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Benjamin Sykes ____ - ____

     My great-uncle Benjamin Sykes (my mother's uncle) served with a Scottish regiment in the First World War and sadly was killed and his body was not recovered.  His name is on a monument at the Menin Gate in Belgium and is also in a book of rememberance at Edinburgh Castle. 

     Apart from that, we have little knowledge of him since he died young and his early death appears to have contributed to the ill-health of his mother Ellen Sykes who died prematurely.  His name is added to the gravestone of his mother in a churchyard in Yorkshire not far from where he was born and brought up.  The poet Sylvia Plath is buried in the same churchyard in Heptonstall.

     His father, also Benjamin, was landlord of the White Lion public house in Hebden Bridge which is still one of the most popular places for visitors to the Dales and nearby Haworth, home of the Bronte family, to stay in. I have no dates of Private Benjamin Sykes' death etc to hand but will obtain these and send them to you later.

     His death cast a shadow over the family and little was spoken of him until I took an interest recently in family history. Thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission we now know that his name is on a memorial near to where he died and it is my intention to visit that place this summer.  I would like to find out how he died, in what circumstances, and if any records might have been kept of that event and subsequent correspondence with his parents.  His father remarried and to some extent this may explain why so little information or even a single photograph has passed down to his family
including his brothers and sisters, now deceased, including my own grandfather, Edward.

Ian Whiteley

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