Brothers remembered in Great War service

John, Joseph and Edward Smith all died in the First World War

John, Joseph and Edward Smith all died in the First World War

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THE great-granddaughter of one of three St Helens brothers killed during the Great War has described her pride at the "moving ceremony " held in St Helens Cemetery on Sunday.

Sue McCauley, 54, was invited along with relatives to the event, which saw a commemorative headstone unveiled among war graves and a specially created field of poppies.

The event marked a century since Britain entered the war.

Sue's great-grandad John Smith was 34 when he died after contracting gangrene in a gunshot wound to the leg. His brothers Joseph and Edward, all from Thatto Heath, also died fighting for their country.

Sue said: “The ceremony was marvellous and very moving. My grandmother Lily never forgot her dad and she would always tell us about him, so we all knew quite a lot.

“She was around six or seven but did have memories of him. We even have his war medals which were worn by my aunty on Sunday.

“I would urge people to make the effort and attend the cemetery to see the poppies on every grave and headstone. It is very moving."

Local air, army and sea cadets stepped forward to play a key role in remembering those whose who sacrificed their lives.

A select group were given the task of reading out a collection of names of soldiers who were among the thousands of ordinary St Helens lads never to return from the battlefields.

The ceremony had been organised by Friends of St Helens Cemetery and was the culmination of three years research.

It included addresses from the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, Dame Lorna Muirhead, and Canon Geoff Almond, who is also a St Helens councillor.

The Friends group, with the help of cadets, placed a cross of poppies on every grave or headstone with a WW1 dedication.

Year 4 pupils from Queens Park Primary School began the task – placing crosses on 50 graves last month.

The event concluded with the former army corporal Andy Reid, who is a triple amputee following injuries suffered in Afghanistan, unveiling a memorial stone to the fallen.

It lies in a section of the cemetery where a wild flower and poppy field was created earlier this year by the Friends.

Sue added: “To be personally presented to the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside Dame Lorna Muirhead, the mayor and mayoress and Andy Reid, was a real honour for the family.

“Words cannot express how proud we were when John and his brother’s names were included in the roll of honour read out by cadets.

“Lily would have been very proud that her dad’s sacrifice had not been forgotten.”

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