Lottery grant will help to tell the stories of Sheffield's First World War heroes
The stories of brave Sheffield men who fought and died for their country during the First World War will be retold thanks to a Lottery grant.
Sheffield General Cemetery Trust has been awarded £7,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to go towards its latest project.
Trust volunteers have already begun to research the stories of the 30 heroic servicemen buried in the cemetery, off Ecclesall Road, along with the further 70 men commemorated on the graves of family members.
And thanks to the grant money, those stories will be retold to the public through a book, exhibition and memorial walk.
Hilary McAra and Shirley Baxter are among the scores of volunteers giving up their time for the project.
“We feel so strongly that these people deserve to be remembered,” said Hilary.
“They all had a different, horrific experience. All of them gave their lives for their country.”
Some of the stories have already begun to emerge, like that of Ernest Shuttleworth, who died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme aged 22.
Many names bring tales of gruesome injuries. One man was in training for the RAF in Canterbury when he was decapitated by a propellor. His family brought him back to Sheffield to be buried.
Others reveal family hardship. One man was already a widower when he went to war, leaving behind three young children.
“We feel like we know them all,” said Hilary. “They feel like a family.”
The men were almost all from Sheffield and represented a cross-section of society at the time.
The trust is keen to hear from anyone related to the men so they can help shed light on what happened to them.
Volunteer Shirley said: “It makes it so real. When they are just names, that’s all they are. But when we research them we see all the problems they had.”
The aim is to have the book and exhibition ready for the autumn.
Chairman of trustees Mike Clarke said he was ‘thrilled’ with the Lottery grant.
“We are pleased that the Heritage Lottery Fund has recognised the value of the project.
“The research will draw on a variety of sources to create a valuable and enduring resource which will be made freely available to the public via our website. We will also be sharing our findings with other organisations including the Imperial War Museum.”
n People can find the names of those buried or commemorated in the cemetery at http://gencem.org/names/, or by calling the trust office on 0114 268 3486.