John Appleby (known as Jack)
Lance Corporal, 1/st Battalion Yorkshire Hussars
Military Service Number 2306
Born December 1988 in Gristhorpe, near Scarborough, North Yorkshire
Died 2 September 1916 at Bleak House Farm, Scalby. Cause of death: Phithisis Pulmonaris – 6 months (TB)
Buried in Manor Road Cemetery, Scarborough, North Yorkshire. http://www.scarboroughcemeteries.co.uk/
John (Jack) Appleby was the fourth child of William Appleby and Jane Ellen Burt. In 1891 he lived with his parents, brothers Thomas (11) and Fred (4) and sister Rachel (8) in Scalby, by Wrea Head, where his father was a Farm Bailiff. Jack wasn’t living at home at the time of the 1901 Census but in the 1911 Census Jack, now 22, was back with his parents, brother Thomas who had become an Engine Driver, sister Eva (18) and brother Henry (16). His father William had become a Farmer at Bleak House Farm, Scalby Mills Road, just off Burniston Road. The farmhouse was demolished many years ago and a small block of flats known as ‘The Captain’s House’ now stands on the site.
Jack joined the Yorkshire Hussars in 1908; a cavalry regiment formed at the time of the creation of the Territorial Force in April 1908. On 1 September 1914 he attested for 4 years at Malton in the first line regiment created by Lord Feversham, and became Private no. 2306 in 1/1 Yorkshire Hussars. His papers describe him as 5’ 10” tall, chest 35” with a 2” expansion, with fair vision and good physical development. Jack became a Lance Corporal 1.12.15, “appointed in the field by Company Commander, 46th Division”.
The regiment spent the winter of 1914-15 in Harlow, Essex, waiting impatiently to go to France. ‘B’ Squadron arrived on 28 February 1915 and proceeded to Ootersteene in Belgium where they were inspected by General Sir John French. Although they took part in the Battle of Loos they never took part in a cavalry charge and spent their time digging trenches, looking after their horses, training and constantly changing billets. In January 1916 they journeyed to Marseilles by train, expecting to be sent to Mesopotamia, only to be sent back 2 weeks later. The Unit War Diary describes snow, heavy frost, heavy rain and flooding in the winter of 1915-16. Jack’s Army Pension Records state, he “Spent 3 weeks in hospital in Abbeville in February 1916 and was then sent up to his unit. He also suffered from “intractable diarrhoea” and his larynx was affected. On 28 February 1916 he presented at the 3rd North Midland Field Ambulance in the Field. Reported sick at the 31st clearing station. Detained overnight and sent to No. 2 General Hospital, Le Harve. Jack arrived at Salford Royal Hospital 3 March 1916 suffering from Phithisis. There was a family history of consumption.” The patient was “losing weight, running a swinging temperature, has night sweats, hacking cough” and TB was found to be present. Another report says that he had pneumonia in 1912.
Jack was discharged in York on 12 May 1916 on medical grounds, “permanently unfit for further war service.”
The Medical Board opinion was that Disability was due to ‘active service, exposure to weather and war strain. It declared Jack’s “Capacity for earning a full livelihood totally lessened ‘at present’.”
He died on Saturday 2 September 1916 at home, aged 28. His death certificate says his father was present at his death and it is very likely that his mother was too.
In the Scalby column of the Scarborough Mercury of Friday 8 September 1916 it is reported that, “Two winters in the trenches and frequent long exposure to the most inclement weather developed in him the latent seeds of consumption .. in Scalby and the district the deepest sympathy is evinced with Mr and Mrs Appleby in the mourning for their gallant son. The funeral, with military honours, took place at the Scarborough Cemetery on Tuesday.”
It was a splendid funeral. The same paper tells us that, “The remains were conveyed on a gun carriage, the cortege proceeding by way of Burniston Road, Columbus Ravine and Dean Road to the new cemetery, headed by a firing party from the Barracks (on the site of what is now Green Howards Drive), and the band of the Hunts Cyclists Battalion. The coffin was covered with a Union Jack upon which deceased’s hat and cartridge belt was placed, and a charger (horse) with boots reversed in the stirrups followed. At the cemetery there was a large attendance. Mr T Barrett, Wesleyan Lay Agent, conducted the service in the church and also officiated at the graveside where the farewell shots were fired and the Last Post sounded. The chief mourners were the bereaved parents, Mr and Mrs William Appleby, Mr and Mrs Fred Appleby, brother and sister-in-law; Mrs Tom Appleby, sister-in-law; Mr and Mrs Herbert Appleby (Hull), brother and sister-in-law; Mrs G Harrison, and Mrs E Abbott (Filey), cousins, and other relatives. Another brother, Mr Tom Appleby, who has served eleven years in the Hussars, and who recently re-enlisted in the Engineers, was unable to be present on account of military duty. There were a number of beautiful wreaths.”
It is interesting that the inscription on Jack’s headstone claims that he was gassed in France, although his pension records do not mention it.
The final line on the headstone – “In the sweet bye and bye” comes from a sentimental song popular at the time, written by an American, Stanford F Bennett.
“There’s a land that is fairer than day, And by faith we can see it afar; For the Father waits over the way To prepare us a dwelling place there. In the sweet by and by, We shall meet on that beautiful shore; In the sweet by and by, We shall meet on that beautiful shore. We shall sing on that beautiful shore The melodious songs of the blessed; And our spirits shall sorrow no more, Not a sigh for the blessing of rest. ”