Project to remember Old Bradfordians killed in World War One

TRIBUTE: Bradford Grammar School cadets Haaris Qureshi, left, and David Fear stand by the war memorial at the school

TRIBUTE: Bradford Grammar School cadets Haaris Qureshi, left, and David Fear stand by the war memorial at the school

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

A NEW remembrance project has started to pay respects to all 209 Old Bradfordians listed on a school's war memorial.

Bradford Grammar School's Old Bradfordians' Association (OBA) is working with the school's senior history master, Nick Hooper, to reveal the identities and stories of those former pupils who died during the First World War.

Trevor Smith from the OBA said the project would run for about six years as it remembers each of the men on the 100th anniversary of each of their deaths.

The school's high death toll is believed to be because many of the men had trained while still pupils at a special officers corps which went on to provide the majority of officers for the Bradford Pals, leading men into battle from the trenches.

The first Old Bradfordian to die was Captain Jonathan Edward Knowles aged 32 on August 23, 1914, at Mons - he was possibly the first British officer to be killed in the war.

On Saturday, August 23 he will be remembered at a short ceremony when a memorial cross and poppy will be laid at the School War Memorial at 1pm in the presence of the Lord Mayor of Bradford Councillor Mike Gibbons.

Dean of the Cathedral and Vicar of Bradford,the Very Reverend Jerry Lepine, representatives of the OBA and the school's own Combined Cadet Force, under the leadership of Major John Stott, will also be there.

Mr Smith said: "At the outbreak of war in 1914, the school established an Officer Training Corps. This Corps went on to provide the majority of officers for the Bradford Pals Brigades.

"As officers were the first to lead the men into battle from the trenches, the mortality rate among officers was particularly severe. That explains why the school lost so many past pupils. That Corps has continued to this day as the School Combined Cadet Force. "

On the anniversary of each man's death, the project will publish a biography of that person, giving all the details that research has uncovered about their earlier life and background as well as their military service.

To mark the centenary of the last part of the Battle of the Somme in November 2016, the Grammar School and OBA is planning a memorial service in Bradford Cathedral.

A book is also planned recording the Grammar School's contribution to the war effort, including the biographies of those who died, details of all those known to have served and other information.

Mr Smith added: "If anyone has relatives among the OBS who served, we would greatly appreciate any additional information they can give, that it may be recorded for posterity."

Anyone with information should contact Bradford Grammar School on (01274) 553789 or e-mail sjc@bradfordgrammar.com.

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