TRAIN operator Northern is searching for the relatives of railway workers from East Lancashire whose names appear on a long-lost war memorial.

The memorial was originally sited at the Newton Heath maintenance depot but moved was removed from Newton Heath Carriage Works when it closed and was taken to Newton Heath Town Hall where it stayed until the building was demolished.

Many years later, parts of the memorial were found in the undercroft of Manchester Piccadilly and were subsequently held by the East Lancashire Railway for safekeeping.

Now, more than 60 years after the memorial was moved from the site on Dean Lane, it is set to be returned, having been lovingly restored.

Northern is searching for families of those on the memorial ahead of a special unveiling ceremony at the depot on Friday, June 28.

The event will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles – which brought an end to the First World War – and will give all the chance to see the loving restoration carried out by A G Podmore and Sons of York and funded by the Railway Heritage Trust.

At the outbreak of war, in 1914, the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway company had a 37,000 strong workforce. More than 10,000 volunteered for the armed services, with 1,422 losing their lives.

As happened all over Europe, when peace finally came, and the soldiers returned to work, the Lancashire and Yorkshire’s carriage and wagon department created a war memorial, immortalising their 117 fallen comrades, as well as recording the names of all those in the department who served.

Among those on the memorial are F S Seward of the Royal Fleet Reserve and J West of the 11th Lancashire Fusiliers who both worked at Colne Station.

Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern, said: “Now, as a mark of respect to those from the railway family who served in the Great War, the memorial is back where it belongs at Newton Heath.

“We would be delighted to welcome the families of those on the memorial to attend the special event at the end of June and are calling on anyone with information to get in touch.”