Leeds nostalgia: Missing names to be added to Horsforth war memorial

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THE names of 44 soldiers from Horsforth killed in action during World War One are set to be added to the town’s war memorial after more than five years of painstaking research by local historians.

Members of Horsforth WW1 100 Years group launched the research to find the missing names around six years ago after they were contacted by the family of fallen Hartford soldier Percy Tuke, of Hopwood House, Horsforth.

Horsforth WW1 100 years need £4,000 to buy two new plaques which will have the missing names on and be placed either side of the cenotaph for Remembrance Sunday in November this year.

Sue Watson, a volunteer at Horsforth Museum, researched the backgrounds of the 43 men.

She said it was not a surprise that names were missed off the cenotaph, which was unveiled in 1922 - it was put up in a hurry as people all over the country were desperate to put something up as a memorial to their men.

Speaking to Times Past, she said: “When the cenotaphs were put up, there was a cut off date of July 1920 for names to be added and during the course of the war, some people had moved away from the area.

“This all came about in 2014 after we organised a walk through Horsforth to look at the buildings associated with people who lived through the war and those who didn’t. What we discovered was that there were various lists of names in different places about the town of people who had served in the war but some of those names did not appear on the war memorial. We were also contacted by the relatives of Percy Tuke, who now lived in Surrey - Percy was from Horsforth and his name was also not on the memorial and so we ended up with a list.”

The original list of names not included on the memorial numbered 46 but after careful research, that was reduced slightly to 44.

Sue went on: “We took a walk around the cemetery and found lots of names there which should have been on the list, there were others listed at the Conservative Club, golf club and the Methodist Church.”

In association with Yarnbury RFC, the working group which was set up to look into the matter of the missing war memorial names also raised £4,000, the cost of commissioning a new bronze plaque which will be added to the cenotaph. However, they have also now determined to go further and are in the process of raising more money to restore the ironwork which surrounds the site - the railings there date back 70 years and the decades have taken their toll, so, in time, they will also be refurbished.

One of the names to be added is John Helston, born in Keighley, but he died in Horsforth of TB in Dean Head Sanatorium, Scotland Lane, March 25, 1916 and has a War Commission Grave in Horsforth Cemetery. He was only 16 and did not even finish his training, invalided out to where ever could take him and Deane Head was probably the nearest to his roots. Having spent much time as a child with his siblings in a workhouse infirmary in Bradford he obviously had no family to turn to.

All the names have a story, most we will probably never know, but it was felt important to try to put things right after being contacted by the relatives of Percy Tuke, whose family were of Hopewell House, Horsforth in 1914. Percy’s name will also go on the Cenotaph.

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