More than 100 locals support Project Bugle launch in Batley Town Hall

The launch of Project Bugle at Batley Town Hall.
The launch of Project Bugle at Batley Town Hall.

Locals proudly waved their Union Jack flags while singing wartime songs to mark the official launch of Project Bugle.

More than 100 people packed out Batley Town Hall in support of the project, which aims to create a fascinating archive about the 1,000 soldiers from Batley and Birstall who lost their lives during WWI.

Thanks to Heritage Lottery funding, a team of dedicated volunteers will share the stories of those brave men through an online database, exhibitions and newsletters over the next five years.

The project launch was held in the town hall on Monday and included a community sing-along led by 1940s singer Natasha Harper.

Professor Alison Fell, who heads the University of Leeds’ Legacies of War project, was a guest speaker at the event.

She said: “It is a fantastic project. Every soldier had a family who was involved in the war and it will reveal the individual stories of how the war affected the community.”

Coun Liz Smaje (Con, Birstall and Birkenshaw), who has a special interest in involving schools in the project, said it was important to understand why the war occurred.

“I hope the community will embrace the project so the young people can understand the words ‘we will remember’”, she said.

Batley History Group chairman Malcolm Haigh said he was “enthralled” by the enthusiasm of the public about the project.

“The stories of the soldiers have never really been taken up and investigated like this before,” he said.

“It is a brilliant project for all the folk in Batley and Birstall.”

The first exhibition telling the story of how the war unfolded will open in Batley and Birstall’s libraries next week.