MEMBERS of Low Moor Local History Group have been researching the names on the War Memorials in the Low Moor area.

There are at least seven memorials in Low Moor. The list of the names on them - such as Coomber, Priestley, Holdsworth, Pearson, Wainwright - all have their stories.

The Group wants to hear from anyone with information about the soldiers, whose names are listed on Low Moor War Memorials.

"We have found out lots of information from census and newspapers about the soldiers named, but we are hoping we can find photos and personal reminiscences from their families, said Mary Twentyman.

"Many people will remember the tree down Netherlands Avenue which was a memorial to Arthur Leslie Woodcock aged 20 years killed in action near Poelcappelle in the Ypres Salient in Belgium on August 27, 1917.

"There has been correspondence in the T&A in the past. It was planted on November 24, 1923, at the same time as one on the opposite side of Netherlands Avenue to Willie Woodhead posted missing near Gommecourt in France on April 5, 1918.

"The photograph from our book, Around and About Low Moor, shows the plaque. The trees are still there, but the plaque vanished some time ago.

"We have, as yet, unpublished photos of Leslie Woodcock and his parents which have come from the family and we hope that we can find more images of our Low Moor soldiers for our book which will be published in November.

"There is a Tommy Woodcock on the Holy Trinity Memorial who has so far eluded us. We cannot find a death which matches this name and wonder if he was the grandson of someone who attended Holy Trinity but who lived outside the area.

"Any help in our quest would be most appreciated."

Coincidentally, Mrs Susan Bannon, of Glynn Terrace, Bradford 8, wrote in to tell T&A readers about the names of the fallen on St Patrick's World War 1 memorial, outside St Patrick's Church, off Sedgefield Terrace, Westgate in Bradford.

There are 164 of them - Spillane, O'Hara, Sheridan, McGuiness, Waterhouse - listed between 1914 and 1919, all from the parish of St Patrick.

Mrs Bannon said some of the names suggested that the families were Irish immigrants from the time of the Irish Famine in the 1840s - the Great Hunger - which killed more than a million and caused several millions more to emigrate to England and the United States.

All these men from Bradford prompts the question, perhaps impossible to answer, which of them was the first fatality?

Peter Whitehead of Leeds thinks it might have been his grandfather, George Henry Edmondson, who was 36 when he was killed on August 23 or 24, 1914.

He was serving with the Second Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s Regiment. His service number was 5827. Mr Whitehead thinks he lived in Laisterdyke.

"He was 36 when he died. He was in the Boer War. It was a family story that he was the first Bradford man killed, but I don't know if that's true," he said.

Tricia Platts, Secretary of Bradford's World War 1 Group, searched the records and came up with the names of half-a-dozen Bradford men killed on August 24, 1914, in Belgium, at the Battle of Mons - the attempt to halt and turn back the German advance.

Among them was Peter Whitehead's Private George Henry Edmondson, a married man whose address was 17 Cleopatra Street, Bramley, Leeds. The service number given by Mr Whitehead and Tricia Platts are one and the same.

They are:

  • Private A HOLLINGS, 20, of the 9th (Queen's Royal) Lancers, son of Mrs Ann Eliza Hollings of 87, Clayton Road, Lidget Green, service number 4589. Buried at Elouges Communal Cemetery, Belgium.
  • Private George Henry Edmondson, Second Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Regiment, service number 5827. Buried at Hautrage Military Cemetery, Belgium.
  • Private Lawrence Richard Foster, 20, Second Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Regiment, son of Captain D W P Foster and Mrs e Foster, of 61 Ashwell Road, Toller Lane, service number 9776. Buried at Hautrage Military Cemetery.
  • Private Arthur James Hare, 30, also of the Second Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Regiment, husband of Mabel Horsfall and son of of George and Matilda Hare, Hawthorne Cottage, Farsley, Leeds, service number 7448. Buried at Hautrage Military Cemetery.
  • Private Joseph Ernest Kemp, 31, of the Second Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Regiment, son of Mrs Kemp of 10 Snowden Street, Manningham Lane, service number 9096. Buried at Hautrage Military Cemetery, Belgium.

Tricia said: "I must also mention this boy, Stanley Maurice Edward Spillan, Identified by disc, numerals, clothing and buttons He was a gunner with the Royal Field Artillery, service number 73729.

"He was 16 when he was killed - one of the many under-age volunteers. His parents were Maurice and Fanny Spillan, who lived at 20 Elmsall Street, Manningham Lane. Their son was buried at St Souplet British Cemetery, Belgium.

"There will be other men for whom no family details were given to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission by next of kin and there are also many 'Unknowns'.

"Most of the men listed are buried at Hautrage. The cemetery was begun by the Germans in August and September 1914, and in the summer of 1918 they brought into it a large number of British graves of 1914, mostly of the 2nd Cavalry and 5th Infantry Divisions, from the surrounding battlefields and local cemeteries.

"After the Armistice in 1918, 24 British graves were brought in from other cemeteries. Eighty-five German graves were brought in from the country South-West of Mons.

"There are now 235 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of World War 1 in the cemetery. Sixty of the burials are unidentified and there are special memorials to five soldiers known or believed to be buried among them. Most of the 'Unknowns' are not even identified by Regiment/Battalion.

"The Imperial War Graves Commission had barely started their work in August 1914 and bodies would be buried where they fell - by either side.

"On CWGC website Private G H Edmondson was exhumed from the German Cemetery at Hautrage on February 8, 1921, and re-buried in the Hautrage Military Cemetery. This may be the case with others.

"He must have been recorded by the Germans, perhaps on a temporary wooden cross, as the re-burial note shows his remains had 'GS clothing' but 'no boots, no buttons'.

"Lawrence Foster was also exhumed from the German Cemetery and identified by '9776' stamped inside a boot. His brother Edgar was also in the Dukes and died, age 19, on July 4, 1916, near Thiepval.

"Their father was a regular in the Victorian Army. Some of the children were born in South Africa during Boer War."