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I didn’t know Jimmy, or James Bellamy to give him his full name. He was my great uncle and died 100 years ago. However, I cannot recall my grandma and great aunt, his sisters, ever mentioning his name or even talking about him. In those days one didn’t, it seems. Jummy first came to my notice years ago when I first started to trace my family past. I had seen the name, Jimmy Bellamy, and noted he had died in the Great War, but looked no further.

Then the events of a few days ago, the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele and the commemorative service held to honour the fallen, roused my curiosity. I realised Jimmy might have been there so I turned to the internet. Slowly, one step at a time, I am now finding Jimmy.

I even found a photograph posted on a website. (I had not seen his picture before)

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Jimmy Bellamy joined the 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) soon after the war broke out.

 

 

 

Snippets from a local newspaper, The Grantham Journal, revealed more:-
25th September 1915 – (Jimmy Bellamy) “Visiting friends and relations in the last week or two.”
There was more.
4th March 1916 – “Corp. Bellamy of the Notts and Derbys has been home for a brief spell of leave before departing for the front. His many friends sincerely wish him “God-speed” in doing his bit, and a safe and quick return home.”

Then in Army records I came across a hand written witness statement dated 18th November 1916. It read:-

“Sir
On the night of 18th November 1916, I was in charge of a Patrol which was sent out from the trenches in N Sub Sector Arras. Nothing of importance happened whilst out, until our return.
Whilst creeping through our own wire opposite Bay 93/1 we were fired on by the sentry and no 42199 Pte Leadbitter and one of the Patrol was wounded in the left leg.
I did not hear anyone challenge until after three shots had been fired.
I then jumped up on to the parapet and told the sentry 24118 Pte Handley 15th Btn Sherwood Foresters to stop firing as it was our own men returning from Patrol…”
A little while later The Grantham Journal carried the following news:-
16th December 1916 – “Corp. Bellamy has again been wounded in action, this time badly in the right hand by shrapnel.”

And :-
24th March 1917 – “Corp. Bellamy has also spent three months in Hospital suffering from wounds. He is now completely convalescent, and has been spending a few days at home.”

Jimmy was having an eventful war, as the saying goes. He was clearly on the front line in the trenches and in the thick of the fighting.

The next entry in the newspaper was longer:-
6th October 1917 – “We regret to state that on September 16th, the death took place in action of Sergeant J. Bellamy, son of Mrs. Bellamy, of Dry Doddington. The deceased was only 29 years of age and the only surviving son of a widowed mother. He joined the Forces soon after war broke out, and had been wounded twice. His is another noble life laid down in the cause of liberty and freedom, and in preservation of the women and children of the Motherland. Sergt. Bellamy is the third member of our local roll of honour to fall in the field, and to his young wife and little child, and to the widowed mother, who has lost her only two sons within the brief space of seven weeks, the truest sympathy goes out. The bell tolled in the village when the news of his death came, and memorial hymns were sung in the little grey Church last Sunday.
The following sympathetic letter has been received by his wife from the Second-Lieutenant of his Platoon, and a very kind one from a fellow Sergeant: – B.E.F., September 25th.
Dear Mrs. Bellamy,
It is with very deepest regret, that I have to inform you of the death of your husband, Sergt. J. Bellamy. He was my platoon sergeant, and, in my estimation, the best sergeant in the Battalion. He was killed by a direct hit from a shell in the front line trenches. In his case, death was absolutely instantaneous and he suffered no pain. I always found him an excellent N.C.O., who always did his duty and was very popular with the men. His loss leaves a deep gap which it will be hard to fill. I wish to express my profoundest sympathy with you and your family in your bereavement. He was killed on the 16th, and buried the next day. These are all the details I am able to give you.
I am, yours truly,
J. Greville, 2nd-Lieut.”

He is ‘Remembered with Honour’ on a panel at the Tyne Cot Memorial. There is no grave.
Jimmy, a hundred years on, I have found you.

 

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Footnote: I followed up the reference, ‘who has lost her only two sons within the brief space of seven weeks’. William Bellamy, aged 38, died from pneumonia in late August 1917 ‘at Chesterfield on Government work’. A former Police Constable, he had been working as a miner.

Words and photographs Copyright 2017 by Antony J Waller

 

 

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Now available, my book in paperback
Amazon.co.uk http://amzn.to/2qrRuvc

Amazon.com http://amzn.to/2pndHwN

…(or as an ebook download)

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It’s here…

Available on Amazon from today

 

A specially selected collection of stories and poems, showcasing the talents of members of the thriving writing group, ThirskWriteNow, produced in celebration of the group’s fifth anniversary in September 2016.
Covering virtually every genre, this eclectic mix is guaranteed to delight the most demanding of readers. Step inside and prepare to be be transported, tantalised, amused, intrigued.

Look inside this book.

 Golden Clippings

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Time Slip

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Tomorrow (Thursday) is the autumnal equinox, equal day and night, and marks the last day of summer. The days become shorter as we slip into autumn and approach the Winter Solstice in December. And for some it is a time for celebration.

In pagan mythology the equinox is called Mabon when thanks are given for summer and tribute is paid to the coming darkness. Wiccan festivals include building an altar with offerings of fruit and vegetables; druids gather at Stonehenge to watch the sun rise; the church celebrates Harvest Festival towards the end of September; the Chinese hold a Moon Festival during September; Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year holiday also begins tomorrow.

However, and certainly in recent years, it seems the last days of summer are marked in another way – preparing for Christmas. Yes folks, it may only be September but it’s started already. For weeks trees, lights and decorations have been going up in garden centres, cards hit the shops ages ago, now foodie goodies are on the supermarket shelves (some with a pre Xmas ‘best by’ date); and all before we have even got to Halloween or Bonfire Night. ‘Christmas’ is well and truly out of control.

Perhaps we should move the seasons, shift an equinox or two. Do you think it’s too early to start painting and rolling eggs?

Words and photographs Copyright © 2016 by Antony J Waller

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It was late in the day and the grey clouds were threatening to close in on an enthralling afternoon’s cricket at Headingley when I heard the sound; the distinctive opening bars of the ‘Star Wars’ being played on a trumpet. Billy the trumpeter had arrived.

Now as anyone who follows cricket will know there is an honorary member of the Barmy Army and avid cricket fan who likes to take his trumpet to matches to serenade proceedings. I have often heard him at different grounds with his renditions of ‘The Great Escape’, ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ and ‘Coronation Street’ to name but a few but trying to pinpoint the source and spot him and his trumpet in the crowd is like seeking out Wally in those pictures ‘where’s Wally’.

Not this time. A quick snatch of Dvorak’s ‘New World’ followed by ‘Here comes the sun’ and suddenly there he was, on a by now sparsely populated White Rose Stand (the renamed Western Terrace), his silver trumpet glinting in a shaft of sunlight arrowing through the growing gloom, Billy the trumpeter or Billy Cooper to give him his correct name.

Shortly afterwards the final wicket went down, Sri Lanka all out for 91. Well played England (and Billy, and an honour to find you in the crowd and actually see you at last).

PS. And after play had finished for the day I saw him again, this time in front of me, walking up Headingley Mount with his trumpet in a case slung over his shoulder.

Words and photographs Copyright © 2016 by Antony J Waller

 

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A popular carol being sung this Christmas in areas of North Yorkshire following the release of new licences to frack…..

No wells

 

Subscribe to Frack Free Ryedale  http://frackfreeryedale.org/

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How many times have you thought it or even said it when asked by someone else for an opinion and replied, “That’s a good idea”. And then much later, with the benefit of hindsight or the turn of events, thinking that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all. Yes, we have all been there; only some more so than others!

“That’s a good idea” was this week’s theme for a story for my Writing Group only I couldn’t come up with a good idea for a story. I did, however, come up with a few ideas that others had come up with (some of them good and a few that proved to be not quite so good!)

This is just a brief selection and I’m sure you can think of many more. Unfortunately there’s no prize for guessing who may have uttered those immortal words, “that’s a good idea”….

 

White Star Line announcing they were going to build an unsinkable ship.

The Italian architect before he realised he was constructing a bell tower on soft ground.

An editor who sacked Walt Disney saying he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.

The US Cavalry officer who decided to attack 2,000 angry Indians with only a force of 210 men having left his artillery behind at the fort.

Thinking you could invade Russia before the weather turns.

Plotting to assassinating an arch duke.

Constructing what you thought to be an impregnable defensive wall on your eastern border, only to see your enemy go around it.

The American chemist, Spencer Silver, who failed to make his new adhesive glue strong enough and caused a stationery revolution.

The cost conscious Kellogg brothers who rather than throw away a cooking pot of stale wheat baked it and put it through some rollers.

The 1,009 times Colonel Sanders secret chicken recipe was rejected.

The theory and concepts of Communism, Democracy and Quantum Physics.

The Scottish biologist who was so keen to get away on his holidays he left his dirty petri dishes in the  sink.

The unknown Chinese cook who mixed together charcoal, sulphur and saltpetre and accidently blew up his kitchen.

The customer in a restaurant who kept sending his potatoes back to the kitchen saying they were too thick and not fried enough. The chef, George Crum, eventually sliced them so thin and fried them so much they became crisp.

And finally two of my own…

Buying self-assembly flat pack furniture from Ikea.

The selfie stick and all those sellers who think it’s de rigueur for tourists.

 

Words and photographs Copyright © 2015 by Antony J Waller

 

 

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