Private Edward Malpass, 4069, 1st/4th Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.
Edward Malpass was born in Nostell, Wakefield in 1890, the second 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 Edward 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 Edward's brothers: Benjamin and John Thomas Malpass tragically were to lose their lives during and after WW1. John Thomas Malpass was killed in action at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and Benjamin Malpass died from war related injuries in 1920.
22 year-old coal miner Edward Malpass married 22 year-old Ossett girl Jane Davey (1890-1943) on the 7th September 1912 at Holy Trinity Church Ossett. Jane was living at 8, Wakefield Road, Ossett and Edward at 16, Teale Street, Ossett where he was lodging with the Pollard family. There were two children to the marriage: Ronald (b. 13th March 1913 - d. 1919) and Edward (b. 13th October 1914 - d. 1969) both born in the Hemsworth Registration District.
After Edward's death, his widow Jane remarried labourer Joseph Jowitt on the 22nd November 1919 in Hemsworth and they went on to have three more children: Joseph b. 1921; Raymond b. 1922 and Margaret b. 1924, all in Ryhill.
On the 24th October 1914, Edward Malpass then aged 23 years and 210 days and living at 29, Kaye's Buildings, Ryhill attested at Wakefield for 3 years short service with the 8th Battalion, Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry as Private 18889. It was noted that he was 5ft 6" tall, weighed 140 lbs (10 stones or 63.5 kg) with a sallow complexion, brown hair and brown eyes. He was discharged after 15 days on the 7th November 1914 as "medically unfit for service".
Determined to serve his country, Edward Malpass enlisted a second time, again in Wakefield, this time with the 1st/4th Battalion, Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and became Private 4069. His army record for the second enlistment sadly did not survive, but Private Edward Malpass embarked for France with the 1st/4th Battalion, K.O.Y.L.I. on the 9th July 1915.
The 1/4th Battalion, Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry was a unit of the Territorial Force with HQ in Wakefield, serving with 3rd West Riding Brigade, West Riding Division. When war broke out in August 1914, the units of the Division had just departed for their annual summer camp at Whitby, and they were at once recalled to their home base and mobilised at once for war service, moving to Doncaster. In November they moved to Gainsborough and in February 1915 to York to prepare for service overseas. Those men who had not volunteered for Imperial Service transferred to the newly formed 2/4th Battalion. The first companies of the battalion proceeded to France, from Folkestone, landing at Boulogne on the 12th of April 1915 and the Division concentrated in the area around Estaires. On the 15th of May the formation was renamed 148th Brigade, 49th (West Riding) Division. Their first action was in the The Battle of Aubers Ridge in May 1915.
Throughout the summer of 1915, the battalion was subject to constant shelling in their trenches by German artillery and trench mortars, sadly with small numbers of casualties nearly every day.
Private Edward Malpass, aged 25 years, the husband of Mrs Jane Malpass was killed in action on 24th October 1915, just over three months after he arrived in France.
The War Diary1 of the 1st/4th Battalion, K.O.Y.L.I. records the following action:
23.10.15 Enemy fairly quiet. At 12.30 p.m. the enemy shelled the centre of E.27 with whizz-bangs. No damage to trench. Casualties: 2 other ranks killed and three wounded.
24.10.15 Enemy fairly quiet during day. Casualties: 2 other ranks killed and two other ranks wounded by shell fire. One Officer, Captain J.P. Critchley, wounded.
Private Edward Malpass was one of those "two other ranks" killed by shell fire on the 24th October 1915 and was posthumously awarded the British and Victory medals for service overseas in a theatre of war and the 1914-15 Star for service overseas on or before 31st December 1915.
He is buried at grave I. B. 28. in Bard Cottage Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
For much of the First World war, the village of Boesinghe (now Boezinge) directly faced the German line across the Yser canal. Bard Cottage was a house a little set back from the line, close to a bridge called Bard's Causeway, and the cemetery was made nearby in a sheltered position under a high bank. Burials were made between June 1915 and October 1918 and they reflect the presence of the 49th (West Riding), the 38th (Welsh) and other infantry divisions in the northern sectors of the Ypres Salient, as well as the advance of artillery to the area in the autumn of 1917. There are now 1,639 Commonwealth casualties of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 39 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate three casualties known to be buried among them.
Private Edward Malpass is remembered on the Ryhill and Havercroft War Memorial with his brother Lance Corporal John Thomas Malpass of the 11th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers who died on the 16th July 1916.
Edward Malpass is also remembered on the Ossett War Memorial in recognition of the short time he resided in Ossett.
Another brother, Private Benjamin Malpass, 1st/5th Battalion, Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, who died on the 12th October 1920 from war related injuries is remembered in a CWGC grave at Ryhill Cemetery.
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. War Diaries of the 1st/4th Battalion, Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry