CROWDS gathered in Simonstone and Earby over the weekend to take part in two unique events commemorating the solders who died during the First World War.

Councillors and community leaders unveiled a plaque marking the sacrifice of three men from Simonstone who died after five local historians discovered that the men had been left off the original war memorial.


Lance Corporal Robert Breckell died in September 15, 1916, after serving in the Saskatchewan Regiment of the Canadian 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.

In Earby a parade was staged from the community centre to the war memorial and the names of the 170 local men who died during the Great War were read out in full for the first time.

Up to 600 residents attended the service after the town council conducted research into the men.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Town councillor James Spence said: "It was really quite moving and it was fantastic that so many people came to take part.

"The names had never been read out before so it was a very special moment for everyone and the town.

"To have around 600 residents turn up, and people from outside of the town, was amazing and it showed how much people care."

Simonstone Parish Council raised money for the new memorial, with funds also being sent from the Saskatchewan Regiment of the Canadian army after they held a fundraising event.

Donations were also given by the Household Cavalry Association for North Wales and Yorkshire and advice was given from Ribble Valley Borough Council.

Fort Vale Engineering Ltd and Seaways Services (UK) Ltd also made donations.

Ten relatives of Lance Corporal Breckell, living in Northern England were present at St Peter's Church and Corporal Stacey Bouck ,Company Clerk of the Royal Regina Rifles attended in a private capacity.

Peter Webster, a member of Veterans in the Community Charity played the Last Post and Reveille.

Parish Council chairman David Peat OBE said: ”We were pleased to be able to finally honour these local men.

"The generosity in time, goodwill and donations from people and organisations in Canada, this region and parish has been gratifying and humbling."