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Memorial bid for forgotten heroes

A PENSIONER is demanding recognition for more than 100 forgotten war heroes.

A PENSIONER is demanding recognition for more than 100 forgotten war heroes.

Retired firefighter Walter Holmes has been probing Hyndburn's war casualties between 1914 and 1920 for the past decade.

The 74-year-old, from Accrington, has discovered there are 105 names missing from the borough's war memorials… and he is still counting.

He said: "It is hard to say what drives me, it just has to be done. My interest began when Bill Turner's book about the Accrington Pals came out."

His uncle, who was also called Walter, was a member of the famous Pals regiment and was killed in action in September 1918.

Over the years Walter, whose database contains the names of 13,000 soldiers as well as census results from the 19th century, has clocked up hundreds of miles visiting libraries and the Public Record Office at Kew.

And he has placed the blame for the missing names at the door of Hyndburn Council.

He said: "This needs to be sorted out and it's the council's duty to do so.''

Walter spoke to the Observer after we printed a story about Great Harwood resident George Clark, who is calling for the name of his brother Robert Anthony Clark to be inscribed on the town's memorial.

He was killed in a friendly fire incident during manoeuvres in Korea in 1951.

But Hyndburn Council looks unlikely to carry out the work this financial year because of its cash crisis.

According to Walter's figures, there are a total of 59 soldiers from Accrington missing from the war memorial.

There are also four from Church, four from Clayton, 12 from Great Harwood, two from Huncoat, six from Rishton, and 32 from Oswaldtwistle.

He added: "There could be several reasons why they have been omitted. Lots of people moved from one place to another.''

Hyndburn Council leader Peter Britcliffe said: "We are looking at the names that are missing.

"Once we have done an audit we can get some costings and look at it again. There is an urgent need to update the memorials."


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist