TO THE GLORY OF GOD
AND IN EVER GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE OF THE FOLLOWING FROM THIS PARISH WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR
1914 – 1919
Whenever (if ever…?) we take the time to stop and read the names of those who died in World War I – be they inscribed into columns of stone, cast in high relief on brass plaques on monuments or painted in letters picked out in gold on rolls of honour in churches, factories or other buildings – we may feel that we already ‘know the story’. We know that this serviceman from this area of the city, or town or village, who served with this or that regiment, died on this such and such day, end of story.
We may possibly feel we know more; that these were those ‘local’ men or boys more than men – for they weren’t they all young men? – who had joined Lord Kitchener’s new army… The “Pals Regiments” who died on ‘The Western Front’, or wherever British servicemen had served and died. I know I did. But there is also so much more we could, or possibly should, know.
St Silas church Roll of Honour is situated on the south wall of the west entrance of the church, and is typical of many seen in churches throughout the whole of Great Britain. It bears the names of 226 men, listed by regiment. Each man listed alongside their fallen comrades. But it doesn’t tell us much about those lost loved ones buried in cemeteries or listed on memorials (when no ‘body’ could be found) in those corners and fields of Europe and beyond where they fell. The Our Broomhall Project want to know more and this is where YOU come in….
After spending a day with Jennie and Helen (and others) at a St Silas Church open day, which I spent mainly recording the Roll of Honour, I was asked to do some research into the men listed on the roll. Could we find out more about these men? Where in Broomhall did they live? Did their families also live there? Were they all from Broomhall? It soon became apparent that there was much more to say.
Using the Roll of Honour as a starting point and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and cross-referencing (where possible) with the Sheffield Soldier website, we have begun to compile a database with a lot more information about many of the servicemen. And we have already begun to unearth some facts previously unknown or forgotten.
For instance: the youngest Broomhall serviceman to die in WW1 died aged just 17. Or that very few Broomhall men joined the “Sheffield Pals” Regiment – which was very unlike most of the famous “Pals” Regiments – but most of those who did died on the first day of the Somme. Broomhall had men who sailed to, fought and died at Gallipoli where Broomhall sailors (Land-locked Sheffield had sailors!) fought on land alongside their army comrades. We have found that some Broomhall servicemen who, though they died abroad, still came to be buried back home in Sheffield. And it seems we’ve barely scratched the surface…
But for others, though listed on the Roll of Honour, we find no record at all. Why? Who were these men, recorded on St Silas’ RoH but not elsewhere? This is where YOU come in…you can search in our pdf below and if you know any more details about any of the men, please leave a comment at the bottom of this page. We are always looking for more people with a Broomhall or St Silas connection who may have yet more information about them that we can add.
During the OUR Broomhall ‘Open Days’ in the church, we met many lovely people with connections to St Silas Church and/or the Broomhall area, whose relatives served during WW1. Thanks to their memories and recollections, photographs and stories we have started to be able to put more faces and stories to the names.