Simonstone war heroes finally honoured

Simonstone Parish Council unveiled a memorial to three local soldiers who died during the First World War and are not listed on the village war memorial.

Historians Brian and Susan Jeffery, Stephen and Margaret Finn, Richard Matthews and Read and Simonstone librarian Jackie Hindle uncovered the identities of three men, whose families all lived in Simonstone, who died while serving in the British and Empire Armies.

Peter Webster from the charity Veterans in the Community, plays the Last Post at the service to commemorate the new war memorial outside St Peter's Church, Simonstone.

Peter Webster from the charity Veterans in the Community, plays the Last Post at the service to commemorate the new war memorial outside St Peter's Church, Simonstone.

These men were Lance Corporal Robert James Breckell, who died while serving with the 28th Battalion, the Saskatchewan Regiment in September 1916; Trooper Ernest Thistlethwaite, who died while serving with the Ist Household Cavalry Regiment in May 1917 and Private Gilbert Yates who died while serving with the East Lancashire Regiment in March 1915 - his brother Thomas is already listed on the war memorial.

With the 100-year anniversary of the start of the First World War this year, the parish council decided to raise funds for a memorial and approached the High Commissioner for Canada, the Household Cavalry, the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment and Royal British Legion, which led to contact with the Royal Regina Rifles (the present day successor to the Saskatchewan Regiment) and the Household Cavalry Association for North Wales and Yorkshire who raised money for this cause.

Ribble Valley Borough Council also helped while local industries Fort Vale Engineering Ltd and Seaways Services (UK) Ltd) also made donations.

The stone plinth, carved by TR Memorials of Clitheroe, and brass plaque recording the donors, was unveiled at a special village Remembrance Service at St Peter’s Church.

Invited guests included the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, members of the Household Cavalry Association of the North-West and Yorkshire, the Royal British Legion and relatives of Lance Corporal Breckell. Peter Webster, a member of Veterans in the Community charity, played the Last Post and Reveille.

Parish Council chairman David Peat said: “We are pleased to be able to finally honour these local men. The generosity in time, goodwill and donations from people and organisations in Canada, this region and the parish has been gratifying and humbling.”