Gallipoli Oak author is special guest at information night

The co-author of a book about Todmorden’s Territorial Army soldiers who marched to Rochdale just days after the outbreak of the First World War will speak at a meeting which will double up as a “join up” session for a re-enactment march.

In August 2014 it is planned to recreate the march from the Dalton Street drill hall when the town’s Territorial Army soldiers of the 1st/6th Lancashire Fusiliers were given their orders to muster, along with those from Middleton and Rochdale itself, in the Lancashire town.

Organiser Darren Widdup, of the Todmorden branch of the Royal British Legion, said it was a chance for 21st century Todmordians to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors, many of whom soon found themselves in the thick of the fighting at Gallipolli, where a number of them lost their lives.

The meeting takes place next Wednesday, August 7, at the United Services Club in White Hart Fold, Todmorden, from 7.30pm, where the special guest will be Martin Purdy, who along with Ian Dawson has written and published The Gallipoli Oak, which tells their story.

Darren said: “Everyone is welcome, and volunteers will be welcome to join up for our re-enactment march following in their footsteps in August 2014.

“We have really begun to capture people’s imagination and it is also of historical interest.

“At the United Services Club we have a list of names and addresses of those who marched out that particular day and if anyone thinks it is their relation, they are welcome to come along and may want to take part in the march,” he said.

Darren, who has spoken to Middleton and Rochdale branches of the RBL about the march, said a lot of information about it would be available at the meeting.

“If anyone can link names to pictures, then please come along, or come along to pass on some history or stories,” he said. Darren hopes that when the event comes closer next year a display will be created from the material.

He said an image created by the late Roger Birch perfectly illustrated the past and present coming together - pictured right, it was part of an autumn 2011 exhibition in which he placed historical photographs in their 21st century Todmorden setting and included this shot of veterans recreating their march from Dalton Street in 1964 on the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

Darren can be contacted for more details on 07729 563643.

A number of commemmorative events are to be held next year, including Todmorden Civic Society’s project to restore replicas of the two stolen Bayes statues to the Garden of Remembrance in Centre Vale Park.