Captain, 6th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment).

Died of illness on Tuesday 4th May 1915, age 37.

Buried at St. Andrew’s Churchyard, Gargrave, near Skipton, UK.

Former student of sewing cotton.


Godfrey was born in 1877 (baptised 16 August) at Barton-upon-Irwell to Francis (Junior), a Cotton Manufacturer and Johanna Ermen. He was their second son. His grandfather, Francis J.G. Ermen (1849-1925) was the fifth Ermen brother to go into partnership in the company Ermen and Engel’s, which was first established in 1837 and for which Frederich Engels (1820-1895) once worked.

He was educated at Rossal School, on the Lancashire coast. In 1907-08, whilst working for his father’s business Ermen Roby Ltd., (Nassau Milles, Patricroft, near Eccles), Godfrey enrolled on a sewing cotton course at The Tech. At the time of the war he was General Manager for the English Sewing Company at Belle Vue Mills near Skipton.

Godfrey’s Army career started in the Volunteer movement with the 6th Battalion Manchester Regiment with which he saw action in the South African War. On 14th October 1914 he was promoted to Captain with the First Reserve Battalion of the 6th Duke of Wellington’s and in April 1915 became Adjutant to the battalion. He took ill while the unit was at Doncaster and had to return home on sick leave where he later died of influenza and meningitis. The flag at Belle Vue Mills was flown at half mast on news of his death and his funeral took place on Friday 7th May with full military honours. Many of the workpeople from the local mills attended and their wreath carried the inscription “As a last token of respect to one of Nature’s gentlemen”. The band of the First Reserve Battalion and a detachment of 200 men from the Second Reserve Battalion lined the road near Godfrey’s home. His coffin was carried on a gun carriage, with a union jack, Godfrey’s sword, belt and cap on top. Local school children gathered to see the procession. At the graveside a ceremonial volley firing was carried out and the last post played.

He left effects worth £4113 2s 10d to his wife Norah, with whom he had two children.

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