Volunteers hope to research details of soldiers’ lives to add to memorial stone

Margaret Gray in Heaton Cemetery which has a new memorial to First World War soldiers

Margaret Gray in Heaton Cemetery which has a new memorial to First World War soldiers

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

A Bradford graveyard project is looking to trace any family members of 35 First World War soldiers whose names are set to be added to a memorial in its grounds.

Volunteers at the Heaton Graveyard Project, set up in 2004 to restore the village graveyard to its former Victorian splendour, want to add details of the men to mark this year’s centenery of the conflict.

Some of the soldiers, all of whom are thought to have either died in service or as a result of injuries, were brought home and buried in the graveyard, while others are remembered by words on family graves.

Project coordinator Margaret Gray said that while some families may have moved away from the Bradford district, others may be unaware of the local history on their doorstep.

“Our aim is to find any family members and give them as much information as possible,” she said. “We can do family research and compile family trees, but we also want to learn from people too.

“The First World War, in particular, was an absolute travesty, and never spoken about in a lot of families, but it is part of history.

“We get inquiries from all over the world, particularly America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and lots of people have been delighted with what they’ve found, often relatives they knew nothing about.”

In 2012, a memorial stone commemorating nine members of Heaton Baptist church who lost their lives in the First World War, originally unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Lieutentant Colonel Anthony Gadie, in 1920, was transferred from the chapel into the graveyard to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The names of a further 38 men, primarily from the Heaton and Manningham areas, are set to be added later this year, including two soldiers who served in the Second World War, whose families are also being asked to come forward.

Geoffrey Holmes, an Air Formation signalman who died in 1944, and Pearson Ingham, a member of the Royal Military Police who died in 1947, are not buried in Heaton graveyard, but are remembered there on family graves.

Since the memorial was erected in 2012, the family of a Lance Corporal Harold Wright, a member of the 18th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment who is buried in the cemetery, have been traced to America, and his name will also be added to the plaque.

“Our project for the centenery of the First World War is to bring all the names of those who were killed in both wars together within one memorial,” said Mrs Gray. “We felt we had to do something to mark the occasion, and adding a plaque of these names to the current stone seemed like a very fitting tribute.”

Anyone who can help trace the men’s families, or would like to donate their time to volunteer on the Heaton Graveyard Project, should contact Mrs Gray on (01535) 274298.

THE MISSING MEN

The project would like to trace the families of the following soldiers (name, date of death, regiment, cemetery and last address): Pte James Abbott, 27, 23/02/1918, 2nd Btn West Yorkshire Regiment, Tyne Cot Memorial, 9 Manor Terrace, Roseberry Road Pte William Beecroft, 26, 04/10/1916, 10th Btn Yorkshire Regiment, Abbeville, 304 Girlington Road Pte Fred Beecroft, 23, 05/08/1918, 1/4th Btn Northumbrian Fusilliers, Heaton Graveyard, 304 Girlington Road Pte Willie Bennett, 24, 19/11/1917, 1/6th Btn West Yorkshire Regiment, Boulogne, 24 Heaton Road Pte Frederick Blakeborough, 29, 17/08/1916, 12th Btn West Yorkshire Regiment, Thiepval Memorial, 154 Heaton Road Rfl John Breaks, 27, 11/10/1918, 1/7th Btn West Yorkshire Regiment, Vis-En-Artois Memorial, 128 Jesmond Avenue Pte Ernest Breare, 28, 28/03/1918, 13th Btn Royal Scots, Arras Memorial, 126 Westfield Road Pte Horace Broadley, 22, 14/11/1917, 594th Mech Transport Coy Army, Reninghelst, 56 Victor Road Pte Harold Close, 18, 03/09/1916, 1/6th Btn West Yorkshire Regiment, Serre Road Cemetery, 54 Legrams Terrace Pte Frank Cockshott, 28, 30/07/1916, 18th Btn West Yorkshire Regiment, St Vaast Post Military, 154 Chassum Street Pte Harry Downs, 21, 03/03/1917, 1/6th Btn Duke of Wellingtons WR, Heaton Graveyard, 191 Girlington Road Pte George Drury, 35, 11/11/1917, 1st Btn South Wales Borderers, Longuenesse (St Omer), 77 Fairbank Road Drv Frank Duckworth, 21, 13/10/1918, Royal Field Artillery, St Aubert, 111 Hartington Terrace Pte Harry Ellison, 31, 13/04/1917, 4th Btn Royal Fusiliers, Wancourt, 31 Springroyd Terrace Pte Thomas Farrar, 36, 03/04/1916, 12th Btn West Yorkshire Regiment, Ypres (Menin Gate), 34 Farfield Terrace Pte Herbert Feather, 41, 08/10/1917, 1/4th Btn Duke of Wellingtons WR, Tyne Cot Memorial, 24 Hartman Place Pte Abraham Hardy, 30, 08/08/1918, Heaton Grave C/P1, B.1889 Chellow Grange Pte Harry Hardy, 39, 24/04/1917, Heaton Grave C/P1, B.1879 21 Allerton Road Pte Frank Hartley, 20, 09/10/1917, 1/5th Btn Duke of Wellingtons WR, Tyne Cot Memorial, 61 Quarry Street Gnr Joseph Hodgson, 43, 08/08/1919, 207th Btn Royal Garrison Artillery, Heaton Graveyard, 31 Midland Road Pte Frank Jordan, 20, 01/07/1916, 7/6th Btn West Yorkshire Regiment, Heaton Grave B/J15, 34 Atlas Street Sgt William Kitchen, 22, 11/05/1917, D Coy 21st Btn Manchester Regiment, HAC cemetery, 160 Priestman Street Pte Fred Lander, 21, 15/04/1918, 15th Btn Durham Light Infantry, Lijssenthoek, Gardeners House Lister Park Sap James Lloyd, 41, 25/09/1917, Base Signal Depot Royal Engineers, Dar Es Salaam, 62 Bridgewater Road Rfl Fred Longbottom, 25, 10/10/1916, 21st Btn Kings Royal Rifle Corps, Thiepval Memorial Second Lt Walter Newton, 22, 31/03/1918, 10th Btn West Yorkshire Regiment, Arras Memorial, 5 Lily Street Pte Fred Paley, 27, 09/07/1917, 2nd Btn Lincolnshire Regiment, Vlamertinghe, 4 Ashfield Avenue Tgp Norman Rennard, 21, 12/09/1918, HMS Sarnia Royal Naval Reserve, Chatham Naval Memorial, 63 Birklands Road Sgt Walter Sykes, 31, 24/03/1918, 20th Bn Machine Gun Corps, Pozieres Memorial, 18 Ashwell Road Pte Herbert Shuttleworth, 22, 09/10/1916, Royal Army Medical Corps, Heaton Graveyard, 97 Duchy Drive Sap Edmund Tuxworth, 24, 29/10/1918, C Corps Signal Coy Royal Enginners, Heaton Graveyard, 2 Butterfield Row Norman Walker, 01/10/1917, Heaton Grave A/P14, 7 Athol Road Pte John Woodhouse, 18, 28/02/1918, 4th Btn West Yorkshire Regiment, Heaton Graveyard, 83 Chassum Street Sgt Harold R Watmough, 23, 01/07/1916, 1/6th Btn West Yorkshire Regiment, Thiepval Memorial, 1 Cliff Villas, Church Street Cprl Milton Whitham, 32, 12/10/1916, 1st Btn West Yorkshire Regiment, Thiepval Memorial, 15 Wyncliffe Villas

Comments (3)

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8:56am Tue 6 May 14

Apollo says...

It is actually not that difficult to trace most mens relatives even from WWI.

However, it is time consuming and needs people with a methodical and logical approach to the work.

Most of the records needs (1911 census, plus surviving military records) are now available on line.
It is actually not that difficult to trace most mens relatives even from WWI. However, it is time consuming and needs people with a methodical and logical approach to the work. Most of the records needs (1911 census, plus surviving military records) are now available on line. Apollo
  • Score: 2

9:20am Tue 6 May 14

bcfc1903 says...

Excellent work done by those involved in the Heaton graveyard project. What a very worthy project it is. Well done to everyone involved!!!!
Excellent work done by those involved in the Heaton graveyard project. What a very worthy project it is. Well done to everyone involved!!!! bcfc1903
  • Score: 2

10:09am Tue 6 May 14

PNT says...

You and your team of helpers are an inspiration, well done.
You and your team of helpers are an inspiration, well done. PNT
  • Score: 2

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