AS part of the armistice centenary commemorations Skipton Library will pay tribute to one of their own, Andrew Leo Anslow, Skipton’s first library assistant.

Outreach librarian John Frankland has delved into the library’s archive collection to find out Leo’s story.

Here he speaks about Leo's short life and how he is still remembered today as an important staff member in the early days of the new library.

Andrew Leo Anslow, better known to his family as Leo, died, on duty, aged 19, on October 21, 1918, weeks before the Armistice was called.

Leo was born in Skipton in 1899 to William and Marianne Anslow in Carr's Yard, (now The Ginnel), in Newmarket Street.

His father was a roof slater and also a Territorial and was still on active service in 1918, aged 52, a sergeant with the West Riding Regiment.

Both of Leo's brothers, Harry and Fred, also served in the war.

The family moved to 11 Elliot Street in 1904, and again in 1908, this time to 1 Raikes Road. It was at this address Leo was living when he worked at the library.

Leo was appointed assistant librarian in September 1913. He worked under Skipton's first librarian Leonard Hetherington who was appointed in 1910 when the library first opened.

In the Skipton Urban District Council Library Committee minutes, Leo is often referred to as 'the boy'. On April 9 the minutes state during the librarian’s illness: “Mr C Horne be asked to assist 'the boy' in the library tomorrow all day, and each evening until the librarian is able to resume his duties.”

As well as being the assistant librarian, Leo was also a prizewinning swimmer. After three years, in April 1916, the library committee minuted that Leo's services were no longer required. No explanation is given. However 1916 was the year conscription was introduced and they might have believed he was to be called up at any time.

After leaving the library, he worked for the Midland Railway, in Skipton, for just over a year.

Leo’s service record, like many others, was destroyed by a bomb in the Second World War, so we don’t know the exact details of his war.

We do know that he was called up in July 1917 and was placed in the King's Liverpool Regiment (West Lancashire Division) 1/6th (Rifle) Battalion, which, in 1916, was transferred into the 165th Brigade, 55th (West Lancashire) Division.

It seems likely that Leo would have taken part in the Battle of the Lys in Flanders as part the Spring Offensive in April 1918. Later he would have been involved in the Hundred Days Offensive from August to November 1918, and it was as part of this war-winning campaign that Leo lost his life. On October 2, 1918, the Germans started to withdraw on the 55th West Lancashire Division front and the troops pushed forward and occupied La Bassée the same day.

From October 14 until October 16 they forced the line of the Haute Deule Canal. It was here that Leo was likely to have been wounded. He was admitted to the casualty clearing station where he developed pneumonia. He died less than a week later.

Leo's death was reported in local newspapers: the Craven Herald and West Yorkshire Pioneer. He is commemorated in lots of ways, appearing on Skipton's War Memorial, in the Craven's Part in the Great War book and in the West Yorkshire Pioneer War Record. He is buried at Lapugnoy Military Cemetery which is close to Bethune and Arras.

After Leo’s death, his family continued to use the library and they do to this day. His nephew, Donald Anslow still uses Skipton Library, as does his great niece too.

Outreach Librarian John Frankland explained. “It’s amazing what we can find out about Leo using Skipton Library’s local studies collection. Lots of the information was found on Ancestry and FindMyPast, huge subscription family history websites but available for free in the library, but also in Skipton Library’s own archive collection too, which includes the minutes of Skipton Urban District Council, the Rowley Ellwood photographs and the Craven Herald which we have a complete run of on microfilm.

You can also find out about your First World War ancestors, by logging onto the brilliant Craven’s Part in the Great War website, which contains information about every service man and women who died in in World War One - go to If you’re interested in the finding out about your family history, please call in at the library.”

Mr Frankland wishes to acknowledge the help of Kate Croll who did the initial research on Leo, eight years ago, when the library celebrated it’s centenary.