A postcard collector has discovered this rare photograph of the ill-fated Bradford Pals’ – many whom would die in the bloodiest battle of the First World War – in a box in his attic.

Martin Firth found the postcard, which his mother had bought from a flea market at the Wool Exchange in the 1970s, while unpacking boxes at his home in Campbell Street, Queensbury, Bradford.

It shows the 18th Platoon of the Bradford Pals’ in 1914 before they headed for the battlefields of France.

Mr Firth, 53, said: “This was in one of the last boxes I came across, but I can’t trace anything about this particular platoon.

“I have been reading about the Bradford Pals’ and I have been on the internet to try to find out more but, again, I couldn’t glean any real information about them, other than that they were among the first batch of volunteers to sign up.”

He is now hoping Telegraph & Argus readers will be able to help him. “It has been stored away for so long, but I hope it might raise a few answers from people about who the soldiers are,” he said.

Dressed smartly in suits, the young men had eagerly volunteered to fight with their friends from Bradford, but little did they know the horrors that lay ahead of them.

The Bradford Pals formed part of the West Yorkshire Regiment and near the village of Serre in northern France, they joined The Battle of the Somme.

There, 1,770 men from the city were killed or injured by German machine gun fire as they advanced across no man’s land.

Mr Firth’s own great grandad, Henry Edward Buckley, was one of the lucky few who survived the battle.

He also fought at the First World War’s other slaughter at Passchendaele, where he was gassed and suffered a collapsed lung. Despite his injury, he survived the war and lived until he was in his 80s.

The sacrifice of the soldiers will be commemorated today at the Bradford Pals’ Memorial Stone, behind the Cenotaph near the Alhambra Theatre.

The event will include prayers led by the Lord Mayor’s Chaplain Maulana Fazal Dad and the Dean of Bradford Cathedral, the Very Reverend Dr David Ison, readings by pupils from Newby Primary School, and contributions from the Bradford World War I Group and the Great War Society.

Lord Mayor Councillor Naveeda Ikram will also lay a wreath on behalf of the city.

The Very Reverend David Ison, Dean of Bradford, will take part in the memorial to mark the 95th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

He said: “This was started in 2003 and it has become an annual fixture. I think that is significant because it shows the growth in interest from people wanting to know more about the sacrifices our forces have made for us, particulalrly in the first world war.”

  • Read the full story Friday’s T&A