Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

A chilly view across Garfit Gap to Hasty Bank

Right of centre is Whingroves, a farm which appears to have evolved into industrial pheasant rearing.

However, in 1896 it was  a typical mixed farm run by Isaac Garbutt, a surname that has been on the Bilsdale parish register since the 16th century. That year, Isaac’s wife Mary gave birth to a boy who was named John William, who later came to be known as Jack. The Garbutts were a large family, Isaac and Mary had 12 children. I have no doubt that if Jack and his siblings hadn’t been helping their dad around the farm, they’d be crawling among those fallen Wainstones boulders at the end of Hasty Bank.

But in the late 19th century, childhood was short, and Jack started working as a farmhand when he was young. It was hard work, uncertain and seasonal. He started a career as a police officer, but on the outbreak of the war, Jack volunteered with the Royal Field Artillery. He was 18 years old.

On 21 March, 1918, after four years of grueling warfare on the Western Front, Jack was escorting an ammunition wagon at Epehy, east of Amiens, when the Germans began their Kaiserschlacht, Spring Offensive, in a desparate attempt to change the course of the war. Of the 7,485 British soldiers killed that day, only the graves of 978 are known.

Jack’s body was never recovered, he is one of the nine men whose names are inscribed on the war memorial at Chop Gate.1Jack Garbutt: The Bilsdale Bombardier, ISBN 978-0-9556454-1-9, Waltersgill Photography and Publishing..



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One response to “A chilly view across Garfit Gap to Hasty Bank”

  1. Karen Newbould avatar
    Karen Newbould

    War is so brutal, terrible to think of all of that loss of life and that many families didn’t even have a body to bury

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