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Sheffield stained glass window honours WW1 dead

Amateur historians Julie Clarke, Bill Bevan and Geraldine Stansall next to the commemorative windows.

Amateur historians Julie Clarke, Bill Bevan and Geraldine Stansall next to the commemorative windows.

The lives of a group of Sheffield men who died in the First World War have been chronicled by amateur historians.

Julie Clarke and five other Walkley residents have dug into the annals of history to find out about nine men who were honoured with stained glass windows at the community centre in Fir Street.

She has been tasked with unearthing information about two men – Archie Shelley and Frank Hartley – but is appealing to find relatives of Archie after her attempts to track them down proved unsuccessful.

Julie, aged 70, of Carr Road, found Archie was born in Walkley and joined the war in September 1914 – coincidentally enlisting on the same day as her uncle.

The brother to eight siblings was a file cutter before the war – but he did not survive the conflict, being shot and later dying from an infection in his head wound.

Julie theorises that this tragedy led his elder brother Frank to join the war – he enlisted in June 1915 – mere days after Archie’s death. Frank had a wife and children in Walkley, and made it through the war before moving to Australia in 1920.

Sadly, Julie has not been able to get hold of anyone related to Archie despite appealing locally, nationally and even internationally.

Julie said: “When you find photos of these men, and you look in their eyes, it becomes real. You feel like you know them.

“Finding out all this information can sometimes get emotional. But we have a job to do.

“I have always been interested in my family history, though they never did anything exciting! I volunteered for this project straight away. It’s really interesting.”

Frank Hartley was born in Mount Crescent Road, Sharrow and was also part of the Walkley Reform Club which is now the community centre.

He enlisted in 1914 at the age of 21, joining the Yorks and Lancs 12th Battalion.

Frank trained at Redmires and served for years. He was killed in the Battle Of The Somme on July 1, 1917.

Julie managed to get in touch with his family – he had an older sister – discovering her descendants, and sharing the details of his life with them.

Windows at the centre paying tribute to each fallen soldier are currently being restored to maintain their memory.

 

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