It was a very proud but also a very poignant moment.
Yesterday a book was published which has information about all 3,439 people from Huddersfield killed in World War One – researched and written by the late Margaret Stansfield from Elland.
Her wish was to see a single copy of her work in Huddersfield Library but Huddersfield University was determined to make sure all those years of work were rewarded and so has published it in a 500-page book which is now on sale.
Margaret’s husband, Alan, spoke at the book launch at Huddersfield Drill Hall where the thousands of names of Huddersfield soldiers killed in both the First and Second World Wars are commemorated on plaques.
“This is a truly wonderful event and so fitting for my late wife who put so much time and effort into her research,” he said. “She was desperate to see all the names and stories recorded and that has now happened. Sadly Margaret died in December 2012 so never got the chance to see all those countless hours of work now in print.”
Along the way Margaret helped many families trying to find out what happened to their relatives in the war and also discovered two soldiers whose names did not appear on any war memorials. Thanks to Margaret they do now.
Alan added: “Margaret has left Huddersfield a lasting legacy for future generations and ensures we will never forget the human sacrifice this town made between 1914 and 1922.”
Huddersfield University vice-chancellor Bob Cryan added: “My son is 18 and it’s so emotional to think that 100 years ago Huddersfield’s sons and daughters were going off to war at that tender age. It’s overwhelming to think that Margaret spent 30 years doing all that work so this town will never forget those who never returned.”
It all started in the mid 1980s when Margaret decided to find out more about the conditions her grandfather faced in the Flanders’ trenches. And it went on from there until she had researched 3,439 – which is believed to be the final death toll from Huddersfield. Margaret even managed to find out where each is buried or where their name is on a memorial, helped by two men from Huddersfield, who visited each one.
They were Ken Palmer from Marsh and the late Philip Gledhill from Bolster Moor.
The book, which has a foreword from Prince Andrew, is called Huddersfield’s Roll Of Honour 1914-1922 as many died from their wounds after the war ended.
It costs £20 with most of the proceeds going to the Poppy Fund of the Elland, Greetland and District branch of the Royal British Legion.
To order a copy go to www.store.hud.ac.uk or email your name, address and email to email@example.com or phone 01484 473838.