The Great War

2014 saw the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War - the Great War. Many events have taken place over the period 2014 to 2018 to remember this momentus period.

We at the Spen Valley Historical Society have been researching the 157 war dead whose names appear on the Memorial in Green Park, Heckmondwike. We made good progress and on 2nd August 2014 at Heckmondwike Library we held an exhibition when we described a small number of these individuals.

Cleckheaton has an impressive War Memorial on which are recorded the names of those who lost their lives during this conflict. Charlie Turpin of the Spenborough Branch of the Royal British Legion has spent many years researching these soldiers, sailors, airmen and one female civilian. The information is divided into two lists; the first covers officers, the second list covers other ranks.

To view the officers list follow this link, to view the list for other ranks follow this link.

On the week of the 100th anniversary of their death we have been publishing a list of names of those who died. The list covers all those individuals who are named on the War Memorials at Cleckheaton and also at Heckmondwike. In addition we have released detailed information on those named on the Heckmondwike Memorial. Similar information has already been released (please see above) by the Spenborough Branch of the Royal British Legion about the individuals named on the Cleckheaton Memorial.

Our information on the 157 Heckmondwike men has come from a variety of sources and we are always grateful for any additional information to supplement this. We have a number of photographs of the men, mainly from local newspapers, but not of all of the men, if you have a picture of any of the men we would greatly welcome the opportunity to publish it.

Our contact details are

Some of the national newspapers have also published information about the Great War, links to some of this information is available below:-

Daily Telegraph Express Independent

The greatest loss of live in the Spen Valley, like a number of other locations, occurred on 1st July 1916 which was the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 28 local men were to die on this day many without a known grave. On 1st July 2016 a very moving piece of public art work took place with thousands of volunteers taking part. Video images of this can be viewed online at YouTube. An explanatory video is shown below.