THE descendants of First World War heroes are being sought as part of a commemorative history project at a Pokesdown church.

Tony and Carolyn Allen, parochial council members at St James Church, are investigating the stories behind the 65 names on the nearby memorial, those of parishioners who perished during the bloody conflict nearly a century ago.

They plan to create an exhibition as part of the Great War centenary events this summer, and want to speak with local residents whose family members were lost in the war.

“We are looking for the families of those men who left the parish to fight in the war, who still live in the parish today,” said Mrs Allen.

“We would like to have something on each man for the exhibition, ideally with any memorabilia people may have kept.”

Already, using online resources such as and, the pair have begun bringing the carved names to life.

Among those listed are three men, boiler room stokers and able seamen, killed in the North Sea during the naval Battle of Jutland in 1916.

William Herbert Short was just 24 years old when his ship, HMS Queen Mary, exploded with the loss of 1,266 crew.

Frederick George Hine, chief stoker aboard HMS Black Prince, was among 857 men killed when the armoured cruiser came under heavy fire from six German ships at point blank range and sunk.

His widow, Kathleen, lived in Wheaton Road.

The men, many of whom served in the Hampshire Regiment, range in age from 17 to 45, and they are commemorated at memorials as far afield as Iraq, Tanzania and Jamaica.

Mr Allen added: “It is amazing how much you can find out online, and the centenary is a great opportunity to find out more about these men who otherwise are just a list of names.

“Hopefully their relatives will still be living in the area and can give us more information.”

To get in touch with the Allens call 01202 473779 or email