SILSDEN teenager Wilfred Clarkson was so determined to serve his country in the First World War that he signed up within days of his 16th birthday.

He was 217 days into his training before West Riding Regiment commanders discovered he wasn’t really 19, and discharged him.

Very early the next year, 1916, he signed up to the Royal Navy and spent the year on training bases, HMS Powerful , Ganges and Vivid.

Ranked as an Ordinary Signaller, he signed up for 12 years’ service and joined the Dreadnought battleship HMS Vanguard in May 1917.

But 18-year-old Wilfred was never to see action: two months later he was among hundreds of sailors who died when the ship sank following an internal explosion.

Of the 870-plus men serving on the ship, only two survived the sinking, as well as a further 95 crewmen who were not on board at the time.

Wilfred had been born in Skipton in 1899 and grew up in Silsden, working as a woollen piecer at the village’s Airedale Shed as a young teenager.

He was a member Silsden Primitive Methodist Church and Sunday School.