Silence fell in Batley as first soldier is remembered

Memorial service for Private Austin Nolan.
Memorial service for Private Austin Nolan.

Silence fell over Batley Cemetery as the community remembered the first soldier from the town who lost his life in World War One.

Pte Austin Nolan, of Talbot Street, served in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and died aged just 21.

He never made it to the front line but was killed on August 22, 1914, by a passing train while guarding a bridge over the River Trent.

The emotional service was held by the graveside of Pte Nolan last Friday.

His relatives and members of Project Bugle, Batley History Group and the Royal British Legion bowed their heads as they paid tribute to him.

Pte Nolan’s niece Judith Wigglesworth and her husband Roy placed a wreath and flowers by his grave.

It was the first time Mrs Wigglesworth had visited the burial site of her uncle.

“My mum told us stories of him when I was a child and I used to show my friends his name on the war memorial,” she said.

“I did not know where he was buried. I am so thankful to Project Bugle who brought me to him.”

The service was led by Fr Patrick Mungovin, of St Mary’s Church.