A Sheffield man has restored his house to a title bestowed upon it by the sister of a soldier who died on the Somme.
Wheel Lane in Grenoside is like countless other city streets, with most of its houses marked by numbers.
But resident Joseph Dunn, 68, who grew up there, remembers when, years ago, each home had its own name.
His was called Bazentin, although none of his family knew why. “In the course of time the name plate, looking its age, was removed and like most houses on the street replaced by a number,” said Joseph. But the strange title would not be lost forever.
Joseph said: “A knock on the door one Sunday afternoon in October 1985 was to reveal the secret behind the name.
“The elderly gentleman, with his niece, was taking a trip down memory lane. He and his wife, now sadly deceased, had bought a new house in Wheel Lane in 1928 and he was trying to find it for one last look.”
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With various extensions and garages added over time the man, Albert Hornby, could not pinpoint where he had lived.
“I asked him what number the house was and he replied it didn’t have a number, they all had names,” said Joseph.
“He said his house was called Bazentin, so I said you’d better come in.
“As I showed him round, I could see his eyes looking everywhere. He would pause in certain rooms, memories of the past flooding back.”
Albert said it had been his new wife, Sybil, who insisted on the name of their house. Bazentin was a tribute to her younger brother, Harry Holmes Clough, of Walkley, who almost exactly 100 years ago, on July 22, 1916, was badly wounded in the First World War’s bloodiest battle.
Harry, who served as a private with the Sheffield Pals before joining the Barnsley Pals in June 1916, was one of thousands to take part in the second phase of the Battle of the Somme, known as the Battle of Bazentin Ridge, which lasted from July 14 to 17, 1916.
According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Harry died on July 22 that year, most likely from wounds suffered in the battle. He was 25 years old.
Harry grew up in Parsonage Crescent, Walkley, the son of Isaac and Mary Clough and the younger brother of Sybil. Before he enlisted he was a butcher’s assistant, renting a house in Providence Street with some of his friends.
After the war, Harry’s grave was among those that could not be traced, so he is commemorated by name on the Ploegsteert Memorial on the French/Belgian border. His name also appears on a large oak panel inside St Mary’s Church, Walkley, as one of more than 200 Walkley men who died in the First World War.
With the 100th anniversary of the Somme currently being marked, Joseph decided to commemorate Harry by restoring the Bazentin name to Harry’s sister’s former home.
“As the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Somme approaches, the house on the lane will once again bear the name Bazentin,” he said.
“A bright new name plate will be mounted in honour of Harry and his companions and across the road a sprinkling of Flanders poppies in the grass verge. I think Albert and Sybil would be pleased.”