WW1 commemorations across region

Commemorations to mark the centenary of the First World War have been taking place across the region this weekend.

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Great War in Yorkshire: Some things you might not know

The First World War had a profound impact across the globe, not least in Western Europe and Britain.

Yorkshire played its part too, providing soldiers and munitions but also on the receiving end of bombing raids.

Around 7,500 people are named on the Yorkshire Regiment Roll of Honour kept in Richmond, North Yorkshire, but it is thought that when the number of men transferred to other regiments is counted, the Yorkshire casualty count is around 9,100.

Here are a few things you might not have known about the War in Yorkshire:

  • The Bradford Pals were one of the first such groups of soldiers who were kept together in the army as they were close friends or colleagues at home. Barnsley, Sheffield, Scarborough, Hull, Grimsby and Leeds all had groups of Pals. When the Bradford Pals marched through the city on 16 September 1914, more than 40,000 people lined the streets to cheer them on.
  • Howden in East Yorkshire laid claim to the biggest airbase in the UK, home to 1,000 staff and 80 airships.
  • 2Lt Donald Bell of the Yorkshire Regiment was the only English professional footballer to earn the Victoria Cross medal. He was on the books of Bradford Park Avenue. He charged down a German machine gunner at the Somme, saving his comrades to win the medal but was killed a few days later.
  • Scarborough was the site of the first attack on British soil on 16 December 1914. Two German battlecruisers opened fire on the town, hitting the castle and the Grand Hotel in a 30-minute bombardment. They continued north, firing on Whitby and Hartlepool killing 137 people and injuring 592.
  • One of the UK's largest troop training camps was just outside Ripon with a capacity of around 30,000.
  • Crossgates, outside Leeds, was the location of the first national shell filling factory and employed 16,000 women from across Yorkshire.
  • An elephant called Lizzie was employed by a Sheffield factory owned by Thomas Ward and became a popular cult figure in the city.

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