By Philip Walker
As many Width of a Post readers will be well aware, the Bradford Pals were formed within weeks of the outbreak of the Great War in 1914. These brave volunteers fought side by side with many of them perishing or suffering terrible injuries during the battle of the Somme in July 1916.
With the centenary of the first Battle of the Somme approaching a small group of Bradford City fans are busy planning the erection of stone memorial in the village of Bus les Artois in France, the village where the Bradford Pals spent the last hours of comparative safety before moving up to the front and then “going over the top” on July 1, 1916.
Our group have visited the battlefields of France and Belgium for the last four years. On our first visit we went to the find the final resting places and memorials to the Bradford City and Bradford Park Avenue players who fought and died in WW1. Since our initial visit we have returned and visited many CWGC cemeteries and other areas of interest. During our 2012 trip we visited Bus les Artios and learnt more about the village and the stories of the Bradford Pals and how they spent their final hours before heading up to the front.
When visiting Bus les Artios you cannot help but notice and admire the wonderful memorial to the Leeds Pals who also spent their final hours in the village. Our group, all been proud Bradfordians, would like to see a similar memorial celebrating the Bradford Pals and our last visit was a catalyst for us to consider how this could be achieved. We intend to locate a very similar memorial for the Bradford Pals adjacent to the Leeds Pals memorial in time for the July 2016 commemorations.
We estimate that the cost of erecting a suitable memorial will be in the region of £3,000 and we are appealing for donations to help us raise this sum.
Please look out for number of fund raising events we are going to hold soon; but in the meantime if anyone would like to make donation to our fund (we are already 20% of the way towards our target after only a few weeks) the details at Lloyds Bank are as follows:
Account name: “Bus to Bradford” Sort Code: 30-63-55
Account number: 76400068
If you wish to obtain further details of our endeavour please contact Philip Walker, Secretary of the Bradford Pals Bus les Artois Memorial Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively you can find check out our Facebook page – search for Bus to Bradford – or keep in touch with us via Twitter @BustoBradford.