Lancashire town commemorates heroes

Garstang war memorial
Garstang war memorial

Local history enthusisasts in Garstang are drawing up plans to commemorate next year’s major historical anniversary.

2014 will see the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of The Great War, as World War One was originally known.

Commemoration: Paul Smith at Garstang war memorial

Commemoration: Paul Smith at Garstang war memorial

Along with towns and villages throughout the nation men from Garstang gave their lives in the first global conflagration of the 20th century - one which saw the deaths of millions of people.

The names of 19 men appear on the Great War plaque on Garstang war memorial. The community honours them, along with the war dead of World War Two, at Remembrancetide every November.

But in 2014 special emphasis will be made in Garstang to recall the memories of all the town’s Great War servicemen - both those who died between 1914 and 1918 and those who returned from the horrors of the trenches.

Leading the research is Garstang postman Paul Smith, who is a respected local history lecturer in north Lancashire. He is being assisted by Anthony Coppin, vice-chairman of Garstang Historical Society.

Paul and Anthony are planning three lectures in the town during 2014 along with an exhibition of Great War memorabilia.

They also hope to bring out a book focussing on both the 19 men whose names are listed on the war memorial from World War One and those who came back from the war, their lives never to be the same.

Building on earlier research by Garstang historian Duncan Mitchell, Paul and Anthony are already uncovering a fuller picture of the lives and tragic deaths of the Fallen, and learning more about the men who returned.

The families of many of the dead and returned heroes still live in Garstang and surrounding villages.One of the lectures will be held on August 4 2014 - 100 years to the day Britain declared war on Germany. That lecture will be specifically dedicated to Garstang’s heroes of 1914 to 1918. The others will look at the build-up to the war and the war itself.

The Garstang branch of the Royal British Legion and Garstang Historical Society have given their backing to the project.

If you have any documents or photos relating to the war dead of Garstang and Bonds, please contact Paul Smith on 01524 793549.

* For further information visit http://www.garstanghistoricalsociety.org.uk/