Marking centenary of Leeds Pals’ arrival

September 1964 '  The Leeds Pals gather at Colsterdale to mark the 50th anniversary of first going to the camp.
September 1964 ' The Leeds Pals gather at Colsterdale to mark the 50th anniversary of first going to the camp.

A First World War commemorative event is taking place in Masham and Fearby in memory of the Leeds Pals who trained at Colsterdale.

The event, hosted by Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), takes place on Saturday, September 20, with activities throughout the day from 10am-4pm.

The Leeds Pals – formal title the 15th (Service) Battalion (1st Leeds) the Prince of Wales Own (West Yorkshire Regiment) – were a group of around 900 men from Leeds who enlisted together at the very beginning of the Great War.

The commemorations will follow the progress of a troop of walkers who have signed up to follow the route the Leeds Pals battalion took when it arrived in Masham and marched six miles to the training camp in Colsterdale on September 25, 1914.

The event will begin at 10am at Masham Old Station for a short ceremony and plaque unveiling in memory of the Pals’ arrival by train from Leeds at the former station.

The public are welcome and parking and refreshments will be provided.

There will then be a chance to see the walking group – which will include representatives from the military as well as interested members of the public who wanted to walk as an act of remembrance – at Masham Market Place at 11am where they will be accompanied by a brass band.

Christian Creaby, of Masham-based Peak Military Fitness, has organised a group of men who will carry 80lb packs for the duration of the walk to raise funds for the Royal British Legion.

He said: “There will be lots for the public to see and do throughout the day, so please come and support us at one of the venues we’ll be passing through at Masham or Fearby.”

At Masham Town Hall, visitors will be able to see a free public display about the First World War and Masham’s local history throughout the 
day.

In the village of Fearby there will be living history displays on the green and more exhibitions, child-friendly activities, music and refreshments in the village hall throughout the afternoon.

A free shuttlebus service from Fearby will enable the public to visit Breary Banks in Colsterdale for a service of commemoration to the Pals at 3.30pm, following the arrival of the group walking from Masham.

The bus users will also be returned to Fearby or Masham following the event.

The commemorations are part of a three-year Heritage Lottery Funded First World War Centenary Project called The First World War and Nidderdale AONB.