© Yorkshire Ramblers' Club. Reproduction of this article is not permitted.
However, short extracts from it may be used, for non-commercial purposes, provided their source is fully cited, acknowledged and referenced as:
YRC Committee (1947) In Memoriam. Yorkshire Ramblers' Club Journal Volume 7 Number 24: pp157-166. Leeds: YRC.


Thomas Singleton Booth

T.S. Booth.  © Yorkshire Ramblers' Club
T.S. Booth
(President 1929-30)

The loss of T. S. Booth is a very great and personal one to all who have been his comrades. He died in April, 1938, in a plane approaching the Alps he was never to see.

Tom, as he was affectionately called, made a name for himself which will stand for ever in the history of pot-holing. His indefatigable energy and tireless strength were the mainstay of many parties in the pioneer days underground. As a youth a breakaway of six months as an apprentice on a four-master was enough to settle him down to business.

He was in the Y.R.C. in its first year, on the Committee in its fifth and under popular pressure the 1930 President. When Calvert's party first attacked Gaping Gill, September 1895, Calvert and Booth reached the Ledge, then covered with stones. In 1896 after making the first ascent of Great Gable Central Gully direct with Leach and Blake, he was in the first English [i.e. second) descent of G.G. and it is a fact that he and Gray went round the West Chamber.

The great campaigns of '97, '98, '99 were by two parties and the history of the 1897 attacks on Rowten Pot by Booth, Swithinbank, Parsons and Cuttriss is a romance yet to be written. He led the fourth G.G. descent (1903), doing the Booth-Parsons crawl, and two years later the South Passage. His descent through the Flood of 1909 is famous, and his Spout Tunnel lead (1910) and his landing with Wingfield on the Buttress (1913) have never been repeated, owing to the cable now going down the main shaft.

Charles Scriven

Charles Scriven who died in May, 1938, was a member of the Club's first two Committees, and Treasurer for the next three years. He was evidently the Club's camping expert, and a stout supporter of the pot-hole parties in the great campaigns of '96 to '99, notably of the many attacks on Rowten Pot in 1897. Many early meets owed their success to him and to his gift for making the recruit welcome. He was elected an Honorary Member in 1923.

George Yeld

George Yeld was for fifty-two years a master at St. Peter's, York, and for thirty years Editor of the Alpine Journal. We elected him Hon. Member in 1921, and he often came to our Dinners. At one time he climbed with our member, G. W. Lloyd of Stockton-on-Forest. He died in 1938 at the age of 93, and a full account of his climbing career will be found in A.J., Vol. L, p. 297.

Robert Rimmer

As managing director of the Hotel Metropole, the host of the Leeds Luncheon Club and of hundreds of visitors to the city, also for some years President of the Yorkshire Lacrosse Club, Robert Rimmer was a very well-known man. He was a great hill walker, a great sportsman, and a staunch friend. He came into the Y.R.C. in 1927, too late to become a veteran pot-holer, but we have pleasant memories of his valuable aid in several stiff expeditions ; he became Hon. Librarian in 1935. He died in June, 1939, after a long illness bravely borne.

James W. Puttrell

A member since 1900, Puttrell's was a well-known name in the early days of rock climbing, particularly on the Derbyshire gritstone.  Before the First Great War he had several seasons in the Alps, but his particular interest was the Derbyshire caverns. He was also an expert mineralogist. Shortly before his death in 1939 he published an account of the Speedwell Cavern in Caves and Caving, Nos. 2, 3, 4.

Alfred Hopkinson

Sir Alfred Hopkinson, one of the famous five Hopkinson brothers who pioneered so many stiff climbs in Britain, was Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University when he was made an Honorary Member in 1907. He had been fifty years a member of the Alpine Club. Full obituary notices of his many sided career appeared in A.J., LII, p. 114 and in The Times of 13th November, 1939.

Alexander Campbell

A prominent figure in the engineering world and a great worker for Leeds University passed away in 1941. Alexander Campbell joined the Y.R.C. in 1903 and served four years on the Committee.  Up to the Great War his delightful personality was often present at our meets; thereafter he grew too busy but we all rejoiced when Leeds University bestowed on him the degree of LL.D.

John Fredrick Wardle

John Wardle.  © Yorkshire Ramblers' Club
John Wardle

One of our youngest and keenest was killed in action in Libya on 2nd January, 1942, serving in the Royal Tank Regiment, having been a year in the Middle East.  John Wardle's death came as a great blow to his friends in the Club and elsewhere, and those closest to him will feel his loss keenly.

Elected in 1938, he was an enthusiastic pot-holer, and by those who were with him will be best remembered for his work in the second descent of Boulder Chamber Pot, Gaping Gill, in that year.

John enjoyed life to the full and helped others to enjoy it. Whether it was a thorough wetting, a car breakdown with a long tramp at night in pouring rain, a ski-ing holiday ruined by bad weather, he kept up the spirits of his com­ panions, and even made such experiences enjoyable and worth looking back on.

His cheery companionship will be sadly missed, but a host of happy memories remains with us.—J.T.G.

Frank Bruce Cooper

Frank Cooper passed away in January, 1942 after a long illness. Joing the Club in 1928 from the University he rapidly became a first-class rock climber and at Easter 1929 led up Great Gully, Craig yr Ysfa, Lliwedd Route II, and Crib Rock Buttress on his first visit.

A business appointment took him to Derby and his love for the hills developed. After Skye in 1930 he spent many Easter holidays climbing hard in Scotland, and on Summer holidays in the Alps.

He was of reserved nature and gained much pleasure from his library. Apparently of good constitution and considerable strength his passing in the prime of life was a cruel blow. His friends have lost a good comrade.

Claude Roulston Barran

The Club lost a loyal member of thirty-five years standing by the death of Claude Barran in January, 1942. From his father, our third President, he inherited a love of mountains and began to taste the delights of climbing while still at Cambridge. Entering manufacturing business in Leeds he attained to various posts of responsibility. He served in Greece during the First War. On his only Swiss holiday he climbed several Arolla peaks including the Za. But his native county had a warm place in his heart and he was often at Almscliff, the Hill Inn, and of course the Dinners, while too he was closely associated with the musical life of his city.

We have been deprived, all too soon, of a man in whose character a deep-seated love of the hills was as vital an element as his modesty, sincerity, high sense of duty, and capacity for friendship.—A.M.W.

John Norman Collie

For full memoirs of this great mountaineer and his astonish­ ingly varied career it is best to refer readers to Alpine Journal, Vol. LIV, p. 59. Collie was elected Honorary Member in 1909, and some of us had our first talks with him down in Gaping Gill.

George Theodore Lowe

G.T. Lowe.  © Yorkshire Ramblers' Club
G.T. Lowe
(First President 1892-3)

Our first President died in the fullness of years in 1942 in the fiftieth year of the Club's life, though he did not see its actual completion.

He himself told the story of the founding of the Club in his article " Forty Years On " (Vol. VI, p. 10), the others regarded as founders being, Bellhouse, Green and Slater. The very first pages of our Journal say that in view of the fact that to him, if to one more than another, was due the credit of bringing matters to an issue, Lowe was voted to the chair on October 6th, 1892, and thereafter elected President. No doubt it was he too who induced Slingsby to succeed him.

Such initiative had behind it a considerable knowledge of this country. He had walked the Roman Wall and the Northumberland Coast, wrote the Cheviot chapter in Bogg's Border Country, and another in Edenvale to the Plains of York for long the only accurate information on Nidderdale caves. He had been in Norway, Finland, and even Canada, and had several seasons in the Alps. His best was in 1895 with Slingsby, a first ascent of the Rotstock S.W. ridge, and the remarkable first traverse of the Nesthorn S.E. ridge, following the Hopkinson brothers, 17½ hours out from Bel Alp.

Lowe was in Calvert's second descent of Gaping Gill and several other pot-hole expeditions. Oddly enough most of the pioneers left Leeds about 1899, and Lowe settled down in Huddersfield.

We who owe so much to the Club, know how greatly we are indebted to him for his lofty aims and ideals and the fine spirit he set going in the Y.R.C.

H. H. Bellhouse

H.H. Bellhouse.  © Yorkshire Ramblers' Club
H.H. Bellhouse
(President 1927-29)

Though not the first elected Hon. Secretary, Bellhouse was the first Hon. Treasurer, and practically Secretary for the first year, filling the latter office for the next five years, when like several others he left Leeds.  The Committee placed on record that his services had been invaluable. , There is no doubt Bellhouse was a tower of strength in those years when the Club was so far local it could have frequent and regular lectures, a feature we should be glad to revive. He was not a great rock-climber or pot-holer, but a great walker with a wide general knowledge, particularly of Yorkshire.

Bellhouse became President 1927-9 when, he had retired and was able to attend Meets.  He died in December, 1942, having seen the Club he had done so much to create complete fifty years of life.  At the first Dinner of his Presidency, referring to the great losses to the climbing world in 1927, he uttered striking words, "If these men could speak to us they would say, ' keep us in remembrance ; ah, we know you will not forget. We know your sorrow, we felt like sorrow for our predecessors, but we did not allow sad thoughts to overcome us. Keep us in remembrance, and when you meet together make merry as we used to do ; let gladness pre­ dominate. Crack the old jokes, sing the old songs, keep your hearts set on the heights ; carry on'."

Web note - The picture was not in original journal but published in Number 25.  I have decided to added it here.

Walter Edmund Evans

Edmund Evans was one of the Billingham men when elected in 1931, and later a consultant in London. Volunteering when war began, he was sent to Egypt, but office life had no appeal, so he transferred as a climbing instructor in Palestine. Here he was supremely happy at a job he loved with men of his own eager type.

All who knew him must regret that a life developing so broadly was ended by the mischance of loose rock while prospecting new climbs alone, but he would be content to go that way. His interests were as much human as scientific, and he would have been happy in spheres other than industry.

He had a tremendous zest for life. Climbing had his whole heart whether in Britain or the Alps ; he shared the Flood Entrance rag, and was first to tread the Marble Arch New Chamber. Cheerful confidence on the rocks and laughter round the fire in the evenings made a holiday with Edmund delightful in remembrance as in experience.

Cuthbert Hastings

Cuthbert Hastings died late in 1943, aged 82. He and his brother Geoffrey, the well-known mountaineer, were rowing men to begin with and made a canoe journey down the Lune. But they were also the men who put the iron ladder in the Gable Pot stream passage in 1885, ten years before the advent of the Y.R.C., and the importance of the incident was not recognised by Hastings himself till 1936.

He seems to have been abroad, joined the Club in 1900, and was in the first descent of Rift Pot, and the second of Long Kin West. In the heroic age of ladder climbs in G.G., he is credited with carrying up a very heavy rucksack. His cave photography became classical; his wonderful slides are in our possession.

At the age of 53, Hastings joined the Army and served long in the East African swamps. He never resumed caving, and increasing deafness caused him to decline the Presidency but he did much to encourage the Bradford Gritstone Club.

Walter Parsons

Walter Parsons.  © Yorkshire Ramblers' Club
Walter Parsons
(President 1912-19)

Walter Parsons was a great Headmaster and before that Principal of the Leeds Training College, a man with a far-reaching influence and long a prominent figure in Leeds public life. With the best known side of his life we shall not attempt to deal. He was a fine speaker, a J.P., filled many offices, and received the degree of D.Ph., honoris causa.

All his life he loved and gloried in the hills. He joined the Club in 1896 and shared in the conquest of Rowten and other great Pots in the campaigns of the three great years '97, '98, '99. A most brilliant rock climber he led the second ascent of Walker's Gully. In 1903 he was in at Rift Pot, and through the era of the ladder descents of Gaping Gill, exploring the Booth-Parsons Crawl and the South Passage, and went down Long Kin West.

Parsons was President over the war years, 1912-19, became a member of the Alpine Club, and continued a busy and active career till his death in 1944.

Roland Ernest Sargent

We can ill afford to lose men like Sargent in the prime of life and in the full swing of a climbing career.  From Cambridge he entered the service of the L.N.E.R. and joined us in 1935-Of powerful build, he was good at games, keen and enthusiastic at work and play, and will be greatly missed by his many friends.  He had done many good climbs in the Lakes but somehow fell from the Alpha climb on Green Gable and was killed at once.  His grave is at Wasdale.

John Jeremy Brigg

The survivor by seven years of twin brothers remarkable for their long careers of public service died in February, 1945, aged 83. Living for many years at Kildwick Hall, near Keighley, the brothers engaged in countless activities ; among many benefactions was the magnificent gift to the National Trust of East Riddlesden Hall.

John Brigg began public work in 1893, was 14 years a County Councillor, was elected Alderman in 1921, and did great work on important committees and educational bodies.

A great lover of the open air, every Summer 1891 to 1914 he was in the Alps or Norway, mostly with W.A.B., Eric Greenwood and Alfred Holmes, and was fifty years a member of the Alpine Club.

He came into rock climbing in the early days and was among the first to practise on the gritstone outcrops as well as in the Lakes. The brothers were of the group of Alpine men brought by Slingsby into the Y.R.C. in 1893. They had climbed many giants and were particularly fond of long journeys and high passes. The mention of his name will long recall pleasant memories and kindly acts.

Edward Calvert

Edward Calvert.  © Yorkshire Ramblers' Club
Edward Calvert

Edward Calvert was the great leader who organised the first English party to descend Gaping Gill, in 1896. He joined the Club in its second year (1894) when the Y.R.C. turned its attention to the caverns and found how little was known about them.

Had Martel known of the Club's delayed attack he would have been only too glad of their company. After Martel's famous ladder descent in August, Calvert attacked in Sep­tember with rope and windlass, he and T. S. Booth reaching the Ledge (as did Birkbeck about 1848).

Next year the cable was taken through the Jib Tunnel, and on May 9th, 1896, Calvert stood on the floor of Gaping Gill, going down again next day with Gray, Booth, Cuttress, Green and Moore. A week later the East Passage was explored to the end, and thirteen made the descent.

Calvert was already an experienced mountaineer; as a student he had been one of the pioneers at Almscliff, and in 1897 was elected to the Alpine Club and made the first ascent of the Gross Ruchen with Gray.  The same Summer he was the one man to get down Long Kin West and he shared the great pot-hole campaigns of the next two years, then like others he left Leeds, taking up the post of Electrical Engineer at Finchley where he died in February, 1945.  For fifty years he climbed constantly in the Alps and did a great number of peaks, but unfortunately seems not to have written about them.

Sidney Thompson

Sidney Thompson.  © Yorkshire Ramblers' Club
Sidney Thompson

One of the young and brilliant rock climbers of the day, in the succession of Parsons, Botterill, and Frankland, crashed in March, 1945, when leaving for a high level mission over Germany. Sidney Thompson's keenness and mountaineering powers were outstanding ; from a start at Almscliff climbing became the mainspring of existence, and his steady, cool technique soon placed him in the front rank. He spent many weekends in the Lakes and all holidays, no day too bad to turn out early and get back late.

Elected in 1937, he had one full scale pot-hole with the Club, Juniper Gulf in 1938, and the next season at Zermatt climbed four big peaks.

Reserved till 1941, he joined the R.A.F. and spent two years at Montrose as Pilot Instructor before going on operations, receiving the A.F.C. for landing a burning plane. His astonishing use of leave is recorded in " On the Hills."

Sidney has left a great gap and we have lost a rare com­ panion on the hills.

Blackburn Holden

Holden came as a guest to the G.G. camp of 1909, and showed himself a young enthusiast on caving. So much so that he had cotton ladders made in the mill, and a little later made an amazing solo descent of Gaping Gill on them, hampered by their surprising stretch when he came to climb out. Then he did a good deal with the Burrows' party, the Y.S.A. Elected in 1913, he continued active pot-holing for a number of years after the first War, and regularly attended the G.G. camps, besides paying visits to caves in France and Belgium.

With his wide experience he did much to establish the Craven Pot-Hole Club of which he was the first President.

Ernest Creighton

Creighton was one of the few fortunate Ramblers who have spent years working in the delightful N. Riding, and very sorry he must have been to leave Helmsley. He was a great sportsman, full of life and go, cheery and genial.

For several seasons after joining the Y.R.C. in 1921 he climbed hard in the Alps, moving from point to point with O'Malley, Newton and Wright, and twice in Norway. His article in Y.R.C.J., Vol. V, " Food and the Mountaineer," is a classic. The Club needs a successor to Benson and Creighton in this line.

After a serious illness he retired and died in January, 1946, just after removing to Robin Hood's Bay.

Harold Brodrick

Harold Brodrick.  © Yorkshire Ramblers' Club
Harold Brodrick
(as Mayor of Southport)

Brodrick was a Rugby and Christchurch man. He practised as a barrister on the Northern circuit, was keenly interested in municipal affairs, and became Chairman of the Birkdale U.D.C. and then Mayor of Southport, 1912-13.

His activity and long services to the Y.R.C. were recognised by the offer of the Presidency in 1936, which his health did not allow him to accept.

An enthusiast in everything he undertook, and a first-rate geologist, it was from that angle he viewed the problems of caving. He took part in many cave and pot-hole expeditions with the Club and with smaller parties, carrying out much valuable pioneer work, particularly in the caverns of Ireland, notably such surveys as Spout Tunnel and Mitchelstown Caves. He travelled widely and never failed to record some­ thing of interest in his many articles, e.g. the caves of Majorca and Gibraltar.

My most vivid memories of him go back to the G.G. camps of 1909-14, when his enthusiasm and high spirits round many a camp fire infected everyone. He was laid to rest in July, 1946, in the old churchyard above Whitby town, which he loved more than any other.—A.R.