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.
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.
Armistice, Peace & Hull Street Parties.
Scarborough Street Peace Party above and Beeton Street Peace Party 1918 above right.
Hawthorne Avenue Peace Party above 1918
Marmaduke Street Peace Party 11th November 1918
Wassand Street Peace Party 1918
The Parrot Street Peace Party, (off Selby Street), Hull, 1918
Raglan Street Peace Party
Daltry Street Peace Pary 1918
Call to Arms
Before the declaration of war on the 4th August 1914, the local Territorial battalions, the 4th and 5th East Yorkshires, and the Territorial Royal Field Artillery were mobilized and reservists received their call up papers.
The Hull Daily Mail recorded that about 100 naval reservists left Hull for the South of England on the 5.05am train to London. The sudden loss of men affected the ability to bring in the harvest and hit the fishing fleet and merchant navy very hard.
Hull was the major recruitment centre for the East Yorkshire Regiment, but as it was also a major port. A large percentage of the population was already recruited by the Merchant Navy, the fishing Fleet, the Royal Navy and the Humber Estuary and Coastal Defences.
As well as the demands of the sea, there were other units in existence which further drained the supply of Hull men. In the East Riding there was a Yeomanry regiment, two territorial battalions, a Royal Garrison Artillery battery, a Field Ambulance of the Royal Army Medical Corps and a Field Company of the Royal Engineers.
With the onset of war, each of these (except the 5th Battalion) recruited, firstly up to full strength and then recruited a second line unit to replace the first when it went on active service. The 4th Battalion actually raised a third line battalion. Competition was particularly fierce to join the Hull cyclists, who with their 'knee britches and black bugle buttons' were seen as a rather noticeable unit to belong to. Army life meant regular pay (one shilling a day for privates) as well as proper food and clothing, not to mention barracks that compared favourably with the living conditions experienced by many at the time. Even with an establishment of keen recruits, many would-be volunteers were rejected on medical grounds, suffering from the cumulative effects of poor diet, medicine and housing.
Within the first six month of the war, over 20,000 men from Hull had enlisted, and by the end of the war some 75,000 had served in His Majesty's Services.
The women of Hull also proved indispensable, serving in the factories, farms and transport, as well as maintaining the families at home and supporting their men away at war.
They all served for a variety of reasons – some out of a sense of duty and patriotism, some for a change and adventure, others for money. However, all answered the call to do a practical job with little idea of what lay before them.
The following names were Clergymen and sons lost in the war;
2nd Lt., Arthur Charles Vaughn Smith, West Yorks Regiment, killed 19/10/17, from the Sculcoates Vicarage.
2nd Lt., Percival Ram, Manchester Regiment, killed 1st July 1916, from the St Mary's Vicarage, Lowgate.
Lt., Eric Thomas, West Yorkshire Regiment, killed 8/12/17, and his brother, Lt., Greville Thomas, 4th Gurkha Rifles, killed 10/4/18, both from the Newland Vicarage, Hull.
Captain, William Reginald Dibb, MC, RFA 37th TMB, died of wounds 27/5/18 in Thailand, aged 42. He was the fourth son of the Reverand Ashton & Mary Dibb of Hull.
Pte., James Aaron, MM, 8th Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, killed 1st July 1916. Son of James Aaron, Hull Western Synagogue.
Lt., William Edmund Wigfall, MC, 8th East Yorkshire Regiment, died 19/8/16, from Beverley Minster.
Lt., Reginald Blencowe Bayliss, Manchester Regiment, killed 18/11/16, the Beverley Wesleyan Chapel.
L/Cpl., Thomas Wilfred Fisher, Border Regiment, died of pneumonia on 21/2/17, from the Pocklington Vicarage.
2nd Lt., Lionel William Halse, 12th Gloucester Regiment, died 17/10/18. Son of the Rev. William George Halse, Holy Trinity Church, Bridlington.
Trevor Ernest Wilberforce, killed on the 14/11/16. Son of Rev., George Wilberforce Trevor from the Beeford Rectory.
Sub Lt., Edgar Claude Donovan, Royal Navy, who died 26/4/17, from the Garton in Holderness, Vicarage.
2nd Lt., Walter Sherburn Phillips, East Yorkshire Regiment, killed 16/9/16, from Skirlaugh Vicarage.
Major, Sydney Herbert Goodall, 16th Canadian Expeditionary Force, killed 8/10/16, from Howden Vicarage.
Lt. Col., Bernard Barton, 1st Worcester Regiment, killed 11/8/18, aged 39, son of Revd. Haycroft Barton, from Fridaythorpe, Malton.
Sub. Lt., Norman Nesbitt, Royal Naval Division died on 21/8/18 from the Elloughton Vicarage.
Father, Joseph William Finn, MC, born Hull 1875 and who served as Chaplain 4th Class in the Army Chaplain's Department. Father Finn was a Roman Catholic Priest, who died on the first day of the Gallipoli campaign, 25th April 1915, while landing on 'V' Beach, with the Dublin and Munster Fusiliers. He was awarded the Military Cross for attending to the wounded on the beach unarmed.
Deaths after the war
Deaths were to continue long after the war. Hull cemeteries are littered with the graves of servicemen who died through disease or the results of war wounds after 1918.
Another ongoing peril was unexploded sea mines. These continued to take the lives of Hull fisherman, long after the war had ended. For example, the Hull trawler ‘Gitano’ struck a mine and was sunk with all hands on the 23rd December 1918. The Hull trawler ’Scotland’ struck a mine on the 13th March 1919 killing 7 Hull men. Two days later the steam ship ‘Durban’ exploded‘, killing another eight Hull sailors. The ‘Isle of Man’ (Hull) exploded on the 14th December 1919, killing a further seven Hull fishermen. The steam ship ‘Barbados’ exploded on the 5th November 1920, taking ten Hull men. These included the two Weaver brothers killed on the same day. Many of these seaman had survived the war, only to be its victims after.
Every man recorded on the Hull Memorial has their own unique story and there are over a thousand stories to tell, many intertwined, with the history of Hull. Naming those that died emphasizes their existence as individuals and the enormity of Hull’s loss. The potential of all these men were lost to the world, but they are now remembered here.