BOOKS OF HONOUR
In seeking to thank the community for their
continuing support the Group decided to launch a War Memorial Project
which would, as a prime aim, research the short lives of the nearly
three thousand men and seven women commemorated on our local war
memorials. Biographies were to be compiled for each one and theses
bound into Books of Honour for presentation to the local
The project commenced at the beginning of
2002. The Group were most grateful to “Awards for
All” North West for their generous grant. Without it the
project would not have got off the ground and it would not have been
possible to do justice to those named on our local War Memorials. It is
heartening to know that Lottery money is available for such local
activities. The Project was also awarded the accolade of the
designation “Queen’s Jubilee Project”,
As well as compiling the biographies the
Books were intended to stimulate research into this aspect of family
history and also to provide a “Time Capsule” to
retain additional material which the community might provide at any
time. Thus the original
Books were originally supplied
“loose leaf” in suitable open boxes (that for
Carnforth illustrated) to facilitate additional material; this option
later became too expensive. The Books are all available in local
Churches or the libraries.
The starting point was a list of names from
all the local memorials compiled by Harold Wilkinson of the Lancaster
Family History Society.This was followed by extensive use of the
Commonwealth War Grave Commission (CWGC) web site to download the data
they hold for each of the names. We are most grateful, without them the
Book would not exist!
Using the CWGC Data Base.
For an unusual name, when only one or two are found then the CWGC data
base often gives detail which establishes a local connection. However
one of the difficulties of using the CWGC web site with only name and
initials is that a multiplicity of records are found; try using J
Smith!. Of particular use is the Regiment and Date of Death of the
casualty. Thus other sources must be used to home in on the
“local man”. These are shown below
Relatives. This was the
most rewarding source of the research and resulted in making the pen
pictures of those who died “Live again”. A
“Flier” was produced to which many relatives and
friends responded and much information was obtained in this manner.
The Navy and Army Press.
This organisation produced very complete data after the two world wars
and their material is available in the Reference Section of our
libraries. For each name locations of birth, residence and enlistment
are given which further establishes a local connection.
Local Newspapers. The
Lancaster Guardian and Morecambe Visitor newspapers of the time, again
available in the Reference Libraries, all carried extensive reports on
the men who died, particularly for the First World War, together with
details of where they lived, worked, played, were educated and often
with photographs. The pen pictures began to build up.
Lancaster Town Hall Forms.
A facsimile of one of these forms is shown below and were really
useful, giving number rank and name, date of death and local addresses.
War Memorials. The ones
within churches and Memorial Halls often give Regiments, Date of Death
and an example is that in Bolton Le Sands Church.
Census Data. If further
corroboration is required then census data on the Internet can help the
Advertising. The local
newspapers and Morrison’s Supermarket in Morecambe, all
helped to publicise the project to which relatives of the men who are
named on the memorials responded.
Local Cemeteries. A
number of casualties were buried locally and this can also help to
build up the biographies.
The Internet. Much
information is available to the "surfer" and for us this was very
useful in researching the Boer War.
Searching for Information.
A guide was produced by Peter Donnelly the Curator of King’s
Own Regimental Museum, and we are pleased to present this at Annex A of
The Last Post.
During the research the extent of the
"buried treasure" of information within the attics and albums of
relatives and friends were made available to us. And what an
interesting and detailed source it is. As a result many of the "pen
pictures" turned into very moving essays which are included in this
Publications. Some of the
material consisted of Orders of Service and various compilations. These
have been included in the Data Disc and chief amongst them are The
Street Collection Booklet of Carnforth, The Baldwin Bent Memorial
Booklet and Hospital Documents from Heysham and the excellent Booklet
describing the King’s Own Regiment Memorial Chapel in the
Priory Church, produced by Colonel Cowper (now out of print).
The Books of Honour
The finished Books contain biographies of
nearly three thousand men and women who are commemorated on all the War
Memorials in and around the Lancaster and Morecambe area. There is one
Book only for every Parish and Township within the purview of Lancaster
City Council. Separate volumes were prepared of the Newspaper
obituaries contained in their reports during the wars, and also of the
set of essays written by the relatives. Each was bound by Lancaster
University Book Binding facility. The Books were presented at
appropriate occasions as shown below.
Several presentations were made to Churches
or Town/Parish Councils. On each occasion the Book was presented or
received by a Relative of someone commemorated on the local Memorial.
These took place at: Carnforth, Halton, Warton, Heysham, Caton,
Morecambe and the URC Church High Street Lancaster. The presenation of
the Lancaster Books and those of the remaining parishes took place on 8
May 2005, VE 2005, the Sixtieth Anniversary of the ending of the War In
Europe. In all the following Books of Honour have been compiled.
Lancaster. Morecambe and Heysham
Parishes North: Bolton Le Sands,
Borwick, Hest Bank, Slyne with Hest, Over Kellet, Silverdale,and Yealand
Parishes East: Dolphinholme,
Hornby, Melling, Tatham, Tunstall, Leck and Whittington
Parishes South: Abbeystead,
Forton, Galgate, Glasson Dock, Overton, Pilling and Scorton