TO MOST people the names on Totley’s war memorial plaque are of unknown soldiers.
But thanks to the hard work of local authors Jim Martin, Dorothy Prosser and Pauline Burnett, those names have now come to life.
Jim, Dorothy and Pauline’s co-authored book, The Totley War Memorial 1914-1918, looks at the lives of 10 WWI soldiers from Totley, each with a very different story.
But the trio’s research has taken them beyond the trenches and provided insight into the everyday lives of residents from what was then a semi-rural hamlet.
Pauline, who lives in Totley, said: “It was really interesting researching the real people behind the names.
“You’d hardly know the war memorial in Totley is there as it’s set back into a wall on Baslow Road, but researching it has really brought the village to life.”
The soldiers on the plaque are Roy Denzil Pashley Milner, Colin Hedley Bishop, Tom Brown Fisher, James William Green, Herbert Allan Hill, Robert Hugh Martin, Albert Pinder, James Parker, Charles Turner and Bernard Turner.
Although they all lived within a few hundreds yards of one another, they were from very different walks of life.
“Roy Milner lived in Totley Hall and was from quite a privileged background - his father was a barrister, magistrate and something of a local dignitary,” said Pauline.
“Albert Pinder was the illegitimate son of a maid, raised by his grandparents while his mother worked as a live-in servant in Coal Aston. We tried to put in as much about the men’s history as we could - we researched all sorts, including their school records.”
The book took 18 months to complete and, although it’s now finished, Pauline is keen to continue her research.
“We’ve been putting together snippets like pieces of a jigsaw - it’s been fascinating.”