Douglas Ackroyd (1899-1918)
Douglas was the son of Crowther Ackroyd and Harriet Dyson. The couple's marriage was registered in Halifax, which may be because they were living in the Lindley Moor area.
Frederick was born in 1895 and Douglas in 1899. Crowther and Harriet lived at Warren House on Lindley Moor Road next door to Harriet's parents, John and Louise Dyson who kept the Warren House Inn and farm. Whilst Douglas, aged only one, lived with his parents, Frederick lived with his grandparents.
Crowther Ackroyd worked as a brickyard labourer — probably at nearby Blackley — as did his father, who lived at nearby Ainley Top. Two of Harriet’s brothers and one neighbour were stonemasons.
In the house on the other side of Crowther and Harriet lived Charles and Sarah Thornton and their family of five. Two of their sons, Donald and Reginald, would die in the war to come.
Ten years later in 1911, both families lived at the Warren House addresses but Douglas also then lived with his grandparents. The Ackroyds had three more daughters, aged between three and nine years old, and a son, John Thomas, who had been born in the summer of 1900. Given their house had only three rooms, sending some children next door to live at the inn, which boasted eight rooms, was an obvious solution to a practical problem. Crowther was by this time a "stone miner" at the brickyard.
By the time Douglas was called to military service, the family was living at 3 Middle Haigh House, that road that lead down from Lindley Moor to Kew Hill and then Blackley.
Douglas enlisted in the army at Huddersfield on 31 August 1917 when he claimed to be 18 years and 31 days old. This would mean he was born on about 1 August 1899. He gave his occupation as "woollen piecer" and his address as Kew Hill Bottom. He asked to serve in the Army Service Corps.
At his medical he was described as being 5' 5" tall with a 34" chest. He gave his religion as Wesleyan. Douglas's form was stamped "Labour Abroad" which suggest that he was not regarded as fit enough for full infantry duties. In fact he served in a Service Battalion as a full infantryman.
The 15/17th Battalion was a merger of two Leeds Pals battalions in December 1917 (no doubt due to decline in recruits available). The 17th never arrived in France until November 1917.
Although Douglas's Service Record is difficult to understand, it seems likely that he did not arrive in France before June 1918.
Douglas was killed in the last months of the war ("The Last 100 Days") in France according to the records. However, Douglas has no known grave but is remembered on the Ploegsteert ("Plugstreet") memorial in the Ypres area, which is probably explained by the war of movement that had begun first in France then in Belgium.
The records also suggest that he was not in fact killed on the 17 September but on the 21st.
Locally, he is remembered on the Kew Hill Chapel memorial plaque along with eleven other young men; this seems a large number for the small Kew Hill / Lindley Moor Road community. This plaque is now stored in the church on East Street.
Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922
The following extract is from Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922 (2014) by J. Margaret Stansfield:
- ACKROYD, DOUGLAS. Private. No 59183. 15/17th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (Leeds Pals). Son of Crowther and Harriet Ackroyd, 3 Middle Haigh House, Lindley, Huddersfield. Born Fixby, Huddersfield. Enlisted Huddersfield. Killed in action, 17.9.1918, aged 19 years. Has no known grave. Commemorated on the PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIAL TO THE MISSING.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- Private DOUGLAS ACKROYD
- regiment: West Yorkshire Regiment
- died: Tuesday, September 17, 1918
- age: 19 years
- record ID: 873716
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission (ID #873716)
- Imperial War Museums: Lives of the First World War (ID #629682)
Notes and References
- The "servant" and farm-worker living at the inn in 1911 was Lindley-born Harry Milnes, who would die in Lindley in September 1920, seemingly as a consequence of serving in the army, and who was buried in the Zion graveyard.
- Before the motorway split the area it was also connect by a lane down from the top of Weatherhill Road.