Kingston upon Hull War Memorial 1914 - 1918

The story of Hull in World War One

Our Loss

A great many people from Hull lost their lives in World War 1. 

There are over a hundred families on the Hull Memorial that lost two or more of their family. Each was an individual tragedy.

What follows here are snippets about some of those people.

Over, 7,500 Hull men died in the First World War. Over 1,200 of these were sailors working with the fishing fleet, or serving with the Merchantile Marine, the Royal Navy and the Royal Navy Reserve. They carried out vital war work, bringing in supplies, transporting troops and minesweeping the seas

There were nearly another 1,500 men who were born in Hull, but who lived elsewhere. They died fighting for Australia, Canada, New Zealand and America. There are many others, who enlisted in Hull or who were associated with the City, but are not usually remembered on Hull war memorials. As Hull had four large hospitals and was the port of entry for repatriated prisoner of wars, servicemen from all over the world are buried in Hull. 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. Some families lost three sons, other Hull families lost four sons, including all their children in the First World War. 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, of illness. 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, whose deaths were reported in the local newspapers. 

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Defence of the Realm Act (DORA)

New Laws.

The Government introduced new laws to help pay for and win the war. This started with the 'Defence of the Realm Act or (DORA) in 1914'. Basic tax increased from 6% to 30% and the number of people in Britain who paid tax, tripled to 3.5 million. Clocks went forward to make the most of daylight hours. Image result for defence of the realm act picsThe Government took over coal mines, shipping, railways and land to secure supplies and food production. It set up 'state run', munitions factories and worked with Trade Unions to prevent strikes. All beaches along the East Coast were closed during the war. 

Trivial peacetime activities which were banned, included using fireworks, flying kites, starting bonfires, buying binoculars, feeding wild animals bread, discussing naval and military matters or buying alcohol on public transport. People were not allowed to whistle for a Taxis in case this sounded like an air raid 


alarm, or loiter around railways and tunnels. You could not spread rumours, trespass on railway lines and bridges, ring church bells, melt down gold, or silver, or use invisible ink when writing abroad. Alcoholic beverages were watered down and pub opening times were restricted to noon–3pm and 6:30pm–9:30pm (the requirement for an afternoon gap in permitted hours, lasted in England until the Licensing Act 1988 was brought into force). The law was designed to help prevent invasion and to keep morale at home high. It imposed censorship of journalism and of letters coming home from the front line. The press was subject to controls on reporting troop movements, numbers or any other operational information that could be exploited by the enemy. People who breached the regulations with intent to assist the enemy could be sentenced to death. It is estimated that almost one million people were arested for breacing DORA rules and 11 'German Spies' were executed under the regulations. Though some provisions of Dora may seem strange, they did have their purposes. Flying a kite or lighting a bonfire could attract Zeppelins, and after rationing was introduced in 1917, feeding wild animals was a waste of food. 

The DORA legislation was amended six times during the war, to increase social control, help prevent invasion and keep morale high. Curfews were introduced and their was censorship of letters and newspapers. Germans living in the City could be interned. Pubs shut at 11pm for the first time, and 'treating' or buying your friends a round of drinks was banned. New factories were built with work canteens, wash rooms for women and even creches for children of working mothers. Exempted trades or reserved occupations were introduced. On 27th January, 1916, there was compulsory conscription of single men, aged between 18 and 41 years. Four months later, this conscription was extended to married men. In May 1916, clocks were brought forward for the first time, to maximise working daylight hours. 'Blackouts' were introduced in certain towns to protect against air raids. People were fined or faced imprisonment for breaking any one of hundreds of new regulations. In Hull, fines of 10 shilling and sixpence were imposed for breaching lighting restrictions, and £5 fines were not uncommon. Though DORA met with some criticism and opposition, in general the British reaction to DORA was resignation if not acceptance. DORA was designed to represent the government’s preparedness and seriousness in response to the war, and accordingly was seen by many as a necessary sacrifice. Many of the intrusive elements of DORA were abandoned after the war, but it is interesting exploring those that were kept, including the ending of public access to railway lines and areas of sea ports.

10 surprising Laws passed in the First World War.'Eat Less Bread' poster

The outbreak of war in 1914 brought many new rules and regulations to Britain. The most important of these was the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA), passed on 8 August 1914 ‘for securing public safety’. DORA gave the government the power to prosecute anybody whose actions were deemed to ‘jeopardise the success of the operations of His Majesty’s forces or to assist the enemy’. This gave the act a very wide interpretation. It regulated virtually every aspect of the British home front and was expanded as the war went on. Here are a few of the surprising measures introduced by DORA - some of which still affect life in Britain today.

 1. WhistlingWhistling for London taxis was banned in case it should be mistaken for an air raid warning. Britons were banned from talking on the phone in a foreign language, buying binoculars or hailing a cab at night.

2. Loitering. People were forbidden to loiter near bridges and tunnels or to light bonfires.

3. Clocks Go Forward. British Summer Time was instituted in May 1916 to maximise working hours in the day, particularly in agriculture.

4. Drinking. Claims that war production was being hampered by drunkenness led to pub opening times and alcohol strength being reduced. The ‘No treating order’ also made it an offence to buy drinks for others.

5. Drugs. Possession of cocaine or opium, other than by authorised professionals, such as doctors, became a criminal offence.

Blackouts. A blackout was introduced in certain towns and cities to protect against air raids.

7. Press Censorship. Press censorship was introduced, severely limiting the reporting of war news. Many publications were also banned. 

8. Postal Censorship. Private correspondence was also censored. Military censors examined 300,000 private telegrams in 1916 alone.

9. White Flour. Fines were issued for making white flour instead of wholewheat and for allowing rats to invade wheat stores. Further restrictions on food production eventually led to the introduction of rationing in 1918.

10. Foreign Nationals. DORA put restrictions on the movement of foreign nationals from enemy countries. The freedom of such ‘aliens’ was severely restricted, with many interned. Passports were invented to control people's movements.

PopagandaA compilation of recruitment postersDuring the First World War, propaganda was employed on a global scale. Unlike previous wars, this was the first total war, in which whole nations and not just professional armies were locked in mortal combat. This (and subsequent modern wars) required propaganda to mobilise hatred against the enemy; to convince the population of the justness of the cause; to enlist the active support and cooperation of neutral countries; and to strengthen the support of allies. Government's  tried hard to persuade people to think in a certain way. This is called propaganda. The British Govenment created 'The Ministry for Information' to produce propaganda. This was directed by the Canadian newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook and actively influenced public opinion towards the war, using posters, news articles, and new mediums, like cinema film. For example, posters were printed that made the army look exciting. Other posters told men it was their duty to join and they would feel proud if they did.Some posters even tried to make them feel guilty, saying that their children would be embarrassed if their father had done nothing in the war. The messages were simple; support your country, support your soldiers, support your family, enlist, contribute, work. Posters were colourful and caught the eye, they were also everywhere.Stories about bad things the Germans had done were also encouraged. The Government knew people would be angry and even frightened. Everyone would want Britain to win the war and make the Germans pay for the dreadful things they were supposed to have done. Many of the tales were untrue. The Germans told the same stories about the British.


Access to the front was strictly controlled and journalists were frequently given stories and facts to publish by official press contacts; in the early years of the war, the British government for example, continually put a positive spin on the bad news from the front, casting every failed battle as a heroic last stand. To bolster public hatred against the enemy, both sides also turned to atrocity propaganda, spreading stories about rape, murder, and torture to ensure that the civilians at home continued to call for war against the “savage Huns” or “British dogs”. As the war dragged on, civilians and soldiers became increasingly distrustful of official news and the use of propaganda became subtler and more refined. By the end of the war, winning hearts and minds was just as important as winning a battle, and propaganda at a national scale became an essential prt of any military action.

Prices, Tax and Food Rationing  

In Hull, income tax increased as did the number of people paying it. Whilst wages improved, many goods were more expensive and became unaffordable. Income tax increased five times between 1914-1918 and was paid by twice as many people. It would never fall to pre-war levels againDuring the war, prices increased on all the basics: rent, fuel and clothing, as well as food. However, food prices increased most sharply and continously throughout the war, sometimes at an alarming rate. Food prices overall rose by 60%, sugar, eggs and meat prices increased by 400%. Food became a growing concern for people, not just the quantity, but the quality. There were no fridges or freezers to preserve food, all food was perishible, and therefore had to be brought fresh and daily. Food became increasingly scarce due to enemy attacks on shipping and a poor harvest in 1916. These shortages provoked frustration, food queues and hoarding. Parliament announced in 1916 that there were only six weeks of food left in the country. The Government limited the number of food courses that could be served at meals in resturants and hotels. In 1917 the havests also failed in France and Italy. Considerable supplies of food also had to bediverted to those countries. To prevent Britain being starved into submission, the Government built more merchant ships, developed the convoy system, set up the Women's Land Army and introduced allotments, to help increase food production. Despite appeals for people to cut down on food, potatoes, sugar, butter and margarine were in great demand and very scarce. Food rationing was introduced for the first time, in Britain, in February 1918. This started with sugar, and then restrictions on meat, butter, jam, and margerine. Cheese and tea were rationed locally. Ration coupons were issued to control rising food prices and share out limited food supplies fairly. Ration cards were issued and people registered with a local butcher or grocer. The weekly ration was set at 15 ounces of meat, five ounces of bacon and four ounces of butter or margarine. With rationing, food queues disappeared and everyone received a fair share. Prices kept high, but the threat of shortages was averted.null

The Government set up 363 'National Kitchens', including one in Hull, to feed people during World War One. These improved diets, cut down food waste and proved hugely popular. A bowl of soup, a joint of meat and a portion of side vegetables cost 6d - just over £1 in today's money. Puddings, scones and cakes could be bought for as little as 1d (about 18p). These self-service restaurants, run by local workers and partly funded by government grants, offered simple meals at subsidised prices. A 1918 'Scarborough Post' story about the national kitchen in Hull emphasised the ambition of the typical urban outlet: "The place has the appearance of being a prosperous confectionery and cafe business. The business done is enormous."

Executed at Dawn

Pte, Charles Frederick McColl, 11/81, 1/4th East Yorkshire Regiment, was executed for desertion in 1917, aged 26. He was the son of Annie McCol of 6 Bramhan Avenue, Woodhouse Street, Hull. Little is known about his early life. McColl had three sisters and a brother, who at some time lived at 209 Hedon Road, Hull. The 1911 Census, records him as a nineteen year old, ship plater for Earle's Shipyard, and boarding at 100 Egton Street, Hull. At the outbreak of war, McColl gave up his reserved occupation, to enlist in the 11th EYR, on the 7th September 1914. This was the 2nd Hull Pals or 'Tradesman' Battalion. Initially McColl was like the rest, but between the 25th March 1915 to 24 February 1917, he committed a number of offences during training, prior to his execution. 

Charles Frederick McColl

The Public Records Office show these offences, as being absent without leave, being late for parade, stealing four eggs, being drunk and disorderly, and travelling by rail from Newcastle to Hull, without a valid train ticket.

As a consequence of these misdemeanors, McColl did not leave with the battalion to Egypt, but remained stationed at home. Records after this are scarce, but it is believed McColl went to France in April 1916. He was buried by a shell, at Neuve Chapelle, in September 1916 and invalided home suffering from 'heart failure and nervousness'. He was returned to France without a medical examination and posted not with the 2nd Hull Pals, which he had trained with, but the 1/4th EYR, a Territorial battalion. He 'absented himself without permission' on the 22nd July 1917 and was caught later at Etaples, on the 25th August 1917. He was tried on the 13th September 1917 and given 10 years imprisonment, suspended on condition that he returned to front line duties. He absconded again a week later, on the 22nd September 1917 and was arrested 3 miles behind the line, the same day. On the 11th October 1917, he received 90 days Field Punishment No:1, for being 'Absent without Permission'. Before his punishment was carried out, he deserted again on the 28th October 1917, this time leaving his rifle and equipment behind in the support trenches, at the Houlthult Forest, during the Third Battle of Ypres. This was his final transgression. He was arrested  by the Military Police at Calais, on the 1st November 1917. He is believed to have lived with a woman at Calais and was trying to make his way back to England by entering a Rest Camp. On his arrest for desertion, Private McColl entered a plea of 'Not Guilty'.

The Court Martial was presided over by Major Graham, of the 5th Yorkshire Regiment. The other three members of the court were Captain Pollock, of the 4th East Yorkshire Regiment, Lt., Morrison, of the 5th Durham Light Infantry, and Captain Baker. The witnesses called, were Platoon Sergeant, Len Cavinder, of the of 4th East Yorkshire Regiment, who had reported McColl missing in the trenches and L/Cpl Dearing, of the Military Foot Police, who arrested McColl asking directions to the Rest Camp.  At his trial, no medical evidence was available and McColl called no witnesses. On Oath, Private McColl stated:

"I was brought out of the guard room before going up to the line and was in a weak position. This was about 26th October 1917. We marched up to Marsoin Farm, I had complaints brought on by shell fire. I have heart failure and nervousness. I have been with this battalion 6 months, but only reported sick once. I always shake from head to foot when we go into the trenches.

I enlisted in September 1914 and went to Egypt in November 1915 and came to France in April 1916. I was buried by a shell at Colincamps in September 1916 with the12th East Yorks. I was on two or three raids and then my nerves went. I was invalided home in September 1916 suffering from heart failure and nervousness and was classified A3 at the finish and sent back to France without any medical examination. Since joining this battalion, I have tried to do my best. When I went off, they dropped shells all around me and this upset me more and more and I wandered away. At Calais I was in a weak condition and handed myself in to the Military Police. I am not fit now. I had a knock on the head from a shell in BUS wood."

Private McColl was then cross examined by the prosecutor and stated:"I have been in front line trenches with this battalion on about 6 different occasions. I have been here since July. The trenches I was in were at places I can't remember. One place was Bullfinch Trench, I was there 8 days. Another was Jackdaw Trench."

The Court called for medical evidence, but none was available. In his final statement, McColl pleaded for leniency:

"I came from an exempted trade – shipyard plater – to join the army voluntarily in 1914. I am the only support of my mother who is a widow. I have tried to do my best."
Private McColl was found 'Guilty of Desertion'. The Sentence of Death was soon confirmed by Field Marshall Douglas Haig.

Charles McColl had not been told of his fate when he was taken to Ypres gaol. Sergeant, Cavinder and Private, Danby had the job of keeping him quiet, to which end, they had been given half a bottle of scotch and some sleeping tablets. 

Cavinder later recalled events on the night before the execution, “At midnight, in came a string of brigade officers and the captain in charge of the firing party, and I was told to stand him to attention. They read out the sentence of death, signed by King George V. I’ll never forget that. The prisoner nearly went raving mad.” 

The Sergeant – himself a teetotaller – tried to give Pte, McColl, whisky, mixed with Laudanum tablets containing morphine to calm his nerves. But McColl, minutes away from his own death, was too shaken to take it. “He started to cry and I got the bottle of whisky out,” Sgt, Cavinder said. “He wouldn’t drink the blinking stuff. If I could have got him drunk, I would have done.” The pair’s meeting was then interrupted by a priest, who was horrified to see drink being offered as a comfort to the prisoner. The Padre threatened to report Sgt, Cavinder to the authorities. “You can do what you like,” the Sergeant replied. When McColl calmed down, the Padre talked to McColl, but instead of supporting him, told him that he deserved to die. At this point Cavinder thought it necessary to take over and try to calm McColl down again. At 7am, two Military Policemen entered the cell and placed a gas mask, backwards over McColl's head, so he could not see what was happening. They then pinned a piece of paper over McColl's heart. Cavinder shook hands with McColl, before they manacled his hands behind him. McColl was taken to the execution area and sat on a chair, with his hands behind the back of the chair. McColl was executed by ten men from his own company, five kneeling and five standing. Only five of the ten rifles were loaded with live ammunition. The ten man firing squad consisted of seven members of the 'Black Hand Gang'. These were former Hull Dockers and the toughest men in the Battalion. They were use to doing the dirtiest of jobs and invariably did the trench raiding. The firing party took aim, and on the command of 'Fire!', executed Private McColl, at 7.41am, on the 28th December 1917.  McColl died instantly. The men who shot McColl were dismissed and later given a extra dose of rum. After the firing party had left, the RAMC were supposed to bury Private McColl, but after they had unmanicled him and put him on a stretcher, they too left. It was therefore up to Cavinder and Danby to drop McColl's body into a previously dug grave. No Padre was present, so Cavinder muttered some words and they covered the body with frozen clods of clay as best they could. McColl's Company Commander, Captain, Cecil Moorehouse Slack, wrote home to McColl's mother, to tell her that her son had been 'killed in action'. It is likely that the War Office contacted her with the real reasons. 

Sergeant, Len Cavinder recorded his war memoirs in 1982. He recalled that Private, McColl was “one of those cases that in the next war would have been dealt with better because he wasn’t 100 per cent,” Sgt, Cavinder stated that McCol was of of low intelligence and "pretty hopeless in the line."  "He was subnormal actually...... He was unstable. There was something wrong about him... I realised you couldn't get him to slope arms correctly, and all that sort of thing. He wasn't simple, but he was slow ." He suggested that Private McColl should never have been made to enlist, as his low intelligence made him unable to make proper decisions. Britain was desperate for soldiers and recruited many who were elderly and unfit for duty. McColl was one of these men and he had been unwisely thrust into a war that he just could not understand. Captain, Cecil Slack, who supervised the execution was less sympathetic. Tracked down and interviewed in the 1970's, Slack remained unrepentant about the execution stating  McColl "was intelligent enough to find a woman and live with her for three months after he deserted."

It seems that the War Office contacted Annie McColl, his mother, and made it brutally clear that that her son was an undesirable, executed for cowardice and desertion. No war pension was awarded. His Army Medals were forfeited. His name does not appear on any memorial in Hull. Apparently he was even refused a Christian Burial by the Padre at the time, which was unprecedented, even for soldiers facing execution. For decades the family felt too ashamed to discuss the matter. Even when local newspapers revived the McColl story, a surviving relative of Charles McColl wished to remain anonymous. 

In November 2012, Jim Dunne retold the McColl story in a play, called "Shot at Dawn", produced at the Hull Truck Theatre. The McColl execution was recounted using written transcripts from the actual trial and saw McColl trapped in limbo, asking for a fair hearing beyond the grave. The audience was left to draw their own conclusions. Charles Fredrick McColl is buried at the Ypres Reservoir Memorial, Grave Reference 1V: A6. The 1914-18 War Medal Roll, records McColl as 'dead; medals forfeit for desertion'. Although Charles Frederick McColl lived in the Sculcoates Parish of Hull, his name is not recorded on any Hull war memorial.

Private, Charles McColl was one of 304 British and Commonwealth troops executed during the First World War. In 2014, the Lord Mayor of Hull visited his grave at Ypres with a Chaplain to ensure he had a Christian burial.

A summary of British Army executions during the First World War is tabled below.

Executions in the British Army: 1914-1918



















Quitting Post


















Striking a superior officer






Casting away arms












Sleeping on post













 Sergeant Cavinder's account of the Execution


Another executed Hull soldier  was Private George Ernest Collins, 9618, 1st Bn Lincolnshire Regiment, executed for desertion 15th February 1915, aged 20. Plot 1. B. 3. Loker Churchyard, West-Vlanderen, Belgium. He was the son of James and Charlotte Collins, of 2, West Dock St., Hessle Rd., Hull.

Not all soldiers were executed. Pte, Alfred Lightowler, 5665, East Yorkshire Regiment, was discharged on 04/06/1915 for "misbehaving before the enemy in such a manner as to show cowardice." This normally meant the Death Penalty. However, Lightowler was sentenced to 15 years penal servitude and all his medals were forfeited. Alfred was born in Hull in 1891 and joined up as a Territorial, for 6 years, in 1910. It is unclear about the details that resulted in his court martial. The Hull Daily Mail reported his death on 5/10/17. He was the son of Alfred and Martha Lightowler who lived at 109 St Marks Street. Before the war Alfred had been a Dock labourer and corn porter.

Self inflicted wounds are also an indication of the psychological strain of warfare. While some Brigade casualty returns no longer exist, the returns for the 13th East Yorkshires during July 1916, show that on the 18th, Private, G H Brewitt was hospitalised for a self inflicted wound, and that on  the 27th July, Private, S J Dry was reported as accidentally self-inflicting a wound. The strain of war was also showed by Officers, as seen in the 13th Battalion War Diary, which reports "July 22nd - 2/Lt. Cullen. Shellshock; July 23rd. Captain Stevenson and 2/Lt. Swan to 95 Field Ambulance with shell-shock."

Sometimes the enemy sentenced British soldiers. Pte, W Lonsdale, 2nd West Riding Regiment, was sentenced to death, in Germany, for an alleged assault in a concentration camp. This episode was reported in the Hull Daily Mail with his photograph on 4th January 1915. 


 'In Trouble:Military Crimes' -

'World War One Executions'

Fighting for Other Nations

As an ancient, thriving Port, Kingston Upon Hulll, has always attracted people and been a City of great diversity. Between 1836-1914, 2.2 million people, mostly from Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, Russia and Sweden, passed through Hull, en route, to America, Canada, South Africa and Australia. While some these people stayed, adding to Hull's commerce and culture, other Hull people used these same passenger services, to travel the world and settle overseas. Many Hull men for example, fought for Commonwealth Nations, where they had worked or emigrated. This memorial website, records at least 96 Hull born men, who died fighting for Canada, another 43 who died fighting for Australia and 17 Hull men, who died fighting for New Zealand. Hull men also served throughout the British Army and died fighting with Scottish, Welsh and Irish regiments. They are buried throughout the world and many have no known graves.

One extraordinary, former Hull man, was Captain, Henry Lewis Hulbert, (pictured) who died fighting for the United States, Marine Corps, in France in 1918. Henry Lewis Hulbert, was the son of Henry Ernest and Fanny Jane Hulbert, who lived at John Street, (near Hull's New Theatre), and 2 Cavandish Square, Margaret Street, Hull. 

Hulbert HL.jpg

Born to a wealthy Hull family, on the 12th January 1867, Henry Hulbert began a promising Diplomatic career in Malaya. However, after a scandalous divorce, he emigrated to America where he joined the US Marines as a private soldier. Due to his education and fine character, Henry Lewis Hulbert quickly caught the attention of his supervisors. 

When America joined the First World War in 1917, Henry Lewis Hulbert, was 50 years old and too old for active service. However, due to his experience and fitness, Senior Officers campaigned for him to join the American Expeditionary Force. Henry Lewis Hulbert performed at least three acts of heroism during his short service in France. He was eventually killed at Belleau Wood on the 4th October 1918, leading the 5th US Marine Corp. Henry Lewis Hulbert, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the first United States Marine to do so. He is one on America's most decorated soldiers, and he came from Hull.During the American - Samoa War of 1889, Henry Lewis Hulbert was awarded the 'Medal of Honor', while valiantly protecting a wounded officer in a rearguard action. It was America's highest decoration for bravery and he was promoted. Henry Lewis Hulbert's extraordinary story is told in the following link.

Another Hull man fighting for America, was Corporal, Ernest Suddaby, whose family was from 59 Brazil Street. Holderness Road. A bricklayer, like his father, he emigrated to Indianna, USA, in 1908. He enlisted at Louisville, in March 1917 and served as a Corporal in the 18th Infantry, American Expeditionary Force. He had already been wounded and was killed in action at Picardie, on the 21st July 1918, aged 30. He was one of nine children, and seven brothers, five of which served in the war. His younger brother, Walter was killed a month later, another brother, Albert was captured, and another brother, John Suddaby, was wounded in the war. Ernest Suddaby is commemorated on the Louisville, War Memorial, Kentucky, USA.

There were also many German born men, from Hull, who fought for Britain during the First World war. Max Schultz for example, was a German, who spied for Britain and lived in Coltman Street. Harry Weston, born in Germany in 1885, was a former Hull Policeman. His father was Irish and his mother German and they lived at 1 Anne's Place, Oxford Street, Hull. Private, Harry Weston was killed with the 12th East Yorkshires at Ypres, on 13th November 1916. Similarly, Fred and William Grahn, from Wellsted Street, both died fighting for Britain in the War. While they were both born in Yorkshire, they came from a German family. Similarly, John Richard Raettig was killed in Belgium in 1916 and his brother, Ralph Arthur Raettig died at sea in 1917. They were the sons of Karl Raettig, born in Wittenberg Gemany, and a naturalised British citizen, who lived at 58 Del La Pole Avenue. Samuel Vromans, who worked as a German Interpreter, died of influenza, on the 16th October 1918. Lieutenant, Robert Max Skelsey, RFA, was killed at Arras in March 1918. He was born in Germany and educated at Hymer's College in Hull.

Other Hull men from Hull based German families included, Lance Sergeant, John William Scheels, from Hill Street, Hull. He served with the 6th East Yorkshire Pioneers, and died of wounds, in Belgium, on 21st August 1917, aged 27. Private, John Frederic Schmieg, from 40 Starwberry Street, Hull, served with the Cameronian Highlanders, and died in 1915. Gunner, Walter Schultz, from Bean Street, Hull, served in the Royal Field Artillery, and died of wounds, on 17th June 1918, aged 22. Corporal, Arthur Schramm, from 58 Mamaduke Street, Hull, served with the 7th East Yorkshire Regiment, and was killed at Ypres, on 20th October 1918, aged 25. Lance Corporal, John Henry Maack, MM, from Gt Thornton Street, Hull, served with the Royal Army Medical Corps and died a prisoner of war in Germany. Richard James Limbach, from 13 Endsleigh Villas, Reynoldson Street, served with the Tyneside Irish, and was killed at Arras, on 27th April, 1917, aged 34. Private, Charles Nicklas, was son of a German born Butcher in Hull. He served in the 1st Cameronian Rifles and was killed on the 18th May 1918, aged 29.

Theodore Shultz, was a seaman, born in Stettin Germany in 1867. He was lost on the Minesweeper 'Arabis' on the 10th Febraury 1916, trying to fight off three German destroyers in the North Sea. Frederick Schmidt, was another German born sailor. He was lost at sea, aged 60, on the Hull Trawler 'GITANO', in 1918. Charles Grosneck was lost at sea, on 12th April 1917, aged 21. His father was a German born fisherman, living at 3 Princes Avenue, Hull.

Private Edward John GOHL 11/489. was born in August 1889. He was the second of ten children to Julius and Susannah Gohl of 49 Waverley Street, Hull. His father Julius Grohl was born in Germany and emigrated to become a well known confectioner in Hull and Withernsea. His shop was located at 6 George Street Hull. A Shop Assistant by trade, Edward Gohl enlisted at City Hall on 8th September 1914, aged 25. Four days later he was promoted to Corporal and remained so throughout training and the posting to Egypt, on the 11th December 1915, to defend the Suez Canal. He arrived in France on 7th March 1916. The East Yorkshire were then transported to the village of Serre, to prepare for 'The Big Push'. In June 1916, Edward was promoted again, this time to acting Sergeant. After eight months of landing on French soil, Edward was killed in action on 23rd December 1916. His body was never recovered and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing on the Somme. He was only 27 years old. Edwards siblings also served. His brothers were Charles Gohl, RASC, who served in France 1917-18; Harry Gohl, RE's, France 1915-18; Richard Gohl who joined the Navy c 1917 and his sister Louisa Gohl who was VAD Nurse in France in 1916. (For more information on the Gohl family, please see the family link, kindly forwarded to me by Brian Gohl. (

Myer Hessleberg, was born in Latvia. He lived at 134 Porter Street, and worked as a boot repairer. He served as Private, 45981, with the 16th Northumberland Fusiliers, and was killed in action, on 20th September 1917, aged 19.

John Siplane, Thomas Tamm, Jes Tinchin and Gustav Adolf, were all Russian born sailors, lost on Hull ships.

Samuel Abrahamson, born in Russia, lived at 92 Osborne Street, and was well known in the Hull Market Place, as a shoe maker. He fought for the 38th British Royal Fusiliers (Jewish Division) and died in Jerusalem, on the 14th October 1918, aged 27.

Louis Cuckle born in Russia, lived at 19 Lukes Street, Hull. He was the son of Sophia Cuckle, at 18 Oxford terrace, Porter Street. He joined the Seaforth Highlanders in June 1915 and had been on active service for eight months. He was killed on the Somme, a month before his 22nd Birthday, on the 24th July 1916. He was one of Hull's many Jewish casualties in the First World War. His death was reported in the Hull Daily Mail on the 17th August 1916, with his photograph. Similarly, Max Chayet, who was born in Minsk, and lived at 338 Hessle Road, Hull. Studying Medicine, he enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps, in 1915, under the name, of Max Kaye. He was Mentioned in Despatches, and died in Iraq, on 4th April 1916, aged 24.

Private, Myer Black was also born in Russia in 1895. Myer was one of ten children, five brothers and five sisters, to Abraham Black of 35 Porter Street, Hull. The family had left Russia for a new life in the West and set up home in Hull, a city that was then a thriving port and fishing town. A Tailor by trade, he enlisted to fight for his adopted country on 10th September 1914 and joined the fledgling 11th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, 'The Tradesmen', 2nd Hull Pals. Myer fought in Egypt and on the Somme and he was killed at Serre, on the 13th November 1916. He is buried at Euston Road Cemetery; he was 21 years old. Myer's name is also commemorated on the family grave in the Hebrew Cemetery in Marfleet, Hull.

Haralasbos Augatheaus, was born in Cyprus and lived in Hull. He enlisted in Beverley and died in Greece on the 25th October 1916, serving with the 2nd South Staffordshire Regiment.

Emanuel Kariothis, from Crete, was lost in enemy action, on the Hull ship 'Colenso' on the 13th November 1915, aged 18.

John Calaseres, born in Greece in 1888, served on the Hull ship 'Wolverton' and died at sea, on the 13th March 1915.

George Gilimbis, born in Syria, lived at 5 Hull's Place, Osbourne Street. He died at sea on the steam ship, 'Cambric', on the 31st October 1917, aged 34. Nicholas Angelo, born in Greece, was lost on the same Hull ship, aged 38. 

Gunner, James Francis Brocklehurst, born in Vancouver , Canada, was the second son of James and Mary Brocklehurst, at 56 Plane Street. He served in the Hull Pals and was killed at Serre, on 13th November 1916, aged 21. Before the war he worked in the Hull Fruit Trade. A keen cricketer, he also ran for the Hull and District Harriers, based at Calvert Lane. He competed in the eight mile championship race in Hull, on 21st February 2014, in which eight of the nineteen runners, died in the war. His elder brother, William Brocklehurst, served in the East Yorkshire Heavy Artillery, in East Africa. Sergeant, Frank Clark was born at Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, in 1883. He was living at 2 Hills Place, Princess Street, Hull and working as a dock labourer. A single man sharing one room with another dock labourer and a painter. At the outbreak of war, Frank enlisted at City Hall on 8th September 1914 joining the 11th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, 'The Tradesmen', 2nd Hull Pals. A member of B Company, Frank was a veteran of Egypt, the Somme and Oppy Wood, but met his end when he was wounded and captured during trench raids on German positions at Fresnoy on 8th November 1917. He died of wounds behind enemy lines two days later and was buried in a joint grave in Douai Communal Cemetery, France.

Company Sergeant Major, Thomas Chapman, 12/96, was born in St. John's, New Brunswick, USA in 1865. Thomas moved to the UK and married Maud May Wingham in July 1902. The couple lived at 74 Francis Street, Hull and Thomas worked as a Hall Porter in a Club to make ends meet. At the time of enlistment, he was aged 49. He could have left the fight to younger men of military age. but instead queued outside Hull City Hall to join the 12th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, 'The Sportsmen', 3rd Hull Pals. He never saw combat. He died on 27th January 1916, having not travelled to Egypt, when the battalion shipped out before Christmas. Thomas Chapman is buried in Hull Western Cemetery; he was 50 years old. 

Frank Bertram Harvey, another American, was born in Philadelphia, USA in 1876. He lived in Bean Street, Hull, with his wife and four children. He served in the Merchant Navy, and was killed at sea on 20th February 1918, aged 42. Thomas Smith, born in the USA and boarding at 21 Osbourne Street, sank with Trawler, 'Hildago', on 28th August 1917, aged 29. Alfred Wolfunberg, another American sailor, living in Hull, was lost at sea, on 23rd march 1918, aged 24. 

Michael Cyril Daly, was an Australian, born in Victoria, in 1871. He lived at 11 Chapel Lane, on Hull's High Street and worked as a Labourer. He enlisted in Hull in 1915, giving the younger age of 38. He served as Private, 19861, in the 8th East Yorkshire Regiment. He was killed at the Somme, on 22nd July 916, aged 45.  His father ran His Majesties Hotel, at Hey Street, in Perth, Western Australia.

Hans Van De Meir, Jans Cetal and Bastien Van Dyke, were all Dutch born sailors, living in Hull, lost in the war.

Harold Jesper Jacobson, was son the son of a Danish deep sea fisherman. He worked on Hull Fish docks and lived at Woodcock Street, Hull. He served with the 6th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and died in Iraq on 4th September 1916, aged 20.

Lance Corporal, Joseph Jacobson, was Norwegian, born in Trondheim, on 27th August 1892. He lived at 5 Ethel's Terrace, Buckingham Street, and worked on the North Eastern Railways as a Porter. He joined the 17th Northumberland Fusiliers, the "Railway Pals" Battalion, which was formed in Hull, at King George Dock in 1914. He died on 7th August, 1918, aged 26 and is buried in France.

Henry Ferguson, from Durban, South Africa, lived at 43 Holland Street. He drowned on the SS Polandia, on 10th March 1917, aged 25.

Kustav Karlson (36) of Soderby, Liljendal, Finland, Julius Larsen (52)born  Nyborg, Denmark, Henri Bosted (49) born Norway, Ernest Burkhalter (29), born Switzerland; and Alfred Westerlund (37), born Sweden, were all Hull based sailors, lost on the Hull ship 'DIDO', on the 26th February 1916. 

James Cuivelair (24), born in Trinidad, West Indies, was lost on the Steam Ship "North Wales" on 24th October 1916, aged 24. He lived with his wife May Cuivelair (formerly Hodgson), at 8 Clydesdale Avenue, Balfour Street, Hull.


Adam Abdul, from India, and Joe Bassey (28), Ben Caffey (22), Aubree Garner (27) and Joe Smith (27), all from Sierre Leone, served on Hull ships, and died together on the Trawler 'Hildago', on 28th August 1917.

Finding Casualties in Hull

Unlike many cities, Hull does not have a public memorial which lists all the names of the fallen in the First World War.
Hull has a Cenotaph at Paragon Square, but this does not list any individual names.

The 'Golden Book' of Remembrance commissioned after the war and kept at the Holy Trinity Church, in Hull's Market Place, is probably the most complete, hand written record of servicemen that died in the First World War. Through public Notices published in newspapers, libraries and churches, Hull citizens were encouraged to submit the details of fallen servicemen on a standard form so that their names could be recorded in the 'Golden Book'. As not everyone read newspapers or could read or write, and in a world before television and social media, it is not surprizing that this message failed to reach everyone. For this and many other reasons, not everyone submitted details before the deadline and the 'Golden Book', does not record all the Hull men, that died in the First World War.Reckitts Roll Of Honour

There are inevitably some errors and omissions on War memorials that provide a long list of names. This is because War memorials were compiled by different individuals and organizations, at different times and in different ways. This led to inconsistencies and revisions as records were amended over time. The many memorials can therefore include some duplications, anomalies, and mis-spellings. For example, Private Reed, known as Albert Reed in Hull's Holy Trinity Register is recorded as Alfred Reed by the Commonwealth War Commission. Similarly, the Register records Ernest Donkin whose first name was actually Edward. Private, Joseph William Templeton in the cwgc records, appears as "Temperton" in the Regimental Soldiers Died records.

Often the local church would initiate a Chrurch memorial by visiting parishioners, door to door, to collect subscriptions and names of the fallen. This was not the most reliable way to collect accurate or comprehensive information. It was possible some families had moved from the area, or relatives were away, or could not afford a financial contribution to have a name remembered. Some requested the names of fallen relatives from outside the area to be included in local memorials. Others, included those wounded, or men that had served and survived the war, or those that died after the war, due to wounds or disease. For single men lost, with no next of kin, it relied on others to remember them. If they had no family their names may be missing from a memorial. The Sculcoates Parish War Memorial at St Mary's Church records 175 names of the fallen, but the Hull War Memorial reveals at least 218 men that died from this area. The Clifton Street School Roll of Honour lists George Dukes, RFA, and William Ransom, MGC, as died, but there are no regimental or Commonwealth War Records of their deaths. The literacy skills of those compiling casualty lists also varied and lead to many errors. Poor handwriting and reading skills meant names were mis-spelt or mis interpreted. These mistakes were then passed to the carpenters and stone masons who transferred the errors, in good faith on to the memorials. The names carved on the stone pillars of St Mary Church on Sculcoates Lane, provides an example of these difficulties. For example, Arthur Hanstock is spelt Handstock on the memorial and Hunstock in the Hull Daily Mail. The name Amos Spruit appears, but there are no Commonwealth War Grave records to suggest he died. Unusual names like S Cooter appears on the same memorial and is untraceable. This suggests a spelling error. The St John Newland Church records Arthur, William and John Lea as fallen. However there are no military records to assocaiate these casualties with Hull. Could the Surname "Lea" be Lee or Leaf etc, or where these men who served or died after the war?

Popular names like John Smith, or local family surnames, such as Taylor, Harrison, and Chapman are numerous and usually difficult to trace with certainty. There are for instance 142 'Smiths' listed on the Hull War Memorial.
Sometimes surnames like Clarke may be spelt without an 'e' on the end or visa versa. Initials may mean a variety of names. The Name Fred can refer to Alfred, Wilfred, as well as Frederick. Similarly Bertie may mean Bertram, Wilbert, Herbert or Albert, or may not necessarily be the first name, but a nickname. The name Jack for example may be a short hand for John Henry, or Harry may mean Henry as well as Harold. To compound matters further some servicemen enlisted under different names or not under their true family name. Others went by different names or 'nicknames', for example, Francis Smith Hewitt who died on the Somme, was confusingly known as 'Jack'? Private, Charles Brown, from Epworth Street, killed in 1917, was actually Clarence Reginald Brown? Those that enlisted often lied about their age or enlisted under different names, which adds to the confusion. For many such reasons memorials are not always accurate or comprehensive records of those that died.

E H Nozedar St Charles WW1 Memorial HullMissing Records

Searching soldier’s records to positively identify a serviceman, their unit and where they lived is also difficult. Over 60% of the National Archives were destroyed in the 1940 London Blitz. This included the War Records of five million British men and women that served in the World War One.

There is another set of records called the ‘Un-Burnt Series’ which includes 750,000 records of soldiers who were discharged for medical reasons during the war. They also include some pre-war soldiers whose term of service ended before 1920. However there are large gaps in both sets of records and it is necessary to unscramble many errors within them.

Pension Records

In November 2012, the Western Front Association acquired some 6.5 million Pension Record Index Cards and Ledgers. These help cross check information and can potentially provide unique information, such as an individuals unit, next of kin, wounds and injuries received (or disabling ailments), recovery from wounds and injuries in the post war years and pension entitlement. The Pension Record Index Cards are an invaluable source of information. They are divided into five unequal sections.

1. ‘Other Ranks Died’ (nearly one million individual cards);

2. ‘Widows and Dependents of Other Ranks’ (in excess of one million cards);

3. ‘Other ranks Survived’ (approximately 2.5 million cards)

4. ‘Officers Died and Widows of Officers’ (approximately 150,000 cards.

5. ‘Mercantile Marine’ (less than 5,000 cards)

The Ledgers are a series of numerically sequenced books, and are divided unequally into the following seven categories:- Disabled Soldiers; Disabled Naval ratings; Disabled Airmen; Widows; Dependents; Alternative Pension cases, and Alternation Widows Pensions. However, there are still anomalies and errors within these records. There is also a fee to access them, which is to be paid in advance which can exclude researchers.

Other Records

While many First World War records are incomplete or lost, there are regimental histories, and organizations, such as the Commonwealth War Grave Commission, the Public Records Office and the Imperial War Museum which can help trace those that died. There is a growing number of Genealogy sites which access records on line, although you invariably have to pay for these services.

Electoral records can link these men to particular streets and areas. The Absent Voters Registers 1918-19, can help identify a serviceman’s address at the end of the war. Although these only include servicemen aged over 21 who were eligible to vote. Trade Directories can reveal their occupations before the war. Census records can highlight their family details and where they lived, plus information on what they did and where and when they were born. Local newspapers, museums, war dairies and journals can provide stories and photographs of the fallen, or at least indicate what life was like for many of them. The Hull Daily Mail often reprinted the names of the fallen on the annivesary of their deaths. This can be a good source to confirm and cross check family details. Once you have discovered your soldier ancestor you can learn more about them from other records - see the 'blog' below.

The Kingston Upon Hull Memorial, has looked at many of these sources to provide you the most accurate information possible on each Hull casualty. The website also receives regular feedback from relatives and promptly updates contributions to ensure that this is a reliable, accurate and comprensive data base. The reader can search by name, regiment, or date of death. More interestingly by plotting the addresses of the fallen, it is possible to visually show the impact of casualties on local communities over time. Unlike books, or lists of names on war memorials, mistakes on the database can be easily corrected and anomolies clarified and discussed. The website is also easily accessible on line, and free of charge to use. Over time it is hoped to add photographs of the fallen and a picture gallery of all war memorials in Hull. This will help those unable to access Churches or other buildings, to see the many and varied ways casualties were remembered in Hull.  All contributions, amendments and photographs to the site are welcomed and acknowledged. You can also leave your contact details on the website, if you wish to be contacted directly regarding your relatives. This Memorial Site is for You, for Kingston Upon Hull, and for all for those interested in the First World War. 


THE GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN - The East Yorkshire's fight at Tekke Teppe. 

The Gallipoli Peninsula runs in a south-westerly direction into the Aegean Sea between the Hellesport (now known as the Dardanelles) and the bay of Melas, which today is known as Saros Bay. At the time of the First World War, this narrow sea strait was a direct route to the Russian Empire, but was controlled by the Turkish Ottoman Empire, allied to Germany. In an attempt to break the deadlock on the Western Front, the Allies launched an ambitious attack on Gallipoli Peninsular on the 25th April 1915. They hoped that capturing the Dardanelles Straits would help supply Russia, defeat Turkey and encourage Greece and Bulgaria to join the allies in the war. THE GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN 1915-1916

The allies invaded the Gallipoli Peninsular at several beaches. They were met by stiff Turkish resistance, which confined them to narrow beachheads. The Campaign fighting was fierce, attritional and largely static. The first two weeks alone at Gallipoli, saw a higher rate of allied casualties than the Battle of the Somme, when measured as a percentage of those committed. Forced to dig in around the shorelines, the Allies spent the next eight months trying to capture the high ground and break free from the Peninsular. Eventually, the Allies were forced to withdraw from Gallipoli on the 9th January 1916. The eight month Gallipoli Campaign was a famous Turkish victory, costly to both sides. THE GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN 1915-1916The Allied campaign was plagued by ill-defined goals, poor planning, insufficient artillery, inexperienced troops, inaccurate maps and intelligence, overconfidence, inadequate equipment and logistics, and tactical deficiencies at all levels. Geography also proved a significant factor with the Turks holding the higher ground. Over 131,000 men were killed during the 8 month Gallipoli Campaign. The Allies lost some 250,000 men, including 140,000 men through disease. Turkish casualties were estimated to be at least 280,000, with 86,000 killled. 


Gallipoli is best remembered for forging the National identity of Australia and New Zealand who suffered severely there, and for the remarkable evacuation of the Peninsular, which was achieved with the loss of only one life.

Links The Gallipoli Campaign

8 things about Gallipoli


The Gallipoli campaign has been keenly debated over the last century. Some believe it was a poorly planned exercise that failed in Whitehall, long before any serviceman set foot on the peninsular. Others argue that the campaign could have been successful, but may have made little difference to the main struggle on the Western Front. THE GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN, APRIL 1915-JANUARY 1916We can only speculate. However, history has largely overlooked how close ‘D’ company and HQ Battalion, of the 6th East Yorkshire Regiment, came to winning the campaign on the 8th and 9th Aug 1915. They failed (despite claims otherwise). The following is an interesting and little known episode in the Gallipoli story.

8th - 9th August 1915 – The 6th East Yorkshire Assault on Tekke Tepe Hill


Tekke Tepe, is a hill about 800ft in height, in the centre of a series of ridges disposed, roughly in the shape of a horseshoe and enclosing Suvla Bay. General Sir Ian Hamilton, Commander of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, maintained that capturing this hill was crucial to succeed at Gallipoli. The 6th East Yorkshire Battalion landed at Gallipoli in the early hours of the 7th August 1915, with 22 Officers and 750 other ranks. (Three Officers and 153 men had been left in reserve at Imbros). Their attack on Tekke Tepe, is vividly recorded in the 6th (Pioneer) Battalion East Yorkshire War Diary, which is with the 11th Divisional Diaries. (This diary is easy to miss as it is not part of the line Battalion War Diary bundles. It is included in the Division papers, as the Pioneers were technically Divisional troops, although it seems they were attached to the 32nd Brigade for this operation). Capt. V Kidd, Adjutant of the 8th Battalion Duke of Wellington's Regt (West Ridings), also recorded the event in his personal account, which is an appendix to the 8th Battalion War Diary notes. Also the 6th Battalion York & Lancs. Regiment War Diary, records the Turks' attack over Tekke Tepe.


 8th Aug 1915. Orders were received to join the 32nd Brigade with the WEST YORKS on our left, to attack and hold a position running from CHOCOLATE HILL to SULAJIK 105 C 6. The records of these orders have been lost. The Battalion advanced B [Coy] on the left under Major, BRAY, D [Coy] on the right under Capt GRANT, C [Coy] in second line and A [Coy] in reserve. Lt Col, MOORE advanced with the 1st line. At first no opposition was met with, but occupying the ridge which joins up with CHOCOLATE HILL and was about W by S from ANAFARTA SAGIR heavy firing was encountered. (Margin: Ref to ANAFARTA SAGIR sheet 1:20,000 Gallipoli Map 105 C 6) Capt ROGERS was killed and shortly afterwards Major, ESTRIDGE was wounded in the arm. The Turks employed numerous snipers and shot particularly at our men as they went for water at a well. Parties were sent out, but were unable to find them. The position was entrenched on the reverse slope during the day and further forward during the night. Two officer's patrols were sent out during the evening: At about11:30 pm orders were received for the Battalion to retire to the points held by the WEST RIDING Regt and to occupy and improve a Turkish trench there. 11:30 pm. The orders have been lost. The men were tired and exhausted and short of water moving often in the dark led to equipment being mislaid.

9th Aug 1915. We found the West Riding Regiment in a vacant Turkish Trench at about 1:30 am. After some confusion getting the men into the trench in the dark, orders (lost) were received at 3:30 a.m. (late in reaching us) to deliver an attack (orders lost) on TEKKE TEPE (Sheet 119 O2) the West Riding Regt was to attack KAVALA TEPE (Sheet 119 C7) on our left. The men were at this stage in a state of extreme exhaustion and hunger. The Battalion moved northwards out of the trench in the following order D, C, B, A after passing SULAJIK we took a NE route crossing the dry beds of the streams. 


Verbal orders had been given by Lt Col Moore that in the attack D and B Companies should form the first line (D on the left, B on the right) A Coy (Capt WILLATS) the second line and C Coy (now under Capt PRINGLE) the reserve. LtCol, MOORE was with D Coy. The other three companies due to the extreme exhaustion of the men and absence of explicit orders failed to keep in touch with D Coy who proceeded to advance up the lower slopes of the hill without waiting for B Coy to come into position on their right or for the other two companies to get into place. D Coy with LtColMOORE and 2 Lt STILL (Acting Adjutant) and HQ party seemed to have encountered no opposition at first. 

It was only when they were up the first shoulder (Sheet 119 L4) that the strength of the enemy was disclosed. Fire was poured in from concealed Turkish trenches and our men were unable to hold their ground. There was considerable confusion due to the rapid advance of D Coy and the fact that the other Companies had lost touch. D Coy suffered heavily. Capt GRANT had been wounded in the hand early in the engagement – Lt Col MOORE, 2 Lt STILL, Capt ELLIOTT, Lt RAWSTORNE, 2 Lt WILSON were all missing when what remained of the Coy fell back. A general retirement took place during which there was much mixing of units due to the Battalion failing to keep its formation. After two other stands had been made in conjunction with the West Riding Regt a line was eventually taken up along a line running N from (Sheet 118 V6). Reinforcements came up here and about 13:00 the Battalion was relieved and ordered to concentrate at the cut on A Beach (Sheet 104 B1). All orders and dispatches relating to these are lost as the orderly who carried them is missing……[A long list of Officer casualties follows] Other Ranks: Killed 20, Wounded 104, Wounded and Missing 28, Missing 183.This night the battalion bivouacked on 'A' Beach near the cut."

The withdrawal of the East Yorkshires of the night of 8th August was difficult. There was no moon and it was pitch dark. It was almost impossible to find equipment and assemble the battalion quickly to move off to Sulajik. All the time, the Turks continued their fire on theEast Yorkshire, while they moved back and reached the position in the early hours. The East Yorkshire soldiers on arrival at 1.30am, dropped with exhaustion. Between 3 and 3.30am, all Company Commanders were suddenly ordered to report to the Colonel. They were told that the 6th East Yorkshire Regiment had received orders to seize the very high hill above Anafarta (Tekke Tepe). 


The West Ridings would attack another hill on the left (Kavak Tepe). As the orders had arrived late, the battalion had to move off immediately. The men in a state of exhaustion, thirsty and hungry had to be pulled out of their trenches. Colonel HGA Moore started off with HQ and D companies. When the three remaining companies assembled they found Colonel Moore, their Commanding Officer had gone ahead. In crossing the open space between the trenches at Sulajik and the foot of the hill, little or no opposition was encountered. Two officers of the 67th Field Company Royal Engineers, Major F.W. Brunner and Lt. V.Z. Ferranti accompanied Lt Col. Moore.  Lt Ferranti was ordered to wait and follow up with the next company of East Yorkshires that came along. The group split into three parties Col Moore., Maj. Brunner and 2 Lt Still, with one party, Capt. Steel with another and Capt. THE GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN, APRIL 1915-JANUARY 1916Elliott with the third. As they reached the lower slopes of the hill north of Baka Baba, the rifle fire from the snipers became more insistent. They carried on up Tekke Tepe, the casualties becoming more serious. Major Brunner was killed and many others shot down. The survivors, Col. Moore and 2nd Lt. Still leading, reached the summit along with Capt., Elliot, Lt., Rawstone and between 12 and 30 men. They were cut off by the advancing Turks and the survivors, five in number, including Mr. Still, were captured.

THE GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN, APRIL 1915-JANUARY 1916This little party of East Yorkshire men and Engineers achieved the brilliant feat of reaching a position, farther east on the heights above Suvla Bay than any other troops in the entire campaign. Of the 750 men in the 6th (Pioneer) East Yorkshire Battalion, 347, or roughly 46% had become casualties in just 3 days. Officer casualties were 15, or 75% of those who landed on 7th August. They included two Officers killed in action; five wounded; six 'Missing in Action' and 2 'Wounded and Missing'. Most of those 'Missing in Action' at Gallipoli were actually killed. Searching this website shows that 47 men, killed with the 6th Yorkshires came from Hull, and ten others died on the 9th August 1915 at Suvla Bay, fighting for New Zealand, the West Ridings and other regiments.

After the War, all captured British Officers were required to make a written statement to the War Office, about the events surrounding their capture. Capt R D Elliott, 6th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment captured at Tekke Tepe recounted how they reached the top of hill. Another account by Lieutenant, John Still wrote. “About thirty of us reached the top of hill, perhaps a few more. And when there were about twenty left we turned and went down again. We had reached the highest point and furthest point that British forces from SuvlaBay were destined to reach. But we naturally knew nothing of that.


General Sir Ian Hamilton, Commander of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, wrote in his War Diary, that Tekke Tepe was the key hill, overlooking Suvla Bay. He believed British troops had actually reached the summit of the hill on August 9, and that, had they been given proper support, victory was in sight. However, until 1923 he had no definite evidence to confirm his belief. In October 1923, he received a letter printed in The Times, (on 30th October 1923), from Mr. John Still, a tea planter in Ceylon, who had been adjutant of the 6thBattalion East Yorkshire Regiment, a unit of the 32 Brigade, during the Suvla operations. He gave details of his own experiences on Tekke Tepe as follows:-.

“I was the only officer on that hill who had spent years in jungle and on hills and was in consequence able to appreciate things accurately. We had been ordered to take up that position on the map and we took it up. I fixed our exact position by prismatic compass. We fought all day there and had a good few casualties including two officers (or three), and then we were taken off again at night "because the regiments to right and left of you have not been able to get up". That was the night of August 8. On our right were a Sergeant and two men only of another regiment, lost and re-found by us. I forget their unit, but I can still see the identifying mark on their backs in my mind's eye: it was a sort of castle in yellow. THE GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN, APRIL 1915-JANUARY 1916Beyond them there was a gap right away to Chocolate Hill. On our left was not as you state another regiment, but only a weak half company of the West Yorkshires with two officers of whom one was killed, and the other – Davenport– severely wounded. And this left us in the air. Your orders given to General Stopford at 6pm never reached us on Scimitar Hill. Why? They knew where we were, for I was in touch by day with Brigade H.Q. signalers on Hill 10 or close to it. By night I lost contact for both my lamps failed me. As you justly say, anyone with half an eye could see Tekke Tepe was the key to the whole position. Even I, a middle-aged amateur who had done a bit of big game shooting and knocking about saw it at once. We reconnoitered it, sent an officer and my signaler corporal to climb it, and got through to Brigade H.Q. the message giving our results. THE GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN, APRIL 1915-JANUARY 1916I sent it myself. The hill was then empty. Next morning you saw or heard that troops had actually reached the top of Tekke Tepe. Yes they had. A worn and weak company, D Company, of my regiment, together with my Colonel (Moore). Major Brunner, of the Royal Engineers., and myself started up that hill. About thirty got to the top: of them five got down again to the bottom, and of those three lived to the end of the war. I was one of them. You wonder why we did not 'dig in' (pages 78 and 79 of your Volume II) as we had lots of time. There, Sir is where that war was lost. You sent a Brigade at that empty hill on the afternoon of the 8th. Actually, owing to staff work being so bad, only a battalion received orders to attack, and they did not receive those orders until dawn on the 9th. I received them myself as adjutant. The order ran to this effect: "The C.-in-C. considers this operation essential to the success of the whole campaign". THE GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN, APRIL 1915-JANUARY 1916The order was sent out on the late afternoon of the 8th, when we were on Scimitar Hill. It reached us at dawn on the 9th in a Turkish trench at Sulejik. In the meanwhile, for those hours more precious to the world than we even yet can judge, the Brigade Major was lost! Good God why didn't they send a man who knew the country? He was lost, lost, lost and it drives one almost mad to think of it. Excuse Me. Next morning (from the order) at dawn on the 9th you saw some of our fellows climbing cattle tracks. You don't place them exactly where I think you really saw them, but as I know, there were none just precisely where you say you saw them, I am pretty certain it was us you saw from the ship, only we were half a mile north of where you describe.Then we climbed Tekke Tepe.Simultaneously the Turks attacked through the gap from Anafarta. THE GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN, APRIL 1915-JANUARY 1916Their attack cut in behind D Company and held back the rest of the battalion who fought in the trench, with the Duke of Wellington's on their left. We went on, and, as I said, not one of us got back again. A few were taken prisoner. I was slightly wounded, and stayed three years and three months as a prisoner. Later that morning we who survived were again taken up Tekke Tepe by its northern ravine on the west side. Turkish troops were simply pouring down it and the other ravines. On the top of Tekke Tepe were four field guns camouflaged with boughs of scrub oak, and a Brigade H.Q. was just behind the ridge. I had a few minutes conversation there with the Turkish Brigadier in French. But I am coming home on leave in March or April next. THE GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN, APRIL 1915-JANUARY 1916May I have the honour of meeting you and going over it on the map?I think much might be cleared up that was still obscure when you wrote your book. There are one or two things one prefers not to write.Please let me know your wishes in this matter. I loved your book and I want to do any small thing possible to complete your picture. Yours truly (Signed) JOHN STILL, Victoria Commemoration Buildings, Nos: 40 and 41 Ward StreetKandyCeylon Sept 19. 

THE GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN, APRIL 1915-JANUARY 1916Second Lieutenant, James Theodore Underhill, was a 22 year old, adjutant serving with the 6th East Yorkshire Battalion at Galipolli and was the Signaler at Tekke Tepe. His letter to the Times, published 14thFebruary 1925, recounts the following”....Being a qualified land surveyor, and experienced in the use and construction of maps and the knowledge of the country, I was well able to keep notes of our positions and was the officer mentioned in your letter who took the patrol up Tekke Tepe. In fact I still have your signal corporal’s field glasses which I took from him while on the hill, my own being smashed by a rifle bullet whilst using them on this patrol. My report disagrees with your letter in a few minor details – for instance while on Scimitar Hill, the 9th West Yorkshires were on our left, as I was actually speaking with their officers on their own right flank, but they were withdrawn before us, God knows why. Again, while you say Tekke Tepe was not occupied, it was held very lightly by patrols. We ran into two of them before reaching the top; out of one we bagged two Turks, the other escaped us. There were also three short lengths of partially dug trenches unoccupied while we were there, but showing signs of most recent occupation. Further, you say that the Turks came in behind D Company and the rest of the battalion fought in the trench. This is not quite right. We had advance fully 1500 yards (and I was with the rear company “B”) before we encountered the Turks. When we did, it was a ‘free for all’ bayonet affair, with the Turks outnumbering us about three to one. I saw nothing of the West Yorkshires as you mention, but the West Ridings who were to have supported the Brigade!!! attack were present. However, my report and your letter agree in the great fundamental point, this, that Tekke Tepe should have been taken on the evening of August 8. That this could and would have been done had there not been a lamentable failure of the Staff, I think goes unquestioned by those of us who had an accurate knowledge of the conditions; it was the loss of the Gallipoli campaign. I am even of the opinion that, that had the Staff work not been so rotten, and that had the attack in the early morning of August 9 been by three battalions instead of us alone, it might have been successful. If you remember, the attack was to have been a brigade affair, three battalions in attack with one in support. The supports (the West Ridings) were there, but where the other two battalions were, God alone knows. I think all of Kitchener’sArmy who took part in this landing and the following few days felt it intensely that they were blamed by the Staff for the failure on the grounds of being green troops. Compared with later experiencesin France, the 11thand 10thDivision fought as well as any troops ever did, be they Regulars or otherwise, and I am sure that those of us who had the honour to belong to either the 11thor 10thDivisions feel grateful to you for coming out plainly and placing the blame where it so justly belongs." *

Some argue that the 6th East Yorkshire attack on Tekke Tepe (actually in effect only D Coy and Battalion HQ) never reached the summit on the 9th August. Also the Officers were mistaken when they said that they reached the summit or had made it up after the war to compensate for being taken Prisoner. Also as most of the East Yorkshires were killed or captured, all the official reports were compiled after the events, by persons who had not been present. The War diaries show very clearly that patrols sent by the 6th East Yorkshires on the 8th August (the day before) met with little opposition, but a later advance on the 9th August to exploit this opportunity by the 6th East Yorkshires, supported by the 8th Battalion Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding) and 67 Coy Royal Engineers was too late. It was repulsed by Turkish reinforcements, with heavy loss to D Coy of the 6th  East Yorkshires, who advanced without waiting for the remainder of the Battalion. However, the primary sources of Lieutenants John Still and James Underhill, who both were there at the time, claim that they did occupy Tekke Tepe. John Still was a 35 year old, tea planter, use to the hills of Ceylon and Underhill was a newly qualified land surveyor, aged 22. Both would have known if they had reached the top of Tekke Tepe. There was no collusion between these two men to make up their story. Lt., Stlll was captured and spent the rest of the war in Turkey. He believed he had been the only surviving Officer in the attack. Underhill although wounded in the chest, survived the war and then emigrated to Vancouver. If they did occupy Tekke Teppe, it would have been the furthest allied advance on the Peninsula, and if they had held this stategic position, the Gallipoli Campaign would have succeeded. After 100 years we can only speculate. It is perhaps best to concentrate on the bravery of the 6th (Pioneer) East Yorkshire Regiment, who stormed the hill with limited support in difficult conditions. These Pioneers were used in (arguably) the most important assault of the campaign. They were ably led, by Col Moore, (who had risen from the ranks) and were decimated within sight of their ultimate objective. Their attack was undermined by appalling planning and procrastination. There was no time for orders or battle preparation. It was a fragmented, uncoordinated attack, characterised by perhaps over-zealous leadership, tactical naivety, exhaustion and fatigue. (The men had to be kicked into action, from a state of near exhaustion). This superhuman effort resulted in failure, then denial and blame. The 6th East Yprkshire who had landed at Gallipoli in the early hours of the 7th August 1915, with 22 Officers and 750 Other ranks, had within 3 days, lost 15 Officers and 347 other ranks. Over 50 men from Hull died in Gallipoli on the 9th August 1915. The story of the 6th East Yorkshire at Tekke Tepe, is not a particularly well researched,  or well understood part of the campaign, outside a few specialists, but it encapsulates everything in one small action that was wrong about Gallipoli. 

The following recounts the progress of the 6Th East Yorkshires, after the Tekke Tepe attack.

 21st August 1915 – the attack on Scimitar Hill

Wyrall's "East Yorkshire Regiment in the Great War" shows that the 6th East Yorkshire Regiment had been in reserve from 10th to the 20th August at Nibrunesi Point where they had dug themselves in at the base of a cliff. On 20th August the 6thEast Yorkshires relieved the Northumberland Fusiliers in trenches South East of Chocolate Hill. They came under the orders of 34th Brigade who would attack "Hill W" the next morning.

The Salt Lake, Suvla Bay: the advance of 21st August 1915

The 6th Battalion were to dig in and support the Lancashire Fusiliers and the Dorset’s, who would attack the next morning. There was a delay due to lost orders and confusion, and the attack did not commence until 3pm on the 21st. When the Dorset’s and Lancashire’s left their trenches the 6th East Yorkshiresmoved forward to occupy these trenches. The Dorset’s and the Lancashire’s ran into stubborn resistance and so most of the 6th East Yorkshires were sent forward to support them. The 6th East Yorkshire's captured a Turkish trench in front of them and awaited relief. The 6th East York (Pioneers) had occupied Hill 70 (Scimitar Hill), next to W Hill the most vital of all the semicircle of heights overlooking Suvla Bay and were there only waiting for the brigade's further advance upon W Hill or Anafarta Sagir, to both of which it is the key. They held this trench overnight, but it became impossible to hold the next morning (22nd August) as the number of Turks increased and they had no bombs. 

THE DARDANELLES CAMPAIGN, 1915 - 1916Around 7.30 am the 6th East Yorkshires retreated to their original trenches and later that night they were relieved and moved back to their original reserve trenches at Nibrunesi point the following morning. The 6th East Yorkshire casualties by 22nd August 1915, included 26 Officers and 628 men. Officer casualties were 80% and other ranks 68%.

20th October 1915

The War Diary for the 6th (Service) Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment (Pioneers) on 20th Oct 1915 is edited below. It was written in very feint pencil and just legible. The Battalion was scattered over a place known to the troops as ‘Piccadilly Circus’ or 'Shrapnel Valley' due to heavy Turkish shelling. There are no records of battle casualties, but the War Diary contains long lists of men admitted to hospital and lists of men who arrived in drafts. Notably most posted to D Coy - a stark reminder that D Coy was virtually wiped out on the lower slopes of Tekke Tepe on 9th August.

"Working Parties A Coy Piccadilly Circus, Div Head Quarters ^ well [illegible - above?] XI Signal Depot, Field Ambulance dugouts. B Coy 9th A.C [Army Corps] New Head Quarters, Park Lane, Holborn, Jephson's Post Road (Oxford St). D Coy 9th A.C Head Quarters, 67th Coy RE - SW Mounted Brigade dugouts, Cannon Street. Two general road repairing parties under 2/Lieuts SIEBER and SCOTCHER. 2/Lieut HICKEY was wounded in the arm by shrapnel bullet whilst working near Piccadilly Circus & admitted into 35th Field Ambulance."

Gallipoli 100 Years on -

* (I am grateful to Edward Underhill who supplied the following information on his grandfather - 2nd Lt., James Theodore Underhill was born in Moseley, Staffordshire, 1892. His family emigrated to Canada in 1894 and he obtained his Land Surveyor's qualification at McGill University (West) which was later to become the University of British Columbia. Upon the outbreak of the war, he gained his qualification as an Infantry Officer in January of 1915 at the Provisional School of Infantry in Vancouver, BC and subsequently travelled to England, having missed the opportunity to join the first contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). He was commissioned in March of 1915, joining the 6th (Service ) Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment, as 2nd Lieutenant  by the time of the actions around Teke Tepe. He was shot in the chest during the Gallipoli attack and wounded again in the right knee on 1/7/16 at Serre, serving with the 12th King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He later served with the Canandian 245th Siege Battery RGA. He lost two brothers in the war and returned to Vancouver, Canada after the war)