Burnley brothers' pilgrimage to hero ancestor's memorial

Two brothers from Burnley made an emotional pilgrimage to France to pay their respects to a great-uncle who gave his life in the First World War.

Tuesday, 16th April 2019, 4:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th April 2019, 5:19 pm
Gary and Stephen Smithson at the memorial

Stephen and Gary Smithson travelled to the Pozières Memorial on the Somme in France where their grandfather's brother Pte Allan Dent is remembered, the Burnley soldier having no known grave.

Allan, who served with the 18th Lancashire Fusiliers was killed on June 1st, 1918, aged just 22.

Solicitor Stephen (65) who now lives in Wetherby said: "Allan was the older brother of our grandfather Albert. I'd known about Allan's sacrifice for a long time because our grandfather had always talked about him but no-one in our family had ever been out to France to see the memorial.

Allan Dent with his brothers Percy and Albert and their father Arthur in a photograph taken circa 1903

"I'd toyed with the idea of commemorating Allan in some way and so contacted the Royal British Legion and the Lancashire Fusiliers Museum. Allan had no known grave so is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial."

Former Burnley Grammar School boy Stephen and Gary, who works as a driving instructor in Burnley, decided to make the trip to France and pay their respects.

Stephen added: "I think we fulfilled what I believed to be an obligation to Allan. Our visit was an acknowledgement from his descendants to the memorial and his sacrifice. When I first spotted his name I just said quietly to myself 'I've found him grandad'."