That day had not made any dramatic impact on the town up to that date. There had been the inevitable separations in the families of naval reservists and territorial army men who had been called up at the beginning. One local man had been killed in action, but the realisation and horror of war were to come.

West Riding Regiment

The 1/16th. Battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment, motto “Fortune the Companion of Valour”, in which most of the men were serving, was still in training at Doncaster and would not be “Over There” for another six months. By then, most people thought, it would be over. The German advance on pairs had been halted, the first Battle of Ypres had begun and the counter offensive leading to early victory was expected to begin shortly.

Casualty lists had yet become a dreadful feature of daily life. Trenches were being dug all across Europe, but the significance was not understood.

The war seemed a long way from Barnoldswick that Friday morning.

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Copyright © Ken Wilson 1981