Spen Valley Historical Society, like many other historical societies and history groups, is involved in a project to commemorate the soldiers, sailors, airmen and others who lost their lives serving the country during The Great War.
The old Heckmondwike Urban District Council commissioned a substantial memorial book in which are recorded the over 1000 men who went to war from Heckmondwike. The book in its elaborate viewing case is still on display in Heckmondwike Library. Using this book we were able to obtain the addresses of our 157 men. Armed with this information we tackled the project by obtaining further information from a number of sources.
We have been able to obtain information that was published in the Cleckheaton & Spenborough Guardian for 98 of the men, some of the information is very detailed whilst for a few it is quite sparse. We also researched the Cleckheaton Advertiser & Spen Valley Times which during WW1 changed it's name to the Cleckheaton Advertiser and Spenborough Times.
At the same time we searched the 1911 census to gain additional information, in some cases we were unable to find any of our men in 1911 but found a small number of them in earlier censuses. Altogether we have been able to obtain census information for 119 men. However the address information in some cases is different from that in the Memorial Book, this could be due to them moving from one rented accommodation to another.
Also in parallel with these searches we looked at the Commonwealth War Graves site and think we have found 150 of our men.
Finally we have been researching military records and have some information but due to many records being destroyed in WW2 this can never be a definitive source for us.
Our research has led us in some very interesting directions. We have been able to view over 100 photographs held by the Upper Independent Chapel in Heckmondwike. These photographs provide a wonderful portrait of a number of our men. The Dewsbury Reporter Group very kindly allowed us access to their physical copies of the Cleckheaton & Spenborough Guardian and we were also able to find a copy of the Heckmondwike Hearld for 1916.
Whilst carrying out this research we have found an additional number of men, approximately 40+, who seem to have a Heckmondwike connection. When we have concluded our research on the 157 we aim to research these additional men and any others that we come across. If you are able to add an additional information about our 157 men we would be grateful to receive it, our contact details are firstname.lastname@example.org
We have now published information on all the 157 men, we did this to coincide with the 100th anniversary of their death. On the following webpage is a list of these 157 men, to access the specific information on each of these men.
The following link takes you to a webpage on the Wakefield Family History Sharing website that has information about some of the 157 men and also some information on men from Heckmondwike who died during WW2.
Multiple photographs of Heckmondwike War Memorial and some limited information about many of the men named on it can be viewed by following this link.