Search for relatives of Ribble Valley soldiers killed in First World War

The names on the war memorial

The names on the war memorial

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

THE relatives of three Ribble Valley men who died during the First World War are being sought after it was discovered that the soldiers’ names were not incl-uded on a village’s memorial.

Five local historians were researching Simonstone’s war past when they came across the three missing names.

The war memorial, at St Peter’s Chur-ch, includes all the known names of the men who lost their lives during the war.

Now the parish council wants to track down any relatives of the three men who might still live in the area to help add their names to the memorial.

Lance Corporal Robert Breckell died in September 15, 1916, after serving in the Saskatchewan Regiment of the Can-adian army. It is believed the former weaver emigrated shortly before war broke out in 1914, but it’s not known where he he’s buried.

Ernest Thistlethwaite, 28, was serving in the 1429 Household Battalion when he died of his wounds on May 24, 1917, at Etaples, in Northern France.

Gilbert Yates, described as a ‘turner’, was serving with the 2nd Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment when he died on March 22, 1915, near Rouen.

The parish council is now talking to the diocese about the possibility of add-ing the three names to the memorial and, if approved, hope to approach groups such as the British Legion for help.

Simonstone Parish Council chairman David Peat said: “It’s very important that the community pull together on this bec- ause everyone from this area who laid down their life for freedom and liberty should be commemorated.

“We are in discussions with the church and, if the project is approved, then we can start to raise the funds needed thr-ough grants and public donations. We want to hear from anyone who has any information about the three soldiers, or any of their relatives who can help us.”

To get involved with the project, call parish council clerk Roger Hirst on 01200 428742.

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