Zeppelin arrived at about 1 am. It was caught in the search light and only managed to drop a smoke bomb before it was driven away. There were no casualties.
Hull endured up to 50 air raid warnings between 12th April 1915 to 5th August 1918. Most of the air raid warnings were false alarms, but Hull was unfortunate, as it became a target for many of the air raid attacks by accident when the zeppelins were unable to reach their intended target. The Raids left a trail of death and destruction. The following are some citizen stories reported in the Hull Daily Mail.
6th June 1915.
Mrs Websdale, of 23 Bright Street, said her husband was on duty as a Special Constable. Around midnight a bomb fell on no 30, but it did not wake her son who was asleep in the attic. Two bombs fells on Hewetson & Co's sawmills and reduced it to ruins. The Zeppelin hovered over the area for some time and the Reckitt's factory had a narrow escape from destruction. The extent of damage at the sawmills was £10,000 and a large amount of valuable machinery was destroyed. Mrs Bielby of 1 Church Street, told how she and her family were sleeping, when a bomb dropped at the entrance of the terrace and shook the houses so violently that they had to be rebuilt. A huge hole was made in the ground.
Annie Nix, of 15 East Street, said that a bomb fell at Nos: 10 and 12, killing Jane (45) and George Hill who were in bed. They were taken to St Peter's Church. Edward Jordan (10) of No: 11 Ella Street was also killed and three children Willie, Florrie and Elsie were injured.
Mr Russell of Waller Street, said a bomb fell in the middle of Walter's Terrace, demolishing 4 houses on each side. Eliza Slade (54) was killed at No 4, as were a mother and daughter at No; 3. Florence White (30) and her son George (3) and Alfred Mathews at No:11 were also killed. An incendiary bomb dropped on a house in Ellis Terrace and one woman did not find her three children until a fortnight later, when it was found that they had been badly injured and were in the Naval Hospital on Anlaby Road.
At South Parade, a bomb dropped at No:50, where two children were asleep with their mother. The children were burned to death, but the mother escaped. The children were Maurice (11) and Violet (8) Richardson. Their father was away in the army. Three Houses in St Thomas Terrace, Campbell Street, were wrecked by a bomb falling on No: 2. William Walker (62), and his daughters Alice (30) and Millicent (17), were killed. One of the girls' bodies was blown on to the lower roof of St Thomas's Church, which had a narrow escape from destruction. At Regent Street, an incendiary bomb was seen to fall in the back yard of Mr Francis Ford, of No: 89. He immediately got out of bed and threw a bucket of water on the blazing missile and extinguished it. This action undoubtedly, saved many lives and valuable property. Mr Burns of Wheatly & Co, Mytongate, reported on the attack on the Corn Exchange Hotel. An Incendiary bomb went through the roof, ceiling and sitting room and finished in an upholstered divan chair. No doubt the copper springs in the chair lessened the shock of the fall, averting very serious damage. A fire started at the pub which was quickly extinguished on arrival of the fire brigade.
Bomb damage, Queen Street, Hull.
2nd September 1917.
John Ramsden, of Aberdeen Street said he saw the Zeppelin came to Hull from the east, but was driven away by gunfire. He later learned one of its petro tanks had been shot away and found in a field in Hornsea.
12 March 1918.
Mrs Ellis, of Whitworth Street, Southcoates Lane, narrowly escaped death. She was walking towards the back door when a bomb fell in the rear garden. She heard a rushing sound and instantly threw herself to the ground, pulling her hat over her eyes. Pieces of the bomb went through the walls behind her, tore a huge piece of stonework from the front bedroom window ledge and threw it into the gateway. Every slate fell from the roof, but Mrs Ellis was unscathed.
Mrs Dick, of 62 Southcoates Avenue, said window frames were blown out and she found a large piece of bomb in her garden. The canary in its cage in front of the window was uninjured and was afterwards nicknamed 'Zeppelin Dick'.
Miss Ellerby, of Southcoates Avenue, was in a cupboard when the bomb dropped. The walls were cracked and doors ripped off. Forty five buckets of debris were carried out of the front room.
As well as a number of Streets bombed and houses destroyed, some principal buildings damaged included Paragon Station, the Naval Hospital, Holy Trinity Church, and Earle’s Shipyard. Prominent Shops such Edwin Davis’s in the Market Place, Messers J Good & Son, and Hewetson’s Saw Mills were destroyed. There were also some narrow misses at Ranks Flour Mill, Monument Bridge, Princes Dock and the new Guildhall. There were occasions were bombs failed to explode at Coltman Street, Bean Street and Argyle Street. In total, 43 Hull people were killed, 13 died of shock and 115 were injured in Zeppelin Air Raids on Hull. Amongst those killed were 21 women and 17 children, including several families.
In all, Zeppelins made 51 attacks on England, from a total of 159 air raids during the war. These killed 557 and injured another 1,358 people. Among the casualties was Mrs Lena Gilbert Ford, who wrote the patriotic war time song, 'Keep the Home Fires Burning'. Mrs Ford and her thirty-year-old son Walter were the first United States citizens to become fatalities of a German air raid. Their London home being hit by one of two bombs, that fell on the city on 7 March 1918. Mrs. Brown, Ford's mother, was only hurt in the bombing. Their remains were returned to and interred in the United States. In all, more than 5,000 bombs were dropped on towns across Britain, causing £1.5 million in damage. 84 airships took part, of which 30 were lost, either shot down or lost in accidents. Aeroplanes carried out 27 raids, dropping 246,774 lb (111,935 kg) of bombs for the loss of 62 aircraft, resulting in 835 deaths, 1,972 injured and £1,418,272 of material damage. The 159 German air raids against England in WWI, resulted in 1,413 deaths and 3,409 injuries, mostly civilians. Damage from Air Raids was estimated to cost some £3 million.
(Photos shows the destruction as a result of the attack of the L.9 on the night of 6th June, 1915.)
Related links - Thank You to Robert Searle from the BBC, the Hull Daily Mail and Others for the following Zeppelin Links
1. Hull's First, forgotten Blitz - http://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/Hull-Blitz-Zeppelins-brought-horror-WW1-home/story-22054506-detail/story.html
2. Kapitanleutnant Heinrich Mathy (1883-1916) - Commander of the L9 Zeppelin which bombed Hull - http://www.gwpda.org/bio/m/mathy.html
3. The 100th Aniversary of Zeppelin Raids on Hull - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02syysz
Please also find BBC Radio Humberside’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/bbcradiohumberside?fref=ts
And the Twitter page, using the hashtag #hullzeppelin throughout the anniversary commemoration, https://twitter.com/RadioHumberside
Please get involved how you can. The Zeppelin raid story must be told as part of Hull's history, and social media is the best way of achieving this aim.
4. The Hull Zeppelin Raids 1915-18 Paperback – 1 Jun 2014 by
Hull Civilians killed in Air Raids during World War One
(Names, Age in brackets and their Address)
Maurice Richardson (11) - 50 South Parade
Violet Richardson (8) – 50 South Parade
Tom Stamford (46) - 5 Blanket Row
Ellen Temple (50) - 20 St James Square, St James Street
Elizabeth Picard Foreman (39) – 37 Walker Street
Sarah Ann Scott (86) – The Poplars, Durham Street
Johanna Harman (67) – 93 Arundel Street
Jane Hill (45) - 12 East Street
George Hill (48) - 12 East Street
Eliza Slade (54) - 4 Walter's Terrace, Waller Street
Florence White (30) - 3 Waller Street
George Issac White (3) - 3 Waller Street
Alfred Mathews (60) - 11 Waller Street
William Walker (62) - 2 St Thomas Terrace, Campbell Street
Alice Priscilla Walker (30) - 2 St Thomas Terrace, Campbell Street
Millicent Walker (17) - 2 St Thomas Terrace, Campbell Street
Norman Mullins (10) – 39 Blanket Row
George Mullins (15) – 39 Blanket Row
William Watson (67) - 21 Edwin's Place, Porter Street
Annie Watson (58) - 21 Edwin's Place, Porter Street
Georgina Cunningham (27) – 22 Edwin's Place, Porter Street
Emma Pickering (68) - Sarah's Terrace, Porter Street
Edwin Jordan (10) - 11 East Street
Hannah Mitchell (42) – 5 Alexandra terrace, Woodhouse Street
Edward Cook (38) – 33 Lukes Street
John Longstaff (71) – 6 William's Place, Upper Union Street
Lotte Ingamells (28) - 8 The Avenue, Linnaeus Street
Ethel Mary Ingamells (33) - 8 The Avenue, Linnaeus Street
Martha Rebecca Ingamells (35) - 8 The Avenue, Linnaeus Street
Edward Slip (45) - 23 Queen Street
Edward Ledner (89) – Trinity House, Carr Lane (Now the Admiral Pub)
Robert Cattle (48) - Little Humber Street
Frank Cattle (8) - Little Humber Street
James William Collinson (63) – 14 Johns Place, Regent Street
George Henry Youell (40) – 4 Post Office Entry, High Street
Charlotte Naylor (30) – 32 Collier Street
Ruby Naylor(8) – 32 Collier Street
Annie Naylor (6) – 32 Collier Street
Edward Naylor (4) – 32 Collier Street
Jeffery Naylor (2) – 32 Collier Street
James Pattison (68) – 33 Regent Street
John Smith (30) – 2 Queens Alley, Blackfriargate
The Rev, Arthur Wilcockson (86) - 32 Granville Street
Mary Louise Bearpark (44) - 35 Selby Street
Emmie Bearpark (14) - 35 Selby Street
John Charles Broadley (3) - 4 Roland Avenue, Arthur Street
Rose Alma Hall (31) - 61 Selby Street
Elizabeth Hall (9) - 61 Selby Street
Mary Hall (7) - 61 Selby Street
Charles Lingard (64) - 61 Walliker Street
Emma Louise Evers (46) - 25 Brunswick Avenue, Walliker Street
Esther Stobbart (31) – 13 Henry's Terrace, Wassand Street
Died of Shock
William Jones (80) – The Almshouses, Posterngate
Jane Booth (51) – 2 Alma Street
Sarah Masterman (58) – 9 Humber Avenue, Scarborough Street
William Clarkson (62) – 2 Adderbury Grove
Jesse Mathews (1) – 11 Cotton Terrace, Barnsley Street
Alice Maud Brown
Alice Maud Brown married Stephen Johnson on the 31st January 1916 at St Mathews Church, Anlaby Road. Her husband was killed soon after serving with the East Yorkshires, on the 10th September 1916. His name is remembered by her on the memorial inside the church.