Untold stories of soldiers revealed

The stories of brave soldiers from Whitechapel, whose names appear on the St James' War memorial are set to told for the first time in a special exhibition.

Tuesday, 1st November 2016, 3:08 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 5:02 pm
Organisers preparing the Great War exhibition at Whitechapel village hall The display is in tribute to the 12 soldiers listed on the St James' Church War Memorial

Organisers say the First World War Exhibition is thanks to a response to their appeal for information on the 12 men listed on the churchyard memorial.

Amongst the memorabilia on show at Whitechapel Village Hall on Saturday November 12 from 10am, will be medals, original letters and photographs.

One of the stories to be shared is that of Private John Parker, 1st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment, who was killed on September 24 1918, just weeks before the Armistice of November 11, aged 24.

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John Pearson, has helped to carry out much of the research, he said: “Amongst the 12 men whose names are inscribed on the War Memorial, our research confirms that two cousins lost their lives, Lieutenant John Bourn and Private Andrew Robinson, whilst in the Ireland Family, two brothers Private Thomas Ireland and Private William Ireland and their cousin Private Henry Kerfoot also died.”

From the information collected invitations have been sent to Whitechapel residents living in the soldiers' former homes.

John is hoping the information will encourage even more families to reconnect with their own family histories.

He said: “In several instances the whereabouts of medals, letters, photographs are unknown, which is not surprising after almost a hundred years since their death; however, with the knowledge of the forthcoming exhibition, it has given some the impetus to commence a search amongst other family members.

“We expect that in some cases, distant relatives who have lost touch will reconnect as a result of this exhibition.”

Admission to the exhibition is free and refreshments will be available throughout the day.

Twice during the day of the exhibition, at 11am and 1pm, a WW1 film will be shown which was made prior to the first day of the Battle of the Somme, July 1st 1916 and in the weeks after.

The exhibitions will be open from 10am to 3pm.