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Chronicle backs Pals tribute campaign

By Lynsey Bradford, Town Reporter Thursday 7th August 2014
Dan Jarvis.

THE CHRONICLE is backing a campaign to have a fitting tribute to the Barnsley Pals erected in France.

 

It is being spearheaded by Coun Joe Hayward and Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis, and though there is already an existing memorial in the Serre battlefields, the pair say the soldiers deserve better.

 

The Pals, the 13th and 14th (service) battalions of the York and Lancaster Regiment, were groups of men who enlisted with their friends and work colleague in 1914 after responding to Lord Kitchener's urge, 'Your Country Needs You'.

 

Of the 1,600 or so strong group, 545 of them lost their lives on July 1 1916, going over the top on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

 

A monument to their courage now stands in the wood outside the town of Serre in France where many of them perished. But after a trip the area in May, councillors and MPs have voiced their hopes to have a more prominent and fitting tribute installed.

 

The aim is for it to be unveiled in time for the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme in 2016.

 

** The full story, with interviews, appears in the Barnsley Chronicle dated August 8. **

CommentsClick here to add a comment...
Posted by Caroline Rutter I Fri 8th Aug 2014 at 1:25pm

This is very good news. I have been trying to learn more about what happened to my Grandmother's first husband 2nd Lt Wm Hirst of the 14th Yorks and Lancs (2nd Barnsley Pals). The regimental diary names him as the one who lead "A" Division out of the shattered trenches into no-man's land with his men heroically behind him walking into dealy accurate machine gun fire. Your brief account here gives some idea of numbers, but they are very hard to get hold of on the web where there is far more about the Accrington Pals. The Wombwell Colliery (where he was a surveyor) has a War memorial with about 374 names on it, but on the web only about 6 of them have a first name rather than just an initial. One T. Lockwood has the DCM but there is nothing about him on the Wikipedia page for DCMs. Valiant work is being done by individuals which needs pulling together ready for 1st of July 1916. While no-one is left who was there , there are many of us who were raised in families in which grief ran deep. The loss of those brave young men was bitterly mourned for the rest of the twentieth century. Now we must ensure that there are meaningful memorials to them that are accessible through modern technology as well as travel. We must not let their tragedy be turned into a successful fight for freedom. They fought for King and COuntry in the Army of the greatest Empire in the World and they anticipated success. It is distressing to find that there is at lest one official website which gives a missleading account of their 'success' that morning. The War Diary gives a different story and we must not immortalise wishful thinking about their achieving their objective. They were gunned down by machine gun fire, walking uphill through wire, equipped with rifles,towards well entrenched and equipped enemy positions which had not been damaged by the previous week's barrage. It was as terrible as that

Posted by BarnsleyHistorian I Fri 8th Aug 2014 at 6:07pm

Please remember all the other soldiers from Barnsley who fell in the First World War. The total number of men who fell is well over 4000 of whom only about a fifth were from the Barnsley Pals regiments.

Didn't the reaction when the Centenary Square was named for the Pals give you pause for thought? I am not denigrating the Pals contribution, but please concentrate on some commemoration for the whole of Barnsley's soldiers, sailors, airmen, nurses and others who gave their lives or their health for our country in 1914-1918.

Posted by Jane Ainsworth I Sat 9th Aug 2014 at 4:14pm

I was the author of the letter printed in Barnsley Chronicle last year objecting to the naming of the Barnsley Pals Centenary Square because it is far too limited and does not reflect on the thousands of others from the Barnsley area, who also gave their lives in the Great War. PLEASE, PLEASE consider these casualties and do something concrete for them for a change!! I have researched the 76 men on the Grammar School memorial and only a handful were in Barnsley Pals - considerably more lost their lives on the first day of the Somme fighting for the Sheffield Pals but even combined these were fewer than 15% of the total. Neither of my great uncles from Hoyland and Elsecar were Barnsley Pals and I feel they are being slighted by the constant focus on the Pals, who have already received such an enormous amount of attention. Every man, woman and child who contributed in whatever way and whatever stage during the war ought to be valued and every life sacrificed recognized as such.

Posted by Gill Brookes I Sun 10th Aug 2014 at 6:10pm

Virtually every Barnsley family had a relative, friend or neighbour who died in the 1st World War. About 80% of those who died DID NOT serve in the Barnsley Pals.

It is an insult to those 80% who died whilst serving in other Regiments that Barnsley only concentrates on the 13th and 14th York and Lancaster Regiments. With no disrespect to the PALS we have a duty to honour and remember ALL Barnsley's fallen.

Posted by Gill Brookes I Wed 13th Aug 2014 at 9:58pm

Having made a previous comment and contacted the organisers, I have been asked to clarify that the plans are not for a new memorial but merely to elevate the existing memorial onto a higher plinth.

Its a shame the article in the Barnsley Chronicle wasn't clearer about this intention, it would have saved a lot of upset. I fully support the plans to elevate the memorial in this manner.

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