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Digitising South Ribble’s role in the First World War

Posted on - 12th April, 2015 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - History, News, Nostalgia, Penwortham, Walton-le-Dale
From left to right clockwise: Arthur Claud Middleton, George Clarke and Wesleyean memorial in Leyland

From left to right clockwise: Arthur Claud Middleton, George Clarke and Wesleyean memorial in Leyland

South Ribble in the Great War is a digitisation project and website aiming to catalogue all the memorials in the local area and tell the stories of those who fought and those who stayed at home.  As most readers will know, the South Ribble area encompasses the main towns and villages of Leyland, Walton-le-Dale, Bamber Bridge, Longton, Penwortham and all the villages in between.

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From the Western Front to the Pacific Ocean, more than 880 men from the local townships and villages of South Ribble lost their lives in the Great War. It is estimated that over 7,000 men volunteered or were enlisted. They served in myriad regiments and services including the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment through the Australian Imperial Forces to the Ferozepore Sikhs.

At home, numerous committees sprang up to aid soldiers at the front, Leyland motors produced vehicles in their thousands for the war effort, most notably the Leyland R.A.F. type, a vehicle produced in numerous numbers for the fledgling air services and Leyland and Penwortham took in Belgian refugees fleeing from the German advance.

Post-war, new homes were built for the returning men and in some instances work had to be found for them due to the downturn in the cotton trade. There was a profound need to remember those men who never returned in a variety of ways. There are over 50 separate and distinct memorials in the South Ribble area. Almost every Church in the area has a memorial and some have unusual ones such as the screen within St.Ambrose, Leyland, painted by a grateful Belgian, Monsieur Jansen who was given succour by the locals.

My initial inspiration came from the St.Marys R.C. memorial on Brownedge Green, Bamber Bridge, and in particular Corporal John MacNamara V.C.  I have lived near this memorial for most of my life and St.Marys was the church I was baptized and confirmed in.  We had a keen history teacher in school who taught us all about the sacrifice of these men during the war and of those they left behind. I then took this to the next level and started to research the rest of the local memorials to make a lasting digital presence for them on the web.

This project is not a solo one and there will be stories from other contributors along the way, and we need your contributions in order to bring the subject to life.

We need you!

– Stories and photos of your family members who fought in the Great War or who may have served in some other capacity

– Memorabilia: medals, letters and other items

– Stories about the villages of South Ribble at the time of the war

– Stories behind the erection of our various memorials

– Any other stories that have a connection with the local area and the war

– Support. Please visit the site on a regular basis for updates and the latest news

You can contact the project by e-mail, or by visiting our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.

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