HISTORIANS at a Darwen church have investigated the stories behind names on a First World War memorial plaque.

The 14 names are on a plaque at Spring Vale Methodist Church, in Watery Lane, and the research has been carried out ahead of Remembrance Sunday.

Over the past three months, Tony Foster has delved into the archives to discover the history of the brave men who attended the church.

A memorial booklet has been produced, which will be given out at the church’s remembrance service on Sunday, November 10, from 10.45am.

Mr Foster used local newspaper articles of the day, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, census returns, Army records, and medal roll cards to track down information on Spring Vale’s soldiers.

Mr Foster said the research had presented some challenges.

He said: “The death of one particular soldier, John Holden, was reported separately in the newspaper, but showed an association with two different churches.

“Also, the research highlighted the tragedy of one soldier who signed up to fight, but died before he left English soil for France.”

That soldier was 18-year-old Gladstone Cocker, who died shortly after he enlisted in an accident at Great Yarmouth, before ever being posted abroad.

The stories of the soldiers, whose ages range from 18 to 43, will form the focus of the church’s Remembrance Day service, with the aim of bringing a more personal insight to the thoughts of those attending the service Minister Deacon Dave Keegan said: “Although we didn’t know these people personally, knowing the stories of those from our church who gave their lives in defence of this country will bring home the tragedy that war still brings to families even today.”

The booklet will be available at the church service.

It will also be available on the church’s website www. churchpartnership.org.uk/spring_vale