'Help us tell forgotten stories of Sheffield war heroes'

John Adam cleaning the restored memorial at Doncaster Minster to men of the Queens Own Yorkshire Dragoons who died during the First World War
John Adam cleaning the restored memorial at Doncaster Minster to men of the Queens Own Yorkshire Dragoons who died during the First World War
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A century after they fell during the First World War, the search is on for relatives of four Sheffield men so their sacrifice can be fittingly commemorated.

The quartet are among 45 men named on a memorial inside Doncaster Minster which is dedicated to troops from the Queen's Own Yorkshire Dragoons who died during the conflict.

Years of dirt and erosion had hidden the names of the men, drawn from across South and West Yorkshire, before they were revealed thanks to a major restoration completed last year.

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Doncaster and District Heritage Association (DDHA), which was awarded nearly £10,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund for the project, has since been busy compiling biographies of all 45 men in time for a service of re-dedication on October 10.

The group's chairman John Adam and his wife Sue have tracked down many of those men's relatives to help fill in any gaps in their life stories and invite them to attend the ceremony.

Among those coming is Nathan Staniforth, who is travelling all the way from Texas to pay his respects to William Stainforth, his fourth cousin, once removed.

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But Mr and Mrs Adam are still looking for anyone connected to four men from Sheffield, two of whom died in the Battle of the Somme, with the other two falling just weeks before peace was declared on November 11, 1918 - to help fill in any gaps in their life stories and attend the ceremony.

Mr Adam said: "We wanted to bring the stories of these men who sacrificed a heck of a lot, as did their families, back to life for the modern generation so they're more than just names on a plaque.

"We would love to hear from anyone with any relation to these four men who wishes to attend the service."

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The men are:

* Lance Corporal Harold Reginald Crapper, whose last known address was 19 Pendeen Road, Nether Green. He was killed on November 1, 1918, aged 25, and is buried in the Harlebeke New British Cemetery.

* Lance Corporal Clifford Newton, whose last known address was Nottingham Street, Pitsmoor. He was killed on October 20, 1918, aged 24, and is also buried in the Harlebeke New British Cemetery.

* Private Colin Hedley Bishop, known as Hedley, who came from Totley. He died during the Battle of the Somme on October 21, 1916, aged 23, and is buried in the Aveluy Community Cemetery in France.

* Private Cecil Swift Jessop, who lived in Firth Park Avenue with his father and three brothers. He died during the Battle of the Somme on August 21, 1916, aged 26, and is also buried in the Aveluy Community Cemetery in France.

The Dragoons' headquarters were in Doncaster but the 'A' squadron was based in Sheffield and men from across South and West Yorkshire served in the regiment.

Among their numbers were many prominent Sheffielders who fought in the First World War and survived, including Captain Matt Shepherd, a celebrated politician and magistrate; Douglas Leng, a descendant of the noted former Sheffield Telegraph editor W C Leng; and three brothers of the Smith family which owned Barnes Hall, near Burncross.

The Dragoons was an a cavalry and armoured unit of the Army which operated from 1794 to 1956, when it was amalgamated with two other regiments to form the Queen's Own Yorkshire Yeomanry Regiment. That regiment was later reduced in size, becoming the Yorkshire Squadron of the Queen’s Own Yeomanry.

During the First World War, the Dragoons saw action at the battles of the Somme, Ypres and Ancre, and one of the officers who was originally from the 'A' Squadron was awarded the Military Cross.

* Relatives of the Sheffield men can call Mr Adam on 01302 868 774, or email him at johnadam1@talktalk.net.