ă 3/2872 Pte 3rd Bn K O Y L I. Sent to France 13/11/1914 as he was in the Territorials before the War. (DC 8/6/1915; J Armitage, Bamford, wounded). Discharged 4/4/1916.
Article in the Derbyshire Courier 5/6/1915; Private J Armitage, whose home is in Main Road, Bamford, is in Hospital at Thorpe Hall, Thorpe-le-Soken, having been seriously wounded. The most recent letter to his wife and mother (Mrs Devlin) at Bamford say he is feeling a bit better, but his wound is so ugly and painful. He has to take morphia every night to induce sleep. He says he should walk straight into death if he went out to the front again. ”I have done my duty to my country, and with God’s help I have pulled through it, leaving hundreds of my comrades dead upon the field. I have gone out in the night and risked my life many times to bury a comrade and put a little wooden cross where he lies, and volunteered to fetch water and rations. I have never feared danger because I felt I had God’s hand to guide me. I have knelt in the trenches many a time when we have made a charge and said a prayer, thinking it would be my last chance. It has taken the dogs six months to wound me but it has cost them dear. Many a one have I sniped and stuck, so I have had my revenge for myself and one or two of my poor chums. Whether I will be able to see the finish I do not know, but I will go with a good heart if I can only think my wife and children and you are in good health and comfortable. God knows we have suffered through the terrible war, but I was in good health then and plenty of blood in my body, but I am weak now, and the blood is sapped out of me, but with plenty of nourishment and fresh air I will pull through it all”.
Interestingly he sends the letter also to his mother a Mrs Devlin, and is all the more poignant when one looks at his life both before and afterwards.
b 1886 Walton on the Hill, Liverpool father Samuel Armitage, mother Annie, who became Ann Devlin. (SDT 1/10/1904; Living at 28 Rawson Street, Sheffield, convicted for stealing lead along with Robert Lilley, who was chased into the river by a police constable. Each fined 20/- or 14 days in default. Obviously he defaulted for he ended up in Wakefield prison). He married Rose Beatson in 1906 (who was possibly underage at the time, as she was b 1890 Sheffield). 1911C; living at Bamford, a labourer, next door to Ann Devlin (his mother?). 1918 Absent voters list address 2 Hilltop, Outseats, but gives no military information as he was out of the Army by this time. (Sheffield Evening Telegraph 19/11/1917 ‘H Armitage, Hill Top, fined 40s for losing 64½ hours, by the Sheffield Munitions Court) It is thought this is a typing mistake, and almost certainly refers to Joshua. (DC 24/1/1920 ‘Joshua Armitage ex-soldier fined for smashing windows in the Station Hotel, Hathersage). (Belper News 30/1/1920; In a fit of passion because he was ejected from the Station Hotel, Hathersage, the young soldier smashed two plate glass windows after closing time on January 1st. Sent to prison for a month and ordered to pay £15 cost of the windows. He had done odd jobs at the Hotel. He had been existing on 22/9 per week and thought his wife and children would have to go into the workhouse). and again (Belper News; 8/10/1920; ‘summoned for not sending his three children to school. Ordered to send them to Hathersage School and to pay costs’) and (DC 21/5/1921 ‘in court through not sending his children to school’, he said he had a wife and five children and was disabled and had been shot through the ankle during the war). (Derby Daily Telegraph 11/8/1928 ‘arrested for theft’ but goes onto say he was wounded at the battle for Hill 60 (Ypres April/May 1915). There is also a string of convictions for his wife’s family! He died 1967 in the Workhouse in Sheffield.