Life of Pateley soldier marked

More than a century after his death in Belgium, the body of First World War soldier Stanley Blakeborough of Pateley Bridge has finally been laid to rest.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 12:16 pm

After all these years, a full military honours ceremony has taken place at Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium.

For members of AONB World War One Project for Nidderdale, it was a fitting tribute .

AONB member Colin Chadwick reports here on his findings into the soldier:

Stanley Blakeborough was born in Pateley Bridge on the 17th August 1896 to parents, Harry and Mary.

The 1911 census reveals that Stanley had five brothers and two sisters. At that time Stanley was working as an errand boy and his father as a stonemason.

The remaining siblings were all at school.

When war was declared against Germany on August 4, 1914, Stanley answered Lord Kitchener’s call and volunteered in November 1914, enlisting as Private 16038 with the 11th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, aged just 18.

Following his period of training, the Battalion now forming part of the 68th Brigade, 23rd Division, embarked for France on August 25, 1915.

Over the next two years until his death on October 13, 1917, Stanley was to witness fierce fighting in such infamous battles as Loos, the Somme, Messines, Menin Road, Polygon Wood and Passchendaele.

The war diary of the 11th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers records that on October 12, 1917, the Battalion moved up from Dickebusch Camp to the front line, south east of Ypres, taking over from the 13th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry.

In some areas the front line just consisted of shell holes.

The Battalion was heavily shelled throughout the relief and also in the morning of October 13. When relieved on October 16, the Battalion had lost three Officers killed; Other Ranks: 19 killed, 64 Wounded and 9 missing.

Lance-Corporal Stanley Blakeborough was initially posted as missing and it wasn’t until a few months later that an obituary appeared in the Harrogate Advertiser, dated 19th January 1918, confirming that he had been killed in action on October 13 1917, aged 21.

The family was dealt a double blow, when the same newspaper carried a report that his brother, Donald Gladstone Blakeborough had died of his wounds on January 1, 1918, aged just 20.

His death came a few days after being awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery in the advance on Bourlon Wood.

Another brother from this patriotic family, Corporal Charles Blakeborough served with the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and was twice wounded.

Their father, Corporal Harry Blakeborough, served with the Royal Engineers and was invalided home from France with rheumatism.

For his gallant service, Stanley was posthumously awarded the following medals - 1914/1915 Star, British medal and the Victory medal.

Lance-Corporal Stanley Blakeborough is commemorated on the Pateley Bridge War Memorial.