A SOUTH Lakeland history group has secured £4,900 Heritage Lottery funding to help it mark the centenary of the First World War’s start.

Holme and District Local History Society will use the grant to pay for three booklets and an exhibition. There will also be a drama based on the conflict, which began on August 4, 1914.

Society founder and Burton archivist Kath Hayhurst said the booklets featuring the stories of local soldiers from Burton-in-Kendal, Holme and Beetham would be published in the autumn.

But she said more stories about the First World War were needed and appealed to people in the three communities to contribute information about their family connections to the conflict.

Mrs Hayhurst said her own research had revealed around 100 soldiers from Burton served in the Great War. She said photographs of 92 of the servicemen had been discovered stored in the vestry of St James’s Church and these were now available to view on the society’s website - http://localhistory.burtonweb.org.uk

“The photographs all appear to have been taken in professional studios,” said Mrs Hayhurst. “We do know four professional photographers had become established at Burton-in-Kendal in the early 1900s some would have still been in business there during the First World War.”

One of the stories Mrs Hayhurst uncovered was that of Private Roumaine Curzon Barrow, a Burton soldier wounded on July 10, 1915, who was forced to crawl two miles through a battlefield strewn with other wounded and dead soldiers to reach safety.

Anyone with family stories to tell should contact Mrs Hayhurst on 01524-781613 (Burton); Geoff Pegg, (Holme); and Dorothy Spencer, 01524-781540 (Beetham) Meanwhile, stories about First World War soldiers who served in the Kendal Pals are being sought for a special performance planned to mark the centenary of the conflict.

Kendal Tommy will be based on local events - principally the history of the Kendal Pals, which formed part of the 8th Border Regiment.

It is hoped it will be performed in the town sometime in the summer.

Hugh Taylor, one of the men behind the project, said the performance would be a mix of poems, songs, music and projected images..

Anyone with information should contact Mr Taylor on 01524-762067 or email jhugh.taylor@btinternet.com