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Benjamin Malpass

Private Benjamin Malpass, 242585, 5th Battalion, Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

Benjamin Malpass was born in Ryhill in 1889, the eldest son of Worcestershire born miner Edward Malpass (1856-1931) and his wife Sarah Ann nee Cook (1863-1954), who was born in Bilston, Staffs. Edward Malpass and the Cook family, headed by Sarah Ann's father James Cook had all moved to work in the Yorkshire coalfields from the Midlands towards the end of the 1870s and both families lived in Ryhill. Ryhill Main Pit opened in 1874 and closed in 1923.

Shortly after Benjamin was born, the Malpass family moved to 22, North Row, Crofton (1891), 14, Midland Row, Royston (1901) and back to Ryhill living on Station Road in 1911. Edward Malpass (senior) at the age of 50 was convicted of receiving stolen coal on the 9th June 1905 and served a month in gaol at Wakefield Prison.

Edward and Sarah Ann Malpass had a big family of at least nine children: Mary Ellen (1887-1957); Benjamin (1889-1920); Edward (1891-1915); Sarah Jane (1893-1991); John Thomas (1897-1916); Alice (1900-1978); Margaret (1902-1993); Jonathan (1904-1932) and Joseph William (1909-1944).

Two of Benjamin's brothers: Edward and John Thomas Malpass tragically were to lose their lives fighting for King and Country during WW1. Both are remembered on the Ryhill War Memorial and Edward Malpass also on the Ossett War Memorial.

Mlapass Theobold Marriage

Benjamin worked as a coal miner (hewer) before the war and on the 30th September 1911, he married Maud Esther Theobold of Roundwood, Ossett at Holy Trinity Church, Ossett. The couple had two children: Ernest James Malpass born in 1912 in Hemsworth and Nora Malpass born in Ossett on the 4th October 1914.

Nora Malpass Birth

Sadly, Maud Esther Malpass of 8, Roundwood, Ossett was to die in March 1918 at the age of 29 years from pneumonia and she was buried at Alverthorpe Cemetery on the 8th March 1918. The two children of this marriage Ernest and Nora Malpass were brought up by their grandparents Edward and Sarah Ann in Ryhill.

Maud Malpass Death

Benjamin Malpass of 8, Roundwood, Ossett enlisted at Pontefract on the 28th December 1914 in the 1st/5th Battalion of Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry as Private 242585 and served overseas throughout much of WW1. He was discharged on account of being permanently physically unfit (injured) on the 24th June 1919. A gunshot wound to his left arm had left him permanently disabled. He was awarded the Silver War Badge on the 23rd October 1919 and also the British and Victory Medals for service overseas in the theatre of war. Private Benjamin Malpass will have arrived in France in 1916 and did not qualify for the 1914/15 Star for service overseas on or before 31st December 1915.

The 5th Battalion Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry was part of the Territorial Force with their HQ in Frenchgate, Doncaster. They were made up of 'A' Company (Pontefract); 'B' Company (Doncaster); 'C' Company (Doncaster); 'D' Company (Goole); 'E' Company (Featherstone); 'F' Company (Doncaster); 'G' Company (Conisbrough) and 'H' Company (Castleford). When war broke out in August 1914 the units of the Division had just departed for their summer camp and were immediately recalled to their home base at once for war service.

In November they moved to Gainsborough and in February 1915 to York to prepare for service overseas. The proceeded to France, landing on the 12th April 1915 and the Division concentrated around Estaires. On the 15th May 1915, the formation was renamed 148 Brigade, 49th (West Riding) Division.

After a spell living back in Ryhill after his discharge from the army in June 1919, Benjamin took a job as a postman in Dewsbury and it was here where he was to marry his second wife, 29 year-old elementary school teacher Clara Kitson. On the 3rd April 1920, widower Benjamin Malpass, aged 30 of 45, Boothroyd Lane married Clara Kitson at the Wesleyan Chapel, Moorlands, Boothroyd Lane, Dewsbury. Clara gave the same address.

Malpass Kitson Marriage

Benjamin Malpass, husband of Mrs Clara Malpass, 24 Whitley Street, Dewsbury, died aged 31 years on the 12th October 1920 from war related injuries and is remembered with a CWGC headstone at grave position 2. 44 in Ryhill Cemetery, Wakefield.

Benjamin Malpass grave

1,272 Officers, Warrant Officers, Non-commissioned Officers and Men of the Fifth Battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry gave their lives in the Great War.

Benjamin Malpass is not yet remembered on the Ossett War Memorial for the time he spent residing in Ossett with his first wife Maud Malpass and where his daughter Nora was born.

Researched and written March 2023 by Stephen Wilson for ossett.net, the first established and only Ossett history website with original, non-plagiarised and accurate content.


1. Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site