Historian researches tale of two forgotten Dewsbury war heroes

LONG SERVICE: Thomas Chadwick remained with the KOYLI for many years after the war, but died unexpectedly in 1955 at the age of 62.
LONG SERVICE: Thomas Chadwick remained with the KOYLI for many years after the war, but died unexpectedly in 1955 at the age of 62.

AN historian has been hard at work, piecing together the story of two forgotten war heroes from Dewsbury.

Karen Holloway has been researching Thomas Chadwick and his brother, Arthur, who both served with the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI) in World War I.

She has been working alongside firefighter Mark Colley, who has written a tribute to Arthur which hangs on a wall at Dewsbury District Golf Club.

Before the war, Arthur was a top class golfer and honorary secretary of the club, but was killed in action in October 1915.

Mr Colley, 50, said: “I came across his obituary and I was taken aback by how respected he was. He was a gentleman.

“I thought, ‘I have to do a tribute to him’.”

Miss Holloway, 53, has been looking into the background of both Chadwick brothers as part of a project to tell the stories of every KOYLI soldier.

As neither brother had any children, there was a risk their story would be forgotten forever.

“If anyone can remember the Chadwick family, I would be interested in speaking to them,” Miss Holloway said.

The Chadwick family was well known in Dewsbury. Arthur and Thomas were the sons of Charles Chadwick, from Mirfield, who ran Thomas Chadwick and Sons at Eastfield Mills.

The family lived in West Park Street, Dewsbury, when Arthur joined the army in 1904, rising to the rank of captain with the 1/4th Battalion KOYLI.

Thomas, meanwhile, ended up working at Ephraim and Sons, Shoddy Manufacturers, in Dewsbury, then worked at E Fox and Sons at Calder Bank Mill. He was enlisted in the army shortly after World War I broke out in September 1914 and became a 2nd Lieutenant in the KOYLI.

He was on leave when he heard the news that his brother, Thomas, had been killed at the age of 28 by a German sniper while he was inspecting a British trench near Boezinge, Ypres.

Thomas survived the war, was awarded the Military Cross and returned to England in 1918 after being wounded in the arm and hand. He was demobilised in 1919 but rejoined the KOYLI in 1920, becoming a Colonel Commandant in 1947.

When he married Nora Rowand in 1928, he moved to Wakefield where he remained until he died unexpectedly in 1955, aged 62.

Before his death, he was a director at Wakefield Golf Club and became a director of his family’s business which remained at Eastfield Mills in Dewsbury.

Meanwhile, Arthur’s legacy lives on in a trophy adorned featuring his picture that golfers at Dewsbury District Golf Club regularly compete for.

If you have any information on the Chadwick brothers, or any soldier who served with the KOYLI in World War I or II, call 01924 487112.