Yorkshire nostalgia: appeal over Elland war plaque

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Ian Hey from Halifax contacted Times Past in relation to an appeal over a war plaque which dates from the First World War.

The amateur historian, who for 15 years, was heavily involved with the local Poppy Appeal, came upon the medallion during an auction and could not help but snap it up.

The plaque honours George Spencer Milner, who was born in Blackley, Elland in 1899 and who died during the Second Battle of the Somme (August 21,23, 1918), although his death was not formally registered until August 25. He was just 19.

Retired Ian, 57, whose own relatives served during the campaign, is now appealing for any relatives of Mr Spencer Milner to contact him as he wants to plan an act of remembrance for the former soldier by compiling his life story.

He said: “Two of my father’s older brothers served during the First World War and the middle brother survived.

“Uncle John was a prisoner of war in north eastern France and died before his 20th birthday in 1918. My Uncle Harold lived.”

Ian added: “I am keen to do all I can to piece together this man’s story. I have his ‘death pack’, which came with the plaque but there are things missing - it’s like trying to complete a 100-piece jigsaw with only 60 pieces.

“Of course it’s important to remember the fallen. Why should we not remember our follies. These people willingly gave their lives so that I could live mine.

“To begin with I had no idea where his descendants might be living but when I found out he was from Elland, I thought there was a good chance they might be from this area.

“My aim is to build up a fuller picture of George’s life. I went to the auction after reading about the plaques in my local paper and I ended up buying this one.”

Anyone who would like to contact Ian can do so on 01422 366 394, or, alternatively, contact Times Past at the usual address.