THE grandson of a soldier who was killed at the Battle of the Somme has dedicated countless hours and covered thousands of miles striving to ensure WW1 victims from St Helens are duly recognised.
Eighty year-old Jimmy Lamb, an ex-soldier from Sutton, never forgot the story told to him by his mother about how his grandfather, William Davies, lost his life.
William, a Welshman, had moved to Lancashire to working at Sutton Manor pit.
“When war broke out he joined the South Lancs Regiment and was one of the St Helens Pals,” recalled Jimmy.
The story related to him as a youngster stuck at the back of his mind for years until the former United Glass machinist took up a notion to start some research.
In the 1980s he worked with late Thatto Heath man Roy Makinson and the duo set out on a mission visiting First World War war cemeteries.
“We went all around the graveyards of France looking for the names of men from St Helens. Roy would come back with a list of names of St Helens men buried in these cemeteries and take it to the Town Hall. Eventually we got at least 50 names added to the war memorial,” said Jimmy.
In the 1950s Jimmy was called up for National Service and served in Malaya with the Royal Artillery.
“I wanted to see something of the world and I enjoyed my time but it was hectic at times with the troubles in Malaya,” recalled Jimmy, who has led an interesting life, with his wife, Elsie, with their show winning Labradors and his lifelong involvement with motorcycling and two wheel sport.
The duo are regular worshippers at St Nicholas’ Church and Jimmy takes a particular interest in the burial ground which contains the graves of several 1914-18 war victims.
“I was baptised there, confirmed there, married there and I’ll be buried there,” he said with a smile.
From his painstakingly catalogued archives Jimmy selected a sheet bearing the names of soldiers of the 11th Batallion South Lancs Regiment who were killed on the fateful first day of the Battle of the Somme – July 1, 1916.
They included Sgt Thomas Jackson, of Windleshaw Road, Sgt John Small, Gladstone Street, Pte James Mullen, Fox Street, Pte Thomas Kelly, Crook Street, L/Cpl John B Allender, Peter Street - all St Helens and Pte Thomas Beckett of Milton Street and Pte William Davies, Tennyson Street, both Sutton Manor.