2015 - The initial research
When I first set out to publish the work that was to become South Ribble in the Great War back in 2012, I had no idea that a permanent memorial would be planned for the area and that I would have a major role in piecing together the names for that memorial. I had begun by making a survey of all the memorials in the local towns and villages and compiled these into an offline database. The next step was to find the basic details of the men by using various online resources such as the Commonwealth War Graves website and military sources via Ancestry UK.
Steve Barritt from South Ribble Council became aware of my work through the auspices of David Hunt at the South Ribble Museum and exhibition centre. I had visited David as he is the custodian of the Wesleyan WW1 memorial. Steve had compiled a basic list by using the publication 'Soldiers Died in the Great War' via Ancestry UK.
A basic search using place names by Steve and myself yielded a number of new names that have not previously been on memorials in the local area. I added these to my ever growing database and had to whittle it down to men who were born or who had lived (or both) in the local towns and villages. This stage involved the use of civilian records such as Births, Marriages and Deaths and the 1911 Census. I have also been lucky enough to have been allowed access to the work of other researchers in the area. In particular I need to mention Bill Waring of Leyland Historical Society who started his research in the 1990s, Jim Rawcliffe for Brownedge & Bamber Bridge, Sarah Yates for Higher Walton, Bill Brierley for Lostock Hall, Helen Howell for Walton-le-Dale, Teresa Taylor for Samlesbury & Roach Bridge, Steve Barritt of South Ribble Council and Heather Crook for Penwortham and the western parishes.
The final stage was to quality assure the list I was putting out. The aforementioned Bill Brierley and Sarah Yates together with Stan Grosvenor M.A. of the Western Front Association verified the names and I am indebted to them. Stan in particular has been a great source of information and inspiration and we have chewed the fat many times
over a few pints at The Gables in Leyland.
There is still plenty more to discover about these men and their families. There are also those men who served and came home and also the women who worked hard at home.
2018 – Review
The memorial was constructed in such a way that we could add more people to it at a later date. South Ribble Council intend to revise the panels on the trench wall in time for the Armistice Centenary in 2018. I have returned to my original work and completely revised it. The following pages discuss my method, the sources used and finally, the fully revised South Ribble Roll of Honour. This will be reflected on the WFA Leyland & Central Lancashire website, ‘South Ribble in the Great War’.
Charles O'Donnell, WFA Leyland & Central Lancashire