Tadcaster in World War I

Tadcaster was a long way from the action of World War I, but the war had a profound effect on those who were enlisted to fight.

Motor cars in Market Square

Motor cars in Market Square as part of a recruitment campaign

Recruitment took place in the town.  The collection of cars in Market Place is part of such a campaign.

Mr. J. E. A. Titley joint hon. secretary of the Harrogate and District Automobile Club, 28, James street, Harrogate, writes: “The committee of the Harrogate and District Club have been asked to assist in the recruiting campaign which is to be conducted by the officers and men of the 2nd-5th Battalion P.W.O. West Yorkshire Regiment. The battalion arrives in Harrogate to-day, and will remain until the 24th. The officers and men will be sent out from Harrogate to Wetherby, Knaresborough, Tadcaster, Boroughbridge, Ripon, and Pateley Bridge, and they will, from those places, endeavour to obtain as many recruits as possible for the Army. It is obviously impossible to do this properly without the help of motor-car owners, and I have been asked to appeal for cars to help in the work.
Two cars are wanted for each of these places to gather the men from the outlying districts and bring them in to head-quarters. Will owners of cars who wish to assist in this great work communicate with me as soon possible.

A diary record of the great war was published by a Tadcaster soldier called Edward E Iredale.  He had lived with his family on Wharfe Bank in Tadcaster.  He joined the 5th battalion of the Prince of Wales’ Own West Yorkshire Regiment and was on duty in Ypres and the Battle of the River Somme, where he died aged 19 in August 1916.  He is buried in Thiepval, France at the war cemetery.

Bramham Moor Aerodrome (later known as RAF Tadcaster) was built near Tadcaster in 1915, and from 1916 to 1919, many active flight squadrons were based here, including some from the United States.  It was closed in December 1919, but one of the original hangars still exists today and is a Grade 2 listed building.

There is a reference to a Zeppelin being active near the town.  The Board School Log Book records: “December 1, 1916 A number of the younger were absent from school on Tuesday morning, having been up for the greater part of the night on account of the air-raid.” Apart from this, the log book reveals little about the war going on at the time.

The Tadcaster War Memorial records a total of 108 local men who died during World War 1.  These men had served in the Prince of Wales Own (West Yorkshire Regiment), York and Lancaster Regiment, Northumberland Fusiliers, Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery, East Yorkshire Regiment, and several more.  One man served and died on HMS Hogue, one was in the Royal Medical Corps but otherwise all were enlisted in the Army.  Most of those for whom addresses have been found were originally from Tadcaster but a few were from Ulleskelf, Barkston Ash, Towton and Sherburn-in-Elmet.  The majority of deaths are recorded as happening in France or Flanders but some died in Mesopotamia, Gallipoli and three died at sea.

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