Fallen heroes of South Elmsall and Moorthorpe to be remembered

William O'Marr, pictured far right, was listed incorrectly on the memorial.
William O'Marr, pictured far right, was listed incorrectly on the memorial.

Fallen soldiers will be remembered as a project to correct a town’s war memorial gets under way.

Dozens of the 174 names on South Elmsall and Moorthorpe’s War Memorial could be misspelled or listed incorrectly.

The South Elmsall and Moorthorpe War memorial has been Grade II listed.

The South Elmsall and Moorthorpe War memorial has been Grade II listed.

As part of a successful project to have the memorial Grade II listed, local historian Matthew Thomas conducted hours of research into the memorial’s history, and discovered inconsistencies with some of the names on the memorial.

“I started to dig into it and realised there was a bit of a weird story to do with it,” he said. “It looks like there are some names missing, or misspelled, or with other mistakes.

“These families had to walk past that memorial every day. I can’t imagine what it much be like to be a family member and know that the name is wrong.

“It’s a memorial to their life and what they gave, and the least we could do is get it right.”

As part of his research, Matthew was introduced to the O’Marr family, who told him how their ancestor’s name had been misspelled on the memorial.

William O’Marr, known to his friends as Mick, died in Belgium on October 22, 1917, at the age of 24. But when his name was added to the memorial, his family were frustrated to discover that he had been listed as O Marr, rather than W O’Marr.

The family are not alone in their experience. Matthew says he has already identified a number of errors on the memorial, and expects to be told of many more.

He said: “We want to consult with the local public in a way they’ve probably never had a chance to do before.

“It’s our little bit back to the community.”

Matthew’s research was conducted as part of The Story of South Elmsall project, which aims to uncover the people and places that formed the town’s history.

Thanks to the work of the group, the South Elmsall and Moorthorpe War Memorial, on Barnsley Road, was recognised by Historic England as a Grade II listed building on Friday, October 26, 2018.

It is expected to take several years to collect a list of errors and secure funding to upgrade the monument. Visit www.thestoryofsouth elmsall.co.uk to register a mistake or get involved in the project.