On Friday evening the 11th November, Mytholmroyd Historical Society met for the third of its monthly Winter programme of meetings in St Michael’s Church Hall, New Road, Mytholmroyd at 7.30pm. The attendance was 37 people.
The speaker was Wayne Ogden and his talk was titled “Finding the Fallen – The Men of Mytholmroyd and Cragg Vale in the Great War 1914- 1918 and the numerous men who were either killed or survived. It was of course, very appropriate that it was Armistice Day. Some of you readers will remember that on Saturday July 3rd a short service was held at the War Memorial in Mytholmroyd to commemorate the opening of the Memorial and Wayne with the help of Mytholmroyd Historical Society was instrumental in making this a successful day with various artefacts at the Church Hall and showing where certain graves could be found in the church graveyard.
Wayne began his talk of how he became really interested in how these local men fared when his son was reading a book “Private Peaceful” and that led him initially to investigate his own family history and a family relative who was killed on the Western front which essentially comprised the Ypres Salient and the Somme a large area which had the Western Front collapsed would have given the Germans access to the Channel ports. (This is not to ignore the battles further south such as the horrors of the Battles of Verdun} However, the men of Mytholmroyd and Cragg Vale involved in the Great War 1914 – 18 all appear to have been either in the numerous battles of what is known as the Ypres Salient or the various battles fought on the large area the Somme of north eastern France. The Ypres Salient refers to the only quarter side left as the Germans occupied Ypres and the surrounding area and comprised of three major battles of which the mud of Passchendaele is perhaps best known. The vast Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery on the Ypres Salient bears a lasting testimony to the many who perished.
Space precludes but Wayne spoke about a number of these local men and the horrors and bravery they must have endured, one should remember too, that horses played a vital role in the Great War and the film and stage production of War Horse emphasise their importance.Wayne mentioned numerous sources for researching into those known relatives killed in the Great War.
The Vote of thanks was given by Mr Rodney Collinge
Mike Darke Press Officer