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The Dales remember its heroes of the past

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100 years after the start of the conflict which later became known simply as ‘The Great War’, Dales communities are still remembering those who fought and died for their countries.

Despite being killed in action overseas almost 100 years ago, the family of Lance Corporal James Gibbs have never forgotten him.

Lce Cpl Gibbs, of Cromford, was 25 years old when he died, on March 24, 1918. He was in the 15th Battalion Sherwood Foresters and as his body was never found, he is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, in France.

His niece, Lorna Bonsall, who lives in Cromford, visited the memorial with her sister Betty Talbot, of Two Dales, in 1988.

Mrs Bonsall, who celebrates her 87th birthday this Wednesday (April 30), said even though she had never met her uncle, visiting the memorial was an overwhelming experience.

“It was very emotional, but it was nice,” she said.

“You still think about them even though you don’t know them.”

Lce Cpl Gibbs had lived on Cromford Hill with his father and mother, James and Hannah Gibbs, and his brothers and sisters – Frank, George, Polly, Lucy and Sarah.

Mrs Bonsall said she thought her uncle had worked as a stonemason before enlisting.

“He never married but he was a handsome young man,” she added.

Following his death, Lce Cpl Gibbs was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

– See next week’s Mercury for part one of our special supplements remembering World War I.

– In the group picture in the middle of the page are two men from Birchover who were in France during the conflict of World War One. Joe Twyford is on the righthand–side kneeling. Standing in the far right of the picture is Private Albert Goodwin. He is also pictured above.

Both men were in the Sherwood Foresters’ infantry.

The photographs were submitted to the Mercury by Mrs D Mee, of Oker Drive, Darley Dale.

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