Harry Tattersfield (1889 – 1967) – From Leeds Pal to RAF

The writing of this short biography, by John Tattersfield, was helped by reference to the research of Mr P.F Taylor in 2015. See this site for more details.

HARRY Tattersfield was the first man with surname initial “T” to volunteer to join the “1st Leeds
Pals”, more formally the 15th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment, in World War 1. He volunteered on
6 Sept 1914, and was recruited into the Regiment 6 days later, after his medical check, with Service
No 15/874.

HARRY was the youngest of 5 children born to JOSIAH (1848-1905) and Jane Loughhead (1850- 1918), who married in the Dewsbury area in June 1871. JOSIAH was a cloth drawer. The eldest child was ARTHUR (1872-1950), who was to become Deputy Chief Constable, Wakefield City Police Force. There were sisters ANNIE MAUD (1875-81), CLARA MAUD (1882-1959) and MARTHA JANE (Jenny) (1887-1970). In 1891 and 1901 the family lived in Flanshaw Lane, Alverthorpe, but by 1911 had moved to Wakefield.

HARRY was born on 1 March 1889 in Wakefield, and was baptised on 4 May 1889 in the Methodist New Connection Chapel, Broomhill, Batley. By 1911 he was an Electrical Engineer (Switchman).

He attested into Leeds Pals on 12 Sept 1914. He was 5ft 9ins tall, with dark brown hair and grey eyes. Interestingly, during the 6 days he was waiting to join up, on 9 September, he married Eva Rodgers (1890-1966) in Wakefield.

He was put into Headquarters Company, and later became a stretcher bearer, in itself a dangerous job. Most of his service records are missing, but he carried out initial training at Ripon. His medal card shows that he went with his battalion to Egypt in Dec 1915, to guard the Suez Canal.

He was promoted to Corporal Mechanic, probably in 1916, and in that year went to France for the Big Push. Being in the HQ. Company, he may not have gone “over the top” on 1 July, but, at any rate, he survived the war.

On 9 June 1917, HARRY transferred to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), with Service No 87662, and was re-classified as Corporal Electrician in November. He became part of the RAF on 1 April 1918, the date the RAF was formed from the amalgamation of the RFC and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). The war ended 7 months later. He was transferred to the RAF Reserve on 18 May 1919, and “Deemed
Discharged” on 30 Apr 1920.

HARRY was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

He returned to his wife and his work, appearing on the 1939 Register as an Electrical Power Station Operative Engineer, and living with Eva, who died in 1966, at 103, Lower York Street, Wakefield. He also had a second job as an ARP Warden.

HARRY died on 25 Nov 1967, aged 78 years. He and Eva had no children.