Researching the Rolls of Honour

SANDAL shared the pain and tragedy that came with two world wars and on these pages we honour the names of the fallen who lived or were born here, or had other links to our community.

We are deeply indebted to David Burnage, of Standbridge Close, Kettlethorpe, who has been researching Wakefield’s First World War memorials for many years, pursuing his interest in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He has generously shared the extensive fruits of that research, to which we have added information about those who fell in the Second World War.

Not only does St Helen’s Church have a bronze war memorial (pictured), Sandal Rugby Football Club also has a memorial. We have now digitised Sandal and Newmillerdam information, much of it for the first time, and we aim to gradually build these pages into a valuable online resource for both family and military historians, adding information about those with Sandal links as, when and where we find it.

Dave has devoted a huge amount of effort to this work, extracting large quantities of material from the files of the Wakefield Express, which recorded the continuing tragedy of the First World War and the impact it had on so many local families. He is now piecing together information about those whose names appear on Sandal Magna School’s memorial, which was discovered in the cellar of the old school when it was demolished for rebuilding. This already has its own War Dead page where you will find a photograph of the memorial, its history and a list of the names that appear on it. Detailed information will be added when the research is complete..

As Dave’s work covers only First World War casualties, the Association has been carrying out its own research into those who were killed between 1939 and 1945. If you can add to any of the information we have on the site, please call Dave on 01924 259381 or Richard Taylor on 01924 256644.

Our War Dead pages were featured in the Wakefield Express in May 2014 as part of the newspaper's coverage marking the centenary of the outbreak of hostilities.

And at Walton...

Other researchers have tackled the war memorial at Walton, part of the ecclesiastical parish of Sandal Magna. There are 22 names from the First World War (panel pictured on the right) and eight from 1939-45.

Two pages of information, including biographical details, can be found here. Much of this is shared with our pages for St Helen's as several names appear on both memorials.

Students delve into the stories of two men who died on the Western Front

A PAIR of students from Kettlethorpe High School  are digging into the past to reveal the stories of two Wakefield soldiers who died during the First World War. One of them was Private Frank Hollings, from Haddingley Hill, Sandal, who was gassed near Ypres when he was only 20 years old. The other was Sgt Nelson Summers, who lived in Horbury and was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Both served in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

The 14-year-old girls heading the project are Emily-Jo Haigh (left) and Rachel Hobkinson. The SCA got in contact through their history teacher, Shereen Quartermain, to direct them to information about Frank Hollings on our War Dead pages. His name appears on the memorials at St Helen’s Church, Sandal Magna School and Sandal Methodist Church.

As part of the WW1 centenary commemorations, Emily-Jo and Rachel went on a government-funded pilgrimage to France and Belgium in 2015, visiting war graves. Miss Quartermain said: “The two leading girls, who are recruiting more members, both share an interest in textiles and the dominating idea is to produce a large patchwork quilt, with individual squares representing the life and death of the two soldiers. We are wanting to create a project which we can get out into the community, either a museum, library or church.”

She added: “The more people who get to know [about the project], hopefully the more likely we can trace some family, although we have already had replies about Nelson Summers. We're just waiting to see if anybody has a connection to Frank Hollings. We have contacted Wakefield Trinity Harriers, as Frank did have strong links there.”

If you can help with information, please email

Your own research

If you are conducting your own research then a good starting point will be the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's searchable database at

The families of all those whose names appear in our WW1 Rolls of Honour would have received the soldier's or sailor's medals and a memorial plaque, commonly known as the Death Penny. These were often treasured by families and were kept polished, just like the example shown here.

The principal campaign medals issued for the First World War were the 1914 or 1914-15 Stars (for those who served during the appropriate periods), the silver British War Medal and bronze Victory Medal. All were impressed with the recipients' names. There were also the Mercantile Marine War and Territorial Force War Medals, both in bronze. The service number included in the naming on the edge of the medals makes an important contribution to the research.

The 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal illustrated here were popularly known as 'Pip, Squeak and Wilfred' after the cartoon characters of the time.

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