Richard Senior Horsfall (1899-1918)

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This page is part of a project by David Verguson to research the lives of those who appear on war memorials and rolls of honour in the Lindley area.

Biography

Richard Senior Horsfall is remembered on the memorial in St. Philip's, Birchencliffe. He was killed in early May 1918 and so is one of the many Lindley men who died in the German Offensive of spring, 1918.

In 1911 the Horsfall family lived at Branch Farm on Branch Lane, Ainley Top although the area was then described as Fixby, in St. Phillips parish. John Horsfall, aged 59, had been born in Golcar. His wife Elizabeth was seven years younger and came from Knutsford in Cheshire. The farm was rented from the estate of Abraham Hirst, a Brighouse landowner. They had previously lived and farmed on Yew Tree Road, Birchencliffe.

The 1910 Tax Evaluation suggests that Branch Farm was the ‘Branch Cottage’ shown on the 1893 map, a collection of two or three buildings on Halifax Road at the bottom of Branch Lane. This lane linked Grimscar Road from near the centre of Ainley Top to the Halifax Road at a point near Green Stile, now buried beneath the modern road and roundabout. Now truncated, it runs behind the Toby Carvery.

John and Elizabeth had been married 26 years and had two children. Richard was born on 17 August 1899 and baptised in St. Phillip's on 19th November. His sister May was fourteen years older, married and living with her husband Percy Taylor and son Harold, aged one, at Branch Farm.

Richard attended Birchencliffe Church of England Infant School at the bottom of Birchencliffe Hill, approximately where the vets now stands, before going up to Lindley C of E School on Holly Bank Road.

Too young to join up in 1914, when so many across the country did, he eventually joined the army on 26 September 1917, about a month after his 18th birthday.[1]

After basic training, Richard was sent to the 11th Battalion, the Leicester Regiment, and could not have been at the front long before he was wounded. He died at No 7 General Hospital, Boulogne on 4 May 1918. He was still only eighteen years old.

By the time the Roll of Honour was compiled, John and Elizabeth were living at 29 Kew Hill, a road beyond Weatherhill, now separated from Lindley by the motorway. They had moved from Kew Hill and were living not far from St. Philip's Church, Birchencliffe, at 23 Burn Road when John died on the 8 May 1934. Elizabeth died four years later. Richard was initially remembered on the memorial inside the church and his name is now on the newer memorial in the churchyard.

Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922

The following extract is from Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922 (2014) by J. Margaret Stansfield:

HORSFALL, RICHARD SENIOR. Private. No 42350. 11th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment. Born 17.8.1899. Son of John and Elizabeth Horsfall, 29 Kew Hill, Longwood. Educated at Birchencliffe Church of England School and Lindley Church of England School. At the time of enlistment, was living at Branch Farm, Birchencliffe. Enlisted 26.9.1917. Died of wounds at No 7 General Hospital, Boulogne, 4.5.1918, aged 18 years. Buried BOULOGNE EASTERN CEMETERY. Grave location:- Plot 9, Row B, Grave 38.
ROH:- St. Philip's Church, Birchencliffe.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

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Notes and References

  1. Margaret Stansfield, in her brilliant book on Huddersfield’s Roll of Honour, says ‘enlisted’ but he may well have been conscripted.