This website will be part of an ongoing project covering the duration of the Great War 1914-1918. it is going to be largely dependent upon contributions from the descendants of those who lived in the town at that point in history or were killed or who served in the conflict.
We are now three generations removed from those brutal days and due to demographic changes, many will have moved from the area and will be thus difficult to contact. It is hoped by the committee that by registering the project with the organisations responsible for the National Project for commemoration that people with connections with Dewsbury & District will make contact with our group. It is further hoped that curiosity will be aroused which in turn mutual contact will be made.
Obviously the committee is keen to hear from anybody with connections with family members or relatives having any memories of that time, this would enable us to collate family records, anecdotes and memorabillia connected with this period. The quality and scope of this project will depend on these contacts and it is hoped that when the commemorative programme gets underway there will be a substantial increase in public participation.
The main thrust of the Dewsbury Project will be to commemorate those men and women who paid the supreme sacrifice. it is hoped to publish regular bulletins that will be available on this website or by email. These will contain records detailing of their service to the country, a short history of their lives and this will include details of where they were lost and the location of their burial and commemorativ plaque. This will entail a great deal of research and the committee is keen to hear from surviving relatives concerning any information that is still being stored by the family.
Commemorated on the panels surrounding the Memorial are spaces for the names of approximatley 1,000 men of the Borough, who paid the ultimate sacrifice. It has been stated that 1,070 have been supplied.
There are six panels around the sides of the Memorial each containing three panels with space for sixty names on each panel. The Memorial is of almost unique design as it is a Cenotaph (meaning empty place) to remind us of the missing. It was unveiled on the 6th September 1924 by Lieutenant General Walter P. Braithwaite.
Further details concerning the men represented on the panels are to be found in the Dewsbury War Book, a leather bound volume, tooled in gold leaf, this was commissioned by the then County Borough Council.
It is anticipated that the regular bulletins, published on the approximate date of the fatality, will generate a digitised database honouring the Fallen and available for consultation on line by future generations.
Additionally Dewsbury produced two winners of the Victoria Cross
- Sergeant John William Ormsby
- Private Horace Waller
Naturally there must of been other recipients of other Gallantry Awards and the committee is keen to hear from the relatives of these men concerning details of these awards.
It is also hoped to include other aspects of the life and times during the War, after all Dewsbury was known as ‘The Shoddy Capital of The World’ and the Heavy Woollen District contributed in no small measure to the munitions industries which were so vital to our national survival. Through the provision of uniforms and blankets, local trade expanded almost beyond recognition and involved the employment of thousands of Women. Women also served as bus conductresses, shop workers, farm hands and in manifold trades which had been previously barred to them.
Unfortunatley records of individuals are difficult to locate but with determination it might be possible to build up a picture oof the local situation. Naturally the committee will be at the mercy of submissions from people who have traced local connections through their researches.
The committee is mindful that there is a strong educationalelement attached to this project and the topic presents multifarious opportunities for meaningful learning situations for the young. it is intended to contact various local schools to request assistance in such schemes as researching relatives, tending graves, recording information etc. In the meantime interested educationalists should contact the committee using our contact form for further information.
In shorth the committee seeks to act as a repository for local knowledge about the War and members of the public are invited to contribute towards our sum of informationabout the part our ‘Ancient Borough’ played in this universal conflict.
During our research,we have discovered anomalies in this register as our research is an on-going work in progress, further details will be published at a later stage.