FAMILY members of the first men from Keighley to fight in the First World War have been lining up to provide fresh information to a local military history project.
The Men of Worth, which researches and archives the stories of all the local people who served their country during the conflict, has been focusing its efforts on Keighley’s Old Contemptibles Association. (KOCA).
This group represented those Keighley district men who were part of the 1914 British Expeditionary Force, dispatched to France and Belgium at the outbreak of the First World War.
Men of Worth spokesman Andy Wade, said that on the day of the August 4 Keighley centenary service, marking 100 years since Britain entered the war, he was approached by the son of a man who had been a KOCA member.
Mr Wade said: “He gave me a KOCA group photograph, dating from some time between 1938 and 1946, which I had never seen before.
“His dad was William Grange, who was a member of the KOCA and is one of the men in the photo. I’m absolutely delighted to have been given this, because these photos are few and far between, and I didn’t even know this image existed. It’s a tremendous, good quality picture, and there are 40 people in it. We have the names of six of the men, but obviously we’d like to identify all of them if possible.
“We think it shows the men outside the Prince Smith Sport Club Pavilion, in Keighley, though I don’t know what exactly they would have been doing there.”
The image features the KOCA standard, which was paraded at the centenary service in Town Hall Square on August 4.
Among the men in the photo is George Kershaw, who won the military medal for his courage during the war. He was one of only two surviving members of the KOCA present for the 1968 ceremony when the group’s standard was handed over to Keighley Parish Church for safekeeping.
People who can identify more men in the photo can visit menofworth.org.uk to contact Mr Wade or colleague, Ian Walkden.