The Lost Men of Bishopthorpe: First World War

I had originally intended to publish the names of the fallen from Bishopthorpe in both Link and Bishopthorpe dot net in the month which marked the centenary of their deaths. I have managed to maintain that record in Link with the help of that journal’s editor. However, I have not been able to post articles on the website due to the extended changeover period to a new host in the later months of 2015. In consequence, I am now playing catch-up with the two men who died in 1915.

As well as spending a few moments thinking of these men and their families, I hope that you find the details of some interest.

HOLT, Arthur

Private, 1796, 5th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment.
Died on the 3rd July, 1915, in the United Kingdom, age 23, from illness.
Buried in Bishopthorpe Churchyard.

Remember him.

I decided some time ago that I should also include the names of men from Bishopthorpe who are not commemorated on the War Memorial, and John Muggeridge was the first of those men to lose his life.


Gunner, No. 66829, 1 Depot, Royal Garrison Artillery.
Died as the result of an accident, 23 November, 1915, aged 28, at Dover Barracks.
Buried in Dover St. James’s Cemetery.

Remember him.


Bishopthorpe Men: the story so far
It is perhaps worthwhile examining how the village of Bishopthorpe had been affected by the end of 1915. Many men had joined up after the war started, but nearly all of these men were still in training in the U.K. Most of the actual fighting on land and at sea had involved men who had been regular soldiers or sailors before the war. A few Territorial Army units had reached the Front by the end of 1915. At that point, the First World War had been in progress for just over fifteen months. In that period four men from the village had died due to their service with the Forces.

The two who were killed in action on the Western Front in 1914 were regular soldiers: 2nd Lieutenant Richard John Lumley of the 11th Hussars was hit by a German sniper in August, while Lance Corporal John Arthur Bowlby of the 9th Lancers died in September when the Lancers’ billets were hit by a long range shell from a German Heavy Battery. Somewhat surprisingly, the other two casualties in 1915 occurred due to illness and accident respectively: Private Arthur Holt, who had previously served with the 5th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment had been invalided out of the army just a few months before he died of a serious illness in July of 1915. Gunner John Muggeridge, whose name is not on the memorial, only joined the Royal Garrison Artillery a week before he was seriously injured in an accident at his billet at Dover. He died of his injuries in hospital.

In August, 1914, many men rushed to volunteer because the word on the street was that the war would be over by Christmas. By December, 1915, it had become apparent that the terrible conflict would last for much longer than a few months. Many of the new recruits, including the Bishopthorpe men who had volunteered, must have begun to wonder just what they had let themselves in for.

Ken Haywood