TO MARK the 100th anniversary of the First World War the Gazette & Herald has joined forces with the Rotary Club of Malton & Norton to remember the local people who died in the conflict.
Two years ago the Rotary club was granted planning permission to renovate and improve access to the Malton war memorial at the top of Yorkersgate, supported by Malton Town Council and the Fitzwilliam (Malton) Estate who are assisting with the raising of funds.
With the help of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records Rotary member Colin Jennings was able to list all of the 81 men and one woman on the memorial, who died in the Great War, onto the Rotary Club web page. He has since been contacted by relatives enquiring about their ancestors from as far afield as Australia and the USA.
His colleague, John Howard has been trying to find out more about the history of these men and their experiences during the Great War, mainly by consulting the war diaries of the battalions they served with but also from historical records and information supplied by family members.
"I am grateful that the Gazette & Herald has agreed to individually publish what we know about these men and one woman on the 100th anniversary of the date of their death," Mr Howard said.
" I am sure that they would be pleased that we still remember them and appreciate the terrible events that they had to endure. It is my intention to eventually publish their names and history into a book to provide a more permanent record. If anyone has any photographs or family history they would like to pass on I would be pleased to include them."
Mr Howard said that there were two names that he had not been able to trace; H Thompson and W Smith.
"There are two W Smiths on the memorial. One is William Earnest born in Swinton who died as a prisoner of war in Berlin on October, 5 1918. "The other I have been unable to trace, I have even wondered if W Smith was put on the memorial twice by mistake.
Mr Howard added: "If any readers has any information on these two I would be grateful if they could shed some light."
Although Malton War Memorial is the most visible of the memorials there is an even longer roll of honour in St Peter’s Church with 119 recorded as killed in the Great War.
Mr Jennings is currently seeking permission from the Church Authorities to have the Roll Book digitally scanned and placed in the archives of the British Library.
Anyone who is able to help with the project should phone Karen Darley at Malton Gazette on 01653 695600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information visit Malton and Norton Rotary Club website
http://www.rotary-ribi.org/clubs/homepage.php?ClubID=220 and click on Malton War Memorial.