Story: John Mellor
Over 50,000 men from Sheffield took part in the Great War of 1914-18. Those who enrolled (many of them under 18 years of age) saw the war as a great adventure compared to their routine lives which revolved around work during the week and chapel on Sundays. Most had never left the city boundaries, let alone travelled to a foreign country.
During the 4 years of World War 1, many thousands of these volunteers lost their lives or were maimed and scarred for life, dying years later from the effects of their injuries or from gas poisoning. On one day alone, 1st July 1916, around 500 Sheffield soldiers perished on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. A Burngreave resident, Dean Hill of Malton Street, is undertaking the massive task of gathering information about each of the Sheffield residents who were involved in the war. I asked Dean what had led to him collating all this information and setting up a website. He told me:
“In researching my family history, I discovered that my maternal great-grandfather, 53521 Albert Dale, 2nd York and Lancs, had been killed on 18th September 1918, at the age of 39, in the battle of Epehy. Since then I have been able to visit the site of that battle and follow his footsteps on the last day of his life – a very moving experience.
“In addition to this I also discovered that my paternal great grandfather, William Hill, (pictured standing on the right in the photograph) was a survivor of the Great War. He was a professional soldier who had first fought in the Boer War in South Africa before being sent to France with the Coldstream Guards in 1914, later transferring to the Royal Garrison Artillery. These discoveries led me to find out about other local people who had been involved in the war and I began a website in 2011 which gives details of a large number of them. The work is far from complete and is an ongoing and absorbing project.”
Dean is keen to hear from anyone who has information about a member of their family who fought in the war. His website is:
He can be contacted by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org