‘They put their lives on the line for our futures’

Roger Thompson and Rev Mark Umpleby with the Batley WMC memorial plaque.
Roger Thompson and Rev Mark Umpleby with the Batley WMC memorial plaque.
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A lifelong member of Batley Working Men’s Club has preserved a war memorial honouring soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Roger Thompson has looked after the plaque, which lists the names of the club’s men who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars, since the building closed in 2014.

The old Batley WMC was gutted by a  fire.

The old Batley WMC was gutted by a fire.

The memorial had been displayed on the back wall of the club, which was gutted by fire last year and has since been demolished.

Mr Thompson, 69, said: “I didn’t want to see the plaque to go into a skip. These chaps should never be forgotten for what they did for future generations - for my dad’s generation, for my generation and for this generation.

“If they had not done that, we might not have been here or had the freedoms we have. I am quite passionate that these guys are remembered by everybody. They put their lives on the line to help us.”

Mr Thompson asked the owner of the former WMC building if he could remove and preserve the memorial when the site shut.

He presented the plaque to Reverend Mark Umpleby into the care of the town’s St Thomas Church last week. Members are now exploring where it will be placed.

Rev Umpleby said: “It is great that we can keep this roll of honour on display. We have just had Remembrance Sunday and many people do stop, pause and reflect on those killed in conflicts around the world.

“This roll of honour remembers local people and it is very important that we give people the opportunity to reflect on those in our own community who lost their lives.”

Mr Thompson has also been conducting research into each of the soldiers named on the plaque. And he would like to hear from any surviving family members of the men. Anyone with information is asked to call 01924 441603 or email rithompson65@hotmail.com