David Dinmore, the Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Hilary Benn MP and Hunslet & Riverside Councillors joined about 60 local residents for a Remembrance event organised by Hunslet Carr Resident Association yesterday (13 November 2021).
The event was organised to remember the 57 ex-pupils of Hunslet Carr School who died in the First World War and are listed on the Roll of Honour.
The service included two poems, ‘Remember Me’ and ‘Poppies’, written by Stuart Bailey another ex-pupil of Hunslet Carr School. An interpretation board about the 57 ex-pupils was unveiled by members of the Britton family who lost three brothers in the war.
A two-minute silence was observed, sandwiched between the Last Post and Reveille bugle calls played by a member of the Salvation Army band. The Deputy Lieutenant laid a wreath and Councillors Iqbal, Nash and Wray laid a display of 57 poppies. Kenny Saunders, Chair of the Residents Association read out the names of the 57 men.
The original Roll of Honour was lost during the refurbishment of the school in the 1970s, but a new one was created and is displayed at Hunslet Methodist Church. Hunslet Carr Residents Association have researched the 57 men and produced a booklet with details which bring the names to life.
Amongst them are three brothers: Clifford, Leonard and James William Britton and members of the family helped with the research and were present at the event. Speaking to them after the event they told me that there were five brothers in the family. The eldest had poor eyesight and couldn’t join up. The youngest was too young at the start of the war and when he tried to enlist when he was old enough he was not accepted because the family had already lost three sons. Their mother, I was told, wore black in mourning for the rest of her life.
Seven of the 57 died on the same day, 1 July 1916 – the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Of the 750 men of the ‘Leeds Pals’ who went over the top at 7:30am that day, 209 were killed and 24 died later from their wounds. Two bothers from Hunslet Carr, Harold and John Lowes, aged 19 and 18 were killed by the same shell. Willie Place was another who died that day, he lived at 1 Belle Isle Road where it was decided this year to place a ‘Tommy’ light.
Martin Lumb, the Headteacher at Hunslet Carr Primary School, explained to me that the children had visited the Interpretation Board on Thursday (11 November). Some of the children even had the same surname as those on the Roll of Honour and had been very moved to hear that they sit in the same hall that those 57 men sat in as children. “It really made history come alive” he said.