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The Great War or 1914-18, the 'War to end all wars', it was said, would be "over by Christmas". It was over by Christmas - the Christmas of 1918. But not before millions died, including 750,000 British soldiers, sailors and airmen. Over 400 of these were from the small market town of Leek in the Staffordshire Moorlsnds. Their deaths, mainly in the mud and squalor of the trenches of northern France and Flanders, dealt Leek's close-knit community a blow from which it would never recover. Almost every family was affected in some way. One street alone lost seventeen of its sons and at least one family lost three brothers. Several lost two. Many of the soldiers who died were friends who had volunteered together in the excitement and patriotic fervour of the time. Even after the end of hostilities, Leek soldiers, broken in body if not in spirit, returned home only to die of illnesses undoubtedly brought on by wounds, or the harsh conditions and excesses of weather they were exposed to.

The Nicholson War Menorial, known locally as the 'Monument', was built by the industrialist Sir Arthur Nicholson and completed in 1925, it lists the names of 420 servicemen from Leek who died during that terrible conflict. This is their story.

'Roll of Honour' is a fitting tribute to the Great War dead of Leek and a permanent record of who these men and boys were, where they lived and worked, and what happened to them. It contains over 100 photographs of the casualties along with background illustrations and maps. For the first time, this new publication puts real people behind the long lists of names on Leek's war memorial.


Available by mail order from
Three Counties Publishing Ltd.,
P. O. Box 435
Leek
Staffordshire
ST13 5TB
Telephone (+44) 01538 380910
Fax (+44) 01538 382204
Priced £15.95 including postage within UK

 



Shot down over Germany, torpedoed by U-boats, killed by the murderous explosions of Luftwaffe bombs - this was the fate of some of the young men of Leek who lost their lives during the Second World War. Others fought and died in the barren wastes of the North African deserts, the valleys and mountains of Italy, the steaming jungles of Burma and the green fields of Normandy.

This is the untold story of the 101 soldiers, sailors and airmen named on the town's War Memorial. A story of bravery and tragedy. A story of sacrifices made by ordinary Leek men thrown into a bitter struggle against tyranny and oppression.

'In Name Only' includes a unique collection of photographs of many of the 101 casualties and memories of the loved ones left behind. I takes the reader through stages of the war as those six dark years claimed the lives of the 101, the youngest only 16 and the oldest 54. It details the service unit, squadron or ship each one was attached to, the date and place of his death and where he is buried or commemorated. There are fascinating accounts of bewildered evacuees in the town, of bombs falling on Leek, of rationing and gas masks and of the telegram which every war-time family dreaded.

This publication is as unique as the Leek Monument itself. It is a fitting tribute to all those who died and answers many questions about their short lives and tragic deaths. But it also raises a number of questions. Why were the Allies prepared to use mustard gas against the Germans in 1943? Why were bomber crews sent over enemy territory in bright moonlight only to be slaughtered in their hundreds? Why were so many young and inexperienced airmen killed in flying accidents here in England?

In 1949, two brass plaques listing the names of the fallen were added to the Nicholson War Memorial in the centre of Leek. Over the last fifty years, countless thousands of people have looked at them in awe. 'In Name Only' tells the full story of the real people behind those names


Available by mail order from
Three Counties Publishing Ltd.,
P. O. Box 435
Leek
Staffordshire
ST13 5TB
Telephone (+44) 01538 380910
Fax (+44) 01538 382204

 

Also available at
Chapter One: Derby Street, Picture Book: Stanley Street, Photoprint: Haywood Street, and Tittesworth Reservoir Visitor Centre.

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