The Chippindales in World War 1 The Long, Long Trail Back to the Main Historical Society page
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The Chippindales in World War 1

The Long, Long Trail

From the Barwicker No.95
September 2009

Our local villages sent many young men to fight in the First World War. Among those who came back were four family members of Arthur and Susan Chippindale of The Avenue, Scholes.

The two pairs of Chippindale brothers who answered Kitchener's call for volunteers were William and Henry Murray, brothers to Arthur, and Arthur's teenage sons, Donald and Hugh Arthur. In the war which most people thought would be over by Christmas, all four men distinguished themselves on active service, three of them gaining the 'officers medal', the Military Cross. William Chippindale, at 34 the oldest of the four, was manager at the family brickworks in Wood Lane, Scholes. He opted to put his mechanical engineering skills to work in the war effort by joining the Royal Flying Corps as 1st Air Mechanic, later Leading Aircraftman.

His brother Henry, a corporal in the Yorkshire Hussars, landed in France in April 1915, where he fought on the Western Front. On commissioning, Henry transferred to the Yorkshire Dragoons and was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry while making a reconnaissance. The London Gazette reported that Henry had taken his troop forward carrying out his duties most successfully, and when machine-gun fire compelled him to send his horse away, he continued his reconnaissance on foot, observing the enemy and sending back good information. Henry also located enemy artillery, a machine-gun position, and an infantry position. He was praised as having done excellent work, and his report was said to have been of great value to the operations.

William and Henry's nephew, Donald Chippindale, joined the Royal Field Artillery, 1st North Midland Brigade, landing in France in 1916. He too was a second lieutenant, and won the Military Cross in what turned out to be the bleakest year of the war for the allies, 1917. The London Gazette noted his devotion to duty as Forward Observation Officer. His trench was shelled continuously, but Donald kept up communications and three times reported the enemy massing for an attack, enabling counter activity that thwarted the enemy.

Donald's brother, Hugh, was only 20 when he was awarded the Military Cross. Hugh served in the Royal Field Artillery, Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force, and won his medal for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty while carrying out reconnaissance. He and his pilot were reported to have been attacked by eleven hostile scouts. They succeeded in destroying one of these, drove off the remainder, and then completed the reconnaissance, flying at very low altitude under continuous rifle and machine-gun fire from the ground. They located hostile batteries, enabling effective counter battery work to be carried out. Hugh was praised as showing splendid courage and skill.

When armistice was declared on November 11th 1918, imagine the excitement there must have been at the Chippindale home when the phone calls came to say the boys were coming home! Arthur, perhaps, took a brisk walk down Wood Lane to give the news to his siblings, Miranda, Kate and Isaac, at Brickworks House. Or maybe the Chippindale soldiers and airmen stepped off trains at Scholes Station and arrived unexpectedly. One thing is certain - the family must have been overjoyed that their loved ones were home at last. Perhaps though it was joy tinged with anxiety in case of callback, as fighting did not stop finally until 1923.

The Chippindale boys did not emerge completely unhurt from the war. William returned with tuberculosis. He died at Brickworks House in 1921 from pneumonia, and is remembered on the Chippindale grave in Barwick Churchyard. Donald Chippindale also suffered ill health from his war service. He relinquished his commission in December 1918, but on discharge he was granted the honorary rank of Captain. Donald did eventually recover his health, and lived to be 89 years old.

For the Chippindale family, the years between 1914 and 1918 had been a long, long, trail. Life now had to be picked up again, and Scholes Brickworks re-opened under the management of Miss Miranda Chippindale. Arthur Chippindale was able to progress his building business, and Henry, Donald and Hugh pursued their own careers.

In 1919 the Scholes War Memorial Committee formed to commemorate those who had fallen and those who served in the war. The Chippindale heroes are among those remembered on the Barwick-in-Elmet and Scholes War Memorials Web Site.


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