An Easter war wedding

Yorkshire Evening Post, Tuesday 27 April 1915. © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

Yorkshire Evening Post, Tuesday 27 April 1915. © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

‘War weddings’ were commonly reported in local newspapers throughout the war. Was a war wedding in your family featured?

As the First World War failed to be ‘over by Christmas’, late April 1915 brought the first wartime Easter holiday. A number of ‘war weddings’ were published in local newspapers around the country.

A report of an army officer’s 1915 Easter wedding in the Yorkshire Evening Post contains some atmospheric detail, along with images of the bride and groom. You can read a transcript below.

“A hat of pale oyster”

“A WAR WEDDING NEAR HULL.

 An interesting military wedding took place to-day in the Parish Church at Dalton Holme, where the 12th (service) Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment is encamped. The bride was Miss Ethel Stephenson, eldest daughter of the late Mr William Stephenson, M.R.C.S [member of the Royal College of Surgeons] (London) a well-known East Yorkshire antiquary; and the bridegroom Captain John Winchester Springhall, the popular adjutant of the battalion, and the only son of Mr. Robert Springhall, of Southampton, late of His Majesty’s 15th Foot.

An arch of swords was formed by the officers outside the church door

“An arch of swords was formed by the officers of the battalion outside the door of the church, and the village street was lined by the rank and file. […]

“The bride wore a travelling dress of navy blue gabardine, with hat of pale oyster shade. The bridesmaid was Miss Joan Warburton, who wore a ruby-coloured coat and skirt, with black picture hat.

“Major F.H. Lock, of the East Yorkshire Regiment, was the best man. The band of the East Yorkshire Regiment, under Mr James Hurd L.R.A.M. [Licentiate, Royal Academy of Music], was present.

“After the ceremony a reception was held by Colonel H.R. Pease and the officers of the 12th Battalion. […] The presents, which included a handsome silver salver [a flat tray] from the colonel, were very numerous.”

A window into their life stories

This article is an interesting research starting point. It provides a snapshot of a day in which several figures who worked or lived together during the First World War came together to make up the wedding party or attend as guests.

We can say for certain that at least three of them will be commemorated on Lives of the First World War as they were servicemen enlisted in the armed forces and so have Medal Index Cards which will be used to create Life Story pages for them on the site.

Searching the records

A look at the records which will be available on Lives of the First World War when it launches this summer reveals the following Life Story pages. We can learn their first names in full and in some cases the beginnings of clues about their war experiences:

  • Quarter Master and Honorary Lieutenant / Temporary Lieutenant Colonel JW Springhall: It seems the bridegroom, John, was promoted after his marriage. His medal index card mentions that he is recorded under “Mentions in Despatches, Meritorious Service Medals and Territorial Force Efficiency Medals”.
  • Major Frederick Heathfield Lock: The best man, presumably a friend of John’s, is also comemmorated on Lives of the First World War. He is listed as having been awarded a Silver War Badge, which means that he was invalided out of the army at some point due to either illness or injury.
  • Bandmaster JLT Hurd:  James Hurd led the regimental band, who were present at the wedding.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Harold Robinson Pease: Colonel Pease, who hosted the reception and presented the couple with a fine silver tray as a wedding gift, also seems to have gained a promotion since the wedding. He is also listed as gaining a Silver War Badge.

War weddings and local news

How about you? Are you aware of any news clippings your relatives may have featured in?

When Lives of the First World War launches, these may form a good starting point for uncovering more about their stories.

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