‘A feeling’ and a steel glasses case that saved my Dad’s life

The damaged glasses case that took a bullet for Peter Wolstenholme's dad, saving his life
The damaged glasses case that took a bullet for Peter Wolstenholme's dad, saving his life

Here are your stories, in your own words, about family members who served in World War One.

From Peter Wolstenholme: William Reginald Joseph Wolstenholme enlisted in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI) and was posted as 27184 Private Wolstenholme to the Somme in February 1916, serving over two years with the 9th. Battalion, D Company.

William Reginald Joseph Wolstenholme's letter of commendation for gallantry

William Reginald Joseph Wolstenholme's letter of commendation for gallantry

Occasionally two privates were ordered to “go over the top” at night, one with Mills bombs, the other with a rifle.

They crossed no man’s land, one lobbing grenades into the German trenches, the other covering with his rifle.

One night Pte Wolstenholme had Mills bombs in one pouch and his steel glasses case in the other.

His companion said he had a “feeling” and asked Pte Wolstenholme to swap the contents.

Reader Elsie Vessey's father, who fought in World War One

Reader Elsie Vessey's father, who fought in World War One

He did and as he stepped over the lip of the trench his pouch was hit by a German sniper bullet that embedded in his steel glasses case, saving his life.

He was recommended for gallantry in the field on September 18, 1918 during an enemy counter attack.

He was posted back to England and married Elizabeth Theresa Metcalf (who became our Mom) on October 28, 1918.

I was Mom and Dad’s sixth child and my fifth birthday, December 12, 1940, was the first night of the Sheffield Blitz with German bombing over a nine-hour period. We lived on Scotia Close, Manor Estate, overlooking the city.

Frances Eveline Pearson with William (surname unknown)

Frances Eveline Pearson with William (surname unknown)

From David Oliver: Does anyone recognise this soldier? Taken around 1917. William and his sweetheart.

William (unknown surname) was in the East Yorkshire Regt and died during the First World War. His sweetheart was Frances Eveline Pearson, born April 1900, and lived in Calvert Road, Attercliffe, Sheffield.

They exchanged many photographs, the last one being dated November 1917.

Frances was my paternal grandmother, later becoming Frances Oliver, living in Tinsley. Her husband Joseph Edward M M, was in the 8th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment. They married in January 1921 and lived all their lives in Tinsley.

William Reginald Joseph Wolstenholme on the day of his wedding to Elizabeth Theresa Metcalf

William Reginald Joseph Wolstenholme on the day of his wedding to Elizabeth Theresa Metcalf

I would really like to find out William’s surname, what he did in the war and when he died. He must have been special to my Grandmother as she kept all his pictures until her death in 1987.

From Brian Ward: I am writing to you about my uncle, Arnold K Greenwood, who joined the Canadian army.

He was a sailor on a ship bound for Canada. He was a Walkley lad who lived at 180 Cundy Street and when the ship docked, he enlisted.

He was 19 years old and he was killed on November 6 at Passchendaele. I have all his military records and his name is on the commemorative board at St Mary's Church, Howard Road, Walkley

From Paul Clarke: My mother, Rosa Clarke (nee Ashley), was born on July 29, 1914.

Six days later war was declared and in November 1914 her father George Henry Ashley enlisted and was attached to the York & Lancaster Regiment 2/4th Battalion.

His battalion embarked for France in January 1917 from where they transferred to the Western Front, remaining there for the remainder of the war.

My mother would say she did not know her father until she was nearly five years old.

From Elsie Vessey: My father was a regular soldier in the Royal Artillery with the rank of sergeant and was based in India, but when the war broke out his platoon was sent to Mesopotamia (Iraq) where they were fighting the Turks.

Dad was injured when a shell went through his foot and pinned him to the ground and he also had his arm damaged, so he was sent back to England for recuperation.  

He was based in Hillsborough Barracks and it was there he met my mother who had been enrolled for war work, which in this case was in the forces canteen, and they married in 1919.