Captain Henry Norman Childe, B Sqn, 1/1st Queen’s Own Yorkshire Dragoons & 49th Agricultural Company, Labour Corps.
Second Lieutenant Derrick Francis Childe, 1/5th Bn., York and Lancaster Regiment.
Two of the four sons of Henry Slade Childe, a Bradford born mining engineer and Justice of the Peace, and his wife Kate (nee France) served as officers in the Army during the Great War. Henry and Kate were married in Wakefield in 1889 and their first son, Wilfred Rowland was born a year later in 1890. Then, in 1891, Henry Norman was born, followed by Derrick in 1896. The fourth son was Godfrey Slade Childe who was born in 1901. Wilfred Childe was a well known poet and critic who converted to Roman Catholicism in 1914. He edited Oxford Poetry during 1916 & 1917. From 1922 Wilfred Childe was a lecturer in English Literature at Leeds University, where he enjoyed a career which spanned 30 years. Much of his work was published and was widely acclaimed, his best known work being The Little City (1911) and Dream English, a Fantastical Romance (1917). He died suddenly at the age of 62 on Remembrance Sunday 1952. Each of the Childe brothers was educated at one of the great public schools of England. Wilfred boarded at Harrow as did Derrick, Henry went to Charterhouse and Godfrey to Repton. All the Childe children were born in Wakefield, but while the children were young, the family moved numerous times. Even their stay in Barwick amounted to less than ten years before a move to Harrogate where Mr Childe’s parents had lived for some years. The family seems to have settled here as ‘The Briary’ is listed as their address for a number of years, although after the death of Henry Slade Childe, his widow Kate moved once more.
Henry Norman Childe was commissioned in 1909 into the Yorkshire Dragoons which was a Yeomanry regiment, or part time cavalry regiment. On 28th August 1914, a little over three weeks since war was declared, he was promoted Lieutenant. He went to France as a Troop Leader in B Squadron of the Yorkshire Dragoons on 1st August 1915. In 1917 He was seconded for duty with the Labour Corps, as a captain, probably during a period of recovery from sickness or while convalescing from wounds. After the war he returned to work with his father as a mining engineer.
Henry Childe had married Ethel Badger of Clifton, York in November 1913. With war looming again in the late 1930s, he enlisted in to the Royal Artillery, but the record also shows that he left again in 1938, however, in December 1939 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lt again into the Royal Artillery. Six months later he resigned his commission. He died at Debry on 10th April 1947.
Derrick Childe was commissioned from the Harrow School Officer Training Corps on 26 March 1915, and in his very short period of service with his battalion he developed a reputation as being ‘keen and intelligent’. He was one of three officers of the battalion killed when the Germans launched the first Phosgene Gas attack on the positions held by 49th (West Riding) Division, of which 1/5th York and Lancaster Regiment was a part.
Casualties from this attack now lie buried in Talana Farm Cemetery and Bard Cottage Cemetery which are both at the side of the same road out of Ieper to Boezinge, and are separated only by a distance of a few hundred metres. The 49th (West Riding) Division saw much service in this area during the latter period of 1915, and it is fitting that the Divisional Memorial was erected on the canal bank above Essex Farm Cemetery, only some 400 metres or so from Bard Cottage Cemetery. Second Lieutenant Childe’s commanding officer wrote to Mr Childe that he was ‘a first class officer’. The date of Derrick Childe’s death can be considered as a pivotal point in the prosecution of the war. This was the date when Lt Gen Sir Douglas Haig became Commander in Chief of the British Expeditionary Force in the wake of the resignation of Field Marshal Sir John French.
A memorial service was held in the Parish Church at Barwick in Elmet in early January 1916 in memory of 2nd Lieutenant Childe which was attended by some of the notable local personalities as well as strong representation from Wakefield, including the Mayor and Mayoress.
Also in attendance was Colonel FRTT Gascoigne DSO of Parlington and Lotherton whose own son Alvary (later Sir Alvary, diplomat and ambassador to numerous countries during an exemplary career), would be wounded later in the war while serving as an officer in the Coldstream Guards. His Grandson, Douglas Wilder Gascoigne was killed, also with the Coldstream Guards during the battles to liberate Europe in the Second World War. Col. Gascoigne’s Land Agent, Mr Prater and his wife, and the Tadcaster solicitor, Mr G Bromet and his wife also attended, as did numerous ‘staff from the Estate Office Aberford’ and ‘indoor and outdoor servants’ from Potterton Hall where the Childes lived. Other names of people, who would be bereaved due to war, include Mr & Mrs Fawcett from Becca Hall whose son Captain Frederick Francis Fawcett was killed in North Africa during the Second World War while serving with the Royal Army Service Corps and is buried in El Alamein War Cemetery in Egypt, and Mrs E. O. Simpson from Hazelwood Castle whose son, Cadet (Phillip Overend) Simpson, would serve during the Great War and then die in service in hospital during the Second World War. Lieutenant Simpson is buried in the extension to the cemetery at St Ricarius’ Church in Aberford.
After the War, Henry S. Childe chaired the committee responsible for erecting the village War Memorial, and his wife Kate unveiled it at a public ceremony.