Date of birth: 1883
Date of death: 1960
Regiment: Northumberland Fusiliers
Family information: Son of Marshall and Ann Terry
Service number: 17/873
Mark joined the Northumberland Fusiliers and was given the service number 17/873. Unusually, the medal index card does not state the battalion he was with. However, the actual service number gives the facts. Unlike most other regiments the service number is in 2 parts, the first indicating the number of the battalion and the second the order in which a man was enlisted. In this case it shows that Mark was in the 17th Service Battalion and was the 873rd man to be enlisted in it.
The 17th (Service) Battalion (North Eastern Railway Pioneers) was formed at Hull in September 1914 by the North Eastern Railway Company.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines a Pioneer battalion as - One of a body of foot-soldiers who march with or in advance of an army or regiment having spades, pickaxes etc., to dig trenches and clear and prepare the way for the main body.
On the battlefront itself, much of the role of the Pioneer’s was undertaken as part of the 'fatigue' routine common to all British battalions. This meant that in addition to their fighting duties, squads of infantrymen were routinely set various tasks that included: trench digging; installation of barbed wire entanglements; moving of supplies and munitions and any other pioneer type duty that had to be carried out.
This fatigue routine became established as an essential part of the infantryman's role and, regrettably, it often took precedence over rest periods, training for new offensives and rehearsing tactics. It was the cause of much physical decline and depression of morale amongst the troops of the infantry battalions. To some extent, or other, the practice of fatigues persisted throughout the whole period of the Great War since the chronic manpower/labour problem was never fully resolved.
In January 1915 it became a Pioneer battalion. And in June 1915 was attached as Divisional Troops to the 32nd Division. They landed at La Havre 21 November 1915.
It remained on the Western Front for the remainder of the war and took part in the following engagements:
The Battle of Albert*
The Battle of Bazentin*
The battles marked * are phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916
The battle of Albert, 1-13 July 1916, is the official name for the British efforts during the first two weeks fighting of the first battle of the Somme. As such it includes the first day of the Somme, the most costly day in British military history and one that has coloured our image of the First World War ever since.
The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, which ran from 14-17 July 1916 and comprised part of the second phase of the Somme Offensive, was launched primarily by Reserve Army (twelve battalions) with Rawlinson's Fourth Army providing a further battalion, on a front extending from Longueval to Bazentin-le-Petit Wood.
9 October 1916: transferred to GHQ as Railway Construction Troops.
2 September 1917: rejoined 32nd Division, leaving on 15 November 1917, again to GHQ as Railway Construction Troops.
31 May 1918: transferred as Divisional Troops to 52nd (Lowland) Division.
On 29 April the Division moved to Aire and took over a sector of front line near Vimy on 6 May. It was withdrawn into reserve on 23 July and eight days later once again went into the line north east of Arras:
The Battle of Albert**
The battle marked ** is a phase of the Second Battles of the Somme 1918
The Battle of the Scarpe^
The Battle of the Drocourt-Queant Line^
The battles marked ^ are phases of the Second Battles of Arras 1918
The Battle of the Canal du Nord+
The battle marked + is a phase of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line
The Final Advance in Artois
The Division was in the front line north of the Mons canal and was engaged on clearing Herchies on 11 November 1918. The demobilisation of the Division began in December and the service of the Division came to an end on 31 May 1919 when the final cadres left for home.
It is not possible to state exactly which of these engagements Mark Terry participated in because his individual record has not survived. However, it is likely that during the transition to the 52nd Division he was granted some leave as on the 15th July 1918 he was in Brotherton getting married. He married Louisa Bramham of Brotherton.
His Medal Index Card shows that he was retained on the ‘class Z’ list which obliged him to be ready to return to active service if required.
The Terry family were relative newcomers to Brotherton in that they moved into the village sometime after 1901.
Prior to that they had lived in Upper Soothill near Batley. Mark Terry (1) was born in 1807 at Ossett and married Sarah Marshall (b. 1806) in Soothill near Batley. Sarah’s father was John Marshall (born 1781) a ‘Farm Labourer’ at the time of the Census. Mark and Sarah were living in Soothill with him at the time and Mark was employed as a ‘Hand Loom Weaver’ whilst Sarah was a ‘Schoolteacher’.
Ten years later the 1861 Census offers the following information. Mark and Sarah were living on Chidswell Road, Soothill with what was probably their only child bearing in mind their ages (54 & 55). He was Percival Marshall Terry born in July 1852. Sarah was a ‘Housewife’ whilst Mark was a ‘Woollen Weaver’.
On December 23rd 1876 Marshall Terry (having dropped the Percival) married Ann Walker the daughter of Benjamin Walker a ‘Waste Dealer’ from Batley. Mark, a ‘Spinner’ and Ann a ‘Weaver’ were married in All Saint’s Church, Batley.
In 1881 the couple were living at Chidswell Road with Marshall’s father Mark and their one year old daughter Sarah. Later in 1881 they had a son called Ben but as he did not appear in future Census Data it is assumed he died. Records state that 2 of their children died and Sarah is most likely the second.
In 1901 they are still at Chidswell Road but Mark (1) has passed away. The family has expanded in spite of events and included Mark born in 1883, Mary 1888, Ann 1892 and Ben (1897).
By then, Mark was 18 years old and employed as a Butcher. However, it was not long after this that the family moved to Brotherton.
In the 1911 Census data records that they were living in the High Street, Brotherton. Marshall Tury, as it was spelt, was a ‘Woollen Spinner Overlooker’, but his wife Ann was a ‘Grocer and Draper’ working from home, so they obviously lived in premises that also doubled as a shop. The three older children – Mark, Mary and Ann were all employed as ‘Shop Assistants’ so it must have done a brisk trade.
After the War - at present there is no data to show what Mark Terry did after he returned from active service although it is assumed he returned to Brotherton and rejoined the family business.
Marshall Terry died 3rd September 1919.
There is some confusion as to the exact name of Mark’s wife in that the entry in Brotherton Parish Records shows her as Louisa, the General Registry Office Records have her as Lavinia. This is probably an error of transcription as Census data records her as Louisa and living with her father James in Sutton. James was described in various Census data as a ‘Farmer’, Farmer-Joiner’ and then in the marriage record as ‘Joiner’.
The couple went on to have two sons - James in 1922 and Mark (3rd) 1924. Mark died on December 24th 1960.
Younger brother Ben Terry married A Hilda Dodson in Dewsbury in 1924 and they also had two sons called John P. (1925) and William K. (1926). Ben died in 1972.
It is recalled that in the 1950’s Ben Terry was the postmaster in Brotherton and that the post office was situated in the High Street up some steps. It is uncertain if this was the same premises as used by his parents as their shop.
Ben was responsible for publishing a series of sepia postcards depicting a number of scenes from around the village. These include shots of the River Aire, the steel railway bridge, the arched road bridge over the river, views from Byram Park Road to The Fox, The Fox to the old school, From the top of Gauk Street along the Old North Road towards Belmont and The Coach Road.
One other card shows the High Street looking from Gauk Street end with a large gathering of men in the street, which might have been taken to mark the end of World War One.