The young talented Harrogate cricketer who died of a shell wound on the Somme

The young talented Harrogate cricketer who died of a shell wound on the Somme'Horace Rymer. Picture: John Sheehan
The young talented Harrogate cricketer who died of a shell wound on the Somme'Horace Rymer. Picture: John Sheehan

Horace Rymer had moved to Harrogate as a child, from the Isle of Man where his father had been a school teacher.

On retirement, the Rymer’s took over the running of the Dirleton Hotel on Ripon Road, and Horace was brought up as a local.

He was a fine cricketer, and developed into one of the best batsmen at Harrogate Cricket Club. He even played for Yorkshire 2nd XI before joining the 1/5th West Yorkshire Regiment.

In July 1916, the Battalion was heavily involved in the vicious fighting at the Battle of the Somme, and Horace was badly wounded in the knee by an exploding shell.

He was successfully evacuated to a hospital at Wimereux, on the French coast, but sadly died on 29 July 1916.

Sister Florence M. Reid wrote to Rymer’s parents: "Your son was conscious up to 45 minutes before his death, and talking about his cricket, and kept asking me why I was doing the numerous treatments for him, and when I said, “it is just to buck you up”, he replied, “I am alright Sister, I don’t want bucking up”, and again when he had the brandy he said “I don’t like this but I will take it if you think it will do me good.”

"He was looking forward to going to England, and he had written to you to say so. The doctor was devoted to him, and spent some time each day by his bedside.

"We have every treatment that is known to try and stimulate the boys here, but evidently the germs that had entered his system were far too strong for us to battle with, and the dear lad’s heart just gave out.

"Sister Robertson (day Sister) and myself send our deepest sympathy with you all in your great sorrow. I cannot tell you how the death of these fine, strong young lads upset us.

"This war is too terrible for words, and we feel so helpless when we have these awful germs to combat; all we can do is to make the poor men comfortable, and try and battle against the dreadful things, sometimes with success, and again not, as in your dear boy’s case, which makes us feel so useless."