Veterans call for a Town Hall memorial to Sheffield soldiers

Veterans are calling for a plaque to be installed at the Town Hall in memory of the hundreds of Sheffielders who served in the First World War.

Frecheville Royal British Legion and Home Mess and Fellowship wants a commemorative plaque in the Town Hall chamber to honour all those involved in the war.

Members of Frecheville Royal British Legion and Home Mess and Fellowship

Members of Frecheville Royal British Legion and Home Mess and Fellowship

A petition was launched to coincide with the 100 year anniversary since the First World War ended and has already collected more than 2,000 signatures.

Pat Davey, from Owlthorpe, presented the petition to full council and said: “The words have been carefully chosen ‘to commemorate the service given by all’. We want to pay tribute to all who went to war for us, those who survived as well as those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“They were all brave, they all offered their lives to retain freedom not only for their own generation but for all future generations. Too often we forget those who went through the horrors of war but survive and just remember those who died.”

Coun Terry Fox, who supported the petition, said it would be a fitting tribute to the Sheffield City Battalion – known as Sheffield Pals

The Pals were groups of men who enlisted together in local recruitment drives, with the promise that they would be able to serve alongside their friends, neighbours and colleagues – “Pals” – rather than being allocated to battalions separately.

Coun Fox said: “It would be remiss not to mention the Sheffield Pals, who were enlisted at the old Corn Exchange near the Marples pub at Fitzalan Square then taken to the Town Hall.

“They arrived through the main entrance and went up the grand staircase to the council chamber but once they had taken the King’s shilling and signed up, they were taken out through the back door.

“They trained for two years at Bramall Lane and Lodge Moor to learn how to dig trenches, then off to Egypt before going onto their fate at the Battle of the Somme.

“At 7.30am on July 1st as the bombardment of the German trenches ceased after continuous days, the whistles were blown and over the top they went. By 8.30am the battalion was erased.

“By the end of the four-month long battle, 90 per cent of the Sheffield Pals were gone. There were 500 lads wiped out in 10 minutes but we never even learnt about the Pals in school. The time is right now to honour them and it would be fitting to have a specific memorial at the Town Hall

“It would be in memory of not only the Pals but also the 50,000 men who went from Sheffield to the various fronts during this period, many of whom never returned home.”

Sheffield Council says it will discuss a memorial with the Royal British Legion.