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Video: Tributes in honour of Leeds town’s Great War soldiers

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  • by Laura Bowyer
 

They made the ultimate sacrifice for King and Country.

Hundreds of men from a leafy Leeds suburb signed up to fight for freedom in the trenches of Europe during the First World War.

Sadly 212 of those men never returned back home to their families in Horsforth.

Volunteers at the town’s museum have spent the last few months painstakingly collecting information about these heroic soldiers to help bring their stories to life.

And their memories form part of a new exhibition to help the city commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the vicious conflict which claimed the lives of 10 million people.

Museum volunteer Steven Brown has travelled across Europe over several years to trace the final resting places for the town’s fallen sons.

Their stories are all on show in the museum to help residents trace their roots.

Nancy de Dombal from the museum said: “It is fantastic that people can come in and trace their ancestors when often they have very little knowledge of what they did during the war.

“Often those who survived came back and didn’t want to talk about their war time experiences because it was just far too horrific.

“Not only have our volunteers managed to find maps of the battlefield but they have also managed to find out something about these soldiers’ lives in Horsforth.”

A student from Leeds Trinity University has created a map of the town’s very own ‘corridor of courage’.

More than 200 trees were planted along Stanhope Drive in memory of the town’s fallen soldiers who lost their lives during the conflict.

The striking exhibition also includes a number of items salvaged from the trenches such as bayonets, shrapnel and barbed wire.

Cards and cushions lovingly embroidered by Belgian women for the British troops to send back home to their loved ones are also on display.

The stories of soldiers who fought in the war and came back home to Horsforth are also on the walls of the exhibition.

Nancy added: “When you remember World War One people often remember the men who were killed.

“The men who survived came back and had to return to their usual lives afterwards.

“When we remember we must remember all of them.”

Museum volunteer Susan Watson, who helped to put the exhibition together, added: “After researching about these soldiers I feel like I know them all.

“Reading some of their war tales has been the hardest part of putting the exhibition together.”

EXPLORING THE LEGACY

Horsforth Museum volunteer Susan Watson said that reading some of the war tales was the “hardest” part of putting the exhibition together.

She said one story that struck her was during the conflict both the German and the English soldiers stopped fighting to allow each side to remove their soldiers’ bodies from the ground because there were so many.

 

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