A LOCAL historian was praised in the House of Commons for helping his local MP research his great grandfather.

Walter Holmes, who lives in Accrington, helped Hyndburn MP Graham Jones to find his ancestor’s Army records.

Mr Jones was at Westminster to discuss First World War commemorations, and spoke about the ‘horrific’ losses suffered by the Accrington Pals.

He said: “Many people in Hyndburn signed up, not to the Pals, but to other regiments.

“I was fortunate enough to find a piece of information about my great-grandfather’s record – he served in the Royal Ambulance Medical Corps.

“While I knew him before he died, I recall my grand-father occasionally speaking of his father’s time on the front line, carrying off young men who had lost body parts, and whose bodies had been mutilated by shells, mines and bullets – some alive, some dying, many dead, and many screaming out as they died.

“That my great-grandfather rarely spoke of these horrors, paralysed by his fearful memories, is testament to the torturous experiences many of the combatants faced.

“I am grateful to the Hyndburn historians Walter Holmes, who worked alongside my grandfather, and the late Bill Turner, for their lifelong dedication to the history of the regiment and the fallen soldiers, and personally for helping me find my great-grandfathers’ limited Army record.”

Mr Holmes, 83, said he was carrying on the work he started with Accrington Pals expert Bill Turner, who died in 2007.

He said: “I have 14,000 names in my file I’m trying to put detail to.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years.

“I was a young man when I started this.

“I was on the next bench to Mr Jones’ grandfather, and we worked as pattern makers.

“He got in touch through my daughter who sees him regularly, and he asked for help.”