Great Sacrifice

The Old Boys of Barnsley Holgate Grammar School in the First World War

Jane Ainsworth

Date Published :
March 2016
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
c 200 b/w photos, illustrations, 8pp color illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781911096085
Pages : 720
Dimensions : 9.21 X 6.14 inches
Stock Status : In stock


Jane Ainsworth's Memorial Book tells the stories of the 76 Old Boys of Barnsley Holgate Grammar School who died as a result of their involvement in the First World War. It also includes a history of the grammar school, its headmaster and extracts from "Alumnus" magazine. Barnsley Holgate Grammar School was prestigious and its first headmaster, Reverend Charles Stokes Butler, was inspirational. The Old Boys felt a strong loyalty and affection for their school and this feeling was reciprocated by the teachers and other pupils. During the First World War, details of all those serving their country were recorded in the Old Boys' Association magazine "Alumnus", which was sent to men fighting at the front along with copies of the Barnsley Chronicle. Many of the men in the forces visited their old school when home on their precious leave and some contributed articles and letters about their experiences, which have been reproduced in this book.

Jane was determined to create a Memorial Book that was different from others and the breadth of her research clearly demonstrates how she has achieved this. She has told the men's life stories in as much detail as possible, concentrating on their family and personal development as well as experiences during the war. It is important to remember that 42 additional brothers served and five of these died, as did three brothers-in-law. The invaluable contributions from "Alumnus" and many obituaries from newspapers allow us to get to know these men as real people. Jane's aim is for these young men to be remembered as individuals, who could have achieved so much more if they had survived the sacrifice of their valuable lives for their country. Attending the Holgate encouraged the majority to go on to achieve their potential after school, with a lot becoming teachers. It instilled in them the values that led to early enlistment and rapid promotion in the forces. This is what united them - not the disparate "resting places" for their bodies, whether buried in a foreign grave or just a name on a War Memorial overseas. They were all much loved as sons, brothers, friends, colleagues, Old Boys of various educational establishments, husbands and fathers.

About The Author

Jane Ainsworth was born in Hoyland in South Yorkshire, but spent most of her life living elsewhere until she and husband Paul decided to return to Barnsley for their (early) retirement. Jane was brought up in Chorley, Lancashire, then went to York Univer


“ … An incredible volume detailing the pupils from Barnsley Holgate Grammar School whose lives were lost in the Great War. Much meticulous and spellbinding research has gone into the compilation of these records, and the author, Jane Ainsworth is to be congratulated on a superb piece of work.”

- Books Monthly

“ … A memorial book like no other …”

- Western Front Association Digital Newsletter

“ … Inspirational stories, inspirational research, a model for others engaged upon similar studies.”

- Bulletin of the Military Historical Society

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