POPPIES bearing the names of every fallen World War One soldier connected to Staveley, Ings and Kentmere will be at the heart of a carefully researched act of remembrance.

Historical detective work by Staveley couple David and Pat Shackleton has uncovered the stories behind all 32 names on the village’s war memorial, together with those of more than 20 ‘boys’ linked to the rural parish in some way.

Each serviceman’s life is to be recalled on the Sunday closest to the day he died, with a named poppy blessed and placed on a cross at St James’s Church, Staveley. The soldiers’ potted biographies will be read out to the congregation and also published in the church magazine.

“It’s nice to get as much information as we can because they come alive then,” said Pat Shackleton.

“Every single person who died has a history and they all belonged to somebody. I think it beholds us to remember them for giving their lives.”

The Rev Shanthi Thompson, priest-in-charge of Staveley, Ings and Kentmere, told the Gazette that the poppy cross was her husband John’s idea. She said the church’s flower ladies had covered a black wooden cross with mesh so that red paper poppies could be attached, and a candle would also be lit.

“We are both very passionate that the remembrance continues, that the remembrance of the start of the war isn’t a one-off, that we do keep it going,” said Rev Thompson.

The first casualty from the Great War to be recalled will be rural postman Andrew Hill, who delivered mail in the Kentmere valley, played football and boarded on Main Street, Staveley.

A single man, he died on September 20, 1914, around the time of the retreat from Mons.

His name is engraved on the war memorial plaque at Stricklandgate post office, Kendal.

On the centenary of Mr Hill’s death, the Shackletons will be paying their respects at his grave in a communal cemetery at Villers en Prayers, west of Paris, by laying poppies from last year’s remembrance at Kentmere church.

The couple have visited his grave before, but always promised they would return. “We were just overcome,” said Mrs Shackleton. “It just seemed terribly sad that he had left such a beautiful place and ended up in such a dismal spot.”

Over the years, the Shackletons have visited the majority of graves and memorials to South Westmorland’s fallen soldiers in France and Belgium, often taking poppies on behalf of local families.

They have been researching the names on Staveley’s war memorial for 12 years. Just a few weeks ago, they finally managed to positively identify the last name – James Henry Rutherford, a clerk on the railway at Staveley who served with the Cameron Highlanders.

Mrs Shackleton said the hardest parts of the research had related to soldiers brought up at The Abbey children’s home in Staveley, as its records were closed.

The couple remain modest about their meticulous research, and Mrs Shackleton told the Gazette: “We are not ones for glory. What we do, we do for the remembrance of the people. They are the important ones.”